Pleading with dons, gunmen and shottas

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

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Nothing that we have tried thus far has worked to permanently quell the rampant spate of murders that has for too long held our beautiful island home in a vice-like grip of fear and underdevelopment. The many crime studies and crime plans have not worked. Changing the Government, ministers of national security, and commissioners of police has not worked. Change in legislation, along with the introduction of harsher penalties, has not worked. Killer cops who allegedly operated death squads have not worked. Security operations and curfews have not worked. Zones of special operation have not worked, except in the immediate locale where they have been implemented. Now, the Government has imposed a state of public emergency in the parish of St James. But past experience with this particular response suggests that it too will not work. We are left with prayer but we have been praying for a long time.

This columnist, admittedly out of desperation, is resorting to pleading with the perpetrators of the wanton acts of murder — dons, gunmen and shottas — past, present and future. I do so in the hope that they have a heart and a conscience that is open to reason and that can be reached with the cries of a desperate nation.

I begin with a question and observation from scripture— the New Testament book of James 4: 1 - 2 (KJV): “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not even of your lusts that war in your members? You kill and desire to have but cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet ye have not.”

The Old Testament book of Isaiah 59: 3 - 8 (KJV) explains why no good can come from your murderous ways: “For your hands are defiled with blood and your finger [your trigger finger that is] with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue hath muttered perverseness. Your feet run to evil, and you make haste to shed innocent blood; your thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in your path. The way of peace you know not.”

Mr Donman, Mr Gunman and Mr Shotta, not only is there no gain from murder, but there are dire consequences for the nation from your actions. The book of Numbers, also from the Bible, 35: 33 - 34 makes it plain that the blood of the victim who you have murdered defiles the land, so it cannot produce. Don't you see, that's why Jamaica cannot progress economically. There is also a consequence of these actions for you the perpetrator. The word of God, spoken through his prophet Jeremiah 16: 17 - 18 is for these times and for you in particular. Heed the words of the prophet: “For mine eyes are upon all your ways; they are not hid from my eyes. And I will recompense your iniquity and your sin double because you have defiled my land and have filled my inheritance with the carcasses (dead bodies) of your detestable and abominable actions.”

Most of you dons, gunmen and shottas that I meet — and I do meet a lot of you in my line of work and ministry — have praying grandmothers, mothers, and sometimes babymothers and spouses, and are therefore touched by scripture. Many of you strap yourself with a gun and a Bible before committing a crime. But on the odd chance that any of you reading this column are not so religiously minded, let me end my plea with a portion of the lyrics from a song by Chronixx, which speaks to the culture of murder in Jamaica and in language that is your own:

“How yuh fi bad and hungry. Yuh nuh fi bad and hungry. Anything bad fi dash weh. Come on, if I were you I would tell the rich man a foreign and the politician, 'Ghetto youths don't need no more guns and no more ammunition.' We need a change in we tradition. We need some other things like computer and homework centre, MacBook, hard drive and projector, dumper truck, lawnmower, and tractor, cement, white marl and lumber, barrel a Clarks, school bag and ruler, hard cover book fi carry go a school. Buy guitar, keyboard and flute. Build a studio with Pro tools. How yuh fi bad and hungry. Yuh nuh fi bad and hungry. Anything bad fi dash weh.”

Finally, Timothy McVeigh, the so-called Oklahoma Bomber, will go down in infamy for blowing up the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, including women and mostly children. For his final words before being put to death for the wrongs he did to society, he chose the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley. Here are the chilling words from one line: “I am the master of my faith. I am the captain of my soul.”

To the dons, gunmen and shottas, I say, don't you believe that lie. In Jamaica, the odds of being caught by the police and having to face a fate like Timothy McVeigh are in your favour. But there is a God to answer and a hell to pay. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

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