Given crisis situations, normal reactions are usually to (a) panic, (b) take drastic corrective measures, © ask for help. There may be other options, but these three are the options that readily come to mind. You may notice that my first reaction was panic.
This, however, is no time to panic, it is a time to take drastic corrective measures and ask for help in the process.
I speak of the crisis of murders in Jamaica, and the failure of the authorities to see it for what it truly is, a house on fire.
There were more murders in 2019 than there were in 2018. The year 2018 had seen a slight drop off form 2017, as I pointed out in a podcast months ago, the slight reduction in murders in the year 2018 was kind of an anomaly which had no logical explanation.
As I pointed out then, since the slight drop-off of 2018 had no clear articulable formula, the numbers were prone to go either way.
My logic then was that since the Zones Of Special Operations (ZOSOs) & States Of Emergencies (SOEs) would have lost whatever shock value may have emanated from them, the numbers would most likely trend upwards.
Constantly saying that ZOSOs and SOEs are not the answer to the nation’s crime crisis is a foregone conclusion. Any further continuance of these measures is punishment on the members of the Security forces, and to no one else.
We are presently just over a month into the new year and already it seems that we are on a killing-tear. The Gleaner reported that up to Saturday night, 116 people were killed since the start of the year.
According to the same reporting, Jamaica’s murder rate has risen by 43 percent already.
But that is hardly the full story, as I wrote days ago, there is credible evidence that some of the homicides never make it into the reporting, much less into the papers or on television. Which means they do not make it into the national conversation.
For example, the brutal murder of my childhood friend Elvis Richards over a week ago, never got a mention in any of the national publications as far as we know.
It is as if this distinguished hardworking Jamaican never existed.
In most other societies, authorities would have taken drastic measures to stem the tide of violence, but this is not so in Jamaica, the strategy is two-fold. (1) paper over the murder numbers with political talking-points, and (2) apply the same old band-aid approaches hoping for different outcomes.
In the meantime experts have sprung up all across the national security space, usually, they are know-it-alls from the University of the West Indies. They trot out all kinds of convoluted theories that they swear will lead to magical utopian outcomes. None of those suggestions contain the hard factual realities which must be faced in bringing to heel Jamaica’s bloodthirsty killers .
The Island’s default propensity to empathize with criminals is a huge part of the reason the country is inundated with violent crimes.
Someone posted on a social media platform a story of a teacher/senior justice of the peace who was arrested for sexually assaulting a student recently.
He was Immediately blasted for not including the word “allegedly.“
As important as it is to remember that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and even though sometimes there are doubts even when convicted, I was struck that the default option was to defend the person accused of the crime rather than empathize with the underage victim.
That has been the mentality of Jamaicans for as long as I have been alive.
A weak man decides to spend his livelihood on a woman he believes to be out of his league, because to him that is the way to own her. She eventually decides to leave him because he is (a) abusive, (b)controlling, or ©she just wants out, so he murders her.
The default option, even of other women, is to rationalize away her murder, saying she brought it onto herself.
I understand that it was normal for Jamaicans to revere and worship the likes of the bandit Three-Finger-Jack. Since then they have lionized ever scumbag murderer that has managed to evade the law for a time, even as they continue to take innocent lives.
But lionizing criminals in Robin Hood fashion has simply got to stop. Jamaica is a very small country, much of the terrain is rugged and mountainous. Even if murderers are able to operate in places like Warieka Hills, as they have for decades, it has been the support of family members that have allowed them to stay one step ahead of the law for as long as they have been able to do so.
For the most part, these gangsters are operating in plain sight today, they are among the general population. It is the fear of community members and the complicity of their family and associates which allow their blood-stained rampage to continue.
It is a national disgrace that there are so many Jamaicans walking around knowing full well that their family members are murdering other Jamaicans, and are doing nothing about it.
But it is the failure of the leaders of the nation that is most appalling. Real leaders do not piss in the wind to see where it is blowing, neither do they take polls to decide on what’s right.
Leaders look at data, consult with experts and make the right decision for the populations. No one does that in Jamaica, everything is done based on political calculations.
It will get much worse until something gives.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.