I hate thieves with a pas­sion!

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Pa­tri­aKaye Aarons Pa­tria-Kaye Aarons is a tele­vi­sion presenter and con­fec­tioner. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­erjm.com and find­pa­tria@ya­hoo.com, or tweet @find­pa­tria.

MY LIT­TLE brother came into this world early be­cause of thieves. When I was 13, Mummy and I had re­turned home from school. She was nine months preg­nant with my brother and her blad­der was the boss of her. The rou­tine was that I al­ways went in first, opened the grille and front door, and cleared the path to the bath­room so that she could make a wad­dling dash for the toi­let.

On this one oc­ca­sion, I came into a house com­pletely ran­sacked. The thief clearly had spent all day in our house ex­am­in­ing the con­tents of every drawer and closet, look­ing for some­thing he never put down.

To add in­sult to in­jury, the ice cream bowl and spoon on Mummy’s bed were ev­i­dence that his sweet tooth had been sat­is­fied. He took all our food, all our jew­ellery and emp­tied the char­ity col­lec­tion can I had from school.

What did the po­lice do? Take a re­port and fin­ger­prints. What else could they do? That’s the ex­tent of their power with break-ins. Your home never feels the same to you af­ter it’s been vi­o­lated. You never truly feel safe in it again.

The in­ci­dent sent Mummy’s blood pres­sure through the roof, and they had to in­duce labour and take my brother early.

I’m tired of the prayer meet­ings. Don’t tell me about any peace con­cert or protest marches at this point. All these pas­sive-re­sis­tant re­ac­tions to the crime prob­lem are as ef­fec­tive as wish­ing things would change.

This semi-pas­sive ‘we shall over­come’ busi­ness doesn’t move heart­less crim­i­nals one bit. In fact, some may come amid the gath­er­ing just to pick pock­ets.

My blood now boils when I hear the cho­rus of the overtly re­li­gious say that ‘God isn’t sleep­ing’. Cor­rec­tion: God is sleep­ing. He is co­matose. No other rea­son to ex­plain the fact that Kha­jeel’s killer is not be­hind bars. No other rea­son to ex­plain how Ni­cholas lost his life for a phone. If God isn’t sleep­ing, boy, does He have some ex­plain­ing to do.

And even as I write this, I’m fully aware that my com­plaint is no more of a change agent than the Twit­ter rant or the Face­book lament or the peace march. It won’t make a stitch of dif­fer­ence.

Crime is wor­ry­ing. And the fact that we still don’t have real so­lu­tions other than ‘let us pray’ and ‘I need a re­port on my desk’ is even more wor­ry­ing.

I don’t know for how much longer I can in good con­science con­demn jun­gle jus­tice. To­day, we have a frus­trated need for ex­pe­di­ency that the courts just don’t give us. Crim­i­nals act swiftly and their vic­tims die im­me­di­ately.


The law, how­ever, has never struck with the same ac­cu­racy. En­force­ment al­most never catches the crim­i­nal. And if they do, it takes for­ever. And then the court takes years and some­one crit­i­cal in the chain is al­ways for sale. And so jus­tice be­comes a joke.

In June, the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force re­ported that shoot­ings were up, but mur­ders were down. I took lit­tle to no com­fort in that. Here’s why: In my mind, the ex­pla­na­tions for that are:

The shoot­ers’ aim has got worse.

The crim­i­nals are younger and less ex­pe­ri­enced in han­dling guns.

These are newly re­cruited killers in train­ing.

Crim­i­nals are get­ting more trig­ger-happy and pop­ping off to show ar­te­rial might.

None of these op­tions is com­fort­ing. The re­al­ity is that 75 per cent of all crimes in Ja­maica are com­mit­ted by youth – and by the looks of things, a whole cadre of ‘young shot­ters’ are lin­ing up to take their place in crime.

Young gun-tot­ing crim­i­nals are far more dan­ger­ous. Noth­ing, and no one, to live for; no fam­ily, no con­science. Just need and greed.

We need to reach our young peo­ple. They need a shakeup. They need to be taught the value of hard work and the re­ward­ing feel­ing it also brings. They need to be en­cour­aged to dis­cover their tal­ents and be given the op­por­tu­nity to make a de­cent liv­ing from those tal­ents. As long as earn­ing an hon­est bread is seen as a bur­den, crime will al­ways be Ja­maica’s bur­den.

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