Sat | Jan 21, 2017

Inappropriate 'gun salute'

Published:Saturday | April 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

On March 31 and April 1 the Gleaner carried two letters, one written by Anthony O'Gilvie and the other by Kameika Fullerton-Delisser, respectively, both commenting on your editorial of March 30, titled 'The shaming of Champs'. I would like to comment on these letters, but before doing so let me declare that I am a very proud old boy of Kingston College.

Both of these letters were critical of your editorial for the following reasons: (i) you imputed motive to the athlete in making the gesture; (ii) there is a culture of gun salute in the society, even among executives and some young people to 'buss a few blanks'; (iii) showboating has always been a part of athletics; (iv) there were other inappropriate behaviour on display by athletes and spectators; (v) demoralising to the athlete who worked hard to represent his school, and this would bring him and his school into disrepute; (vi) your space should have been used to praise athletes and their coaches.

The message

The annual inter-school athletic championship is part of the educational process of our high school students. Education, it should not be forgotten, is a social as well as a cognitive matter. this means that education is not simply about getting the arithmetic right and the spelling correct. An important part of education is learning to live in community, about what is and what is not appropriate behaviour.

It matters little what was the intent of the student athlete when he gesticulated in the manner which he did. What is of far more importance is the message which people looking on take from this gesture. The message which many would have received is that the gun is an instrument of celebration and that it is most appropriate to 'buss a few'. If no one tells our high school students that mimicking gun salutes is not appropriate beha-viour, especially when they see it around them all the time, they will internalise this behaviour as appropriate. Not because a particular behaviour is widespread does this mean that it is appropriate.

The behaviour being discussed presented the country with a 'teachable moment' and The Gleaner was correct in elevating the issue to its editorial space.

I am, etc.,