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A shocking and needless death

Osagi Bascome in action for Bermuda against Haiti (File photograph courtesy of Mexsport)

The death by stabbing of Osagi Bascome, the 23-year-old national football team player has sent shock waves through the community.

Mr Bascome comes from the one of Bermuda’s most distinguished sporting families. His father Herbie was a Cup Match captain and is now the coach of the Bermuda national cricket team.

His uncles, Andrew and David Bascome, are two of Bermuda’s best known footballers, the latter enjoying a stellar career in the US, while many who saw him play believed Andrew Bascome was the best player of his era.

Of course all lives matter, but when someone from such a well-known and admired family is killed, it resonates all the more.

It should also go without saying that this crime remains under investigation and the perpetrators remain at large. It would be dangerous to draw too many conclusions before all of the facts are known.

But Mr Bascome’s death raises the question once again of how many talented young people, especially men, and even more especially Black men, have to die before this community decides that enough is enough.

After the shootings at the Robin Hood pub, it was stated that “this is not who we are” and that “this is not what Bermuda is”. But Mr Bascome’s death shows again that is who we are, and it will be until we put a stop to it. No one can do it for us.

It was hard not to escape the juxtaposition of images in yesterday’s newspaper, with Mr Bascome’s death on the top of the front page and tributes extended to the sports section as well.

Just below that story was a profile of Bermuda’s latest Rhodes Scholar, a woman just a year younger than Mr Bascome, who is going to Oxford to add to her learning and to help to fight climate change. She follows in the footsteps of Black Bermudian males Ryan Robinson-Perinchief and Kenza Wilks.

And yesterday’s paper also featured a profile on Cinamin Lovell, a young woman who had gotten into legal problems but had turned her life around with the help of an innovative court programme.

Within a few pages Bermuda could read about a promising young student heading to Oxford, there to follow other young Bermudians who will make a mark on society, and a young woman whose once bleak future had been transformed. These young people look to the future with hope and are full of potential.

Until just a few days ago, Osagi Bascome symbolised the same kind of hope. He was a young man who had become one of the few to become a professional footballer and to have represented his country. There was no telling what more his potential could have brought.

Now he will never know, and nor will this community.

It is this loss of opportunity and loss of untapped potential that should make Bermuda stop and think. This island is too small and its future too uncertain to throw away its young and talented like this. Bermuda needs all of its people if it is to survive and thrive.

It appeared for a time that Bermuda had contained violent crime. Murders and gun crimes were down, and a form of peace prevailed.

Clearly that is no longer the case. This newspaper has made its arguments for the practical steps that should be taken to reduce crime and to help young people to turn to more meaningful and safe pursuits. There is little value in repeating them.

Instead this is an appeal to the community to stop and think. Bermuda needs to stop the madness, to stop wasting its young people and to take a better path.

This includes helping the police to solve these crimes and to stop people from committing them. If people know where guns are kept, they need to make sure they are found. And they need to persuade their young friends and relatives from joining gangs or committing crimes.

If this community truly wants to ensure that Mr Bascome’s death was not in vain, it needs to take a pledge to stop the killing and to stop the crime.

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Published December 21, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated December 21, 2021 at 8:01 am)

A shocking and needless death

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