Terrorism, gun control and Jamaica

BY JASON McKAY

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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Terrorism, in recent times, has taken on a new face. It no longer is restricted to Muslim extremists, but seems to be the new working tool of white extremists.

Labels and definitions are a peculiar political tool. A terrorist is defined as a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political objectives. This could describe the actions of the men who bombed the twin towers, or the men who shot up churches in America, or mosques in New Zealand.

The problem is that the agenda being pursued by these white extremists is being lost in the terms in which it is being described. It is, as the saying goes, 'lost in translation'.

The anti-immigration agenda is in fact a stand against the introduction of people of darker races and different faiths. This is a political agenda. This is terrorism.

Therefore, the overriding policies and laws that govern the fight against international terrorism need to be applied to these players. But frankly, it is being called names such as 'mass shooting', 'school shooting', etc, whilst the real motive of these terrorists is being clouded in the mis-definitions.

Their motive is racial, cultural and religious. Is it a centrally planned conspiracy? Or is it really the act of losers acting independently?

The issue of gun control seems to be central, and many feel that the New Zealand massacre is a good case for furthering the gun control fanatics' agenda. I don't see it quite like that. Think about it. Can you imagine if this coward had attempted this shooting in one of our uptown churches, where the only man not strapped is maybe the priest (and I stress, 'maybe')? This would be a shoot-out, not a shooting.

Can you imagine if these Muslims were carrying licensed handguns, like most of Jamaica who can afford it are? It couldn't be worse than the sheep-like slaughter I watched on the video.

The arming of persons under attack should be a logical act, not the disarming of those who are yet to be attacked. This should be adopted in the USA also. Tactical teams need to be formed from within the teaching staff in the schools there, and the requisite training conducted and then practised and practised like a fire drill. This is the only practical solution.

Almost all American males I speak to have had some military training. But the USA, like Jamaica, often makes decisions based on what serves popular appeal, not what takes into consideration the raw facts. There are 300 guns to every person in America. It would take a century to create a shortage. Besides, it would cause a civil war if they tried to disarm the gun owners.

So, be practical and work towards a solution that is plausible vs one that you really wish could work.

Jamaica is the great international example of registered gun control. Whether you like the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) or not, it is its policies that have put us there. However, despite this success, criminals have guns like cigarettes. Why is this relevant? It is relevant because controlling registered guns is not gun control. The reality is, as they say, 'if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have them'.

This is not to say I am against change in American gun laws. I believe that the background check should bar anyone who fails to meet the standard of sane and also those on a terrorist watch list, or who have a narcotic trafficking history. This would require some state cooperation rather than federal, as federal solutions are curtailed by the constitutional right to bear arms.

How does this terrorist threat impact us as Jamaicans? Well, we do not have troops on the ground in any place other than west Kingston and we are too afraid to even vote on the Jerusalem issue, so it is not at the forefront of things to fear.

It was not always like this. It was the Michael Manley-led Government that introduced the tool of economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

In the 1970s it was Jamaica's Dudley Thompson who defended Jomo Kenyatta whilst he was leading the Mau Mau uprising in 1952, in what we now call Kenya.

Jamaica in the '70s openly endorsed communist Cuba, literally fanning its hand at the mighty USA.

Well, we are in no danger of that now, not with this generation of politicians who are responsible, but afraid. I guess it is good governance, but I do not feel quite as proud.

We do, however, have to realise that once we become a territory viewed as vulnerable, our tourism is damaged. We have to realise also that the infrastructure required would make us bankrupt.

I was in Ethiopia four years ago and it was a great experience. I came upon the nicest persons I have ever met. However, they have internal terrorism issues and you go through metal detectors to enter any building in the capital. The guy checking your passport to enter the airport building is in battle fatigues and has an AK-47 over his shoulder. I really liked the Ethiopians, but I am not going back.

We do have tourists here from nations being targeted by the terrorists. I am referring to Muslim extremists, not white extremists. This does make us somewhat vulnerable but I do think that the terrorists would not hurt us, because we are just so cool. (Thanks, Bob Marley).

But seriously, we need a plan in case we are attacked. This plan should be all-encompassing, to include economic options. We need also to educate ourselves on what is driving the terrorist activities of both sets of evil wretches, because you cannot truly fight them if you do not truly understand them.

Muslim terrorism came about because of the USA and UK's support of Israel. But it really got a steroid shot when the USA put troops in Saudi Arabia, because Saudi Arabia is where Mecca is located.

White extremist terrorism is being fuelled by immigration and a desire to maintain the same cultural and racist equilibrium that currently exists in certain geographies. Both not good reasons for their conduct, but...

Let me prick your conscience on this question: Would you be ok with the introduction of an immigrant group that could alter the racial, religious or cultural balance in Jamaica?

That is what the Palestinians are so angry about; it cost them Israel. Similarly, Miami and the Cuban mass immigration. Similarly, the Syrian refugee crisis is fuelling this hatred in Europe and other countries around the world.

Let us not forget the Jamaicans in New York who effected a takeover of places like Queens. How would we feel if the Chinese did this? Or, should I say, when?

The world, including Jamaica, will only be safer when we are honest enough to identify the motivating factors of terrorism and what is provoking it. Then, maybe we can prevent it rather than combat it.

Jason McKay is a criminologist.Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com


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