Jamaica, no problem; but by God can we kill? 

Recent murderous events suggest we kill our kids at almost the same rate as we birth them. The killers are not lions or raptors, but human. We protect crocodiles and iguanas, but killing is commonplace, and we did not get here by chance or swiftly.

Our serial Cabinets have failed to neutralise murderers or to instil long-term governance tools and values. We are the murder capital with no relief in sight. Our grief is fleeting, stylised, stentorian, and kids are the latest focus as neither Cabinet nor the police controls crime.

Criminals act with impunity as the chances of being caught are near zero. Big suit ministers played us for years and we bought into their numbers games of who had fewer murders on his watch — lies and statistics! We are killed, not them. We are a number to them. When was a parliamentarian killed?

I read a missive of a girl raped at age 11 ‘I forgive you, Stranger Rapist’

(The Gleaner, November 2, 2016) and cried. “I tried to fly but my wings you had broken….I can still smell your stinking ganja breath!” Prayer be damned, I would have his gonads for breakfast! Peeps speak of unreported rapes — housewives, nannies wait for kids to return from school with brave faces as gully men come and go at will.

Things are worse than they say, but what’s to be done? Tears and protests do not move drug-fuelled killers. Protest at Gordon House or the International Monetary Fund, not JC, so Cabinet changes the security platform. National Security Minister Robert “Bobby” Montague does as the PNP did and expects different results. The worst is ahead, so protest for change.

Our pusillanimous Cabinets do two things; first, soft options (workshops, interventions, amnesty), and second, more and better cars, equipment, officers — great! But no firm discipline; curb small stuff in the public space or pro-active personal, home, community defence. For decades they try “more and better” with no change in underpinnings.

They are stuck in slavery mode where the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is the expert on security; citizens are novices — mere spectators of their own demise. We are robbed, raped, murdered, and wait for the police to work their magic and catch miscreants.

We wait in vain! We are told to do nothing, as we might be in harm’s way. Then, after the incident, we are told not to disturb the crime scene – wait. I am not surprised the police are hesitant to confront criminals as they always arrive after the fray; we take the blow, they profile with fine gear, book, ‘criss’ car; the miscreant escapes. Are they pen pushers or crime fighters? Unacceptable!

Montague and Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams should be frank and state our options in our killing fields. In modern nations everyone is in a database from birth. The JCF cannot detect without a comprehensive, interactive database and only catch a murderer by buck-up, informer or surrender.

Our Government cannot protect us. We are alive by the grace of God and the disorganisation of criminals. Be happy they smoke ganja. When they need cash, sex, blood, they emerge and leave when sated. The JCF does not affect their rhythm so Cabinet should put us in a position to protect ourselves. Politicians are not like us, they have guns and bespoke security. Why not let them use the same security they give us? What crimes are there against politicians compared to us? Let them live like us and change will come!

Cabinet must embrace new policies on the basis that, “Since citizens are the ones robbed, raped and killed empower them to self-help and give immunity to those defending life and property!” The JC schoolboy would be alive if passengers were sure they would be backed by law. A friend killed a criminal in his home and his two years of suffering at the hands of the justice system was unspeakable — he avoided jail; won’t say how.

I love the Independent Commission of Investigations, but understand why police might not confront a murderer. The JCF cannot protect us so they should share accountability with us. Offer us training, tactics and suggest defensive devices we might buy. Why not? Does same-old work for you?

All hands on deck

In an epidemic, the Ministry of Health — trained by Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization — does not say, “Sit tight, citizens. This is health work. We are the experts.” They say: “Get up, people, help us help you, the vector is not in the ministry, it is in your communities.” They empower us with briefing; step-by-step detail, demo or video. Vector control teams roam and media is relentless. The national, personal and family response is in sync and continues until control or eradication is achieved.

The JCF can use this modality with a human vector. Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton asks citizens to muck in and get hands-on, but Montague and Williams seem arrogant, aloof; “Don’t get involved, this is police business. Stay put, just tell us what you know. Don’t obstruct the investigation!” Bulls! The ‘Health’ method eradicated or contained deadly polio, German measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, while in the parallel domain security failed to contain its single remit: crime. When will they learn?

Another difference is the hands-on training health workers give us: how to disrupt the vector; diagrams, etc. National security does not get granular with us, just platitudes. What the police are taught in eight months post-high school is so complex we cannot fathom it, eeeh? Does the JCF use media to tell us what to do in a home invasion or if confronted by a criminal?

Finally, the Ministry of Health advises what devices or potions to buy. The police spoke to students after an incident on campus and a pompous person said, in essence: “Do nothing or you may be harmed. Wait for the police.” One girl asked, “He is in my face, should I knee him or run?” The JCF gave no advice — what implements, potions, etc, to buy as defence.

Peeps say they are self-absorbed; ‘Just get stabbed, bleed out slowly until we arrive.’ Ooops, sorry, there was no gas in the police car these four hours. Are you still dying?

Our undergirding philosophy of security is flawed. But we know there is a good modality in ‘Health’, so no more silos. System and process are discipline neutral — use them! Cabinet has no money, but in a murder epidemic a community militia of upstanding citizens may help the JCF. These citizens know they are already targets. We work, have a business, home, car, and a pay cheque — bullseye on our backs! We cannot lose by enlisting. Cabinet must now empower all 1.5 million of us with tactics and recommend tools we may buy to protect self, homes, community. Stay conscious!

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