After reading the recent front pages of our island papers, listening to broadcast news and following so-called news posts on various internet feeds during the past few weeks, it would be easy for someone considering a visit to Guam to change their mind and not want to visit let alone live here.
We are allowing our island’s quiet and peaceful image to be tarnished by what appear to be random shootings, assaults, robberies, thefts and just plain bad behavior.
What has to happen in this community before people rise up and demand safer streets, schools, shopping areas, barber shops, etc.
Will it take something happening to a senator’s or governor’s family member before we see really aggressive, constructive action being taken?
We need to have decisive action to increase our police force to the numbers Guam Police Chief Ignacio has shared to ensure adequate police coverage of our community.
Our courts need to get far more aggressive when it comes to handing down punishment. Additionally, the AG and police departments need to work more closely when arresting and charging criminals, so that the courts can apply the strictest possible sentences.
Island administrators must pay more than political lip service to taking significant steps to correct the problems at the Department of Corrections. We need to take that long-overdue step and find the funds to design and build a new prison.
Our police officers get frustrated when they arrest someone for a crime and shortly thereafter see that same person roaming free. Or worse, end up rearresting the same person for a similar crime.
As a community, we must feel confident that the courts will apply proper sentencing and there will be a proper place to which offenders can be sent to serve their time and hopefully be rehabilitated. Right now, that is not the case and the situation reminded me of the old fable of “The Scorpion and the Frog.”
In the fable, the scorpion becomes bored by his habitat and seeks to find another. After searching, he arrives at a river’s edge and decides that on the opposite side is the perfect new home for him, but he can’t figure a way to cross. Upon seeing a frog in the brush near the water’s edge, the scorpion asks, “Dear Frog, would you please carry me across this river on your back?”
The frog declines saying, “If I do that, you will sting me, and I will die.”
The scorpion insists, “No I would not do that. I would be forever in your debt if you would do this favor for me." With this assurance, the frog trusts the deadly scorpion and takes it upon its back.
The frog, with great effort, begins the long swim across the treacherous river to give a new opportunity to the scorpion. Halfway across the river the scorpion does a bit of a jig and stings the frog. The frog’s limbs instantly begin to go numb.
As the frog begins to sink, he croaks, “You fool! Now we shall both die. Why did you do that?”
The scorpion replies, seemingly pleased with his accomplishment, “I could not help myself. It is in my nature.”
Sound vaguely familiar to anyone?
Lee P. Webber is a former president and publisher of media organizations on Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia and is a longtime business and civic leader on Guam.