Editorials: Urban death traps; and Screeching like a wounded bird

death trap
You can tell by the vegetation growth surrounding the hole. You can estimate in light of reports about the state of the Chinese construction and real estate industries that used to consume a lot of scrap metal from Panama and many other places. This Panama City death trap has been waiting for victims for a long time and neither the Ministry of Public Works, the IDAAN water and sewer utility nor the Alcaldia have seen fit to fix it. Photo by Allan Hawkins V.

Death traps and Panama’s economy

Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:14     

There is no need to get into religion to realize the harm in this sort of thing. It’s hardcore economics.

Panama has lost too many talented blind people to a cutthroat pseudo-Darwinian set of social values that considers the elimination of any person for any reason an opportunity for somebody else. The overall math of this is that Panamanian productivity and the attractiveness of the goods, services and culture that we offer to sell to the world goes down.

If a tourist should fall into such a hole? If there’s a serious injury we could get worldwide publicity about a legal system that gives no recourse, restores nothing that an innocent person loses due to thugs stealing sewer caps to sell for scrap to an export market, and due to the negligence of public servants who are paid to keep our sidewalks and roads in safe.

Oh yes, there will be someone to shift blame. To say that people who don’t keep their heads down, and people who can’t see, and people who walk only with difficulty or get around in wheelchairs should be eternal shut-ins.

Most of us have a better sense of justice and decency than that. Most of us are exasperated by such stuff being the norm.

There a so many things that might be, or ought to be, fixed. But let’s start with two:

  • Holes in the roads, and holes in the sidewalks, are public safety and political issues. Instead of sending out the riot squad when people block the roads over this stuff, the government should send out work crews to cover the open service holes and missing storm drain grates. In the face of such hazards police and prosecutors should be filing their first and main complaints about vandalism and neglect of our public infrastructures.
  • The National Police, as well as the bomberos and SINAPROC, have working dogs. We train dogs to sniff for drugs and explosives, to locate people buried under landslides or collapsed buildings, to help firefighter find and evacuate people from burning buildings, to guard places, to track fugitives who took off running. We have veterinarians who take care of these working dogs. Isn’t about time that Panama had guide dogs for the blind? Aren’t the police the agency best prepared to expand their protective mission into this field? With a good leader dog, a blind person isn’t going to fall into this hole.


A deranged rant. The dude might set off some mass psychosis — he has and probably will again — but mostly he’ll set off a mass walkout and leave the Republican Party as an isolated and ridiculed cult.

Painful to watch, unless you get into sadism

It’s downright rude to make fun of somebody who’s having a mental breakdown, but THIS GUY went out of his way to popularize the politics of cruelty.

What has become of the Grand Old Party? It’s a con man whose life is falling apart, and his shrinking legions of the deceived, most of whom will be in denial for the rest of their days.


Patti Smith performing in Oslo in 2016. Photo by Oddbjørn Steffensen.

     In times of strife, we have our imagination, we have our creative impulse.

Patti Smith     

Bear in mind…

If you see what is right and fail to act on it, you lack courage.


There is too much tendency to making separate and independent bundles of both the physical and the moral facts of the universe. Whereas, all and everything is naturally related and interconnected.

Ada Lovelace

Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself.

Daisaku Ikeda


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