Posted: April 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

ON THE SAME DAY that Lisa Luciano Chamberlain expressed the hope that there would fewer victims of violent crime in Saratoga County a woman was the target of an abduction attempt in the Clifton Park area.

The Saratogian (local newspaper) reported a major increase in violent crime in Saratoga Springs in 2010 – a 24 percent increase from 2009 -– just three weeks before.

Chamberlain, former director of the now-defunct Saratoga County Youth Court, was speaking at the 12th annual Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Crime, at the Presbyterian New England Congregational Church, Saratoga Springs, Sunday, April 10. Her words preceded a talk by a keynote speaker who described her own violent abduction at gunpoint in the City of Saratoga Springs. The local resident was knocked out from behind with the butt of a gun, hauled into a van, forced to remove her clothing and heard her captor tell her, “she would never see her family again.” Fortunately she was able to escape and elude her assailant.

We should applaud Chamberlain and share her hope – but we must also act to make this hope a reality. Violent crime knows no boundaries. It affects all of us.

The idea that “Saratoga Springs is under a protective dome” is quaint but, like most things that are quaint, obsolete. Change has been profound here although it is not always highly visible: The push for year ’round business has transformed what had been a seasonal resort town into a different kind of animal. There has also been transition in many cases from family and locally staffed business into a city which relies more on outside help.

Most profound is the growth outside of city limits. No longer a quaint town in the country, Saratoga Springs has become part of a sprawl that stretches from Albany north … soon north to Montreal, I suppose. We can roll with this … such changes only create internal and external stress factors … and what we might call “management problems.”

Speaking of stress … how about a nuclear power plant nearby? How would its presence affect our stress levels if that becomes a reality?

The root causes of violent crime problem are probably very basic: Perhaps people have been led to believe that they need material things they don’t need and furthermore, they have been led to compare themselves to idols and images in the media … which can create a sense of desperation. People may become enslaved by images, desperate for understanding, twisted by greed. And they are too often bent on competition. Their self-esteem may hinge on their perception of attaining “success” of some sort that may only exist in a sort of netherworld between the media and their imaginations.

Add to this the stress of both growing sprawl and shrinking opportunities and conditions are ripe for disaster.

Yes we have to try to be more aware, to learn more about who and what we bring into our communities and most importantly, to teach inner peace and build self-esteem. We have to question a society that seems to push many people to heartbreak and despair. The “protective dome” is a quaint notion but really the answer is being hip to the reality that there really is no such thing. Even if there was we would probably fill it with alcohol.

— R.S. Preuss


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