Saturday, 19 April 2008

Nothing Can Be Done

My wife just told me a story that happened yesterday when she was picking up our daughter from pre-school. I think it's a very good example of the way things work here in Lithuania.

While picking up our daughter, she saw an extremely drunk young man enter the grounds of the pre-school (right after throwing up on a car parked on the street right outside). The drunk was heading directly towards a group of children outside. Vaiva knows the teacher, who was earlier our daughter's teacher, and asked her whether she didn't think calling the police would be a good idea. The teacher replied that it wouldn't do any good. She said that teachers and adminstrators had called the police many times in the past because drunks like to hang out in the area where the kids play--there are benches and covered areas--but the police always told them that they had more important things to do. My wife decided to call the police herself, but she understood from the conversation that they wouldn't be sending anyone over to take care of the problem. (Mind you, precinct headquarters [or perhaps even the main headquarters for the city of Vilnius?] is only a couple of blocks away.) Apparently the head of the school has tried to tell them to leave, but they have told her to leave them alone or they'd start breaking the windows of the pre-school! So, nothing can be done.

What's wrong with this scenario? Uh, maybe I'm wrong but just about anywhere else in the 'civilized' world, the head of the pre-school would contact the chief of police and if that didn't get any response, go to the next higher step, in Lithuania the Ministry of the Interior. But no, she's called the police, there was no response, and 'that's the way things are in Lithuania'. 'Nothing can be done.' Excuse me, but that sounds like pure laziness and apathy on the part of the head of the school. She doesn't want to deal with the problem. So, the problem either remains or has to be taken care of by someone else. Well, I think it might be a good thing for me to look into. One battle at a time, and the war can be won. But the problem here is really threefold, isn't it? The drunks, the police, and the administration of the pre-school, the latter two acting as enablers for some odiously anti-social behavior. A society that allows such a thing to occur is really a sick society.

OK, that's my rant for today.


LazyMF said...

You know things like this get taken care of in the U.S.? Threatening letters from lawyers and lawsuits.

LazyMF said...

This kind of thing gets resolved in the US with a nasty letter from a lawyer threatening civil action. I'm guesssing Lithuania doesn't have an efficient civil justice system open to everyone?

Alan Hendrixson said...

I'm guessing you're right. I really can't speak with any authority on that subject, however. But I think I could say that "efficient" and "open to everyone" are not words that would come to the mind of most people asked to describe the civil justice system here.

Another facet to consider is that such a move would make it impossible for Meta (my daughter) to continue going to that pre-school. So my wife has said, anyway.

You know, the funny thing is that the idea of personal responsibility (especially of someone in a position such as the director of the pre-school) is almost nonexistant. I'm guessing the director of the school would first be puzzled and then shocked that she could actually be held accountable for the safety of the children (for example, if a child fell down a cut himself on a piece of broken glass). "It's not my fault! How can you blame me for the broken glass on the playground?" People just don't make the connection. And I suspect that very few (maybe no) law firms would be interested in taking such a case, even to do something as simple as writing a letter. I have been distinctly unimpressed by the lawyers I've met here. As far as I can see, they're completely not interested in defending the common man (not enough money in it, I guess) and besides, the integrity of many leaves something to be desired.