Good Friday 2010

In some Christian traditions Good Firday is also known as ‘Black Friday’, as many priests don black clothing to symbolise the mourning for the death of Jesus. Perhaps such a name is more fitting for this years Good Friday, for it has indeed become one for mourning, with the assasination of Mr. Kimwande Walker, shot to death in front of his young children, in a field full of families and friends enjoying traditional Good Friday festivities.

I should say here that I did not know Mr. Walker. Unless I am confusing names, I seem to recall watching him play as the goalie for St. Davids FC some years back, but I could be mistaken. I don’t know if he was involved in the gangs, drugs or anything else. All I know about him is that he was with his family, with his young children, when he was shot dead in what has to be the most brazen and graphic example of the lack of honour and respect that has come to infect some of our people.

Needless to say I offer my condolences to his family, and like many others worry about the trauma that they, and everyone else who witnessed this crime, has been hit with like a hurricane.

I am not a Christian, nor am I a religious man in the traditional sense. Personally I am an Atheist and Secular Humanist. All the same I was born and raised within the Christian Church, specifically the Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian Denomination), and growing up in Bermuda one develops a special fondness for Good Friday. Even here, in Scotland, I find myself scanning the skies for kites, hoping to locate fellow Bermudians, and enjoy at least a hot cross bun, if not some fish cakes.

Tradition has it that the reason we Bermudians fly kites on Good Friday was because an enterprising Church leader thought it would be a good way to interest his flock in the ideas behind Jesus’ crucifixion and ascension to heaven. The holiday and related traditions have since become very much secularised, but the symbolism involved is still very poignant and relevant to this tragedy.

There will be calls for tougher laws and penalties to crack down on these tragic crimes. I imagine that we will hear calls for curfews, restrictions on civil liberties and even demands for reinstating corporal and capital punishment.

To me those are largely reactionary, unncessary or unhelpful to the point of being counterproductive. They are likely to alienate people from the police, build resentment towards them and, at least in the case of corporal and capital punishment, legitimate and encourage the use of violence and murder as a way to resolve problems.

In short, they become a medicine worse than the disease. Furthermore, anyone reading our laws on these issues (gun crimes and the like) will see that we actually have very strict legislation, especially compared to other locations.

Don’t get me wrong, something needs to be done. I’m not for a minute advocating giving these thugs a free pass. Laws and state punishments however are not going to solve this problem. The community itself – the neighbourhoods, the schools, the religious groups, community leaders/elders and each one of us – is the only way to sort this mess out. And the focus cannot just be on the current crop of bad apples that are making headlines; we really need to focus our energies on making sure the next generation doesn’t get stuck in this trap.

For the current crop of thugs, including those currently serving in prison, one of the best things we can do is actually put our money where our mouth is, at least relating to the much touted, but chronically underfunded, Alternatives to Incarceration and rehabilitation services. I am of the understanding that most of these crimes are committed by almost career criminals, and if we are going to break the cycle of recidivism then we really need to invest in their rehabilitation – giving them the tools to be productive citizens, and the psychological support to help repair them too. In my experience a good number of these individuals have some mental issues (stemming from physical or substance abuse, or, simply, learning difficulties), and need more support in this area.

We also need to give our Parole Officers the funding and support that they need to do their job properly. At the moment many of these Officers are demoralised and, as much as they believe in the importance of their work, are unable to do justice to the tasks they face.

For the next generation, we really need to focus on the root causes of this anti-social behaviour, and to do that we really need to solve the housing crisis, the education system and the breakdown of the family support system. Too many children are still living in overcrowded and substandard accomodation, and far too many are being let down by the education system. For the family network, far too many parents are letting their children be raised by the TV or otherwise neglected, either due to long working hours, substance abuse and the breakdown of traditional support networks, of community support, and in this vacuumn some children are being exploited or deformed in their social grounding.

The majority of our children actually – miraculously – turn out generally okay, with no more psychological or social problems than other socioeconomic groups, but those that don’t are increasingly serious cases and threatening our common wealth.

For the immediate problem the only way to solve this problem is for the community to take action, to organise neighbourhood defence committees, to work with the police and support witnesses coming forward and to make sure the message is communicated that society will no longer tolerate this behaviour. It is also important that the community makes it clear that while they will not tolerate anyone continuing with this violence – and will turn them in – the community is also not turning their backs on these people, but willing to help them turn away from these behaviours and lifestyles. They need to be shunned by society – all of it – but welcomed back the minute they are willing to change.

I realise the above will be readily dismissed as ‘bleeding heart liberal nonsense’ but I honestly don’t think there is any other solution. The reactionary ones I see as more likely to exacerbate the problem, to have the opposite effect to that desired.

One is reminded of the religious significance of the date. Good Friday marks the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot, the subsequent humiliations of Jesus and his crucifixion. On Good Friday, 2010, our society was betrayed by our own Judases. The innocence of our youth has been crucified, with bullets for nails and the blood of Mr. Walker on that field. Mr. Walker probably wasn’t a saint (and who is anyway?), but on that Holy Friday he was doing something Holy, spending time with family and friends, demonstrating his love for his children.

Victor Scott Field is now our Golgotha.

While Good Friday is really a day of mourning for the death of Jesus – and now for Mr. Walker – it is important to remember that it is followed by Easter Sunday, a day of joy, marking the resurrection of Jesus.

I am not expecting Mr. Walker to somehow come back to life, but it is possible that Easter could mark the resurrection of the community as a reinvigorated agent for change, for the commonwealth. Today, Holy or Silent Saturday, is a day for reflection, for mourning the tragedy of Good Friday. Tomorrow people will go to their Churches for the Easter Sermon, others will wake up after this day of reflection, hopefuly ready to resurrect some sense of normality to their lives and to the community.

One of the key messages of Jesus, when he was resurrected, was essentially ‘don’t mourn – organise instead‘ and that is exactly what needs done now. We have mourned too many times for too many senseless tragedies. We have marched and beaten our chests. We have pontificated (like I am now, lol!) ad nauseum.

Now is the time for action, for greater community organisation, and for setting our house in order. We, today, are charged with a new Great Commission. The original Great Commission, given by Jesus before his ascension, was to organise and make real his teachings, namely to love God*, to forgive ones enemies, to love ones neighbours and to forsake materialism (in the sense of Mammon, that is, crass consumerism), and we could do worse than apply these ideas to solving our current problems.

[* As an atheist I would say that this depends on how you are going to identify ‘God’. Naturally, I do not recognise ‘God’ as a supreme omnipotent being, but instead would see this as a respect and wonder at the complexity and beauty of existence, the joy of being, rather than having.]

Other Bermuda blogs posting on this topic are the newly reactivated IMHO.bm, Whappenings, the Christian Donnie’s Blog and BIAW.

Advertisements

38 thoughts on “Good Friday 2010

  1. I dig your “bleeding heart liberal” slant Johnny, and I truly admire your optimism.
    I see the Island reaping the rewards of years of neglect for some time to come though.

  2. “They need to be shunned by society – all of it – but welcomed back the minute they are willing to change.”

    Do you think that using individuals who used guns, and then changed as examples, might be a part of the problem.

    For example so and so used a gun when robbing a bank and now they are a highly paid government consultant, or highly paid lawyer so why can I not do the same thing?

    Society should not welcome them back, there are some paths that when taken should lead to only ruin and death and those that take it should be held up as a warning to others not to take it or suffer the same fate.

    What message does it send when you would be willing to welcome back a person who killed a man in front of his and other children?

  3. Hi J Galt, if anything I think those individuals you refer to (I presume Mr. Commissiong and Mr. Richardson, also, by extension, Mr. Crockwell) have the responsibility of showing that people can be rehabilitated and can become productive members of society rather than destructive elements.

    I do not share your fire and brimstone approach here. People make mistakes and people can learn from them. They can serve the time for their crimes and in the process be rehabilitated.

    Don’t get me wrong here, I have no time for people who hurt others and then expect everything to be alright just because they say sorry. It doesn’t work like that. You have to regain trust and earn your forgiveness by society, and saying sorry is only the first step and not a magic spell for absolution.

    What message does it send? It sends the message of forgiveness, of redemption, of love and respect for the sanctity of life. What message does your approach, of condemning to ruin and death send? It sends the message of revenge, of an eye for an eye and a lack of respect for life and the capacity to change.

    That latter message is exactly the problem we have today with this violence. People taking revenge upon revenge upon revenge, in a downward spiral that threatens us all. If the State is to be the executor then it just legitimates the use of violence and revenge as a way to resolve disputes and only reinforces the current trend.

    If we are going to break this downward spiral, it seems to me that one cannot fight fire with fire but should instead use some water.

    I should acknowledge here that some people are, for one reason or another, pathological cases, sociopaths and psychopaths. They will exist at all times. I don’t believe these individuals can be rehabilitated, or at least not with our current knowledge. But even they should not be executed but instead secured so that they are no threat to society and receive whatever assistance we, as a people, can provide them.

  4. It is clear that Mr. Richardson has not changed much, and it shows them that as long as you suck up to the right people you can get off scott free for breaking the law despite your prior convictions.

    Until our legal system is straightened out, and until we have leaders that provide good role models, things will continue to slide downhill.

  5. aftr the belco riots a royal comission was done and the pitt report was produced

    produced n never implamented

    fast forward 20 plus yrs and we have the bermuda of today with todays evolved social backlash from the underclass that has been allowed to flurish based on the inequalities perpetuated by bermudas institutions.

    would we have a different environment if the pitt comission solutions were implamented

    its obvious that leadership has n had its own adjenda

    and its now up to de people to step up n create a petition to go to the uk demanding a royal comission in order to correct and set right ALL the institutions that have been faiing us since n b4 the belco riots n the pitt comission.

    multiple gun men entered a club last night and shot up the crowd inside.

    the bottom is getting closer

    country over party or there will be no more country

    ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE BY ALl MEANS NESSICARY

    PS comissiong is just a race pimp profiting off the misery caused by bermudas un reformed institutions.

    he has produced no reccomendations to fix the problems and he fights others who do bring forth solutions Ie MP devent

    opportunists like comisiong are part of the problem

    as for richardson……..weed is a multi million dollar industry

    peter tosh said lawyers, drs, and all manner of people smoke it.

    “legalieeeeee iiiiiiiiiiittttttttttttt dont critisize it”

    if a lawrer can get off like this while a reguar person more that likely wont….it sends a clear visual of the long standing doubble standard of who u r and who u know

    justice 4 all and equal

    there should be no more people in court for weed after the richardson result

    ALL POWER TO ALL THE PEOPLE BY ALL MEANS NESSICARY

  6. “ALL POWER TO ALL THE PEOPLE BY ALL MEANS NESSICARY”

    Oh the irony there Black Press.

    The people who know and not directly involved have the power but they are afraid as it could result in their demise or a family member.

    Tough times lie ahead but someone, just one has to take that stand and help with the start of the irradication and curtailment of these horrendous events.

    These individuals know they have control and are brazzen enough to kill someone in broad daylight.

    Wonder if anyone told the police even that ‘they went that way’.

    Amazing what the family lifestlye has become and don’t anyone tell me that heads of households don’t know something.

    May today be peacefull.

    Rummy.

  7. Letariatpro

    how does smokin weed equate one to being a gun man again?

    a major part of the social backlash problem is how mistameanor offences elsewear in the civilised world are felony offences in bermuda

    we r tryin to wrap our heads around ya statement please expand.

  8. rummy

    the public who are close to the events and would like to talk dont trust de police for obvious reasons that u as a ole fella should know so theres no need 4 us to comment on that.

    there will b problems wit gettin the publics info cause as a cop said u still need 2 b on the witnees stand to get any convictions.

    aint no body puttin their necks on de choppin blocks via informing while theres no informing goin on in the ranks of the politicians, white collar big shots and other institutions that have a greater hand in creting the evens happenin on de ground.

    its time 4 sum good ole vigiante justice, which by the way is on de way once they kill an innocent.

    or these guys jus need to go to a field n have a big ass duel and kill eachother off one time and keep their war underground

  9. n tha number one reason ppl dont talk is cause thres no police protection programm

    Ie “we dont provide personal safety services”

    thers no protection for the people who talk

    more people r gonna have guns in their homes to fight gun crime

  10. Black Press…”ole fella”……? Please. I am not that old and age has nothing to do with ones look at life during these difficult times.

    As for people not trusting the police, thats the biggest spin you have put on things since you have been posting here and on other sites.

    I can assure you that if one or more people came forward with statements and possibly other evidence that could secure a prima faci case the Attorney General’s Chambers would take care of all, and I mean all.

    Find another track or tack too pursue.

    When the first Police Officer is shot dead regardless of the circumstances things will change; mark my words.

    These Officers are in these guys faces day in, day out. You think they all sleep well or with guns under their pillows? Do they worry about thier families and children?

    Get a grip man.

    Times change and so do the manner in which local tiffs are resolved.

    May all who read this have a blessed day and smile just for the hell of it.

    Rummy.

    ps. Anyone know when it is correct to remove the Commandant of the Regiment and have a replacement take control? I feel an ill wind………………………………

  11. Johnny,

    Thanks for the mention.

    For an atheist and secular humanist, you seem to know the Bible better than some Christians I can think of. Very interesting parallels in this post. I don’t agree with them all (of course) but your call for a complete lack of community tolerance toward those that continue this detrimental behavior, coupled with forgiveness and kind welcome for those that put forth the effort to change are, imo, dead on.

    Best,
    Donnie

  12. It all starts with the little things. Speeding, running red lights, littering. Disregard for the law is what has us where we are today. Personally, I could care less what people smoke, natural selection as far as I am concerned. BUT if you get caught, be prepared to suffer the consequences. Here, there are no longer consequences for breaking the law. Hardly anyone gets convicted, if they do they are out early, with no rehabilitation, no regrets and back to breaking the law in one way or another.

    It is this disregard that leads to the gun runners and the dealers. If no one had disregard for the law, no one would be buying illegal drugs, there would be little need for guns, there would be much less killing. Simple logic.

    Unfortunately, it would seem most people are not equipped with that cause and effect programming and like to blame things on everything else, except their own actions. If everyone took responsibility for their own actions and thought before they did something stupid, the world would be a better place.

    C’est la vie.

  13. Pingback: Community – All Day, Every Day « Donnie's Blog

  14. Good post Jonny. To be honest, I don’t know what else there is to say. We read blog postings which are written by sensible people with sensible views of what is best for Bermuda. But as Vanz and his mother will quickly remind us, those people posting on blogs are not the ‘real’ Bermuda anymore. The real Bermuda doesn’t believe in hard policing. They believe in a leader whose response to this is to say ‘well I can only make laws, not enforce them’. They believe in a government who has failed in every single check box of good governing over the past 5 years except for one – re-election. They believe that Bermuda belongs to them, and that they know better, and that if a few white folks in suits get chased off well that’s fine, cause then they’ll be able to afford that person’s house. They believe that Bermuda has a pre-destined right to be wealthy and successful, and that they as real Bermudians are entitled to their fair share of that. And they don’t believe they should have to work hard for it. If that means they can’t succeed in industry its fine, cause they know people who can help them make a good living from other sources. And who cares if those other sources are a bit sketchy, it’s about getting mine. Dr. Brown’s got his. The PLP have theirs. And I’ll get mine, by whatever means necessary.

    We’re done without change. The Bermuda you and I grew up in is over without change. We’re a ship sailing towards a crippling reef and our captain keeps telling us to look how pretty the sails are. We need overnight change. We need 24/7 policing. We need new laws giving the police some power. We need foreign experts in, because ours clearly don’t know what to do. We need to just go in and arrest the thugs we know are causing this. Let them sort out the legal issues while they’re locked up. We need to

    To me there are only two questions:
    One: How bad will things have to get before the ‘real’ Bermuda wise up that the parties over?
    Two: Is it already too late?

  15. “A serious situation, but nothing to suggest violence will spiral out of control – Police”
    http://www.royalgazette.com/rg/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7da432730030002&sectionId=60

    It is exactly comments like these that make me realize that they really don’t have it together. As far as I am concerned, don’t know about the rest of you, it has already spiraled out of control. I honestly believe denial is the a major issue here.
    It happened in front of small children on school property for goodness sakes!
    You know this statement would be fine if possessing firearms were legal, but its not, so four shootings in ONE weekend is way too much IMO.

  16. I agree with 99.9 % of your post Lost. But please define “Real” in your words.

    I have an idea of what you mean but also remember that I and others are “real” also.

    As for being lost…I don’t think so. Flatts is small and I know you know your way around. Even when people try and put blinders on you you can still smell that current and hear the rush under the bridge.

    I need a rum………………………damn…forgot…don’t drink it. I’ll pretend…….

    Rummy.

  17. The red party begs the community to stop prostituting gun victims they have no imformation or intelligence on.
    The gaza alliance has struck back on the garrison fighting over street business.
    A conservative economic system combined with a weak liberal judical system is the reason for street wars.
    The second summer of a recession by a suicidal Minister of crime who has failed to stimulate the economy through postive immigration policies is why there are no jobs and housing for the ghetto youth in the garrison.
    A useless police force that should be disbanded and privatized with armed security guards would protect people better than these useless fools just here to sex with local women.
    The Premeir should fire Monister Burch he is a failure and loser in all his ministries.
    Only a fool does not understand immigration and international business.
    Worse of all the victimization garbage by the race expert.
    If black people have race problems this prevents them from running a government. Be careful there boy.

  18. bi>…there are only two questions:
    One: How bad will things have to get before the ‘real’ Bermuda wise up that the parties over?

    At a minimum the “real Bermudians” you’re refering to will have to lose their jobs. Remember “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.” So far we’ve only made it through the first sentence. And the loss of jobs is still pretty low key.

    Two: Is it already too late?

    Pretty much. Things have been on a downward path for a very long time and all we’ve seen recently is an acceleration of a long term trend [which no-one in power seems to be motivated to stop].

  19. http://www.royalgazette.com/rg/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7da43a73003001c&sectionId=60

    Just read this article. I can’t think of many things that are more certain to make this situation worse than sending our criminals to US prisons. Much, much worse I think. If you want to increase the deterrent, send them to hard labour camps not the ivy league of gansta universities. Why do so many people consider it humane to send prisoners to places where they face the threat of rape and physical harm (forcing them to become and associate with hardened criminals for self-reservation) but not to send them to places where they can learn life skills and a work ethic through productive labour?
    The idea of confiscating passports seems good but do we really have a big problem with fugitives? I only remember one or two cases in the last several years. Highly dissapointing ideas coming from the cabinet so far. The PLP has not the political will to institute the hard changes that might in time turn this situation around;
    24 hour policing of trouble spots
    crack-down on small crime like public drinking and graffiti
    restoration of tiered secondary education
    reform of the MoE

  20. I’m having the same problem Sara. I think Johnny thinks were radicals and too liberal.

    Were not famous enough as the likes of UE, Blanks, Ren Man……….

    Gotta run……….

    A great day too all.

    El Rummo………………………….

  21. Yeah, sorry about that. New job means I have slightly less time right now, but once it settles down I’ll be more regular in posts and clearing the spam filter.

    I have now freed the posts which were stuck there, some by Tips, Sara, Rummy and Red Party.

  22. only way violence wil decrease is by reforming ALL the components of bermuda society that has created an underclass and poverty gaps via the economic divide.

    tips they need to reform much more than what you have listed

    no change in these areas = more wel deserved blood shed and hopefully they will start shoting poiticians

    wonder how much it will cost to put hits out on politicians like they have been hired to hit all the other people they have killed so far

    after 6 hrs this was all the that came frm cabinet? this is leadership? this is what our big bucks pay for?

    ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE BY ALL MEANS nESSiCARY

  23. Blanks, your comment:

    “Things have been on a downward path for a very long time and all we’ve seen recently is an acceleration of a long term trend [which no-one in power seems to be motivated to stop].”

    This right there. THAT’s what is so frustrating to me. It’s like yeah the economy is bad, meh, well, it’s bad elsewhere too. companies are reincorporating elsewhere, meh, well be happy they are still keeping offices here.

    NO.

    There shouldn’t be a “meh” mentality with those who run our country. Stop acting like you’re simply a boat in a storm being buffetted by waves on all sides and unfortunately, due to this not “really” being our fault we should just be happy we are alive… How’s about you use the effing rudder and show some purpose and get us the hell out of the storm path. Alternatively, you could have prepared for what so many said was coming, and say, as a “caution”, redrafted our course just enough so we went to the sides of the storm not right damn through the middle… AND SET UP CAMP!

  24. http://www.royalgazette.com/rg/Article/article.jsp?articleId=7da442730030007&sectionId=60

    And now this? Effectively suspend habeas corpus for certain crimes? Lets just send our justice system back to the Middle ages to make it look like we’re tough on crime but ignore the hard work needed to make a difference. I’ll admit this idea will probably be popular in this sort of climate but the right to not be held without charge is fundamental and the fact that they are considering violating it is unsettling.

  25. “Yeah, sorry about that. New job means I have slightly less time right now, but once it settles down I’ll be more regular in posts and clearing the spam filter.

    I have now freed the posts which were stuck there, some by Tips, Sara, Rummy and Red Party.”

    Hello,

    My post still hasn’t showed up, just wondering if you have cleared everything?
    I think I posted it on Monday or Tuesday of this week and this has happened in the past and the posts never showed up. What could be the reason for this?

  26. The cabinet can discuss all the “solutions” they want but until witnesses are willing to come forward and tell the police what they know there is nothing anyone can do.

  27. Hi Sara, there is nothing (except ironically your last post, lol) in the spam filter, and there was a post of yours I freed the other day. So… either I deleted it or it is up there, somewhere.

    It is possible that it was deleted though, and I apologise if that is the case. Over two days this week I had a bit of a spam storm, with like 30 spam posts an hour, and it’s possible that I mistakenly deleted your post while mopping up all those spam ones. The spam storm seems to have abated though, and I’ll take extra care in future (which means no beer until after blogging, lol!).

  28. Your last senetence speaks volumes. Then again, who am I to comment….I’m a Rummy……………………………………

    Have a great day Johnny…..and may the sting rays swim over your head…………………………

  29. You must have accidentally deleted it then along with a couple of others in the past that never showed up. Oh well

  30. John is on a binge. Typical. He wants tocome back and take control but his African Bermudians are pissed at him.

    The Disporia Trail will show that he tried……….

    Probabley drunk in some Skutish Pahub…………..Genetics is a bitch……..

    Gotta run…..Ewart on the 19th Hole……..still can’t figure out numbers..it’s over dood…………………if you don’t get that well I have a ‘Morgan’ to sell yah……..

  31. Well, the old Marxist has been quiet for a time. Possibly he detonated a device in Iceland to cause such furour in the area that would and did disrupt commerce.

    A guy that drinks that much and not even his ‘home’ brew needs watching.

    From a labour party advocate too someone in labour I just hope he does not get ‘stretch marks’.

    At this rate, there won’t be much left to “Catch a Fire”. You can still carry a carry on filled with money right?

    Gotta run………………………

  32. Johny….ver yoo two buy….I sense an ill wind but it’s not from my bowls.

    Must be revolution tyme…………………….

  33. Ah Hah!!!!! Your still with us. Lord, thought you left and went to the darkside oberdear………

    Hope things are well with you. The BIU and the BU ( whatever) are looking for good relics.

    Gotta run……………………

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s