In response to my article on extra-judicial killings (some of the dirty truths of extra-judicial killings - 20/9/12) a friend living in the US and one I've known since high school days emailed me the following.
'Although some of these extra-judicial killings are "necessary", if you know what I mean, there are cases where there is a complete lack of mercy.
'In 1989 while working in JA, a youth burglar entered my sister's house in Clarendon. The neighbours somehow saw him and they all gathered around with cutlass, sticks, stones, wire and anything they could find to give him a good lashing. At the same time they called the police.
'When the cops arrived they had to call my sister from work to come and open the huge grill gate to the completely grilled verandah. When she arrived and they entered the house, with M16, the youth was in the front bedroom behind the wardrobe hiding. They "buss" some shot on the poor, frightened youth but he was only wounded.
'The cops then sat down and incredibly, asked my sister for liquor. Terrified, she gave them some; they drank and waited for the jeep that dropped them off to return. When the jeep arrived, by this time the youth had crawled unnoticed to the other bedroom. Now ready to leave, they told her to go outside.
'They went in and finished off the job with more shots. I personally saw the bullet holes in the floors .
'The next day the Gleaner reported the police story that the youth attacked the cops with a knife and was shot, taken to hospital, where he died.
'It turned out that the youth was a petty thief, perhaps on his first job and did not get to finish his apprenticeship. Perhaps for good reasons.'
As I'd previously pointed out, the chance of successful conviction whenever murderers are taken in is slim and some policemen become extremely frustrated at a system which is unable to protect eye-witnesses and the general 'anti-informer' approach in the society which has itself become mainstream due to strong support by the Dancehall culture.
Secondly, there seems to be no longer even a pretence that Jamaica's prison system has a rehabilitation component. Petty thieves and those starting off with break-ins, if caught and sentenced to say, 18 months, become experts in bigger criminal pursuits once they are behind bars. Once they are released the society runs the risk of them becoming more dangerous than when they were first arrested.
It is my belief that many of the cops involved in these extra-judicial killings see themselves as 'avenging angels' doing the society a grand favour by ridding us of these criminal elements. As to whether or not it has made us any safer, all one has to do is listen to the daily news reports of the numerous killings of our citizens by gunmen to determine the success rate of that approach.
When religion shows its true face
Younger than Christianity, Islam seems to be in that position where the Christian church was in the 'dark ages', that sad period leading up to the 15th century when the Roman church held sway over state and made secular culture almost irrelevant.
Certainly the Spanish and Portugese Inquisition where the Roman Catholic tribunal meted out cruel and inhuman punishment for what it determined to be 'heresy' had to have been the lowest point in the history of the Church.
No less brutal were its many Crusades, essentially wars on peoples from other lands who it considered to be heathen. Shedding blood in the name of its God.
Although Christian nations, especially the most powerful ones have learned in the 20th and 21st centuries how to wage wars and shed blood more efficiently, Christianity and the nations professing belief in Christ as the son of God, ostensibly a religious creed of 'peace and goodwill towards men' has been anything but peaceful.
In the last World War, much of it was essentially Christian versus Christian nation with each asking God for help to decimate the other. When Japan was all but beaten in the Pacific theatre in the summer of 1945 it was a Christian nation, the USA, which unleashed two atomic bombs on a non-Christian nation, Japan.
In recent weeks we have seen Islamic nations across North Africa and in the Middle East going crazy because a Christian religious nut-cake produced a quite foolish and to me totally harmless 14-minute, D-grade video ridiculing Islam's prophet, Muhammad.
Where the video should have been scoffed at and ridiculed, sections of the Islamic world went bananas and resorted to extreme violence.
A few weeks ago I was in a Facebook conversation with someone who said at one stage that he would much rather live in a world with religion than one without. I suggested to him that his argument was faulty as he had no frame of reference of living in a world without religion.
In other words, there is no corner of the world without it, so he could not pronounce what it would be like to live in such a world.
As one who subscribes to no religion, I am always amazed at the ease with which religious people are quick to defend 'their God'.
About a month ago I was in conversation with a poor, unemployed, undereducated young woman. At some stage of the conversation which had taken a religious turn I told her that I was atheist and subscribed only to goodness towards my fellow human beings.
'Jesus Christ!' she blurted out. 'Yu really no like God, Missa Mark?'
'It's not a matter of not liking,' I said. 'I simply do not believe that there exists any entity called God.'
'Mi can't talk to yu no more. No sah. Mi can't have nutten fi do wid anybody who no like my God.'
It took me about five minutes to convince her that I was not a monster and to elicit from her, 'Oh, mi understand yu now.'
In the late 17th century in Salem, Massachussetts in the great USA, religious nuts went to work seeing witches in women and burning them alive. All in the name of their God.
For now the Christian world can afford to poke fun at the Islamic world because much of the open, active and violent intolerance which the Christians once exhibited have been tempered by a secular culture which elevates mankind outside of his specific religious beliefs.
Islam which means submission is still a religious work in progress. For now it is where the Roman Church was in the 14th century and tolerance is not a strong point on its agenda of items.
When religions have to compete for space and influence, there is bound to be strife. When people employ faith, that is the suspension of rational thinking to hold fast to what they have been brainwashed from childhood to believe in, violence is never far whenever they are challenged. To them, their beliefs are reality and unfortunately they wish to impose it on everyone else.
He talks to God and God talks back to him
I am for obvious reasons wary of those who tell me they talk to God and hear God talking back to them.
That said, I can appreciate preachers telling their sheepish flock that they do so because that is their business, their 'profession.'
One email 'conversation' I had recently with a Jamaican living overseas told me how strongly some religious people held on to their God and knew Him and could ascribe deeds to Him.
'You ask hard questions.. To tell you the truth, God has a mind of His own.
'Sometimes when He talks to me he tells me to do things I don't like... or He asks questions that show me that I am thinking wrong...or He tells me things that when I tell people they think I am completely mad....And sometimes they get mad at me when I tell them what God tells me.....
'I will give you two examples:
'I was going to church a lot and listening to the priest and singing all these songs, and giving money to the church, and my business was getting mashed up ... I would have thought my business should have been doing well ... but it was not ...
'So instead of talking to the priest I decided to have a chat to God ... "I said look God I have been ... "Have you looked at the words you are singing at the church each week, do they line up with my Word?"
'This opened my eyes.. because what we say is what we get ... so I went and looked at the actual words in the songs and there were lots of things I did not agree with and they did not line up with God's Word, in effect the priest had me singing down foolishness on myself... so I went and told the priest what God had pointed out to me about the songs in his church but he did not want to hear about that at all..... in actual fact very few priests want to talk about the words of the songs they have all the congregation singing.
'I think God is very wise and He probably does not volunteer information unless we ask Him...... you see I was getting mad at the priest as I was doing what he said but it was not working...and since he was doing it in God's name I decided to ask God what was wrong..... then I discovered the truth.....
God took down the politicians
'I met this chap X, he is an elderly Jamaican man who lent the Bank of Jamaica about US$3.75 million at the same time as me. I was busy conducting all types of business and somehow through my contacts I met this chap. He was so upset.. for hours he filled my head with the wickedness that the Jamaican's had done to him... but it was not specific... so I got mad at him and said look man give me some specifics... so he gave me some specifics.. in that the government had sold off his assets for pennies on the dollar, and he gave me the details.... I got upset too when I saw what they had done.
'Then I got real upset and said... God look at this wickedness look at this...then it came to me that I should write prime minister Bruce Golding a letter in His name ... So I did ... and told him he was going to get a "buss ass" if he did not straighten X out....... Well I wrote Bruce in Jan 2010 and by June that year God had upheld the words that came to me to put in that letter ... Bruce got a "buss ass"
'But Bruce did not straighten X out so I asked God to help me write Mr. Holness and I did and told him look your nation has wrongly liquidated X's assets make him whole or you will get liquidated. Lo and behold Holness was liquidated not once but twice....... As he got a beating twice in the elections....
'So then I said look God you busted up Bruce, Andrew Holness ot a beating - surely Sista P is going to see your handiwork ... So would you mind helping me God to write Sista P a letter so that X can get some justice ... so God did ... but Sista P does not want to hear a thing about this letter, nor does anyone else ... but what God told me to tell her is coming to pass on Jamaica.
'So God spoke to me and helped me and all I told them that God told me has come to pass or is coming to pass ... but they probably think I am mad ... but what I told them happened ... I have never seen anything like it Mark.
'Look I don't think that you are a heretic, nor that you have to fall in line ... God has given us free will ... after my experience with the priests I would say that you should be careful about just believing what people tell you and falling in line.'
Do you talk to God and do you hear him talking back to you? Would you be prepared to wage violence on someone else who does not share your view of your God?
I wish I could hear the voice of someone giving me the next winning number for the Super Lotto. Now that would get me religious!