The headline was striking. It said “2016: Homicides 24, murder convictions 0” as it went on to describe the circumstances surrounding the death of a child allegedly by the hand of another child. Two lives destroyed forever!
That fact that a suspect has been so quickly apprehended, coupled with the promise of another judge (whose presence may expedite court trials) and the decision to add RSS to our crime fighting strategy, offers hope of a speedy trial. But we are still mindful of the admonition of the Police that information is not evidence; and evidence is what is required in order to get prosecutions and ultimately convictions. Surely, information can direct the way to forensic evidence. We think that the Police simply are not doing enough.
The age of the alleged killerreminds us of that adage that children and fools shouldn’t play with sharp-edged tools. How was he able to obtain a gun? Did he buy it? Who sold it to him? Was it his or did he find it? Did anyone report a stolen gun (yes we know!) Was it his birthday gift? What goes through the mind of a minor intent on committing murder? What goes through the mind of a parent whose child kills and at such an early age? Was there any intelligence that was missed by parents, teachers, well-meaning friends, the community? Could we have done better?
It is devastatingthat we lose 25+ youths per annum to gun violence in a population that has held steady at just about 53,000. To us, this is a national tragedy that is robbing the country of its most productive generation in much the same way that the Christena tragedy robbed Nevis, in particular, of its creative generation forty-six years ago. It cannot be of any comfort to rationalise these slayings with the perception that it is bad boys killing bad boys and good riddance, because there is always room for redemption.
It is equally devastating that as a people, we seem to have become inured to these killings and treat them as a matter of course. Sadly, we shrug our shoulders and move on.
There is a callous on our conscience that needs to be surgically excised.