On Monday 12th May, a cosmetologist was hunted and shot dead on a busy mall in Half-Way-Tree. The killer then made his escape on foot. The people on the scene attempted to perform their duty. They chased and stoned the gunman until he disappeared through the cemetery.

Can you imagine that happening on a busy mall in Colorado? I’m not saying it couldn’t happen there. What I am saying is that a daylight shooting on a Colorado mall for a lone gunman on foot counts as a suicide mission.

And that is how it should be. Murder is too risk free an activity in Jamaica. Crime is too easy. We need to get to a point where every time a gunman picks up his “tool” to go to “work”, he starts to panic over his own likely demise.

While many persons are shocked at the brazen and cold blooded nature of this crime, it is not the worst in recent memory. My nominee for that title was the incident of a 14 year old girl dragged from her mother’s shack to the gully around 20 feet away and raped by 4 gunmen for over 1/2 hour before they shot her in the head and dropped her body onto the floor of the gully some 12 feet below. Then they just walked away.

Neither of these crimes would be likely in an armed society. If those squatters on the gully bank or those shoppers in Half-Way-Tree had guns and an understanding that using them to protect each other will be applauded, then the gunmen would not survive to terrorize us again.

More importantly, the deterrent effect of living in an armed society would be phenomenal. The dis-empowerment of a gunman who knows that any and possibly every witness he tries to rub out before his trial could make that trial unnecessary. The crippling effect on the “don” who sends for a teen-aged girl only to have her mother wound or kill his messenger.

Gunmen aren’t powerful because they have guns. Their true source of power is that almost nobody else dose. Strength, speed, intellect and all other ordinary measures of a man become irrelevant when one man has a gun and the other dose not. The armed man, however incompetent, is master of the unarmed man. Our legal arrangement which forces the majority of law abiding citizens to remain unarmed is in my opinion a primary cause of our insane murder rate.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that arming the society is a panacea. What I am saying is that it will be a critical component of the 1st successful crime plan since Independence. Whether that crime plan is implemented now or in another 20 years is simply a function of how much innocent blood our leaders are willing to wash from the streets before they act.

A little background should help.

In the early 1970s our government Had a gun amnesty, requiring every Jamaican who owned a gun to turn it in and apply for a license. They tightened up the background checks and qualifying standards for a gun license to the point where it typically takes a year to get one, most applications are rejected and only about 50,000 licensed firearm holders exist in the country.

Almost none of them in the high crime intercity or the low and middle income communities where most Jamaicans live. The Gun Court Act with it’s maximum sentence of life in prison for illegal possession and the Suppression of Crime Act which allowed the police broad and sweeping powers against suspected gunmen, reinforced the point: Jamaica is an unarmed society.

At the time these laws were put in place Jamaica had a murder rate in the region of 100 per year. Better than America when weighted for population.

Within a couple years that picture began to change and by 1980 we had a virtual civil war costing over 800 lives. After that the rate hovered around 400 for a few years then started to climb again in the 1990s and eventually peaked at 1600 plus in 2006, slipping back only marginally in 2007 and on target to finish 2008 at close to that mark.

Since nobody else is doing it I will point out the elephant in the room. The criminals are armed because they ignore the law anyway. The law abiding are easy prey for these criminals because they fear prosecution as much as they fear criminals. Black market guns and ammunition are cheap ($100 for a gun and 30c for a bullet). Smuggling weapons into Jamaica is easy (when we stop being a tropical island, it may become difficult. Not before). I could write a whole other article on smuggling techniques.

My recommended course of action is to throw the gun market wide open. Testing only for sanity and a criminal record when you apply for a permit and completing the tests in under 24 hours. Actively seek out Law abiding intercity people and enlist them in the fight against crime, free training and discounted weapons and license fees included.

License aggressive retailers who already target low income families to to sell firearms (I am thinking of “Bashco” and “Courts”). Get the credit unions involved to offer loans to low income gun licensees. Every gun license should say the same thing: “A rifle in your home or office and a concealed pistol anywhere.”

Contrary to popular belief, Jamaicans are not genetically more violent than anyone else. If that were true I would advise all the overseas Jamaicans on this site to change nationality and forget about home. No. We just live in an environment that has made demigods of the most amoral degenerates among us. That can be fixed.

Kevin Forge

Categories: Letters

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