A crime without a culprit

In this country, it seems no one is about to die of any excess of mortification. Last Saturday, just outside Halkida, a tragic, predictable accident took place. A street sign, such as those that hang above the national highway, dropped onto a car, killing a woman and injuring her husband. The sign had come loose a while ago and it was obvious that it was just a matter of time before it gave way. It was most likely going to fall on a passing car and result in tragedy. As it did. After the accident, not a single person of those whose wages come from taxpayers showed any sign of shame. No regret was expressed for their negligence. What happened instead was a game that is always of benefit to the public administration, it is called «pass the buck.» The regional authority, prefecture, Ministry of Public Works and traffic police started pointing fingers at one another. And, as usual, the guilty party will never be found. This tragic accident on the outskirts of Halkida will remain as one of the public sector’s perfect crimes. We have one person dead and no culprit, and what’s worse, no remorse has been shown by all those parties who failed to do the job for which they are being paid. But there most certainly are guilty parties in this case. Every public service that could have fixed the problem of the broken sign is a culprit. It is not as if the regional authority, prefecture, Ministry of Public Works and traffic police were expected to do something complex or sinister. All it needed was someone taking the responsibility of replacing a street sign, a sign that endangered people’s lives and eventually took one. What we have in this case is involuntary manslaughter. Justice must find its guilty parties among all those in charge who knew of the problem and failed to meet even a fraction of their duties.

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