We're not ready for extremism
Jason McKay

I was in Turkey a few weeks ago conducting a training session on a football field. The session ran a bit long and we ran out of daylight. With no lights there was soon no visibility at all and I could barely see the athlete. It was of no real concern, however, because crime in this part of Turkey is rare.

Some years ago I was conducting a training session at the The University of the West Indies playing field, involving officers training to attend a SWAT (speed, weapons and tactics) course overseas. The wall bordered August Town.

As night fell I considered our safety and concluded we should be okay, as a few of us were armed with handguns.

One of the officers called me aside and indicated his concern for the police unit's safety on the pitch-black field. I told him "I understand, but we are armed." He replied, "We are armed with a few handguns; on the other side of this wall they are armed with AK-47 rifles."

Do you see the difference? Not between the weaponry, but the comparison of the two countries.

So as I often ask myself: How did we become this in a world that is becoming better?

It is not that Turkey has no history of violence. That country, in fact, has a terrible history of supporting fascism and killing its own. They were the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide in the second decade of the 1900s.

Sounds like ancient history, but my grandparents were alive then.

Other European countries with a horrible history of violence like Denmark and Norway are now crime-controlled with minimal violence.

Why can't we change? They did.

Maybe violence is on a cultural behavioural curve in which society embraces it then rejects it. Or maybe it exists until strong leadership makes extreme decisions to change culture.

Before Germany became what it is now they had to be crushed by the world.

Some may say we are nearly at the peak of our violence curve and, based on world trends in violence, we should start repairing our society. But they would be wrong. We are only going to climb upwards on that curve until thugs tighten their control on our society.

Why? Because we are not ready for the solutions required to bring about change.

We are not ready for extremism.

Extremism does not mean you strap on a bomb and take out a market, although it has been done and it is extreme.

Extremism can mean something as non-violent as an internment Act, a draft into military service, or even changing the constitution to facilitate same.

Why do I say extremism is needed?

Well it's needed for drastic change. The murder rate is lower now than it was five years ago. We, however, want crime rates cut in half.

For that we will need extremism, and even the level I spoke of we are not ready for.

An example of how "mentally not ready" we are is clear, based on the response to the recent announcement of a state of emergency in a number of parishes.

Defence counsel, human rights organisations, even the Opposition in our Parliament object to something as basic as a 48-hour detention period. This even when what would qualify as extreme would be indefinite detention — which, quite frankly, is what is required to achieve the 50 per cent reduction that we desire.

I did an article last week which spoke to our laws and how illogical they are in respect of crime suppression, whilst at the same time being so well written to fit in with our rights guaranteed to us as a free society.

I got a proper tongue lashing from good people in the system about my utterances. They kept drilling me on the rights of the killers, the same rights that one Act of Parliament took away from police officers.

They're just not getting it. Lawyers and politicians don't know what it is like to hit the street to prevent a murder anymore than we understand many of the things they do in their occupation.

We function in different worlds, although we are operating on the same platform. Their minds can't fathom the solutions that can work operationally anymore than I can fathom what it takes to write a judgement.

I have an idea but there is so much I don't know, therefore I can't truly or reasonably criticise them in relation to their analysis or understanding of the law.

So let me lay it out as plainly as I have before.

Our constitution, as it has been adjusted, does not allow for extremism. Only extremist policies can provide for the execution of strategies to bring about the 50 per cent reduction in crime we all desire.

We as a people are not ready for it (extremism), so stop complaining.

We don't traditionally like it. When Michael Manley used extremist measures to bring about massive social reconstruction, we didn't accept it.

When Edward Seaga introduced extreme measures to fix our economy in the 1980s, we rejected it.

We are what we have made ourselves, and as long as our murder rate is primarily killers killing killers we are not ready to empower a government to defeat our enemy.

This until we become Haiti where gangs actually have taken over the country and the police force is becoming powerless.

This will one day happen and on that day we will all worry less about the rights of killers — that day when brutality sits on all our steps and not just the steps of the poor.

Feedback: drjasonamckay@gmail.com

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