Choose life, not the knife!

Letters to the Editor

Choose life, not the knife!

Monday, January 13, 2020

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Dear Editor,

We are not even halfway into the first month of 2020 and it is alarming the number of lives that have been decimated through gang feuds and domestic-related violence.

Last Thursday, January 8, we learned that even in a state of emergency (SOE) zone, six people were shot, including a female victim who succumbed to her injuries, unfortunately.

Following the gruesome death of Shantell White on New Year's Eve, we fast-forward to Sunday, January 12, where we learned that a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) corporal chopped and shot his common-law wife to death, then subsequently killed himself.

Crime and violence seem to be the order of the day. It is so commonplace that whenever we watch the news or read the newspaper we know what to expect. Killings, murders and suicides happen so frequently that it would appear as though these are encouraging and effective ways to resolve differences. Au contraire, they just add to daily statistics and leave a community and a nation in mourning.

There has also been a noticeable trend in our society where, especially in domestic affairs, a partner thinks it is more logical to terminate both his partner's and his life whenever a dispute arises. This, we know, does not solve the situation; instead, it leaves families and children grieving, while they seek to ascertain the motives for death.

Everything is created twice: First in the mind and then in reality. So, why don't we try to have an impact on the minds of our people? Let's promote life and not the knife — and by knife I mean figuratively every weapon that can bring harm to human life (gun, machete, etc).

We must invade different spaces such as churches, community centres, schools and workplaces to (re)educate our people about the sanctity and value of life. It may also mean that we need to 'guh pon di corna' to have a reason with the youngsters.

At the same time, we must provide outlets where people can be safe to express their issues without feeling condemned or judged. In addition, we must change the face of masculinity within our country. We are already late, but there are certain lessons that we must teach our boys. Let them know that it is fine to cry and express emotions. Educate them that women are not their property and, as difficult as it may seem, they must learn to walk away from certain situations.

How many more deaths will occur before we take a stand? Before we give a listening ear? Before we make our neighbour's business our business? Life is precious, so let us choose it.

Oneil Madden

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