The destruction of nature in S. Sumatra has given rise to a criminal generation (commentary)

While many have been surprised to read recent media reports of ATM break-ins and other criminal activity by villagers from Tulungselapan in Ogan Komiring Ilir district, South Sumatra province, it is not just theft and vandalism that is a problem. The area is also becoming known for its distribution of illegal drugs, and the production of firearms — and not just guns used locally for hunting. I have witnessed the problems firsthand while in Cengal subdistrict; problems exemplified by the child I saw — no more than 11 years old — walking around with a gun tucked into his belt. The police have been actively combating the issue, and in April 2017 they confiscated 66 handmade firearms including 23 short-barreled rifles and 43 long guns. They later arrested several drug dealers in Palembang, the provincial capital, who originally came from Tulungselapan. They traced these drugs, and others found in the east coastal regions of Ogan Komering Ilir, or OKI, back to their source. Last December, police apprehend a distributor in Tulungselapan. Could these incidents of violence, lawbreaking and general lack of respect for order be related to diminishing natural resources and destruction of the landscape? This article explores this idea. Ramin trees amid a deforested peatland in Sumatra. Image by Rhett A Butler for Mongabay. In recent decades, many people in OKI have worked in the exploitation and extraction of natural resources. During the heyday of selective logging concessions, known as HPH, citizens of OKI worked in local forests and traveled to other parts…

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Original Post by Mongabay

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