Sun | Aug 20, 2017

I won’t start crying

Published:Monday | January 4, 2016 | 1:00 AM

It's hard not to start crying when I hear of the abduction, rape and murder of anyone, especially of innocent little children. I try not to imagine the absolute terror, the helplessness, the wild panic and the unimaginable pain that they endure. I can't begin to believe that any human being could be so cruel, cold-hearted and easily capable of such nightmarish evil.

I know someone who was caught off-guard by a simple-looking youth who approached him and suddenly pulled a firearm before aiming at his head and demanding that he give him everything. He complied, but the gunman squeezed the trigger anyway. Luckily, the bullet in the chamber was a dud, but the vast majority of others are not nearly as lucky. It's hard not to start crying when horrible and cowardly killers are robbing our country of decent, hard-working citizens and destroying many families.

It's especially hard not to start crying when one hears of innocent little children who are lay waited, kidnapped, mercilessly sexually assaulted, mutilated then slaughtered or slaughtered then mutilated and discarded like garbage. It's hard not to start crying when one thinks of the searing, interminable grief being experienced by their families and friends.

It's hard not to start crying when there is news of single murders, let alone news of double, triple, quadruple and even sextuple killings occurring right here in Jamaica. Vicious murderers are killing entire families, cutting throats and beheading victims. They murder lawmen, municipal bus drivers, teachers, pastors and young couples. In fact, everyone is fair game to those predators. Acts like slaughtering occupants then razing their home and executing a female university student trying to flee during a robbery attempt are unthinkable to me.

 

LIFELONG SUFFERING

 

It's hard not to start crying when one hears of the seemingly endless violence that often results in death, but sometimes causes severe and permanent disabilities to the victims. Lost limbs, paraplegia or quadriplegia, blindness, severe brain trauma, deafness, loss of bowel, loss of a kidney or complete loss of kidney function. It's hard not to start crying when you realise that many victims of violent crimes who were once productive breadwinners are suddenly transformed into helpless human beings and severe physical and financial burdens on their families.

A reader responded to my recent column on our country's 'death spiral' and echoed some of the serious concerns and frustrations facing our young citizens ... the ones who we need to carry us into the future.

"As a young man, I am wondering and I am really sceptical when I think about the future of this country. Politics has destroyed our precious island and the garrison politics will never end, for it's all about party interests above national interests ... I do not feel safe in Jamaica. I do not believe that opportunities are in Jamaica to keep me here. I could be wrong, but the data is quite astonishing. Half of Jamaican youths (including me) would give up their citizenship for better opportunities elsewhere. Dem seh young people can make a change, my question is how? Dem seh young people have a voice, my question is, where? Dem seh young people a future! Yeah right ... I am a frustrated young man looking for hope, I don't feel that I can make a difference, I don't feel safe, I don't feel like I have a voice. If I am wrong, I would love for someone to show me the way. I will continue to trust in God and in His word and do what I have to, though some say he doesn't exist but what da hell, what do I have to lose?"

It's hard not to start crying for the many victims of violent crimes and, for my country, but I won't start ... I can't afford to start because if I start, I probably won't be able to stop.

Apprehension remains the number one deterrent to crime. Citizens need to assist the authorities to catch, try, convict and put away the spineless, predatory monsters that plague us. We must make people feel safe, stop corruption, improve opportunities and give our people a voice.

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