THE EDITOR, Sir:
MANY LETTERS have been written to the newspapers and comments made in the news regarding the awful deaths and apparent murder of two young boys in the Zion area near Martha Brae. I cannot think of anyone whose stomach would not turn from the gruesome description of what the people saw. No family should have to go through a situation such as that.
More appalling, however, is the barbaric act of citizens who took it upon themselves to kill an innocent man, maim his daughter, and burn the house of someone who THEY THINK is related to someone who THEY THINK might be involved. Even though the police have not presented any evidence to support their claim, they took justice in their hands and executed an innocent man. Who is next? What will prevent any mob from coming to my home or yours and slaughter our families for something THEY THINK another member of the family might be involved in? Who are we? What have we become? Barbaric killers without hearts and without a conscience?
An eye for an eye?
We note that the police have taken into custody five people for questioning in the killing of this innocent man. Would we call it justice if we turn them over to the family members to mete out their own form of justice? After all, in the St Ann rape of the 11-year-old girl, residents are quoted as saying, "A lucky them lucky, 'cause a bun we did a guh bun down dat." "Arrest? A wey yuh a talk 'bout. A beat we fi beat them." When the police do their jobs we scream police brutality and we blame them for not giving us the opportunity to practise jungle justice. When they don't we attack them. Nobody wins.
What will it take to stop this backward, primitive way of getting justice? What will it take to protect innocent people and allow the law to run its course? We cannot choose when we should abide by the law. We cannot choose to pick people at random and execute them because WE THINK they committed a crime.
Were there no law-abiding citizens in that area on Sunday night who could have prevented the murder? Were there individuals who spoke up and tried to stop the violence? Or did they just retreat to their grilled homes and remain as prisoners? Did they speak out against the people who they know to be responsible? Or did they just remain silent because they are afraid?
"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me."
- Martin Niemöller
Which family will be next? May God help us.
Daniel E. Fider, PhD