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Gang members should be treated like terrorists

January 24, 2013

Dear Sir,

I find myself in two states of mind in the current circumstances; one, horrified by the recent double shooting and heightened gang violence in Bermuda, and two, longing for the Bermuda I grew up in. The Bermuda where almost everyone you see wishes you a good morning, the Bermuda that is so safe you can go anywhere on the Island without having a worry in the world, a Bermuda that is fast dissipating as time progresses.

The Island has developed a gang culture that has destroyed our global perception of a safe and peaceful community, a haven and a gem in the middle of the Atlantic. But the question before us today should not be how this came to be so, but how should we combat it.

There are so many things that can be blamed for the shootings and the miserable conditions we find ourselves in: is it the failure of education? The abject poverty some groups of society find themselves in? Is it that certain groups of young men feel isolated by the community in which they were born? Or is it something more material, like violent video games and the “gangsta rap” imagery that is so commonplace amongst the youth.

As I stated, it does not matter how it came about at this moment in time because, the fact of the matter is, it is upon us and is only growing in size. Between the first quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2012, there have been 74 shooting incidents, 18 of which have resulted in fatalities. Bermuda at one point used to be one of the safest places in the world and now it is above the global average for gun murder per capita. What has to change?

I suggest a motion that, in certain circumstances, can be seen as extreme. However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and that is why I believe we should make gang membership illegal. We should follow the system used under UK during the 1980s and 90s to cut down the IRA at their roots; this same system is utilized globally at present to counter the likes of Al Qaeda.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1989 specified that “any organization listed within the content of the legislature is a proscribed organization” and that any person who; “belongs or professes to belong to a proscribed organization”, “solicits or invites support for a proscribed organization” or “arranges or assists in the arrangement or management of any meeting of three or more person [to support said organizations]” can be “imprisoned for a term not exceeding ten years or a fine or both”.

I do believe with all of my heart, that we should not have to wait for the gangs to act before we have the ability to prosecute them for committing a crime. We should imprison them before they commit another senseless murder.

I urge the people of Bermuda to push for this legislation, and should anyone wish to see the bill in complete they should visit http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/4/contents/enacted.

Bermuda we need to be the change we wish to see!

A WELLESLEY

Paget

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Published January 26, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm)

Gang members should be treated like terrorists

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