In a state of anarchy | Deliberate action needed, not more talk-shops and researches
One killing is more than enough, for each life is valuable and is a part of the collage, 'Out of Many One People'! Even the malefactors' lives are important for this part of the globe that is often described as 'Paradise'.
Yes, unless we change our mindset to realise that 'all ah wi a one', we will never be able to begin climbing out of the barrel of violence and criminality to which we have all contributed, wittingly or unwittingly.
What I am proposing is that as a people, we are bound together by the common thread of humanity and the global space allotted to us by reason of birth or adoption. This is the philosophical jumping-off point, I propose, for a new, positive approach to the New Year, so that we see not 'enemies out there', but rather errant brothers and sisters who need assistance to climb out of the barrel of spiralling violence.
We therefore ask the question, "How did these brothers and sisters become violent malefactors?" As we consume the not-so-good news in the printed and social media re the aberrant behaviour primarily of our young men, we must conclude that the nurturing experienced by many of our errant brothers and sisters was/is sorely lacking in terms of appreciation, love - both soft and tough - affirmation of the integrity of their individuality, and lack of opportunity to develop one's potential as a social-oriented and productive human being.
SELFISHLY PRODUCING A 'YUTE'
The very learned social anthropologist, Dr Herbert Gayle, in his insightful series, Light on Violence, published in The Gleaner (30/1/17), 'The Brain of a Repeat Killer', sketched the trajectory or making of 'shottas'. Violence and hunger, for the most part, are the experiences of many boys in fractured households. The cause of this sad experience is frustration and bitterness because the family is lacking a "real man" who would shoulder his responsibility of the family. Too many men and women are selfishly producing a 'yute' either for 'insurance' (to hold on to the man as a continuous contributor to the household) or to demonstrate the manhood of the 'sperm donor'. Unless we begin to see ourselves as responsible partners with the welfare of our offspring being paramount, we will never begin to climb out of the hole which we, as a nation, have dug for ourselves. Selfishness, which is expressed in sheer, momentary emotional satisfaction, is the order of the day.
As recently as Monday, January 8, 2018, the front page of The Gleaner featured a desperate mother who was beside herself. She was appealing to Government to take her unruly son who had been expelled from school and who now wastes time at home smoking ganja.
Her plea is heart-rending: "Me need him to leave me house. The Government need to take him. Next year he is going to be 18, but he needs to leave now, because he is going to mad me. I had it for 17 years. I can't take anymore."
This mother's plea is not singular. Here is one of the roots of the social problems we face in our nation - a fractured family structure reminiscent of the imposed disrupted family pattern of slavery days.
CAN'T BE 'SAME OLE, SAME OLE!'
What can we garner from this dilemma that enmeshes our young men who are ready candidates for a life of crime and violence? Nurturing and mentoring are sorely needed, if not in the homes, then in a secondary institution. It can't be the 'same ole, same ole!' The needs of this 17-year-old young man should have been addressed long ago. Evidently, he cannot remain in the traditional school system, for he will disrupt the class, if not the entire school.
We are invited by this phenomenon to think outside the box. The Ministry of Education needs to think seriously about the building of residential primary and high schools for boys. Here, manly nurturing and mentoring would take place in order to have such young men come to an understanding of their inherent dignity and to assist them to develop the potential that is theirs, so that they can become productive and self-dignified human beings.
The Jamaica Defence Force could partner in this venture, as they had done in the past. It is with such an experience that we can begin to address sensibly the reduction of antisocial behaviour of our young men, who have much to offer this land of ours.
Just think, the scammers are not dumbbells! Their ingenuity needs to be redirected for the common good. We need no more researches and talk shops. We need intentional action now! This is one such action. Over to you, Ministry of Education!
Donald J. Reece is Acting Pastor,
St Richard's Catholic Church.