EDITOR’S NOTE: Dallas Hyland is a developing columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.
This past Thursday, the fourth in a string of pharmacy hold ups happened at Smith’s on Bluff Street in St. George. Additionally, there was a hold up that same day at Wells Fargo Bank on Brigham Road.
While St. George’s finest are doing diligence investigating these crimes, and possible correlations notwithstanding, should we not be asking a few questions ourselves?
Putting forth the obvious disclaimer that there is no excuse for these despicable acts of cowardice, it might be beneficial to ask ourselves if there is not more of these types of incidents on the horizon, and why.
There is, in my opinion, an underlying push in this city to maintain a certain air of utopian virtue at seemingly all costs. A strong police presence by a very well funded and maintained force gives a sense of security. No doubt those in uniform do their utmost to make it so, but what of things outside of its sphere of influence?
The economic downturn has hit this city notably hard in areas where other parts of the country are beginning to see recovery and, by comparison of ratio to population, that makes sense. But it seems St. George possesses an unusually high rate of crimes, on a level, which one would expect to find in a much larger and more populated city.
Desperate people do desperate things and while, as I have said before, there is no excuse for stealing, there may be a reason that is a little closer to home for all of us than that of a desperate junkie stealing pain medication.
The local economy is built primarily on service industry product: retail stores, restaurants, car dealerships, beauty salons, mortgage companies – did I say restaurants? These are all industries in which the only real sustainable meaningful jobs are in the top percentile of the industry, while the bulk of the population is left to fend for themselves with minimum wage jobs.
We are enticed every so often with the notion that economic growth is the main priority of such projects as the new airport and the water pipeline; but close examination of these already passed and currently proposed ventures reveals at the least the semblance of them being just land deals that make that earlier mentioned top percentile a windfall profit, while the rest of the community is struggling to survive on below poverty level pay.
This community is the backbone of this city without which not one of these top percentile earners could survive. Yet, shamelessly and almost flagrantly, much like our federal government, they patronize us with notions of family values and patriotism banking on us falling into line and sucking up these tough times “together.”
I don’t know about the rest of my fellow once-middle class peers, but I see a lot of foolish behavior on the part of our elected officials going unchecked and increasingly uninhibited and it worries me.
You see, I don’t know what was going through the minds of the people who committed these robberies, but I would wager it was premised in some desperation – and I am beginning to understand desperation. I am beginning to see the possibility that if our elected officials stay on course, making flagrantly foolish decisions dictated to them by corporate greed, we are going to see much more of these kinds of acts.
(It is a contention of some in this country that our elected officials are run by lobbyists who do the bidding of large corporations and I am suggesting that this problem trickles all the way down to even local municipalities. A recent example was the paper mill and its relation to the Lake Powel pipeline; taxpayers will foot the bill for the pipeline, but businesses may get a free ride on it.)
It may be because people are starting to ask themselves, if my government cannot act justly, then why should I?
At what point would we say that the events of the last few weeks could be considered something of an epidemic indicative of a serious, underlying problem? How much crime of like nature in this city goes unreported for the namesake of keeping up a utopian appearance? And, can we say we can expect it to get worse before it gets better?
I have questions. So should you.
See you out there.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.