Well, it looks like the gang violence has begun boiling over now, with two shootings (one dead, one injured) last night and reports of shots in Court Street about an hour ago. To be frank, I doubt many of us are going to be all that shocked about these incidents. We are now all too familiar with the downward spiral of gang violence, with revenge on revenge on revenge.
We’ve had a record number of shootings this year, and with the unprecedented shootings at the Southside Cinema just a few weeks ago, we all knew that things would be coming to the boil soon. And it seems that we have just that situation right now, in stark contrast to the supposed ideals of the holiday season.
I don’t know if this bout of violence will peter out by itself, or if this is just the prelude to more. What I do know is that we need to break this cycle, because even if there isn’t any more immediate violence, it does set the stage for more actions later.
I hope that the peace rally being called for this Friday has a much larger turnout than the small ones organised last week. If Bermuda can mobilise as many people and as quickly as they did for the Uighurs of the June days, I don’t see why we cannot mobilise even more people for this Friday. Or even to have a spontaneous symbolic action of everyone wearing black for mourning or something.
Now, these rallies, they are purely symbolic, yes. But they are a start, something to build on and to send a message that society is not going to tolerate such behaviour. It can also help put more political pressure on our so called leaders who should have and can do more here. By that I am referring to the problems with the Alternatives to Incarceration program which is supposed to cut down on recidivism, as well as issues relating to monitoring of parolees. The intentions are good, but these programs seem to be chronically underfunded and under-supported. All this while the public sees apparent misspending of public monies on overrun costs of major construction projects or other increasingly wastes of monies (ridiculous travel expenses for some Ministers for example).
I don’t know if the people involved in this recent outbreak of violence are indeed ex-prisoners, but I wouldn’t be surprised either. And yes, there are other issues that need addressed, and are being addressed (albeit a dollar short and a day late in many cases) in the sense of education and drug rehabilitation and prevention.
The biggest concern for me is that people don’t overreact and start building fortress mentalities, changing the way they enjoy the island, as a result of this. People must continue on and show that this violence will not win, that society will not bow to it, but will instead resist it, and will help fix the problems. My other big concern is that people will start calling for a return of corporal or capital punishments, which do not deter violence, but instead satisfy societies base desire for revenge, and in so doing simply perpetuate the problem.