Do all men
Kill the things
They do not love?
Not only are we suffering from a pandemic of that terrible novel coronavirus, we are also under siege from that other virus called crime. That’s why I created the word Crimedemic. I originated it, I claim it as my own, and I don’t want anyone using it without giving me the proper attribution. Give the angel his due.
On a serious note, though, this crimedemic has taken over our land and it seems as if there’s no cure for it, no magic wand, no panacea, no vaccine, no silver bullet. Oops, did I say silver bullet? I take that back, for we do not need any more bullets please, magic, silver or otherwise.
Unlike the novel coronavirus, this crimedemic is not invisible, but is quite tangible, and whereas the virus sheds no blood, the crimedemic sweeps across the nation with a cacophony of calibres, a barrage of bullets, a rattling of ricochets and a whizzing of warheads.
Unlike the virus it wasn’t spawned in a few short months, but has been brewing, simmering, festering for a very long time until it finally emerged from the Pandora’s box to unleash its demons upon hapless Jamaicans.
It’s a genie that’s impossible to be put back into the bottle, or is it? We’ll see what this crimedemic is doing, right after these responses to ‘Love, honour and obey’.
It seems that there are different vows by different religions. The Hindu religion does not have wedding vows in the Western sense, but it does have seven steps which may be considered solemn promises. Some of these steps include: provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet; avoid those foods injurious to healthy living; increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use; acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust; be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedding. I would add the continuous frequent and physical practice of the Kama Sutra, but that’s just me.
Taking those vows to love, honour and obey are similar to making new year’s resolutions. They are said with the best of intentions but are almost impossible to keep. Maybe back in the day when people were decent and honourable they may have worked, but they are meaningless in this cold, cruel, conniving world where being selfish is the game plan of many people. No wonder so many marriages mash up after a short time.
Crime is a product of mankind, for the Bible says that the heart of man is desperately wicked. No wonder Shakespeare asked that question: Do all men kill the things that they do not love? There really is a lack of love in our country.
The truth is, crime has always plagued mankind, and stories of robbing, killing, rape and other atrocities are peppered throughout the Bible and indeed in history books where it’s been shown that man is an evil, violent, vicious, vermin and crime is a product of this evil.
But there is crime and there is crime, and unlike sins, which are all equal, it is said, there are different degrees of crime. Pilfering a tin of mackerel from the supermarket cannot be the same as killing an innocent person in a most vicious way. If two men are in a fist fight and one punches the other who falls, hits his head and dies, it can’t be the same as when a man plans a murder then carries it out by shooting or chopping up the victim .
There are different levels, and the punishment should match the severity. ‘My object oh sublime, I shall achieve in time, to let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime,’ are words from The Mikado an old Gilbert and Sullivan musical.
Now, we are a small country, with barely three million people, yet our level of crime is highly disproportionate to our population. What is it about Jamaicans that make us kill each other with such frequency, ease and viciousness?
True, it has been said that the Africans who were forcibly brought here, our ancestors, were from aggressive tribes that were prone to violence. Those slaves constantly rebelled and fought against oppression. Our colourful history documents that. Throughout all the Caribbean islands, only Jamaica and Haiti put up any real resistance against the oppressors.
But what accounts for Jamaicans killing other Jamaicans with such ease and savagery? Young boys who grew up together and ate out of the same pot will turn on each other with a savagery that not even wild animals display towards each other. Animals kill to eat, not for sport or revenge.
I recently read about this case in the papers where a father witnessed his son being shot and his killers attempted to cut off his head. They failed because the machete was too dull, so they set him ablaze instead. The father, who is now in hiding, said that one of the killers was barely 16 years old and was his son’s childhood friend.
Where does this savagery come from, and also where are the consequences for such heinous acts? Criminals literally seem to get away with murder, and I have always contended that because there are no serious consequences for these sordid crimes, killers have carte blanche to do as they please.
“Me will just make a duppy and serve some time if dem catch me. A nuh nutten.”
This view is corroborated by two former police commissioners who stated that punishment for criminals is too slight. All that a perpetrator has to do is weigh the checks and balances before he does his despicable deed.
“Mek a see, if I dust dem two bwoy, I will get 15 years and out after seven for good behaviour.”
If he does the crime at age 19, he’ll be out when he’s 26, ready to rumble again. It’s also a fact that many of these killers are repeat offenders. To add to this, the brilliant legislators have implemented the plea bargaining clause where a criminal can plead guilty and get a reduced sentence.
The notion is that, “He freed up the court’s time and showed contrition.” Rubbish! Hogwash! Balderdash I say! Those guys will just do their crimes, have no conscience, no contrition, no heart, no soul. No wonder it’s been said, ‘The law is an ass.’
Speak to any policeman on the front line who is exposed to the depravity of these animals and you’ll hear stories that make your blood run cold. Can you imagine, that lady who was killed in church while she prayed, that the driver of the getaway car was sentenced to only six years because he took a plea bargain and agreed to turn State witness?
As far as I’m concerned, he’s as guilty as the gunman who pulled the trigger. He must have known what mission they were going on that ill-fated Sunday morning. Six years? No wonder police are frustrated.
When I read Jason McKay’s weekly column on crime in this newspaper, I cringe, for it’s a real eye opener that exposes the sordid underbelly of crime in our country. Dr McKay, apart from having a doctorate in criminology, is also a seasoned crime fighter who has his boots on the ground. He has been in the belly of the beast..
I also saw former top crime fighter Senior Superintendent of Police Renato Adams on TV discussing our crimedemic, and he too says we are too soft on criminals. I spoke to cops who told me that Indecom frustrates their efforts. I hear from seasoned crime fighters who blame organisations like Jamaicans For Justice for the increase in crime.
The point is, real or imagined, the perception is that criminals, murderers, rapists have more human rights than ordinary citizens. There is no punitive measure, no severe consequences, no fear of the judicial system. What they fear is the swift consequence to their murderous actions, and the cops will tell you that when cornered, these gunmen wet their pants and cry like babies.
I remember many years ago when Renato Adams said, “Jamaica is going to pay dearly for this,” referring to the leniency in the justice system. Criminals laugh while men in suits primp and ponder. No matter how heinous the crime is, the killer knows that his life will be spared if he’s caught, and the very worst is that he’ll serve some paltry years with possibility of parole if he pleads guilty.
Cartoonist Clovis drew an excellent cartoon a few weeks ago where he showed an armed criminal skipping rope and laughing gleefully as the lawmakers held the rope. The criminals are laughing at us, and as the old saying goes, ‘What’s joke to small boys is death to bullfrog,’ referring to the practice of young boys stoning frogs for fun. Crimedemic is upon us and we need a vaccine.
Footnote: On a lighter note, there was a time when only attractive people graced our media landscape. It seems nowadays that almost anybody can appear on TV or in commercials. As someone pointed out to me, “Is only ugly people in TV commercials nowadays.” My response is that they reflect the true cross section of our society. In a similar vein, the fashion world has shifted from using ultra thin models to more natural looking ladies, and even have plus-size models in the mix. Before you scoff, would you have ugly people entering beauty contests or selling your products? But to tell the truth, some of the talent in the TV commercials really ugly fi true.
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