Mark Wignall | Containing young ‘suicide bombers’
In the 1960s, the politicians looked to the most economically distressed and socially rejected of all the people and, from among the most violent, harnessed the gangsters for the sole purpose of controlling the streets.
The politicians gave them a cause and labelled them in special colours and gave them arms and a guarantee that their misdeeds would be overlooked by the police high command. Once the streets were controlled the votes would flow in as a consequence.
The seeds of violence which were sown in the late 1960s are now fully grown trees of bitter, poisonous fruit and each day we, the law-abiding, are forced to eat from its fetid flesh. Our worst nightmare is now upon us, and the most troubling of all dilemmas is: we have no other choice but to look to the same class that encouraged tribal violence and saw through its natural outgrowth to solve the present explosion of murders. The political class.
"Uptown pickney can afford fi ask why certain tings inna dem life a gwaan so. Inner-city pickney see it a happen round dem and just accept it as fi dem reality."
I was speaking to Dack, an alumnus of the ghetto and once, a most violent youngster.
"Yu nuh have no father and to a inner-city pickney, a just so it go. Dat is normal ting. Uptown pickney all want commit suicide because dem father get divorce from dem modder. Di dinner likkle bit tonight an yu belly a gwaan a way, a just so it go. Yu can go out an bruk a shop or hold up two people. Or yu can go bed hungry. Uptown pickney all get ice cream after dem belly full."
He said it was the daily reality for most.
"Mi neva have no father and my modder was just half a modder. She used to sell har body fi a living and nuff time when shi a work, mi and my bredrin dey a corners a plan robbery. Mi start from inna mi teens. The lower part a Meadowbrook, Meadowbrook Estate, Queensbury, a dem place dey wi used to hold up people, all point gun through window and force people fi open dem door and den we rob dem. TV, computer, music set. Dem ting dey can sell easy."
Dack is 45 now and is has been 10 years now since he gave up on the gun.
"Di amount a my fren dem dead over di years and pon top a dat, mi tired fi police man beat mi up and shoot after me.
"When you leave school either because yu nuh know is whey inna yu schoolbook and whey di teacha a sey pon di blackboard and yu modder can't talk to yu or, yu time up, once yu leave, yu gwine link up wid nuff more yout and hit di streets.
"When mi reach bout 35, mi realise sey is mi mout an mi lyrics why is only jail mi eva go and not prison. But, Missa Mark, mi did start fraid fi dead early. Either by mi bredrin dem or police. Yu si nuff a dem youth yah now, dem nuh fraid fi dead. When a yout nuh fraid fi dead, him is a suicide bomber."
He gave away his gun at about that time. Previously, it would be rented.
"Now mi do mi hustling, sell some weed and live off a mi woman when times get tough. Shi sell har body to and always a mek money."
As Dack spoke, I remembered when we first met about four years ago. We immediately hit it off once he found out who I was. He built a circle of friends who were all 'retired' from criminality. Most spoke in glowing terms about their past brushes with the law. Dack was the only one with regrets.
"My life has been one @$/! wreck. Dem yout yah now nuh care bout dat. Dere is only one way to deal wid dem because dem nuh fraid fi dead."
According to Dack and his friends, the gunmen now are a new breed with nothing to live long enough for and know only violence as the very definition of their lives.