Thu | Mar 4, 2021

Pointless campaign

Published:Thursday | April 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I am seriously conflicted by your current campaign of publishing a running count of the number of murders committed in Jamaica on a daily basis. I feel that I understand your motivation and I sympathise with the elementary logic of your position, even though I think it is being simplistic and a bit naïve.

You are seriously bashing and destroying your credibility and authority, which up to now, has been your greatest asset as the principal source of news from Jamaica to the world.

Why did the campaign start now when we have been having this festering problem for the past 30 to 40 years at least? How quickly do you think that your campaign will bring the numbers to become more understandable or tolerable? When will it end, will it peter out in exhaustion, or is it helping to stem the tide?

Do you think that there is a single cause for the high incidence of murder among Jamaican populations all across the world? Do you not know that it is your emphasis on the topic, (and the extradition), that has attracted the attention of the American newspapers that you quote with such relish, as if they were independent sources?

Pointless actions?

Why do you think that "highlighting the bloodletting on the front pages of the newspaper ... until all Jamaicans understand that this cannot and must not be allowed to continue", will be an effective strategy? Are you the only entity that is concerned with this Jamaican tragedy and disgrace? Why is disagreeing with your analysis schizophrenia? Is that not verbal and intellectual abuse by you?

We of the silent majority, who try to pursue quiet lives in suburban Kingston and other towns, feel like the abused innocent people of the Gaza where the Israelis decided to punish the whole community because of the criminal behaviour of a minority. Or, like in the old days, the teacher would beat (abuse) the whole class if no one would confess to some misbehaviour of one of the pupils.

I feel like a patient in a hospital where the nurses have abandoned their posts and patients are left to suffer and die because of a dispute with the authorities over pay, or children left without supervision by their teachers because they did not get their back pay - abused by the teacher, abused by the system. You have been given or have seized the opportunity to pretend to be outside the system and anathematise the country, yet you do not provide us with solutions from your lofty position.

I believe that there is no magic bullet that will solve our problems. It has been accepted that all our solutions will have to be long-term and that there are serious cultural influences beginning with our practices during child-rearing, and extending to the way the agents of the state treat the citizens - even those who have broken the law.

Abuse the norm

We practise emotional and physical abuse of each other (e.g. Braeton, Armadale) and we live in a country where it is macho to demand respect and to take revenge if one is "dissed". We believe in harsh punishment, that "thief fi dead", and that people are sent to prison to be punished. We believe that to spare the rod is to spoil the child.

We believe in capital punishment as a matter of conscience, that if we hanged (more of) our countrymen our problems would be less, and we have great faith in a God that is a punisher of the wicked. We have an inefficient and violent police force and no one feels safe in giving information. Many of your news stories are given by "someone who refuses to be named", even with no obvious danger to the news giver. It is a part of our culture.

It seems to me that until we can come to recognise and act on the conviction that "no man is an island" and we are all of one blood, and stop hating ourselves, we will continue to act like Cain and Abel. We will continue to generate murderers because we produce too many disconnected people who then become angry, predatory and violence-prone.

You have never been a promoter or 24/7 campaigner for compulsory birth registration, criminalising the abuse of women and children, registering all cases of wounding or carrying dangerous weapons, and do not seem to know that murder is just the tip of the iceberg where violence in Jamaica is concerned. Your campaign does not stress our common humanity; we all have a responsibility. You pontificate about our sins, but cannot absolve.

I am, etc.,

DENNIS STEPHENS

saturn1@cwjamaica.com