Are po­lice fear­ful of tak­ing on thugs?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY - LIN­TON P. GORDON

ITHE ED­I­TOR, Sir: T IS not overkill to again visit the topic of vi­o­lence. The killing of five per­sons in March Pen, St Cather­ine, on the week­end is clear in­di­ca­tion that the crim­i­nals car­ry­ing out th­ese acts are highly mo­ti­vated, fear­less, and believe they can beat the se­cu­rity forces in the bat­tle they are wag­ing.

The fa­tal­i­ties in­cluded a two-year-old, nineyear-old, a 14-year-old and two adults aged 22 and 24, re­spec­tively. The harsh real­ity of this in­ci­dent is that none of th­ese five per­sons who were killed were born be­fore 1990. This, by it­self, should frighten us into the real­ity that so many of our young per­sons are not be­ing al­lowed to live to any sub­stan­tive age be­fore they are cut down.

If we look at an­other in­ci­dent in St Ann, in deep ru­ral com­mu­nity called Cock­pit, we see sim­i­lar char­ac­ter­is­tics of the gun­men in­volved. In this case, the gun­men went to the com­mu­nity and waited on the vic­tim. When the vic­tim drove up, they opened fire on the car. The vic­tim and his girl­friend were in the car. The vic­tim ran out of the car but was cut down by the gun­man’s bul­let. They went over him and pumped 22 bul­lets into him.

The gun­men were wear­ing knee pads and they ap­peared to have had an ex­haustible amount of am­mu­ni­tion. After they com­mit­ted th­ese mur­der­ous acts, they ca­su­ally walked from the com­mu­nity and some se­nior cit­i­zens waved to them, think­ing they were nor­mal vis­i­tors to the com­mu­nity. A char­ac­ter­is­tic of a good fight­ing force, be it army or po­lice force, is that the mem­bers should possess the qual­i­ties that th­ese gun­men are show­ing. So mem­bers of the po­lice force and army should be highly mo­ti­vated. They should be fear­less. They should believe they can win. They should be well equipped, and they should be knowl­edge­able.

Is there a be­lief among th­ese gun­men that the po­lice force is in re­treat? We can­not deny that sev­eral po­lice of­fi­cers have ex­pressed con­cern about the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing charged, sus­pended or placed on in­ter­dic­tion. When a po­lice­man or woman is placed on in­ter­dic­tion, he is only paid one-third of his ba­sic salary. He is not paid any al­lowances, and he usu­ally finds that the one-third of the salary is not suf­fi­cient to pay his mort­gage or suf­fi­cient to send his chil­dren to school.

We must be care­ful that we are not pur­su­ing poli­cies that are driv­ing fear into the po­lice of­fi­cers, putting them on the re­treat, while the gun­men feel a sense of bold­ness at the same time.

We have end­less laws on our books to deal with crime. It is not more laws that are needed. It is a fear­less, de­ter­mined ef­fort to get the bet­ter of young men who are fear­lessly tak­ing on the State.

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