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TACKLE GANGS HEAD-ON
The latest drive-by shootings that claimed three lives and an overnight killing in the carpark of an Arima mosque as Muslims observe the month of Ramadan have sent shock waves across the country and the response from many of the citizenry is to call on the Almighty to save us from the further bad news.
These shootings that are reported to be gang related come days after mechanisms for dealing with gangs came into force. We run the risk of becoming numb to reality as we absorb the daily news of killings that are now claiming more and more lives every day.
The shootings this weekend claimed not just the lives of adults, but another young man who reportedly was peacefully enjoying a video game on his tablet. Just think of the impact of his killing on his family, friends, school, and anyone who has had contact with him.
That pain reaches beyond to the rest of the nation, reacting in horror of another youth robbed of the opportunity to be an upstanding contributor in the building of the kind of society envisaged in our national anthem.
While many may feel helpless, the reality is that we must not stand aside and not do something about this situation.
You may ask what we can do when guns are being used to settle disputes, scores, or to brazenly kill. The thought of involvement is to generate fear among those who have not had anything to do with firearms. Many are reluctant to have any contact with those bearing such arms and whose temperament strikes even more profound fear at the prospect of engagement.
So that leaves us to rely on those whose job it is to work across our society to reduce these incidents.
Topping the list is our police service who are committed to making this a safer society. It is a tough task since they often arrive at the end of the fight when bodies are on the ground in alleyways, gutters, or just out in the streets.
We often hear that the police must do something about what is happening. To be fair, the police are not in the midsts of the arguments, turf wars, and other activities that end so horrifically.
The joint patrol mounted with the army in the hotspots across the country only serve to generate anger among the community who feel trampled on by the authorities.
So where does that leave us?
Some suggest that we give up on this generation of killers and instead concentrate on saving the next generation from falling into “bad company.”
The reality is that we still have to endure the criminal elements astride across the country who have succeeded in affecting our ability to enjoy a stroll on the promenade or to relax safely in our homes and enjoy the benefits we have worked so hard to acquire.
Those whose job it is to help us cope, speak about the need to work on saving some of the bad boys by getting into the communities and working to turn them around from lives of crime.
But the records show that this is one of the hardest tasks since the ones we attempt to turn around are encouraged to stay on the narrow path by gang leaders who generate cash to fuel their enterprises and use these young people as their soldiers.
Overall, the nation must come to terms with the reality that we have bred a core of people who no longer have any respect for life.
We have little choice but to support those efforts to reduce these incidents and work to save the next generation from becoming members of the criminal world.
We also need to support law enforcement as they continue to gather intelligence about the criminal elements and work to arrest them for the crimes committed.
Now that the anti-gang legislation is in force, we can only hope that it provides the police and associated agencies with the facilities to work effectively at tackling the crime situation headon.
But they will need to gain the confidence of the populace to aid those efforts.
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