Violence

An airing of the daily TV talk show Frente a Frente in February featured three members of the Honduran Congress and a psychiatrist. The topic of the program was the growing violence in Honduras, notably the rising incidence of kidnappings and murders. At one point during the show, host Renato Álvarez posed the question, “What can the government do for us to help us deal with the threat of violence in Honduras?” Mr. Álvarez posed the question to all four of his guests. Not one of the politicians had a reasonable or even thoughtful answer. In fact, it was as if the very question caught them off guard… which was strange, given the topic of the program.

One of the “diputados” offered that we should pray more and strengthen our religious faith. He said that the cause of this new, seemingly unrestrained violence in the country is due to the decaying morality of Honduran society. Another of the diputados talked about her fears and the fact that now the violence is also aimed at women and children. But nobody offered even a glimpse of a strategy.

Part of the problem was that Mr. Álvarez posed the wrong question. The host allowed himself to fall into the all-too-common trap of assuming that it is the government that holds the answers to Honduras’ social problems. The correct question from Mr. Álvarez should have been, “What can we the citizens of Honduras do to address the problem of violence in the country? What can we do to assist the government?”

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