Shootings: Brushing them off like they’re no big deal
So I was walking along Front Street last week and flagged down a buddy for a ride. He happens to be a policeman. Yes, I have bredren on the Bermuda Police Service and yes I will tell them about any crimes I know about, suspect or witness. Everybody else should be doing this as well.
So we’re chatting and I ask him how things are going. Dude tells me that there was yet another shooting the previous night and that it is just becoming so commonplace and regular in Bermuda.
After maybe one minute of discussing that issue the subject changed to families, cycling, our mutual need to lose weight. I then said, “Do you realise that we as residents have accepted shootings as part of the way of life in Bermuda?”
We talked about the shooting for ONLY ONE MINUTE! I told my buddy that ten years ago, if someone had told me there was a shooting I would have flooded them with 20 questions about the who, what, where, when, how and why of the incident and expressed astonishment, disbelief, bewilderment, that shootings were happening in my beloved Bermuda.
The talk shows would be bombarded with calls about the incident. The police would have been blamed for being incompetent because they had not stopped a guy from pulling a trigger. People would have been worried, concerned, panicked, losing their minds.
The Commissioner of Police might have been summoned to the Premier’s office or that of the Governor or the Minister of National Security (he had a different name then, something like Minister of Labour, Home Affairs and Public Safety).
But here we are ten years later, some 50 to 100 shooting incidents later, brushing it off like it is no big deal. Wow Bermuda. We have come a long way. If it doesn’t affect us individually or personally we don’t worry about it. If it didn’t happen in our neighbourhood or to a person we know intimately, it’s not that serious.
I submit to you that this, ladies and gentlemen, is part of the problem. Not only do we as residents not care enough about the state of crime, drugs, antisocial behaviour, shootings and violence on the Island, we have accepted it and become seriously desensitised to it such that we don’t even bat an eye when a shooting happens. This must change.
What will it take for us to change our attitude towards crime and violence? Why does it have to affect us directly? This should not be the case. The day we change our attitude towards crime as a Country is the day we will start to really and significantly reduce crime.
Kudos to the Bermuda Police Service who do a great job and can at times point to statistics showing declines in various crimes. However, my issue is that even one shooting is too many; one murder is just not acceptable.
We have to police Bermuda and take back our streets, neighbourhoods, highways and byways as a community. It’s called community policing and the police and national security experts have been preaching this to us for eons.
But at its core, community policing is about residents, families, friends and persons who see or know about crimes, potential crimes, committed crimes, crime networks, etc, reporting as much information as possible to the authorities. We cannot put this all on the police and law enforcement authorities. The day that individual citizens start to take responsibility for keeping Bermuda safe is the day we will really begin to reduce crime and make Bermuda a happier, safer place to live and visit. Peace, DJLT.
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