Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Letter of the Day | Have we got used to killings?

Published:Friday | December 4, 2020 | 12:17 AM


Last week Monday, I woke up to a couple of Gleaner articles about two triple murders in St Catherine and St Ann, respectively. In Tyrall Heights, St Catherine, an 81-year- old woman and her six- and 10-year-old granddaughters were executed. In Yelland, St Ann, three men were shot and killed. After my initial shock at these cold-blooded killings, I regained my composure and continued my day. I did not spare another thought to the families that are suffering.

Some people might call me cold, but I have become so accustomed to murders that nothing shocks me any more. Murders are now commonplace in Jamaica that many people, like me, have become desensitised. When did we get to this point where three of our vulnerable citizens being executed in a barbaric fashion is ‘just another day’?

This tragedy is just one of a long list of murders that I have either experienced or read about. I have seen my brother being shot in the face over 10 times and no one was held responsible. I have had neighbours murdered in cold blood and no one was arrested. Twice in my community, I have seen children under the age of two murdered in their parents’ arms. And no, I do not live in an inner-city community, I am from rural Jamaica. With experiences like these, how can you blame someone for becoming numb? Why should we compromise our mental health to grieve when murders of the most heinous types are daily occurrences?

It is quite clear that the Government and the security forces do not have a proper crime plan to repel the ‘murder demon’ that looms threateningly over Jamaica. It is also clear that residents of several communities are complicit in these criminal acts.

Once a nation gets immune to murder, we have lost our way as a society. Unfortunately, many Jamaicans are beginning to feel that way. Every so often we read in the news or hear of another citizen being murdered. When will it stop? It seems it won’t ever stop and people are beginning to realise that. The next best option is to block it out and become immune to the trauma.

The Government must act quickly to reduce murders before people begin to see these senseless killings as ‘normal’. Soon enough, if we are not there yet, we will no longer be ‘Jamaica: The Land of Wood and Water’ and we will become ‘Jamaica: The Land of Bloodshed and Murder’.


Final-year student

BA Journalism

Caribbean School of Media and Communication, UWI