As the countdown towards Christmas and the New Year continues, it’s easy to get caught up in the joyful mood of the moment that we forget not everyone is able to enjoy the highs the season brings.
Sometimes we take it for granted that our children, families and friends are okay and we stop to think of others who are less fortunate than us.
We are not just talking about people with less money, possessions and material wealth.
We are talking about many others who are suffering for one reason or another.
There are those made immobile by illnesses who are in hospitals and homes, people who have lost loved ones and many cases of people struggling with one thing or another. Spare a thought for them.
Everyone is going through some sort of challenge, whether it’s relationships, health or whatever, this is obviously a very difficult time for them.
The mind is quickly drawn to a very tragic story, which appeared on the front page of your Samoa Observer on Monday. Titled “Sad family tragedy,” the story tells of an incident where a heavily intoxicated man hacked his son on the neck with a machete, killing him instantly.
The Court heard that Afereti Talato Mapusua became angry with his son, Taumafai Afereti, because he suspected he was hiding his mother. Which means the deceased person could have easily been the mother had he found her that night.
In delivering the sentence of 15 years in jail, Justice Vui Clarence Nelson made a lot of valid points worth thinking about.
“This is an extremely tragic tale of alcoholic madness resulting in the loss of a young boy’s life taken by his drunken, out of control father,” he said.
“Taumafai was only 15 years old. The defendant’s action has deprived this young man’s future; his life has been cut short at a young age for no good or justifiable reason.
“Taumafai’s last memory of this world would be of being attacked and injured by his father. I shudder to think of what would have gone through his mind as he lay dying in his neighbour’s drive way alone, unaided and slaughtered like an animal.
“This is a sad case from many different aspects and the Court extends its sympathy to the mother and Taumafai, whose death was quite needless and unnecessary.”
We join Justice Vui in extending our sympathies to the mother and her family.
This is a real tragedy on many levels. A young man has been killed, a mother has been robbed of a son, the family is traumatised by what had happened and now the last straw is the father going to jail for 15 years. And all this happened because of someone’s inability to control anger and alcohol.
This is not the only case of this nature of course where the combination of alcohol and anger has led to a tragic end.
On the front page of the newspaper you are reading, another young man is heading to jail for four years as a result of an incident where someone was killed.
He apparently reacted angrily after he was sworn at.
This man and his family will not be having a good Christmas. They too will be suffering as a result of bad decision making and moments of madness.
Again, someone has died and his life had prematurely ended while another person is heading to jail. He too will be missed by his family and everyone involved will be suffering for the rest of their lives.
What we find in these cases is that no one wins. There are only losers.
Which is why we must do everything to avoid them at all costs.
Given that alcohol is a common denominator in many of these cases, we urge everyone to exercise caution and care.
The best thing to do is to stay away from alcohol if you know you cannot handle it. And please look after each other; sometimes the best thing to do is walk away.
Think of it this way, tomorrow is another day.
Have a safe Wednesday Samoa, God bless!