Friday, April 12, 2024

Gun violence and lawlessness


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FIVE YOUNG MEN were shot and another stabbed to death in the 16 days since Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith said young men are being used by drug lords to carry out executions in Barbados.

Of course, these latest incidents may not be drug-related, but they speak to the increase of gun-related crime, which is driving fear into the public.

This anxiety is heightened by the callousness of the acts, as they are often committed in public places where innocent bystanders can be hit. It is one thing for such violence to occur among drug-dealing fiends in their hovels. But when such attacks happen in places where innocent children and adults may be struck, the lawlessness is forcefully brought home.

This factor was the distinguishing feature of four of the shootings in which people were struck, and in another where no injuries occurred.

The shooting from which no injuries resulted occurred last Thursday at Back Ivy, St Michael, where shots were fired into a house. Had those occupants entered a different room or the bullets had a different trajectory, someone could have been seriously injured or worse.

Those residents are now scared to be inside their own home, more keenly aware than ever that their walls can’t even protect them from gun violence. No citizen in this country should have to live with such fear.

The shooting on August 31, in which a 20-year-old was shot in the ankle at Browne’s Beach on Bay Street, is another example of the wanton disregard for human life.

From all reports, Jamar Alleyne was an innocent bystander when the gunplay started and was the unlucky one who got shot. But the scores of people enjoying that popular beach got the fright of their lives – after all, what could be more fun and more Barbadian than a Sunday afternoon at the beach with friends?

Two of the other shootings took place two days apart inside ZR vans. In both incidents passengers were left dumbfounded that something so wicked could happen in such circumstances. They and several thousand commuters who use public transport daily now know this danger could occur anytime they board one of these buses.

Again, we contend that no citizen of this country should be enduring such fear.

Wednesday’s horrific incident, in which a man was shot four times while sitting on the beach holding his infant son, best highlights how low the base elements in our midst have sunk as they seek to injure others for whatever reason.

Can anything be more barbaric than this?

Like Griffith, we call for social interventions to stop this worrying trend. People need to report, even if anonymously, what they see to the police instead of taking the position that what is happening is not their business.

As the incidents of the last 16 days demonstrated, gun violence is every Barbadians’ business as the gunmen are shooting at their intended victims wherever they find them.



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