EDITORIAL: Gun crime worrying
Sat, 05/14/2016 - 12:00am
Enough is enough where gun violence in Barbados is concerned!
It is heart-wrenching to hear almost every week of a gun-related incident, which more often than not results in someone being seriously injured or killed. In the early stages, young males were the ones being targeted and numerous Barbadian families were left with the agonising pain of knowing that their loved ones had left this world, way too soon, in a horrendous, unnecessary and senseless manner. Now we are seeing the ripple effects of this worrisome gun violence, where even persons who are going about their ordinary business are being met with a stray bullet. This indeed is cause for concern.
A recent incident that elicited an outcry against gun violence was one in which a woman was shot while travelling as a passenger in a vehicle. Whilst she was rushed to hospital, she later succumbed to her injuries and her relatives were left to ponder and come to grips with the puzzling manner in which she had come to lose her life. A simple trip out with family turned deadly. Imagine that! Then, most recently, we heard of another incident in which a proprietor in the City was shot several times in an attempted robbery, right outside of his establishment. He too succumbed to his injuries. There have been other incidents as well, where persons have been shot and injured and also killed, as gun-toting criminals have offloaded their weapons in a deliberate fashion.
While some in society will have their own theories about the gun violence that now plaques us and there are many debates about it, what is now clear is that we can no longer turn a blind eye to it. What we need to concentrate on at present is sending a strong, stern message that this kind of Wild West behaviour is not acceptable. While the Royal Barbados Police Force has been hard at work apprehending some of the criminals involved, the concern is that too many males involved in gun crime are now joining the already overcrowded place that is Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds. There they will sit and idly twiddle their thumbs.
There is a view that these offenders should have some hard work waiting for them, when they enter prison. Why should other able-bodied men and women have to eat bread by the sweat of their brow, while they go St. Philip and look forward to three meals a day? Some citizens hold the view that nothing is in place at the moment, serving to deter these young criminals from committing such violent crimes. Perhaps those in the judicial arena may need to put their heads together and come up with some recommendations, which may prove useful.
We could start with harsher penalties for gun-related crime.
The widespread availability of illegal guns is another problem we have to tackle head on and while some may argue that we cannot have a knee-jerk reaction to what is occurring at the moment, in terms of gun crime, we cannot sit idly by or just wag our tongues, only to let the topic die another death until another incident surfaces.
Let us not wait until gun crime escalates further, to attempt to address it. In the interest of public safety, at least, something has to be done to address this burgeoning problem and the time to address it is now.