Saturday Express Editorial
 
This is merely in a manner of speaking, given the myriad ways in which information in today’s world mirrors the speed of light, but the nation woke up yesterday morning to the news of another child whose life was snuffed out by a distraught and abjectly distressed woman.

It is a situation in which, more and more, innocent, ­defenceless minors are emerging as prime victims. This is the case both with ­respect to the highly visible problem of gun violence and with ­respect to the largely invisible one of mental illness.
In the past month alone, six children have been shot when gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in an attempt to kill an adult target. Fortunately, none has died even though sustaining injuries ranging from a grazed cheek to a bullet to the head.
Mental illness and stress were cited in two cases in which several minors lost their lives in the past month. In one case, a mother was charged with the murder of her seven-year-old daughter who was strangled.

This week, another woman related to a nine-month-old baby was taken into custody following a report that she fed the baby insecticide after she wouldn’t stop crying.

As the most vulnerable segment of the society, more children are likely to fall victim to violence, or to the actions of the mentally unfit.

As a society aspiring to meet our own self-assigned version of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, we cannot carry on like this.
As a gentle reminder to ourselves, we would do well to ponder on the significant resources which were put into meeting some of those very objectives, in an earlier iteration. This was in the ­prospectus we referred to as Vision 2020, and the dreams to which we collectively aspired then.
We have made a number of critical advances in our social construct to this point, nevertheless, even as the worrying signs associated with the burdens of stress continue to show their ugly face.

Just weeks ago we came through the bracing revival of the scandal that was the violation of the innocence of children in assigned homes, with renewed calls for bringing perpetrators to account.

In addition, as some of us seek protection against crime and criminals, at least three children have been mauled to death by ­killer guard dogs.

It is fact, however, that we otherwise have allocated significant resources to the care and protection of our children.
It has gone far enough for some reckoning to be taken as to where we are, and how we must pull back from this particular brink.
The situation calls for a targeted response from the various agencies charged with the welfare of children. These include the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Gender and Child Affairs Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Children’s Authority.
As we speak here and now, there is a campaign around the theme of adoption and foster care awareness.
From the reports in both recent cases in which women took the lives of young children, concerned adults spoke of their efforts to assist.
We have to use these and related situations to help find ­working and workable responses where similar challenges are known to ­exist, in the search for better outcomes.