Are we glorifying crime?
The Editor, Sir:
One difficult decision for media anywhere in the world is how to avoid glorifying criminals while reporting their misdeeds as interesting and factual copy. Jamaica, being so crime-ridden, presents special problems for reporters who can't afford to be bland.
I am quite distressed when I read or hear of 'bold' gunmen who 'commandeer' stolen vehicles; who pull off 'daring' robberies, 'instruct' or 'order' victims to do their bidding, and 'outshoot' cops if they're not 'out-manoeuvring' them in 'exciting' car chases. Such description no doubt sell news items.
It is not a bold thing but a cowardly act when armed killers intimidate women and other innocent persons. Shorn of their weapons, these so-called daring gunmen and rapists become no more than weak, snivelling little bullies, often reduced to tears if faced with a real challenge. I recall seeing two men pee themselves silly and cry for mercy when cornered by police on Oxford Road. Minutes earlier, they had pushed a woman from her CRV and frightened scores of people during a robbery in Liguanea Plaza, but they managed to crash the vehicle when the really brave cops took them on.
Gunmen do get their fix from seeing their stories reported in the media. But critically, it is our own impressionable young boys who thrill from these dressed-up reports, then yearn for similar 'big up' and later become gunslingers themselves.
I am not suggesting by any means that the transformation from beaming schoolboy to heartless gunman is such a simple process; it is not. There are many other psychological and socio-logical factors to consider. However, our media need to examine themselves to see what role they are playing, if any, in this country's dangerous and deadly descent into criminality.
The word has always been mightier than the sword, and now it's the gun. We must take serious steps to control our words, both spoken and written, in order to control our lives. Our entire future depends on it.
I am, etc.,