Fri | Aug 18, 2017

It’s time to mourn

Published:Monday | July 27, 2015 | 7:00 AM

I must confess that I have always found it difficult to kill anything except ants, flies and mosquitoes. But, I look at their lifeless little bodies and wish that they didn't cross my path and endanger my health.

I absolutely hate cockroaches but I find it even more difficult to kill them, perhaps because they are larger insects. Thank heavens for my fearless wife, who often comes charging in to clout those nasty things when they appear, seemingly out of nowhere. I can't step on roaches and I also find it exceedingly difficult to swat them with footwear, but I can spray them with insecticide.

As for lizards, that is where I fail miserably as a husband; my wife hates 'croakers' but I beg her to leave them alone. They'll crawl away behind something and stay out of her way. After all, they get rid of insects and they must be terrified of us giants.

I therefore can't begin to understand how someone can murder a human being, especially cowardly and cold-bloodied killings, like the murders of police officers Crystal Thomas and Lyndon Barrett, by depraved monsters.

 

'Political wars'

 

Over the years, beginning with the bloodletting during our historical, infamous and disgraceful 'political wars', our little nation has been so bombarded with murders that we have become somewhat desensitised to the constant bloodletting.

The loss of respect for life began when politicians used to provide guns to their constituents. First, the guns were distributed for willing automatons to terrorise supporters of the opposing political party. Then, guns were distributed to defend against insurgents. And, eventually, guns were distributed to help keep the constituents in line.

In time, the gun became a gangland tool, a symbol of power/status, a means of control and of earning money. In the hands of marginalised, uneducated, desperate, angry, malleable and sociopathic youths, such weapons are exceedingly dangerous. In time, a 'shotta' culture emerged and society continues to pay a high price for the sins of those politicians way back then.

The life of every human being is precious. But society has created many monsters who see nothing precious about their own lives or the lives of anyone else. They will murder anyone for mere pittance, for vengefulness, for trivialities or to 'eat a food'. They sometimes murder just for the thrill of taking lives ('making duppies') or to boast of their murderous exploits to earn 'street cred'.

It's bad enough that citizens of all ages and any gender are slaughtered, but when craven, cowardly, base criminals murder police officers - our protectors - we are in very serious trouble. Cop killers thumb their noses at law and order. They give us all a defiant and threatening middle finger. They are attempting to terrorise us and to announce their intent to impose anarchy on our entire nation. They are sending a serious message to the security forces, to the judiciary, to our government and to every single person in society. They want us to cower in fear.

 

Time to fight back

 

Imagine what would happen if we had no police force. Murder and mayhem would reign. We therefore need our citizens to fight back, to partner with the police by being vigilant and providing them with the necessary tools (information) to apprehend such vile individuals.

We also need to sensitise our citizens to the gravity of murders. It's time that we collectively mourn as a nation. There should be a 10-second media silence at midday every day to show respect to our fallen countrymen. Public events (even dancehall events) should be preceded by the observation of a moment of silence for our slain citizens.

Life should not just go on as if nothing happened. We are under siege. Our people are being slaughtered. We should not reserve national mourning for politicians and celebrities. Perhaps when everyone realises that every life is as important as the next, criminals and their silent accessories will think twice about the lives that they so easily and brutally snuff out.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.