Jamaica: Cops should have non-lethal weapons

Police Shieldoriginally by: Jamaica Gleaner
13th June 2011

About 40 years ago, a very influential mover and shaker of a political party felt that importing illegal firearms to go to war with the opposing side was justified. Then, as now, the acquisition and retention of power was supreme. Individuals, lives, families, communities and all eligible Jamaicans were depersonalised and simply reduced to ‘voters’ and ‘constituents’ (objects to be manipulated and tallied at election time).

The opposing side subsequently felt that importing illegal firearms to ‘defend’ itself was justified. The resultant armed conflicts snuffed out many lives on both sides. Guns were not only used for offence and defence, they were also used by political enforcers to ensure that the ‘electors’ voted for the ‘right side’. In those days, everyone voted (even the dead, the unconscious and those that were unable to make it to the polling stations).

Guns did more than snuff out many innocent and not-so-innocent lives; they snuffed out freedom (of speech, movement, thought, worship), democracy, innumerable human rights (especially in poor communities), a lot of investment (local and foreign), jobs, recreation, hope, trust and patriotism. Guns also facilitated the birth of criminal gangs.

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