Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Letter of the day: Jamaicans numbed by violence

Published:Saturday | December 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR Sir:

In 2002, my brother was murdered in the direct line of sight of the Olympic Gardens Police Station. To date, no one has been arrested.

I remember seeing policeman Amos on the evening news speaking well of him.

Since then, Jamaica has recorded well over 10,000 murders. The news reports of these murders over the years have been so generic. It's not noticeable to many, but we've become immune to the senseless taking of lives.

I can't say which murder or world tragedy finally broke me, but I find that we've become monotonous in our responses. Most times we express our condolences to the families, and say our prayers are with them. But be honest to yourself: Have you ever actually prayed for them?

Yes? No?

The news of the San Bernardino, Carlifornia, shooting caught me in an almost non-emotional mode. Not surprised or outraged. Almost expectant. Truth be told, I didn't react, and I can imagine the many adjectives that readily come to the minds of those reading this in describing me.

It's sad. However, if you're true to yourself, you'll admit that we're not dissimilar in this regard - and while not apathetic, we share in the sorrow of those hurt/affected.

Where was the world when members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force wantonly took the lives of innocent Jamaicans?

It's the frequency of injustice that is seemingly anaesthetic. For years, we've been dealing with violence by the police, violence towards the police, by individuals, and on the world stage, and radical interpretation of some religions that leads to violence in the name of 'God'.

In watching the news of these gross and senseless acts of mass violence, I no longer seek answers. I no longer seek to have an understanding, for I know of a truth: Mankind, as a whole, is still good, and of this I have no doubt.

It concerns me, and it should concern you, too, if you're somewhat seemingly so anaesthetised to the senseless loss of human life.

Sadly, as the most intelligent species on earth, we simply don't seem to have a solution.

Check social media after each report of these atrocities, and you'd be amazed at the polarised responses/reactions. Most disturbing is the notion of a conspiracy theory. In such instances, one may find there's no solace on social media, no comfort - it's just an unfortunate community.

Are we nearing a time and place where violent events are no longer news stories?

It's a fact that it will one day happen not just closer to home, but at home. After all, with the copycat syndrome a reality, this is a very real possibility.

Sharing, as in writing is all that I can do at the moment about these thoughts and the very disturbing possible reality that each day presents.

Interestingly, and worse yet, is the fact that I'm not alone.

It was once said that we're safe in numbers. The reality is, this really isn't true, but rather presents a greater possibility of mass casualty.

 

Acceptance key to healing

 

Recently, I was speaking to friend, and she asked how one gets past the hurt in your life. I told her I first immediately recognised it for what it is, then I accepted it for what it is ... and in such acceptance I found healing.

Gun control won't fix it. In fact, what gun control often does is make the law-abiding citizen more vulnerable. Jamaica is proof of this.

Our passion, outrage, anger and sadness may lead us to cast blame on the authorities, be it "too many guns are out there", politics, poverty, mental illness, radical interpretations of religion or the elected officials. There's one true fix to this problem: LOVE.

This I saw demonstrated when one of the officers that responded to the San Bernardino shooting, in reassuring a group he was about to safely lead out the building, uttered these memorable words: "Try to relax, everyone. Try to relax. I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure."

These were not his family. These were not his friends. Yet, he was willing to lay down his life for theirs.

This is bravery personified. This is love. This is what it means to protect and serve. As a Jamaican, the question that follows is obvious.

Every time I watch that clip or read it in print, I cry.

I won't argue or challenge the anger and ignorance of those who differ with me on this. It's the absence of love that leads to dialogue, that leads to us looking out for each other, that sees us giving each other the necessary help to avoid one resorting to such acts of violence.

C.M. WHYTE

whytecmw@gmail.com