Killings Now Like A Circular Firing Squad: No One Is Safe…



The violence in Jamaica should give pause to every well-meaning person with any connection to our country.
However one of the tragedies coming out of this wanton bloodshed is the fact that it can no longer be characterized as just a high crime rate.


At the risk of being labeled alarmist, I respectfully point to the fact that at present rate we can no longer argue this is just crime.
Based on the raw number of dead bodies our country is in an undeclared state of civil war.

Even more significant to the future of the country is the killing of children, in what some would argue is collateral damage.
Now we all know that as a matter, of course, wars do produce innocent dead, (collateral damage).
What we should be concerned about however is the killing of the nation’s children and the trauma which is being unleashed on countless others as a consequence.

As a result of the killings and the failings within the criminal justice system the violence has now taken on a circular direction,( i.e.,) even when a killer is held accountable by the system, the penalty is so inadequate that families and friends of the victims feel they must take matters into their own hands.
Not to mention that in most cases surviving members of a family knows who their loved one’s killers are.
For the most part the vast majority of the nation’s murderers never even get arrested much less tried and convicted for their crimes.

Of the seven (7%) who do get convicted many are overturned on appeal, and as you will see from the following story, even when they are not overturned on appeal, they are turned loose back onto the streets in a few years even when convicted of capital murder.

According to local Media:

The shooting death of a 16-year-old Muschett High School student and her uncle in Cheesefield, St Catherine, early Sunday morning has left her family and school community severely devastated.The deceased have been identified as 35-year-old Lerude Bartley of Fourth Street, Linstead, St Catherine, and his niece, Octavia Leslie of Deeside, Trelawny.

Bartley is said to have been released from prison last year after serving a 15-year sentence for murder.
According to family members, Octavia, who was fondly called Tavia, her four siblings, and their parents, went to Linstead early Saturday morning to attend her aunt’s funeral which was scheduled for the following day.

After attending the wake throughout Saturday night, during the wee hours of Sunday morning, Octavia accompanied her uncle, who she was meeting for the second time, to the bordering Cheesefield community where he walked home an elderly woman.
But tragedy struck while they were using a shortcut on their way back. They were both shot in the head by unknown assailants.


On the face of it, every Jamaican should be completely alarmed at the prospect that simply walking in a rural community can get one murdered execution style.
That fact is particularly chilling for someone like me who hails from another rural St Catherine community and knows the community of Cheesfield quite well.

It is unnerving to imagine that even in the most remote communities guns are a staple for anyone who wants them.
I am not naive to think that there is not some deeper back story here, what is concerning to me is the idea that death can come so easily even in the most remote community.

Could this double murder be a hit because the deceased Bartley himself had killed and had spent time in prison for his crimes?
If I was investigating these homicides, you bet I would be looking at that angle for sure.
Yet if the criminal justice system had applied the appropriate penalty to Bartley for the crime of murder for which he was convicted he would be alive today.
And so would his niece…

Make no mistake about it, I shed no tear for anyone who has killed another human being except in self-defense or in defense of another.
So there are no tears here for Mister Lerude Bartley.
I know I should forgive, yea, yea, it is up to the Lord God to forgive him for killing another person.
The Criminal justice system failed everyone, including Lerude Bartley but more so it failed Octavia Leslie and by extension all the students of Muschett High School.
This case is a classic example of what I have been talking about for years, these are vivid examples of the not so obvious consequences of not keeping criminals in prison.

We are looking at the metastasizing of the violence, something I have been speaking to for some time now.
It’s like a circular firing squad.
In a  circular firing squad, no one is safe.
Had the courts administered the appropriate sentence to Lerude Bartley he would still be in jail and Tavia as she was affectionately called, would still be alive.
She would have sung at her relative’s funeral.
Now someone will be singing at her’s even before she had a chance to live.
This is way too sad…..