Thu | Dec 8, 2016

End jungle justice now

Published:Wednesday | November 26, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dujon Russell, Contributor

It pains my heart and disturbs me to see how some Jamaicans can become so enraged and belligerent in circumstances, with the hope of achieving instant gratification, to the point where they find it justified to carry out extrajudicial actions and injure or take the life of another; a criminal act which is commonly referred to as jungle justice.

An item of news was reported in this newspaper, and on subsequent newscasts, that three separate incidents of jungle justice were carried out against men who were reported to be robbers, which resulted in injury and death in the St James communities of Hurlock, Catherine Hall and Lilliput on Tuesday, November 19, 2014.

It was reported by another media outlet that the head deacon of the Harrison Seventh-day Adventist Church stated that the police are not addressing concerns frequently or in a timely manner in the Catherine Hall area, and that is why residents feel as if they have to take matters into their own hands.

CHURCH MUST SPEAK OUT

While the deacon condemned the heartless and criminal act of jungle justice by citizens, the Church, like the police, has not been doing enough to prevent and stridently condemn such an act against alleged criminals. What surprises me as well is that I am not hearing consistent, aggressive and collective outcry and condemnation coming from law-abiding citizens, political leaders and the business community.

Church leaders appear to be more concerned with what goes on in the bedroom of gay men and would rather march against the rights of LGBT persons than to educate members of the community of the immorality which jungle justice instills in the minds of vulnerable groups, especially children, and the potential criminals which said act could unleash upon society.

The police and leaders of our country should take a stand and send a strong message to perpetrators of jungle justice, and the full force of the law should be imposed the same way it is done on other criminals. If society turns a blind eye to jungle justice, which often affect innocent victims, then it will engender devastation, including the promotion of extrajudicial killings as a heroic or a glamorous activity, which will result in the senseless loss of life and injury to victims.

CONSEQUENCES

It is quite understandable for us to get angry and demand swift justice when persons trespass against us; society frowns upon criminal activity, but natural justice and due process must prevail and those who transgress the laws of our land must suffer the legal consequences.

Right-thinking and law-abiding citizens are therefore encouraged to carry out their civic duties and report those citizens who carry out jungle justice, since they are nothing but angry, vicious and heartless criminals for arrogating to themselves the power to punish wrongdoers, in the absence of reasonable self-defence.

Our democracy depends on putting a stop to this act of internal terrorism carried out by criminal members of society and the police, church leaders, business community and political leaders must collectively act now against jungle justice.

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