The subject of my outrage is greater than yours

The truth is that throughout the years I have learned to refrain from voicing certain thoughts on social media because the probability is that I will fall into a rabbit hole of never-ending comments and replies, with people tagging you until you look up from your PC or phone and a whole day has gone by

File photo
File photo

I will preface this article with a disclaimer: I too have been guilty of wondering why people are not as outraged as I am about certain causes which to me are very important. And yet they have meltdowns on things which, to me, are inconsequential. 

This week it happened again: a young man dies, buried under rubble as a building site collapses, and yet there has been more angst about the 10 cents levied on plastic bottles, and the fact that you have to recycle them to get your money back.  In fact, I was strongly tempted to reply to all the anger and gnashing of teeth about these reverse vending machines on Facebook and had actually typed out the following paragraph:

I still think that this scheme is a good idea. After all, the whole point is to cut down on the use of plastic which was not happening, and we were drowning in plastic which is the cause of so much littering if you don't want to pay the 10c, and if you think this is a scam, or a tax, you can use your head and invest in filters for tap water, Reverse Osmosis and other options (as so many people are already doing).  No one is forcing you to keep buying all those plastic bottles of water. Unfortunately, unless you hit people's pockets it is now very obvious that they won't bother to choose environmentally friendly solutions.  As for the infirm and the elderly, one can always do a good deed and take their bottles to be recycled for them, and use the voucher for their shopping, so what’s the problem?

But instead of pressing ‘post’, I saved that reply for this column instead, and pressed ‘delete’. The truth is that throughout the years I have learned to refrain from voicing certain thoughts on social media because the probability is that I will fall into a rabbit hole of never-ending comments and replies, with people tagging you until you look up from your PC or phone and a whole day has gone by.  It is really a bottomless pit, and so not worth the time and the aggravation especially when some comments descend into rudeness (because it is so very easy to be snarky when you are not looking a person in the face).

And yet, in contrast to the ‘rage against the machines’, the rage against the unnecessary death of 20-year-old Jean Paul Sofia from the general public does not even begin to compare. I still cannot understand the comparative over-reaction about the former and can only attribute it to the fact that people being literally killed by the construction industry is a tragically recurring situation which is now so out of control that most feel helpless to do anything about it.  We get angry at the Government, the developers, the architects and the OHSA, and yet nothing changes, year in, year out. In contrast, maybe the recycling scheme is something more tangible to get livid about, especially since the fury can be targeted at a specific entity, namely the private company which is operating the scheme and pocketing the money. 

The “what about?” or “where were you …?” question has also prevailed on other topical issues. Tens of thousands of people showed up to protest against an amendment to the abortion law, and yet only a fraction of that number showed up to protest against yet another murder of a woman, the umpteenth victim of domestic violence, thus prompting those who are pro-choice to conclude that pro-lifers don’t really care about life at all. I’ve seen the same question repeated about the plight of refugees, especially pregnant women, out at sea: “where are all the pro-lifers?”

Similarly, the question is often turned on its head by pro-life advocates, who ask, how can those who speak up for refugees and other vulnerable people be so ready to dismiss the life of a foetus?

It is becoming increasingly clear that this comparison of ‘whose cause is more worthy of outrage’ is an exercise in futility and the reason should be obvious. No one has ever changed anyone’s mind on a deeply controversial issue simply by demanding that they should care equally about everything that goes on.  We are all different, and so are the causes close to our heart so by trying to use emotional blackmail or manipulation, it just does not work.  It is also highly unfair to try and tighten the screws and put into question someone’s moral convictions (no matter how much they may jar with yours) by painting them out to be heartless about other moral dilemmas.  

Even if we may not understand the reasons ourselves, it is patently clear that not everything that happens is on the radar of every single person with the same intensity or carries the same weight.  It is a fact of life that people are usually mostly interested in what affects them personally and it is those issues which will get them all worked up. 

And, from the arguments I have been witnessing online, there is not much one can say to badger others into coming around to your point of view - on the contrary, the tendency is for them to dig their heels in even deeper.

Can we please stop allowing criminals so freely into our country?

Another day, another murder it seems.

Only this time the victim was a hardened criminal of dual British-Romanian nationality, Joseff Rivas (who was also known under another name), and whose violent past finally caught up with him.  He was stabbed to death in broad daylight in Paceville by three other Romanian men over a dispute about a prostitution ring they were running in Malta.

According to news reports: “the victim has had several brushes with the law in the UK and Romania. For some time he was on Interpol’s wanted list and a European arrest warrant was issued in connection with a homicide in the UK. In Romania he had served a prison sentence after he came to blows with a colleague and killed him, while more recently he was also involved in a robbery during which the victims were tortured.”

It is rather redundant to have to say it, but I suppose I must.  How are these criminals being allowed in the country to roam around freely, when there are warrants out for their arrest? It is not of much comfort to read that “…Rivas, 44, had been a person of interest to international intelligence services due to suspected ties to organised crime. The Malta Police Force had reportedly been working together with the UK and Romanian police forces on the investigation.”

It is not clear how long Rivas had been living in Malta… a year, six months, a month? Whatever the time period I find it impossible to believe that someone who is so wanted just slipped through the net, and started mingling (and working) in Paceville’s underbelly of crime just like that. It makes one wonder how many more wanted criminals we have allowed into the country.

Freedom of movement within the EU was never meant to give a free pass for criminals. What is even more worrying, however, is that once again we have a Great Wall of deafening silence from the authorities who are not forthcoming about how this man ended up living here.