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There is a common criticism of newspapers, which is this: “Newspapers only carry bad news.” There is a certain element of truth to this observation. A nice day isn’t news because it is what’s normal. When a storm breaks, that’s news.

This week we report the first murder of the year. It is the killing of Leon Westerman, 28, of Nevis. He was shot down by two masked men on the streets of Charlestown, a despicable, cowardly, debased act. Murder is a pitiful thing.

“Shooting a man is a h— of a thing,” Clint Eastwood said in the movie Unforgiven. “It takes everything a man ever had or is ever going to have.”

The masked scum who killed Leon Westerman took everything from him. I believe that in some place, in some way, a greater power will forgive them for this heinous act, but such feeling is beyond me. I hope they are apprehended, prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. I wish the same on all murderers.

They robbed Mr. Westerman of his life. They robbed his family and friends of his presence, which many people say was wonderful and exciting. They robbed the rest of us of the chance of ever knowing him and, on a different level, they robbed us of the decency, civility and peace that comes with living in a free society.

Every murder murders what is decent in all people. Every killing kills the universal hope for a better tomorrow.

Which means the people who killed Mr. Westerman deserve no sanctuary, no place of peace, in our midst. These murderers are the lowest of foul creatures. They are unworthy of anyone’s respect or friendship.

If you are a friend of these people, it’s also worth remembering that they have killed to further their ends. If they are willing to murder to get what they want, what makes you think they won’t lie to keep your confidence? What makes you think they won’t kill to keep you silent? Look at what they have done. They have no honour. They only have the stink of death.

However, there is good news to report.

Nevis Premier the Honourable Joseph Parry has said, in no unsparing words, more needs to be done to fight crime. He’s put it at the door of the federal government to take action and to take action now. Mr. Parry has also called on citizens to get behind authorities in their efforts. Well spoken, Mr. Parry.

On the opposition side, Mr. Vance Amory has called for the community to ostracize those who are involved in criminal activities and for the police to build a friendlier relationship with citizens. Both of these sentiments are right on target. Well spoken, Mr. Amory.

The police force has organized a Boys’ Club to give youngsters a positive outlet for energies and to show them possibilities that can’t be had through anti-social activities or criminal activities. I hope the private sector will respond with enthusiasm to this club. Well done, ladies and gentlemen of the police force.

The problems facing the Federation have not escaped the notice of the St. Kitts-Nevis Football Association. They are creating an under-13 league with the aim of teaching young boys how to play football and to teach them lessons about life, learning and health. To the members of the SKNFA I say: Thank you for being willing to teach these young people how to play more than football.

The members of the Nevis Anti-Crime Community Initiative have made good on their promise to help the police. They gave 23 body armor vests to the Nevis police this week, via the offices of the Nevis Island Authority. This is a practical and welcome step in fighting crime. Officers should be equipped to meet the firepower of contemporary criminals. The organization is planning to release a report on crime. I look forward to it because I have every faith that it will be a valuable document in chartering a course in the fight against crime. The members of the Initiative can get things done, an invaluable asset when the problem lends itself more to words than actions. These people get things done. I say: I salute your purpose, your plans and your results.

We live in a time when crime is a disheartening part of our lives. Yet, when we look around, we see a response from government and the private sector that says this Federation will not lay down to an unwanted regime of lawlessness, fear and shame. People are standing up, standing for what is right, refusing to give up on today and groping toward a better tomorrow, moving toward bright days of peace, justice, opportunity and love.

Stand with them.

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