Tue, 09/13/2016 - 12:00am
Act on violence
After the tragic Campus Trendz attempted robbery and fire in 2010, some Barbadians seemed astonished that the perpetrators were actually Barbadian. Given the brazen nature of the crime, some initially blamed other nationals. In recent times, it is a sad reality that audacious crimes are indeed “home grown” and seem to be increasing in their ability to shock and awe.
Many commentators have given reasons for the root cause of this deviance. Some have noted that the punishment for gun offences, particularly for having automatic, high-powered weapons, needs an overhaul to reflect the severity of the offence. Others believe that jail no longer acts as a deterrent and that Barbados should reintroduce the death penalty as the ultimate punishment. Others point to youth who leave school with little education combined with fewer job prospects, who are indisciplined and lack proper role models.
The brutal nature of recent crimes must concern all of us, at all levels of society and socio-economic status, because it affects us all and the image of the country. The technological environment that we operate in means we can now see or hear firsthand witness accounts on portable electronic devices. From the ubiquitous social media sharing of graphic photos, videos or audio notes, there seems to be no limit on what is posted and disseminated to contacts, home and abroad.
Whatever the reasons for the violence, all agree on one thing – no one wants to see it get worse. In fact, we have plenty of instruction from some regional and international neighbours just how vicious the situation can get and we believe Barbadians of all walks of life abhor the very idea of that stigma attached to us.
The question is therefore a simple one – how does one capture the horse after it has bolted? How do we reign in the violence? This is not an issue that should be politicised and bandied about on call in shows and political branch meetings. It requires careful analysis to determine how we all can play a part in apprehending gunslingers before an act is committed. It is not just up to official organisations such as the Police or Government to be proactive, but on all citizens of this country. One can’t help but wonder if family members are aware of weapons hiding in houses, or members of a community knowledgeable about the purveyors of weapons; or who exactly is bringing in these arms and through which ports of entry they are allowed to enter.
Unfortunately, the spirit that moves persons to share graphic, salacious content on social media suddenly becomes muted when tasked with exposing useful information and tips. Maybe now we can see why these incidents occur, regardless of their origin, because we who should be a part of the solution instead become a part of the problem.
Our police force has done a very commendable job of apprehending suspects in the aftermath of violence. What must happen is to stop the crime before it has even been done; that is, we the ever watchful eyes of our workplaces, community and family must be prepared to stand up for what is right, what is good and what is decent for all Barbadians. It is time to act.