An original essay

by Edward Fagan

The practice of honesty has never been more necessary than it is now. Why should our public servants, responsible persons in business, commerce and industry, and everyone else practise honesty? Can every normal person effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing? What are the benefits of practising honesty?

Honesty should be practised because it is necessary for the enjoyment of fairness by all parties equally, who are committed in any transaction involving the exchange of property or the offer or use of services.

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Yes, every normal person can effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing. Normal persons who do not practise honesty choose not to practise it.

The benefits of practising honesty fall within a wide range. Some of these benefits have national social and economic implications; and some are more private and personal in nature. Some of these benefits are mentioned below in more detail.

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Those who are in public life, or hold responsible positions in business, commerce and industry should be very careful to practise honesty in their respective fields.

The practice of honesty as private citizens is important for the reasons mentioned above, and because this is the pool from which public servants and those in responsible positions in the private sector are drawn. At the private level, we have all, at some time, experienced a sense of deprivation of justice and property at the hands of dishonest persons. Petty thieves, muggers and burglars also remind us of the need for honesty in private life.

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 The benefits of practicing honesty include: Fairness: The practice of honesty ensures fairness of behaviour in situations which involve: the collection, storage, or distribution of goods, and the provision of or the benefitting from services.

Example: An international lending institution once said that a certain kleptocratic country could repay its national debt in full, if its leaders returned the country’s money that they stole and deposited overseas.

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Under colonial rule, the country was well run and had a very promising economy. Following independence, the country became a notorious kleptocracy. This resulted in its having to incur a huge national debt which unfairly fell on the backs of the mass of the people.

During this period, the cost of living increased greatly and the standard of living decreased to an even greater extent correspondingly, among the mass of the people. The small ruling elite and their senior civil service supporters enjoyed a degree of unfair opulence at the cost of the unfair suffering of the rest of the population.

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Economic prosperity: The practice of honesty in situations involving economic activity contributes to the economic prosperity of those involved by allowing them full access to their fair share of goods and services. The relationship between honesty and economic prosperity is well known but often overlooked for the sake of expediency. The story that is mentioned after the word “Example” above, indicates some of the economic deprivation that can result from the absence of honesty in public life.

The connection between financial dishonesty and failure at the micro economic level is also well known. Most of us know of a case where a business failed due to the absence of the practice of honesty in some aspect of its financial activity. Such failure to practice honesty has resulted in instances of investors loosing large sums of money and experiencing financial ruin.

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 Political stability: The practice of honesty in the political economy helps to prevent persons from being unfairly deprived of their fair share of opportunity for socio-economic advancement. It also helps to allow them full access to their fair share of goods and services, according to the capacity of the economy to produce them. These conditions foster a sense of understanding of and sympathy with the efforts of those in power. This in turn helps prevent the growth of dissent, social unrest and political disruptiveness.

Spiritual growth: Constant practice of honesty, which is the eighth commandment in the Bible, as well as the practice of the other nine commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), will contribute greatly to our spiritual growth and development.

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Honesty always serves the fair advantage of all concerned. Dishonesty always serves the unfair advantage of the few and the unfair disadvantage of the many. The choice is clear whenever there is a requirement to choose between honesty and dishonesty by persons in the public sector, those in responsible positions in the private sector, and private citizens.

by Edward Fagan

An original essay

by Edward Fagan

Sometimes our relatives and friends seek our help and support after their period of incarceration ends and they return to society. In most cases this help should be given to them. When this help is given it should be given selflessly.

The nature of the offence committed and the known disposition of the offender are important points to consider when deciding whether or not to offer help. These and other points will determine whether or not help is offered, the type of help that may be offered and the duration of any help that is offered. These and other points will also determine the terms of any help that may be offered.

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Those who are offered help are going to be first time offenders only. They are going to be persons whose offence did not involve any kind of violence except in a case of self defense within the law.

They are also going to be persons who display an ability to control their temper and navigate situations involving minor tension and conflict between others and themselves. They are going to be persons with a known disposition toward normal behaviour. For example, the type just mentioned is going to be capable of performing in a job at the checkout point of a relative’s or friend’s retail business. (One’s self control is sometimes tested in this kind of situation.)

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 Those who are known to be honest and whose offence did not involve stealing money. Those whose offence did not involve sexual misconduct and whose past behaviour did not indicate a disposition toward that kind of misconduct.

The type of help offered can include food, clothing, shelter, employment, personal transportation, a spending allowance and money for start up business.

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The period of time during which this help is given will be determined by the needs of the recipient, the nature of the help offered and the terms under which the help is offered.

The help mentioned here is supposed to be of a temporary nature only and may be offered on a short or long term basis. It is intended to help recipients achieve a level of stability and basic self reliance and allow them to live normally without a permanent need for this help.

By Edward Fagan

 

 

An original short story 

by Edward Fagan

Earl drives the truck to the junction and stops. The road which runs adjacent to the one on which his truck is located is busy with traffic. He is forced to patiently await the clearing of traffic on this road. Earl does not know an arrest awaits him following these few moments he spends at this junction.

His three passengers and fellow workers, two male and one female and himself talk and laugh until the road clears.

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The road finally clears and Earl exits from his stationary position while turning right onto the adjacent road. A female shouts something and flares her right hand in an angry manner from a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Her statement and hand gestures are intended at Earl and seem to suggest she thinks he failed to stop at the junction.

Earl slows to a stop, “I stopped at the junction Mam.” She stops and disagrees, “No, you drove straight through onto this road.” Earl repeats his position a few times in response to her accusing him several times of not stopping at the junction.

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She leaves her vehicle and walks to Earl’s and shows a police badge. “Switch off the engine and come out of the vehicle.”, she orders. Earl complies. “I’m Police Constable Lia Connell.”, she says, in a stern and somewhat angry tone. She’s young, perhaps in her mid to late twenties, and perfectly beautiful.

“You failed to stop at the junction and that’s an offence.”, she says while violently poking her finger in Earl’s face and toward his eyes. Earl disagrees, “I stopped at the junction and exited after the road cleared.” He then turns to her female passenger, “Do you see how dangerously close to my eyes your fellow officer is poking her finger?” “She’s not touching your eyes though.”, the other officer responds.

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Constable Lia Connell opens a book and looks at Earl in an angry manner, “What’s your name?” “Earl Farley”, Earl answers calmly. She writes it in the book. “You failed to stop at the junction, why are you denying it?” Earl is surprised and upset at her behaviour. Why is she so determined to get a confession of guilt from him? he wonders. She even forgets, or otherwise refuses, to take his address.

“I stopped at the junction before driving onto this road.”, Earl insists. “OK fine! Handcuff him!”, she says angrily to one of her two male passengers. Earl is handcuffed and placed in the unmarked police vehicle. He sits in the rear between the two male passengers. It is 03: 00 p.m.

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Earl is speedily driven off to the police station with the vehicle’s siren blaring and its beacon flashing. Earl sits with handcuffed hands in lap. There is silence in the vehicle. The phone in Earl’s top pocket rings and attempting to answer it, he takes it out and presses the answer button. “Don’t let him answer that phone!”, Constable Connell angrily states. Earl does not expect what happens next.

Simultaneously, the outer hands of both male passengers grab Earl’s throat and start to choke him very tightly; while their inside hands tightly grab his handcuffed hands and start to take away the phone. He’s in intense pain and unable to speak. They also completely restrict all of his body movement by very forcefully pressing inward toward him. He is prevented from speaking  to his boss on the phone.

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At the police station Earl is taken to an interrogation room by the two men who choked him. Earl is shocked and sickened by the choking. He feels forced to seek an explanation for his having been choked by these men. “Why did you choke me?” he asked. “We can do you anything without having to answer any questions you ask us.”, answers John Bailey, who seems the more wicked and conceited of the two men.

A Sergeant who is attached to the station is given Earl’s full name by Constable Lia Connell.”Earl Farley”, he calls, “I’m Sergeant Alvin Springfield and I wish to take a statement from you or have you answer some questions.” “I prefer not to give a statement or answer any questions, and to exercise my right to remain silent.”, Earl politely says. “Well, if that’s your position, I have to accept it.”, The Sergeant says. He slowly closes his notepad, gets up and leaves the room.

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Earl is placed in a holding cell. Hours later (well into the night) he is charged with failing to stop at the junction, refusing to give his name and refusing to give his address to Constable Lia Connell. He is then given a date for the first court-hearing of these charges, and released on bail.

The following day Earl is forced to seek examination by a leading ear, nose and throat specialist which reveals throat and neck injury caused by his having been choked by the police.

Hearing of the case continues for several months. Earl represents himself and is glad for the opportunity this gives him to question the police concerning the incident.

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During one of the hearings, Earl questions Constable Lia Connell, “Constable Connell, did you enter the main road from the junction above the one from which I entered it?” “Yes I did.”, she replies. “Are you aware that there is an outward bend in the stretch of road which lies between the two junctions?” “I do not remember it.” she says. “Are you aware that this outward bend completely blocks the view of vehicles exiting both junctions from each other?” She hesitates, then slowly answers, “No, I’m not very familiar with the roads in this area.”

At this point Magistrate Robin Simpson makes a comment, “If I may say something here,” he says, “I know this road very well, having grown up in the area. Motorists at one junction simply can not see vehicles at the other junction. It is therefore impossible for someone at one junction to know, by seeing, what someone at the other junction does.”

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Earl continues his questioning, “Where was my vehicle when you first saw it?” “Your vehicle was on the main road.”, she answers. “Did you see my vehicle at or driving toward the junction, at any time?” “No, I did not.”, she replies. “I have no further questions to ask, your honour.”, Earl declares.

During this same hearing, Earl’s three passengers who are called by him as his witnesses confirm his claim that he gave his name when asked to do so. They also confirm that he was never asked to give his address. They were consistent in their answers to questions from both Earl and the prosecution.

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At this point during the hearing of the case, Magistrate Robin Simpson asks the prosecution if they have any further questions for any member of the defence. “No your honour, the prosecution does not have any further questions for the defence.”, answers a member of the prosecution team. The case is adjourned for a week.

A week later, hearing of the case resumes. The prosecution give a brief summary of their position in the case and Earl does the same. Finally, Magistrate Robin Simpson states his position in the case., “Why is Mr. Farley accused of not stopping at the juncture? Why is he accused of not giving his name and address? Why was he arrested and placed in a cell at the station? He certainly did not commit any arrestable offences.”

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He pauses for a moment as he arranges some papers on his desk, “There is no justification for the three charges brought against Mr. Farley. I am convinced that Mr. Farley is not guilty of having committed any of the three offences of which he is charged before this court.” He turns his head in Earl’s direction, looks at Earl and says, rather calmly, “You are therefore free to go Mr. Farley.”

By Edward Fagan

An original essay

by Edward Fagan

Reducing the current level of praedial larceny across our communities is difficult but not impossible. There are some simple steps that we can take through legislation and its enforcement that can significantly reduce the level of this type of theft.

Our vegetable farmers play a very important role in our community and the wider society. They produce food for our consumption thus helping us to become more self sufficient in the area of food production.

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They are hardworking and dedicated people. They make many sacrifices and often undergo much hardship and difficulty. Some of this hardship and difficulty is caused by vegetable thieves who often reap and make off with whole crops. The thieves sell these crops to unsuspecting buyers for easy profit. The farmer suffers an even greater loss.

We can not afford to lose our farmers through their giving up on agriculture because of this problem; we need to act now.

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We need to legislate for and enforce the following approach to deal with this problem:

Registration of each of the following categories of individuals and businesses who are involved in vegetable retail and or wholesale and who:

  • Produce to retail (Register of Producers who Retail)
  • Produce to wholesale (Register of Producers who Wholesale)
  • Buy to retail (Register of Buyers who Retail)
  • Buy to wholesale (Register of Buyers who Wholesale)

Individuals and businesses can be registered under more than one category and at more than one address and location if necessary.

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Registration of individuals and businesses must include registration of their address and location. The address and location of individuals and businesses must be inspected and verified before registration can be completed.

Registered individuals and businesses will be issued with documents of registration and identification cards. These documents and identification cards must be shown on demand to businesses, government officials and law enforcement officers.

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It will be a criminal offence for anyone to even attempt to retail or wholesale vegetable produce without being registered and in possession of the relevant documents and identification card. It will also be a criminal offence for anyone to purchase vegetable produce from a retailer or a wholesaler who is not registered and in possession of the relevant documents and identification card.

The type and extent of punishment of offenders under this new legislation is left to the legislators and law courts.

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This type of legislation and its enforcement are similar to the type of legislation and enforcement that serve to register and regulate drivers and motor vehicles.

It is necessary to create and share a database of registered individuals and businesses who are involved in producing, selling and buying vegetables. Prospective and unknown sellers can be checked against the database information. Information on known offenders can also be stored and accessed on this database.

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Drones should be used to increase security of cultivated areas during both day and night. Drones can be fitted with lights and very powerful cameras for easy and accurate detection and video recording of people and other objects. This recorded information can then be passed on to the police.

Enacting into law and enforcing the suggestions offered above will assist our farmers in their attempt to be free of the menace of praedial larceny. Our farmers, our communities and our economy stand to benefit when this happens; let us therefore look forward to the day when the suggestions offered above are written into law and enforced to the benefit of all.

By Edward Fagan

An original essay

by Edward Fagan

Black Lives Matter, as well as National Action Network and Concerned Student 1950, to name a few, share the same goals and objectives as that earlier segment of the black civil rights movement which was led with distinction by prominent activists such as Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others.

Antagonists of Black Lives Matter say that the movement should not use “Black” in its name but instead should use “All”. They also say that the movement should not place emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity.

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The Black Lives Matter movement, the antagonists further state, by its name, is suggesting that only black people’s lives matter. The word “Black” in the name, and the movement’s emphasis on black people in its messaging and activity are supposed to be the reasons for demanding the change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity. Could there be other reasons for demanding such a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Who will benefit from a change of name of the movement and a change of emphasis of the movement’s messaging and activity? Will black people, the intended recipients of the outcome of the movement’s messaging and activity, continue to be such recipients following a change of name and a change of emphasis of messaging and activity.

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Who, other than blacks, needs the urgent intervention of Black Lives Matter and similar movements to act on their behalf? How dare Africans to even think that their lives matter and that they should view themselves as human and ask to be treated thus!

Some of those same anti civil rights reactionaries, who secretly or openly stand against the civil rights achievements which have resulted from Dr. King’s life, work and martyrdom are conveniently paying lip service to the cause for which he lived and died; and are even seeking his and his movement’s help from the grave in their battle against Black Lives Matter. They are saying that Dr. King and his message are so much more preferable to Black Lives Matter and what they have to say.

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Why should Black Lives Matter change their name to an ambiguous one, and pursue an equally ambiguous course of action or no course of action at all? Why should Black Lives Matter address itself to ill founded fears and imaginary problems of its enemies or to problems for which it was not created to solve; problems whose attempted solving by the movement will dissipate its time, energy, money and human resource; and render it unable to serve the blacks who so urgently need its help ? Why should Black Lives Matter abandon the purpose for which it was created, and cease addressing itself to the pervasive problems of police physical and other forms of brutality against, and senseless murder of, black people?

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In the United States, there is a reactionary element that fatally practises “black lives do not matter”; simultaneously, that reactionary element also practices “all other lives matter”. The Black Lives Matter movement is an urgent, natural and spontaneous response by black people, to the fatal practices of that reactionary element and seeks, by non-violent means, to bring about an end to those fatal practices against African-American people. This work is a continuation of the work of Rosa Parks, Dr. King, Dr. Maya Angelou and others; and the reactionaries need to understand that Dr. King’s movement and Black Lives Matter, as mentioned above, share the same goals and objectives and that one is the progeny of the other.

By Edward Fagan

An original essay

By Edward Fagan

The United States and other western nations should not allow entry into their countries, much less grant asylum to, any of the mass of people fleeing Syria and other regional countries, except for members of the Peshmerga and other ethnic Kurdish groups, and members of the Syrian and other regional Judeo-Christian communities.

It is important to note that all persons fleeing Syria and neighbouring countries are not refugees; many are mere opportunists seeking to take advantage of a situation that allows them a chance to settle in a country that offers an easier way of life and a higher standard of living.

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There also is the prospect of ISIS supporters posing as refugees, and joining the refugee mass and entering unsuspecting countries to carry out attacks later. There have been suspected cases of the occurrence of that situation, even recently, in Europe.

There also is the possibility that in the future, some of these same so called refugees or their offspring might become radicalized and take up arms on behalf of ISIS in the country where they have settled.

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What then is the alternative to allowing entry to those fleeing the crisis, and granting them temporary or permanent settlement? The United States and other western nations could encourage the Muslim countries in the region to accept the refugees into their countries for temporary or permanent settlement. This encouragement could be at all levels and could include linking the acceptance of refugees by the Muslim countries of the region to the granting of aid to those countries by the United States and western nations.

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When the Muslim countries agree to accept the refugees, the United States and other western nations could then commit the money and other resources they currently use to settle refugees within their borders, to be donated as aid to those Muslim countries who agree to accept the refugees. That aid could then be requested by those Muslim countries who accept the refugees, according to the needs of each country, in the form of money, shipping, air transport, personnel, technical and military assistance, various types of equipment, information technology, data, advice and other forms of assistance that might be considered necessary for the safe and trouble free transport of the refugees to, and settlement and temporary maintenance of the refugees in, those Muslim countries who accept them.

By Edward Fagan