The Jeff Cumberbatch Column – Is it the Guns Only?

Given the almost weekly incidence of the death, invariably of a young man, caused by a firearm, Barbadians are understandably concerned about their prevalence. In an alarming display of linear reasoning however, the popular assumption appears to be that once we can rid the nation of all unlawful firearms, then there would be no, or at least fewer shooting deaths. That may be logically so, but the fact that death may be caused by other criminal means leaves one to query whether we are bothered merely by those murders caused by the bullet or whether we are equally concerned, as we ought to be, with the murder or maiming of one individual by the hand of another, however caused.

Accordingly, most of the suggested initiatives for combating the current phenomenon have centred on ensuring their absence from the country by restricting the importation of these weapons; by punishing severely their unlawful possession, by initiating a gun amnesty to limit their incidence; by having trials for kindred offences tried in a separate gun court; by having a street march; and the most intriguing one so far from a contributor to “Brass Tacks” two weeks or so ago who expressed the notion of amputating a number of fingers of those convicted of gun crimes and allowing them back into society, I suppose, “pour décourager les autres” For the caller this would be a most effective solution since those so sentenced would be unable to fire another weapon in anger and would even be, as he so risibly put it, unable to clean themselves after defecating (he used the local vernacular to dramatically amusing effect however).

All these suggestions may be likely to reduce or severely limit the incidence of firearms and their unlawful use but, as the National Rifle Association of the US so frequently intones in defence of its members’ Second Amendment rights, “guns do not kill people, people do!” The identical reasoning may be applied to the knife, the bomb and even the nuclear weapon. Each needs to be activated by a mind intent on committing murder and is, without that “mens rea”, a harmless object

This proposition is no less logical however than the obverse notion cited above that elimination of the weapon will thereby reduce shooting deaths, but its further consideration also leads inexorably to the opinion that we need rather to concentrate of the nature of the mind that would form the intention to take the life of another individual by any means including the inanimate gun, or knife, or even poison for that matter.

Of course, the impediment here is that we would prefer to believe that it is much easier to remove the temptation than to cure the mind, even though the admissible evidence thus far would cogently suggest otherwise. The importation and possession of unlicensed firearms have always been unlawful, there have been more gun amnesties than one locally, the Gun Court in Jamaica, apart from having been a constitutional nullity did not stem the number of fatalities owed to the bullet in that jurisdiction and while the caller’s suggestion referred to above would be clearly effective in a number of isolated instances, the imposition of cruel and inhuman dissuasive punishment for an offence has never served effectively to deter the reprise of that conduct by another. But these require much less thought than the concept of altering human conduct.

In the latter context of removing the criminal instinct, the questions become a step too difficult for a society impatient for relief to contemplate. It starts with the grudging recognition that the same individual that would recklessly fire into a crowd of fellow citizens is a product of the society, the political and educational systems that we have created and in which we exist and not merely some extraterrestrial visitor to our space. It continues with the contemplation of what local circumstance might have caused such a mindset in one of our own that the state would have delivered into this world with taxpayer-funded hospital services, offered similarly provided education to at least age sixteen with the prospect of additional assistance, should he need it, to go even further in order to acquire training for a skill that would enable him to become a productive citizen of the society.

Yes, we should seek to eliminate the gun from our society, but we also need to ascertain what force might have intervened to break the chain of causation from that innocent baby born to adoring parents to the sober productive citizen he was s destined to become and convert him into a wild-eyed thug that has no compunction in killing or maiming a number of fellow citizens to “bore” his intended adversary.

The late Prime Minister, Mr. David Thompson, might have been on to a useful concept with his mantra that Barbados was not merely an economy, but also a society”. However, we did not make the logical connection that the creation of a just society should require an abstention from the materialist development that we have pursued in which the acquisition of as much wealth as possible to the neglect of the most vulnerable is perceived as success. In that milieu, the drug baron is of equal status to the successful business magnate or community leader.

Can we then blame the impressionable youngster for wishing to take the easier road less frequently travelled to fame and fortune? To answer my own question therefore, no, it is not the guns only. It is rather our chosen developmental path. And as the weeping man in the rearview mirror seen by Shabine in Derek Walcott’s “Schooner Flight”, we might yet weep for the houses, the streets…

125 comments

  • OK miller speaking of handcuffs maybe a couple would fit perfectly on Mam hands as court records file by payne vs Hinkson debacle has indicated Mam to be involved in illegal actions not befitting to be a govt minister farther less to be a Prime Minster

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Miller…Mia should do her job as Opposition leader and speak to scotland yard…bring them all down, make sure they follow the money and find those bank accounts filled with laundered money, especially for the one Michael Lashley. …but definitely for all the ministers.

    Money laundering is an international crime.

    Someone mentioned recently that a government official got into an accident last month and could not account for how the car got into the island….

    ..I guess we can conclude that the vehicle was also laden with drugs and guns. ..upon its arrival in the port.

    Like

  • In light of the deaths of two English expats here in two weeks, one clearly related to drugs and guns, the other an ‘interesting’ close event, I hope the authorities such as immigration review those who are here on extended stays, to ascertain those with solid evidence of earnings, compared to those with dubious records.

    Obviously, some of these would be Weare’s ‘friends’. Surely those connections are being looked at. Also worth a check is to see whether any expats who Weare surely knew, have suddenly made bookings to leave the island. Maybe scared due to what they know. If any have, what they have to say would be very interesting.

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Immigration need to connect with their british and other counterparts to background check these whites and others who slither into the island claiming to be business people and buying up plantations, not only are the chances extremely high that they are known criminals to law enforcement in their jurisdictions, but very likely that they engage in modern day slavery among other criminality.

    This Weare rah rah…has a lot of blowback, particularly for corrupt government ministers.

    The BBC is on the ball…

    “Insp Cobbler said there were no details of how Mr Weare died.”

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  • Is there any appreciation of contempt of court in Barbados? Even more, do the defence lawyers for people accused of serious offences which are discussed on social media aware of the impact of these so-called posts on their client s innocence or guilt? It is my understanding t hat young men are before the courts on the Weare case.
    The attorney general of England and Wales has just launched a review of social media and contempt of court with the expressed intention of taking legal action against people who break the law.
    Only a couple weeks ago the foreman of a jury was jailed for Googling the accused in the case in which he was sitting. It is illegal.
    Once an anonymous troll is arrested and jailed the others will realise it is not fun to commit contempt of court; and with it, editors who do not remove offending posts as soon as is practicable.
    But it the bar association that has to raise its game.

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Hal..the troll…, ya trying to cover up the Weare case, but ya too weak, ya are a weak jourmalist and an even weaker detective, and ya are no lawyer at all…..the information will come out…deal with that.

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  • Hal Austin September 15, 2017 at 11:59 AM #

    Where above do you see accused names for any case or the details of any case mentioned? All of the comments above are in general terms about drugs and guns, nothing specific to a case, not about any accused.

    Above you will see the name of a man who someone (s) murdered and another who supposedly committed suicide.

    You are joking or have not the slightest clue what you are talking about.

    Above also discussed also in general terms the nature of guns being imported and drugs imported into Barbados.

    Apart from the dead man, Weare, who apparently was in the business. Dead men cannot be charged, so no case there.

    What are you on about?????

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  • Ironically, the only one to have mentioned above, as to people before the courts, is Hal.

    Oh dear Hal, what are you getting yourself into.

    Like

  • Crusoe,
    Plse read the below carefully.

    Crusoe September 15, 2017 at 8:26 AM #
    In light of the deaths of two English expats here in two weeks, one clearly related to drugs and guns, the other an ‘interesting’ close event, I hope the authorities such as immigration review those who are here on extended stays, to ascertain those with solid evidence of earnings, compared to those with dubious records.
    Obviously, some of these would be Weare’s ‘friends’. Surely those connections are being looked at. Also worth a check is to see whether any expats who Weare surely knew, have suddenly made bookings to leave the island. Maybe scared due to what they know. If any have, what they have to say would be very interesting.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Crusoe…Hal is not an investigative journalist or he would know all of that would encompass investigations into drug dealing and other crimes by white british and others on the island, which in this case are cross border police investigations……I am sure are ongoing, eg…all the drugs and guns being confiscated at the port, in car parts and elsewhere and who is likely to take Wear’s place….to continue such crimes into the island.

    ….but will still have no direct impact on that murder trial itself….cause they git the accused and their statements.

    The trial has nothing to do with people who speculate on the blogs who are free to…..

    He aint too bright.

    Like

  • Hal Austin September 15, 2017 at 1:28 PM #

    And??? What has that to do with anything. No names or details mentioned. As I said, a dead man cannot have a case.

    You are way off.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger. September 15, 2017 at 1:51 PM #

    Exactly, I did not even mention a case, spoke very generally about two dead men and crime.

    Strange, maybe someone is asking him to cut the conversation? Lots of nervous folks about, very likely.

    I am really wondering what some of these expat fellows are doing about here, now. We usually assume they are in business, but…

    Like

  • Hal Austin September 15, 2017 at 11:59 AM #

    After re-reading your initial summary, I must say that I am disappointed in your lack of understanding of what constitutes contempt and the circumstances.

    Disappointed why? Because I rejoice when I see those willing to commit to fruitfully comment on matters of civil importance. Especially when those are of an ability to understand and assess issues fully.

    Your post above indicates a complete lack of understanding of the matter of contempt. Aide from what I referenced above, which remains true, that I and others have spoken generally, nevertheless, even if we had not, it would be very difficult to achieve the notion of contempt.

    Why? Because we are commenting editorially on a matter of civil interest, without being bound by the court in any manner.

    We are NOT reporting on court proceedings, we are discussing without reference to such.

    The case you refer, the ‘chairman of the jury’ …do you actually understand the implication of that, as opposed to an (as you wrote unfairly), an ‘anonymous troll’?

    Do you actually get it?

    You then write ‘ for a case in which he was sitting”It is illegal’.. Good gosh man! Duh!!!!!!!!!!

    To compare a sitting juror to an internet discussion amongst political enthusiasts is just mindbogglingly ignorant.

    You then go on to say ‘once an anonymous troll is arrested’… on what grounds oh seer? On what grounds?

    Compounding the ignorance is your dismissal of the above bloggers as ‘anonymous trolls’.

    Very strange indeed, far less totally uncalled for. Why are such persons, and you have referenced a paragraph of mine, so obviously you refer to me also, ‘trolls’?

    Because we dare to discuss a matter of national importance amongst ourselves?

    Either we have stepped on a corn, which I suspect, or you have hit the Mount Gay early this Friday.

    Finally Hal, go and read up on what contempt of court actually means, before yabbering nonsense.

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  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Hal is a study in idiocy, a very special case.

    Like

  • After lol many years of fighting govts proposal of placing cameras in strategic areas of the immigration dept close to custom officers the Unions have conceded
    Isn,t it a dam shame that they are ignoramus the likes of Mcdowell who would stand in the way of the country,s best interest to protect custom officers

    SMFH

    Like

  • Crusoe,
    Your above comment is contempt, or more properly will be in any developed jurisdiction. I do not intend continuing the conversation. If you are a lawyer, then go back to your books. Or, is this another example of how we do things in Barbados?

    Like

  • Hal Austin September 15, 2017 at 6:13 PM #

    It is not (under English law that Barbados follows), I already said, go and read up on what contempt is.

    No, YOU go and read up on contempt, you have no clue.

    Just for kicks, explain why you think that it is contempt.

    ‘I do not intend continuing this conversation’, as expected, because you cannot back up your opinion by explaining the points. I have above showed why you are wrong.

    Again, very disappointed in the lack of understanding and now moreso in your obstinacy in trying to stick to your ‘wrong and strong’ attitude.

    And lastly, now you, quite nastily, run to the ‘is this another example of how we do things in Barbados’, to sidestep the fact that you are wrong, trying to put the blame for your ignorance on the process here.

    Poor.

    Like

  • Hal Austin September 15, 2017 at 6:13 PM #

    PS – ”Your above comment is contempt” Again, I thought that Weare is dead, not under trial?

    As explained, above the general issue of criminal activity as it relates to British expats is what was being discussed and is clearly reflected in the comment that you quoted. What the heck does that have to do with a trial? The only one to mention a court case was you. No one else did.

    I have no idea of what court case you are speaking of.

    Mindboggling.

    Like

  • Geesus… John over there. Hal over here, AS lurkimg somewhere

    Like

  • @ Crusoe
    Boss … TRUST Bushie on this…
    Hal is NOT worth it….
    He has been an insufferable idiot from school days … and likely even prior..

    He can only manage to get you to lower your standards to his level – where he is comfortable – having been an idiot all his life.

    Think about it Crusoe….
    This is a man who fell for a simplistic money scam by some Bajan parro…that cost his wife thousands of dollars …. and then HE came on BU – identified the poor wife – and let the whole blog know what a jackass he is….

    ….and you are ‘arguing’ about the legal meaning of contempt with this SAME ‘person’… ???!!

    Cease and desist…. PLEASE!!!

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Lol…

    Ah bet meh last dollar that Hal is clueless to the definition of contempt or he would not dare hold this argument.

    Like

  • Bush Tea September 16, 2017 at 12:06 AM #

    Point taken.

    Like

  • @ Well Well,

    Back to normal programming.

    I am with you (however cannot be on the wholesale vilification of foreigners, I just cannot), on wondering how many of these expats are in on criminal activities.

    Hence my thought on the authorities needing to examine why and how some are here.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Crusoe…the criminal expats know who they are, I wont hurt my head about who are not expat criminals.

    Like

  • Well Well & Consequences Observing Blogger.

    Look Hal…the only fearless Bajan journalist the island has ever known, a real one.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/100543/write-stuff

    Like

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