One friend now lives in the United States, the other in a certain parish in Jamaica, both young men worked the land, one caught a break and left, the other remained.
Back at home, they raised goats, burned charcoal and they eked and scratched out a living.
The young man back at home still raises the goats, in fact, there were more goats. After all, now that his friend is able to send money back to purchase more goats.
He still chopped wood, build the kilns, cut the grass, stacks the wood and burns the charcoal, all while having only one arm.
The young man in the States is hard working and respectful, a family man, he has been so since I first met him when he first came to the United States, he has remained so for the four years since he has been here.
The story he tells me warmed my heart until it didn’t. His story gave me hope, true to my belief, not all of our young men are disposable, not all are bloodthirsty killers.
But some definitely are.
While the young man in the States was working hard sending every spare dollar back to purchase the right Rams for siring the best kids, making sure the pens are secure and everything was in place, others were watching and biding their time.
And so one day over a month ago as the man walked to his goat-farm they struck.
Armed with guns they attacked, he fought valiantly using his machete to ward them off, but with only one arm, a machete and three more predators joining in, they quickly overpowered him.
They chopped and stabbed and chopped and stabbed, they even stabbed him in his eyes trying to gouge out them out.
He eventually laid still, playing dead in a bid to save his life, what was left of it, if possible.
They dragged him by the feet and dumped him in a ravine where they left him for dead, then they took the goats, all of them.
The badly mutilated man dragged himself bleeding profusely until he got to help. Well over a month later, he is unable to see from either of his eyes, even as he tries to recover from the vicious trauma inflicted on his body.
As is to be expected no one has been arrested, this gruesome barbaric case didn’t even make the local news.
This begs the question, how many more innocent hard working people have been murdered simply for the sweat of their brow?
How can we pretend that all is well when hard-working men who till the soil burn charcoal and raise some goats are treated this way simply because of the meager living they extract for their efforts.
This story is not dissimilar to the killing of 32-year-old Notoya Ricketts whose bullet-riddled body was found by residents in early February. Her two-year-old daughter, who was found next to the body, was not harmed.
Miss Ricketts was last seen alive on the way to tend to her animals. Ms. Ricketts’s mother was murdered in the community just two weeks prior to her own death.
These are the types of gruesome killings and assaults which are not being covered in the news. As Tourism numbers are burnished and a new Commissioner of Police is set to take over, the question must be how do we stop this?
The Police are seemingly incapable or unwilling to extend themselves to do what it takes.
I can’t say I blame them frankly, the system is supportive of the killers, not those who work to remove them from society and to some degree the general population is highly supportive of criminal conduct.
We get the communities we want by our actions, that translates into the parishes and ultimately the country we end up with.
Whether we admit it or not this desire to align with criminals to the peril of the rule of law will continue to have disastrous consequences for Jamaicans.
Those who shape and make policy can pretend that the foolhardy path they are on will result in a utopian elimination of crime as against a systematic and well-targeted attack on gangsters.
Ultimately we will see the results, like a pregnancy there is a baby coming and we will all be forced to face the results.