You pass them on the street everyday. Some go to school with your children. Some work with your peers. Some sell on the streets, and even drive taxis. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not asleep or sitting in the ‘Garrisons’, they’re up early and pounding the pavement, observing the movements of the town, syncing with its heartbeat, more in line with its pulse than you or I.
Yes, they’re the killers amongst us.
They’re not easy to spot, to point out. Most have graduated from Chameleon School, masters of disguise and masters at blending in. Some are highly intelligent, extremely talented, adaptable and very versatile. They are not the ‘screw-faced’ badmen of yore. Many are handsome, well-dressed and well-mannered. If only we were a nation that offered more opportunities to our people, some would be trailblazing pioneers.
But they’re not. No Sir. They’ve put all their talent, their adaptability, their versatility, their intelligence, their very will, into their craft; Killing.
‘Normal’ people wonder how one could take another’s life, what the thought process behind such evil is. The people in the ‘Garrisons’ won’t. They know how this kind came to be. They live it. They’ve been living it for years.
Where they come from, it’s always a struggle; for everything! The politicians knew this, and knew that they had NUMBERS ! Thus began a courtship resulting in the unleashing of this scourge upon our society.
The Politicians’ Formula was simple:
Make a strongman.
Give him resources that will make area people come to him.
Have him isolate and stigmatize those who won’t.
He now ‘runs’ the place for you.
Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
He’s the de facto head of that community. He recruits as he sees fit. He hands out benefits as he sees fit. He hands down judgment as he sees fit. Take it, or leave.
Or, build your own team. How? Find the opposing politicians, and have them support you. Little by little at first, because they don’t know if you can overpower the ‘ruler’, then everything you need if your efforts gain traction.
Imagine growing in such a place, where war and bloodshed is commonplace.
See how your “normal’ is different from theirs? While you were playing cricket and football, they were building barricades and transporting guns and knives for their elders. While common sense, respect and order ruled in your neighborhood, the ‘Don’ ruled in theirs. When you were choosing the better batsman or the better baller, they were choosing the better fighter, the better knife man. You grew where brains stood out, where they grew it was brawn.
Add to this melting pot the constant displacement of the ‘countryman’, who had come to town to improve his lot in life, couldn’t or didn’t, and, unwilling to return to country life, joined the disenchanted in the only place he can find a kotch, the garrison.
More people, less food.
Less food, more violence.
More violence, more bloodshed. More bloodshed, more death.
More death, more killers.
With the electorate now crying out against political violence, the hypocritical politicians dropped completely or staggered their support of the dons, and in some cases the dons branched out into other businesses and got so wealthy that THEY dropped the politicians.
Whichever the case; less food , more fighting, more bloodshed, more killers.
Here, the killers started to form teams, using numbers to gain strength. To feed the teams they launched into extortion, hijacking of goods, and murder for hire. They networked across communities and parishes, thus spreading their brand of mayhem into the towns and suburbs. Most still used the guise of politics, but mainly in their areas. Outside, they were whatever colour they wanted to be, the teachings of Chameleon school put to full use.
The emergence of scamming slowed the bloodshed dramatically. Its genesis was in the west, then, as the authorities became more and more aware of the nefarious activity and ‘put the heat’ on them, spread like a virus island-wide.
This further diminished the politicians’ power in the impoverished communities. Having lost control of their puppets, the politicians now set about eliminating them, or those they couldn’t control. Enter the security forces.
They were told who the badmen were, where they were, and what guns they had. Some of these same state’s agents were right by the politicians’ sides when spoils and tools were being handed out, so they knew the killers, their routines and their hangouts.
They set about their task assiduously, to use one their favourite terms, and for a time, they had the killers on the run. But,
Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
The police, seemingly, started to kill wantonly, even settling their own private vendettas, and when their stories didn’t match crime scene evidence or eyewitness accounts, society in general and the Jamaicans For Justice Organization in particular, called for a halt to these extra judicial killings. Indecom was established to police the police, and its introduction slowed police killings to a trickle. The killers were reprieved, albeit momentarily.
The police then switched the fight to scamming, slowing the flow of the pipeline from which the Golden Geese drank. With the power of the Proceeds of Crime Act behind them the police began hitting the scammers where it hurt most, in their pockets. Forfeitures of large sums of cash, vehicles, houses, jewellery and electronic equipment were the order of the day, and when infighting entered their ranks, the scammers imploded.
No money, no food.
No food, more fighting.
More fighting… you know the song by now.
The bloodletting returned with a vengeance, and a new twist. Friends within the same network started killing each other. Communities turned against their neighbors, then themselves. The Funeral business boomed. Entire families were uprooted. Those forced to flee took their brand of hooliganism to the areas they settled in. Quiet, rustic locales became war zones almost overnight. Vendettas were settled on sight, and wherever. The towns were rife with brazen acts of lawlessness, with many innocents caught in the middle. Shades of the run-up to the 1980 General Election came to mind, the Citizenry held hostage by fear.
The politicians, always in denial, blamed, at one time or another, the guns for drugs trade, scamming and gangs for the mayhem. The fingers pointed everywhere except the mirror. The closest they’ve come to accepting blame is their recent hue and cry about political sabotage by the opposition. “They’re not in power so they’re unleashing their henchmen on the society.” Shades of politics past. They no longer war in the streets, but in Parliament.
Regardless of where the blame is to be laid, this fact remains; The Killers are still out there. Many are Serial. Yes. Youths as young as 19 have taken multiple lives. Their anarchy has been infectious. Youths from Suburbia have joined the murder teams. The days of experimenting on roaches, frogs and lizards are over. Babies, primary schoolers, teenagers and the elderly now quench their bloodlust. On the road, listen to any group of children talking and you’ll hear how violent their conversations are. Their lives and video games should be PG, not their TVs.
While ‘divine intervention’ has been sought, more earthly solutions will have to lead the fight. ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ Omar Davies, a Garrison-Holder, believes there is a ‘whole generation of waste-men’. He should know. He helped to create the system that bred them, or, at the very least, fostered it. If there is to be a transformation, however, no single element of our society can oversee it. It must be multilayered and multilevel, fair and transparent, and multiplatformed. Church and State and citizenry. Can all these participants play on one team?
Because, while you laugh, while you fret, while you pray, while you party, while you go about your life minding your own business:
The Killers are walking amongst us.