I am writing this a few days after the horrific double murders of Haile Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert, and as the police engage in an armed manhunt of an individual in Somerset (not implying a direct connection between the two incidents).
These are ‘free-thought musings’. I don’t intend them to be taken as a finished product, but more as a representation of my thoughts on a number of issues related to the gangs and the recent murders (over the last few years). They will simply flow.
On the double murders:
In the recent years of the gangs and their related gun-based murders, there have been a few which particularly shock the community. All do, and the loss of any life is of course regrettable and life-changing for the loved ones involved, but still, some seem to stand out more than others.
Even though the society is becoming increasingly desensitised to these tragedies, some still shock more than others, and some remain more prominent in the collective memory.
One that particularly stands out to me was the Good Friday murder, when Kimwandae Walker was shot several times on the field of Victor Scott primary school in Pembroke.
Why did this stand out, particularly, for me?
A number of factors. It was a primary school field, in bright daylight. He was shot in front of his children, in front of loved ones. The field was full of families, many with young children, on what was billed as a ‘family fun day’. It was a public holiday. The everyday of religious traditions, both sacred and profane (in that Good Friday is both sacred and secular in Bermuda).
The everyday was so prominent in this, the everyday of families, the everyday of our kite-flying traditions, the everyday of a school field. And yet the everyday was ruptured. Gunshots pierced the veil between the everyday of ‘official’ Bermuda life and the everyday of ‘underworld’ Bermuda life. Two everydays collided, two spaces, two worlds, two realities, intersected and the everyday of official Bermuda was momentarily fragmented.
This new murder will likely also be recalled as a particularly striking one, like the Good Friday murder. And why?
Yes, because of the novelty of the incident, as a double murder.
Yes, because of the striking images of the assassin caught in the midst of the crime, of the realisation that those images represented, of the last few panicked moments of the victims.
Yes, because they represented the first murders of the year, and yes because it followed the Christmas murder a month before.
All of these are relevant.
But it is also due to the rupture, yet again, of these two realities, their collision and intersection. The everyday of the grocery store. The everyday of bike helmets and rain gear. These ‘everydays’ converted into a frightening spectre of death, subverted by the underworld, the criminal world of Bermuda.
Bermuda has always had its underworld, and it is true that there are multiple Bermudas.
Strictly speaking, in a geographic sense, yes, there is only the space of the 21 squared miles of the island. This is true. But this island only serves as a stage, the common platform, upon which tragedies, comedies and other dramas are played, are lived and died.
We know of the ‘White’ and ‘Black’ Bermudas. We know even these are fragmented, across class, religious and other axes, that there are worlds within worlds in this sense. Multiple lived realities nested within realities.
There are ‘male’ and ‘female’ realities of Bermuda, and these again fragmented racially, economically; and one can also see a ‘heterosexual’ and ‘homosexual’ reality.
They overlap. They cannot help but overlap. But seldom does one reality directly rupture into the other. The Theatre Boycott, the riots, the homophobic attacks and displays, murder, rape and sexual assault. These may all constitute ruptures between worlds.
There is the tourist Bermuda, the expatriate Bermuda.
There is official Bermuda and then there is that shadowy underworld of criminal Bermuda, of gang Bermuda, a Bermuda of drugs, violence, prostitution.
The official Bermuda and criminal Bermuda, again they overlap. The Bermuda ‘of-the-street’ plays out on the same ‘streets-of-Bermuda’ that workers, families and students travel on daily.
But for the most part these two Bermuda’s exist separately. Perhaps aware of the other, but this knowledge is perhaps not in the forefront.
Official Bermuda is brought to recognition of this Other when it trespasses consciousness through these crimes, but for the most part it relegates its recognition to an afterthought, at least until the next trespass. And this Other regards the other as an Other. Aware of it, but not ‘part’ of it.
Usually these crimes do not fully trespass the boundaries of the two Bermudas.
Official Bermuda is shocked by the murders, but for the most part can compartmentalise them away. The murders happen largely ‘outside’ of the space of the majority of official Bermuda. They happen in places where official Bermuda does not largely frequent, where the ‘Other’ is thought to dominate.
But some murders bring this artificial distance to a crashing halt. The two spaces explode into one, as bullets explode from the barrel.
A school field with children becomes a crime scene. A grocery store and its aisles become a site of execution. Normality is shattered, and it is harder for official Bermuda to place the Other in its ghettos, real or imagined.
These are the ruptures of different realities.
Same stage, but different dramas, a tragedy of death barging onto the comedy of the everyday.
The audience is outraged, and the actors react – and the audience consists of actors too, just as the actors become audience in turn, the two are intersected – and it evolves in dynamic arabesques or rippling eddies of dominant currents, rip-tides, eddies and waves, smashing into each other.
Official Bermuda seeks to come to terms.
The rallies, the outraged verbiage, the ‘official’ reactions, these are done for official Bermuda, to absorb the trauma that the rupture of the everyday represents.
Unofficial Bermuda is barely aware, or does not care. It reacts in its own way.
But the rupture between the two worlds, the two realities, it increases, the dynamic leads to less and less distinction between the two worlds, even if formally they appear more and more distant, with gated communities and other ‘official reactions’.
What causes these ruptures?
What is the rhythm of the ‘other’?
What is the rhythm of the everday, official and unofficial?
What feeds the dynamo?