George Davis | Life: nasty, brutish, short
As the murder rate gallops along like a cheap claimer at Caymanas Park being jolted by a jockey's battery, people are looking at each other wondering how we got here.
We are here, ladies and gentlemen, because Jamaicans, as a people, have changed. A beautiful soursop, picked when it has 'turned', will ripen and then rot. We the people are that soursop. We have passed through the 'turn' stage, then moved to the ripened stage. Now we are rotting.
While hosting Nationwide's 'This Morning', I remarked one day that 'we' have killed several thousand people in the decade between 2005 and 2015. I lamented the fact that 'we' had progressively become a murderous nation since the 1970s. I also said that contrary to popular belief, at our core, Jamaicans lacked compassion.
A caller to our feedback segment took umbrage at my use of the pronoun 'we'. He was angry at what he interpreted as my suggestion that 'he', too, was murderous, before upbraiding me for broad-brushing. I took a deep breath to calm myself as I wracked my brain for a euphemism rather than go with my instinct and call him an effing idiot.
I asserted then, and maintain now, that we Jamaicans are not as warm and cuddly as we're believed to be. I insist that we have changed over time, that we have grown more cynical, bitter. And wicked. I insist that among Jamaicans, common decency is indecent, politeness is unfashionable, empathy is a weakness, and sympathy is unpopular. It's because of these things why we have murdered more than a thousand persons each year since 2003.
We have moved from a caring society where a premium was placed on assisting those in distress, to a sharing society, where every mishap that befalls someone else is to be recorded on our mobile phones and sent to millions of persons using various social media platforms.
I've seen a video of a woman who fainted in public, only to have someone poke a mobile phone up her dress and remark how the gyal p**sy fat, rather than assist with reviving her. I've seen a video of women fighting, ripping each other's clothes as they roll around in the dirt. Rather than pull them apart, a crowd of amateur videographers, each racing the other to post the first clips on Facebook or Instagram, are trying to get shots of their crotch and breasts while remarking about the colour and state of the panties worn by the combatants.
I've seen a video of a woman storming through an inner-city community with knife in hand, being stealthily pursued by an excitable cameraman who's giving a running commentary about how the woman is going to the house of her matey to prove once and for all why she should leave her man alone. No attempt is made to even beg the woman to keep a cool head and abort her mission.
There is a video of four young women confronting one of their peers at what appears to be a public place, for liking a certain Facebook post. They surround her like hyenas and then one slaps her in the face. Another one holds the handbag of the protagonist, freeing her up to deliver more blows. The camera person is heard egging on the aggressor. And it continues.
Videos of children fighting or even gyrating to dirty songs while adults encourage them to 'wine and kotch'. Videos of women, old enough to be my mother, 'tracing' some other person while using the kind of nasty, disgusting language that could only come from a rotten, stinking soul, let alone mouth.
There is so much evidence that, as a people, Jamaicans have turned a corner in the tunnel of hell and are feeling our way in the dark.
The days of howdy and tenky epitomising our spirit of respect, togetherness and shared decency are long gone. Now it's all about which woman's vagina is the best; who has the most toned, bleached and tattooed skin; whose gun is the heaviest; who's prettier than who; and who has the most money.
Hang in there, for it will all be over soon. It will continue to be a rough ride until the end.