On seat belts and not letting the law slide

Funny things happen on the way to the forum. Just last week we had a brief respite from those polluting would-be city fathers-in-waiting who chuck their electioneering pamphlets over our garden walls with unerring aim and a cavalier wave. But the hiatus was not to last long. In the space of one week we received what seemed like a gazillion innocuous-looking letters in the mail. Which, on opening, proved to be yet another aspiring politico pressing his case… or, as the vulgar term has it, pushing his luck!

If they think that law-abiding, eco-conscious, issue-savvy voters will give them the green light - or, as the common turn of phrase has it, two thumbs up - then they are probably sorely mistaken. The bird, as the mob say, is more likely to be their boon. Well, we shall soon see. Because if it is true that municipal councillors today are not worth the kitty litter which they use as campaign posters, it is also a truism that there is a sucker born every minute - and the orderly queues (we can be law-abiding when we want to) at the polling booth prove it.

Another sphere in which we citizens have been given an opportunity to demonstrate our law-abiding gene in action has been gazetted and placed before the public for its consideration. We mean, of course, the seat-belt law. By which it is understood that you may drive as usual (i.e. as if you were an escapee from a lunatic asylum in a hurry to get nowhere fast) as long as you and your front-seat passenger are belted up. Naturally, such a ground-breaking development in traffic control applies only to vehicles with "English numbers" - so it is left to the imagination of motorists with older models and the inventiveness of coppers with a crooked bent to determine how passenger safety will be ensured as regards all the other gazillion jeeps, jalopies, and junkyard clunkers on our roads and highways.
But it is a start. And we for one aren't quibbling.

Because it's high time that the long arm of the law took the abovementioned law into its aforesaid long arms. Never mind that there are a few minor rifts in the lute… or, as the critics would have it, cracks in the plaster; chinks in the armour; ghost in the machine; gremlins in the engine. You get the point. You don't? The itty bitty nitty gritty detail that when it comes to the law of the land versus the people of the land in the context of the enforcement of the law, the question on most folks' minds is: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Or, to those of you who don't have cars with English numbers (ergo, little Greek and less Latin): 'Who will guard the guards themselves?'

Things, dears, have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous - as the bishop said to the buccaneer. In the golden age of law enforcement, only policemen could get about their business without malicious intent, like the knight-at-arms alone and palely loitering. The mask has slipped a bit since then. And we have come to a pretty pass in which only the naïve and sentimental lovers of the law have failed to realize that the force (to use a commonplace euphemism) is not for the people, the republic, or the high and noble principle - but the highest bidder. That is to say, corrupt politicos who call the shots at the sharp point of a transfer or worse; and the unscrupulous people with cash to burn who back them and throw their weight willy-nilly in the shadows of a regime gone from the, er, subliminal to the, um, ludicrous. The image of the aweful majesty of the law has been more than marred by the response of the minions, erm, magistrates it is meant to serve.

In the final analysis, the people appear to have taken the law into their own hands. But only in cases of egregious behaviour on the part of the police, and that too when pushed to the wall by dire circumstances such as the death of a loved one in custody. Angulana, Katunayake, and Dompe will remain writ large in the annals of law-enforcement history of this land… and ominously looming as the shape of things to come… if the powers that be don't step in pronto and step up their game. Hope springs eternal that the law enforcement mandarins sitting on the top of the dirt heap will pay due attention to the reality that something is rotten in the state of. We as a nation have suffered long and hard enough not to deserve a bit of guaranteed summer sunshine for a change.

Belt up, dears, and buckle down to some decent, efficient, courteous law-enforcement. Else we, the people, may have to find a way to 'vote you out'.

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