Cowards, gangs and the Ku Klux Klan

Cowards, gangs and the Ku Klux Klan

Jason McKay

Sunday, September 13, 2020

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The infamous Ku Klux Klan was formed in Tennessee, United States of America (USA), in 1865, ironically the same year that Jamaica experienced the Morant Bay Rebellion. Both events, notably, resulted in catastrophic long- and short-term suffering for people of colour.

In the case of Jamaica, internal self-government was lost for over 80 years and in the case of the United States, the Klan has been a factor in the physical suffering of thousands and the psychological torment of millions.

The noted organisation was first created to counter reforms put in place by the Republican Party — another irony. The changes were geared toward lessening the oppression of America's black populace, which the Klan members felt would end their way of life and reform their culture— a culture that had been designed to allow for the subjugation of one race over another.

Planet earth has a dark history in respect to the way races and nations treat each other. This history has to be taken into account when we look at the conduct of people 100 years ago, or even 60 years ago, because being fair, reasonable and equal are concepts that have been popular for over 50 years, whereas brutality was an accepted norm for thousands.

This I understand, but what baffles me is how an organisation such as this can survive in a country that established a standard against the use of hate rhetoric 51 years ago. Think on that.

That being said, this sick organisation has for years spoken of its preparation for the race war that was coming and its commitment to engage in brave combat when that day arrives.

Well, on July 4, 2020, armed people of colour marched on the Klan's headquarters at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia, USA, and demonstrated with their guns, putting out a challenge that history will remember as the greatest exposure of these cowards in white hoods.

You see, it is easy for dozens of white men to lynch an unarmed black man in some bushes. It is a totally different dynamic when they are opposing a group who are of similar numbers and equally strapped.

This is the nature and conduct of cowards everywhere, whether they are some white-hooded imbeciles in Texas, USA, or some gangsters in Spanish Town, Jamaica. Bullies are cowards, wherever they are.

This human characteristic is hard to identify until tested. So often the Jamaican gangster is viewed in song, lore and rhetoric as brave, bad and capable. Well I am not a lawyer, a politician, an economist, or a psychologist, but I have fought gangs in this country longer than the officer who sits beside me every day has been alive. So, I can speak as an expert about this group that I have spent my youth fighting.

They are unworthy of a single accolade. They attack in groups, or attack and run. They hide like insects when opposed by equal forces.

The 'Tivoli Incursion' and that famous sprint by 'President' Christopher “Dudus” Coke, followed by the acquisition of a frock, is living proof of the cowardice and uselessness of gunmen when challenged by trained, armed men.

The misunderstanding of our gangs and its origins is a contributor to the misnomer. You see, thuggery was always with us. However, when the Civil War of the 1970s was being fought, these thugs took on the role of anti-communist vs anti-fascist.

Of course, both roles were farcical—we were not fascist nor were we going communist. But marketing and propaganda are incredible tools.

So although I genuinely believe that the young leaders of that era felt they were dismantling an oligarchy and their opponents believed they were fighting communism, the thugs they used never had an ideology. They were signed on as gangsters, legitimised as freedom fighters —opportunists with a licence to be brutal, but were just cowards at the heart of it.

The lure of bravado of our gangs is the biggest misnomer in our society. They're not 'bad'. They, at best, smell bad! They cower in the face of real combat and their greatest victim is the fellow poor in their own community, who are usually not armed enough to fight them.

The message of what gangs really are and the propagation of that is a tool we have yet to employ in our effort to combat gang violence. But it is the most important instrument yet to be employed.

Gang membership grows daily. There are many factors that contribute to this. The need to be identified with characteristics that persons attribute to gangsters is one of them.

Therefore, these characteristics need to be clarified, exposed and rubbished. So let me start the process.

Young men of the inner cities of Kingston, St Catherine, Clarendon and Montego Bay; the gangsters in your communities are cowards, useless combatants and weak. Their only advantage is their numbers and their weaponry.

They run and cry in the face of danger. They whine like babies when in custody. In the course of my duty, I have opposed mongrel dogs that I have more respect for and have seen more demonstrations of valour from. That is my message to them.

When we start to market similarly on a national scale what they really are, then fewer youth will want to join them.

On the counter, identify positive opposites. Market the police force, the army, the athletes and the intellects. They also come from the inner cities, trust me.

It is all marketing. We have perfected it in politics. Sir Alexander Bustamante, Michael Manley and Andrew Holness are all products of effective public relations. And yes, they have done stuff to deserve it too. Let us take a page out of their book.

Identify the message, find a medium to transmit it and expose these gangsters — these clowns with their drawers showing for what they really are: fools and cowards.


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