Here’s the homicide roll call for 2008: Mr. Leon Westerman, 28, on Jan. 28; Mr. Derrick Gumbs, Jr, 21, on March 11; Mr. Leon Willock, 20, and Mr. Orlando Williams, 25, whose bodies were found on March 18.

Four murders committed and no arrests in any of the cases. We believe the police when they say they have suspects and they are doing all in their power to bring the criminals to justice.

It’s also good to note that next week Federation Prime Minister Denzil Douglas will be leading a delegation to the special CARICOM summit on crime and security. We urge Mr. Douglas and the other regional leaders to find common ground for cooperation in fighting the scourge of illegal guns, drug trafficking, gangs and the other crimes, like murder, that go in tandem with such despicable activities. The CARICOM leaders need to talk and to plan, but above all they need to act.

The greater portion of the action needs to come from the community. “Crime” is not a scholarly concept, a social category or mere subject for study. “Crime” is the product of selfish, cruel, barbarous and sometimes sociopathic individuals who use deceit, stealth, violence or a combination of all those things to realize their goals at the expense of people who choose to live in peace under the rule of law. “Crime,” simply put, is the product of individuals.

These individual should be treated as pariahs. Until they present themselves before the bar of justice and pay their debt to society for their actions, they should be shunned by all upstanding people, with the exception of clergy, who have a duty to deal with the spiritual well-being of all, no matter how low they have fallen.

If the community as a whole rejects interaction with those who are commonly recognized to be involved in criminal activities, the crooks will wither away. In short, boycott the bums.

What does boycott mean? The Columbia Encyclopaedia sums it up well: “Concerted economic or social ostracism of an individual, group, or nation to express disapproval or coerce change. The practice was named after Capt. Charles Cunningham Boycott, an English land agent in Ireland whose ruthlessness in evicting tenants led his employees to refuse all cooperation with him and his family.”

The police, the courts, the prisons and the politicians can do a lot to fight crime. In the end, it will take a melding of public disgust and public outrage, coupled with a relentless effort to encourage young people to follow a lawful path and the creation of a steady steam of economic opportunities to bring defeat criminals. There will also be some new bad guy coming along; that is the history of human civilization. What can change, though, is the steady acceptance of increasing criminality as part of our society and the terrible, murderous price that comes with it.

It is time for the people of the Federation to stand together for the rule of law and against the terror of lawless:

O Land of Beauty!

Our country where peace abounds,

Thy children stand free

On the strength of will and love.

With God in all our struggles,

Saint Kitts and Nevis be

A Nation bound together

With a common destiny.

As stalwarts we stand,

For justice and liberty,

With wisdom and truth

We will serve and honour thee.

No sword nor spear can conquer,

For God will sure defend.

His blessings shall for ever

To posterity extend.