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LETTER OF THE DAY - 417 murders in 90 days!

Published:Wednesday | April 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

A norm is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as '... customary behaviour etc'.

Those of us, who have chosen to remain in Jamaica, may find ourselves in the insidious position where we have come to accept the nine killings we record every two days as the new norm. The majority of us are not prepared to accept this wanton daily loss of human life; we are alarmed, shocked and left virtually speechless, as this epidemic has branded us as a cold and heartless people.

The Jamaican Constitution, section 48, declares that when we elect a Government we do so with the charge to them being; to make laws for peace, order and good government. One could argue that where there is virtually no peace and in the absence of order, we no longer enjoy good government in Jamaica. At the moment, the need to arrest this alarming murder rate is as much about carrying out the first law of nature - self-preservation - as it is about demanding that our Government fulfils its mandate.

Murder rate poised to increase

Directing my attention to those of us who are not prepared to continue to accept this alarming murder rate, and bearing in mind that last year's wanton loss of life fell short by 70 lives, for the corresponding period this year, we must accept that our bloodletting is well poised to increase from year to year. Are we prepared to acknowledge that a section of our population now settles its differences, with death being the punishment of choice? And do we care that the rate of apprehension followed by a trial leading to a conviction is alarmingly low? And do we care that all that this has done is to send the message out there that you can kill, and the chance of being caught is less than one in 20? In all of this can't we recognise that we have lost the greatest deterrent to crime - the fear of apprehension?

For the premature loss of each life, I surmise there are over 100 mourners, including friends, children, wives, mothers, aunts and more. We are, therefore, a nation with a disproportionately large part of our population scarred for life, if not dead, from the trigger-happy lunatic fringe among us. No wonder our gross domestic production is as low as it stands.

As we self-destruct, we seem bewildered by the lack of answers to solve the problem a new generation's thirst for blood has created. We are at the edge of the cliff of hopelessness, trying to fathom when, why and how we found ourselves in this mess. We cannot, however, surrender to them. There is little time left as they batter down our doors, corner us in our streets and scare those of us who witness their deeds from telling it like it is in a court of law.

I am, etc.,

Bert S. Samuels