Patrick Martin, MD
Student & Resident Citizen
Seventeen year olds are children in late adolescence. They should be buried in books or software development, not in a grave. They should be taking shots at goal or throwing the shot put, not shooting or being shot at.
The nation continues to reel under the burden of crime and violence. The prevalence of brazen and callous life-threatening and life-ending attacks unnerve to the point of psychosomatic illnesses. Cries for relief are increasingly desperate; people feel exposed because of the shooting in public places.
The crossfire has thus far spared the country’s hospitality-based economy. However, with shots being fired during football and in the hospital, a disaster waiting to happen.
Why are things the way they are? In its 2002 World Report on Violence, the World Health Organization stated “Gangs and a local supply of guns and drugs are a potent mixture increasing the likelihood of youth violence”. This formula applies to the Federation.
Trafficking in illegal substances, people and stolen goods is a lucrative business. The importation of guns is a natural consequence. Trafficking is also a risk to life. Compliance with gang rules is absolute and violations attract ruthless punishment, even the death penalty. Indeed, thuggery is immune to Parliament’s expanded penalty footprint. The mindset is kill or be killed hence the inevitable deadly feuds over product and turf.
The Federation’s current predicament was predictable and predicted. During an early 1990’s national consultation on the status of children, conclusive evidence of a looming problem was documented by persons working on the frontline of child health and child protection. Reference was drawn to the scores of toxic family arrangements where some children are radicalized to become thugs and other children pimped to get bills paid. The evidence and analysis were dismissed as alarmist.
Likewise, the obvious existence by the turn of the century of a violent gang culture was denied. Not surprisingly, there is lack of robust attention to the 30 or so girls who become new mothers every year – an indicator of pedophile tolerance.