I hate thieves with a passion!
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.
JUSTICE A JOKE
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.