Friday, July 8, 2011

Paradise...Lost?

Last night, after a rather yucky, wet day, we were awarded with an amazing sunset.



Despite the fact that the band didn't show up at The Shiggidy Shack last night, the Amazing, Blazing Fireman at least performed the first part of his act, hoping to give the few people who came out at least a bit of a show.



Then today, we woke up to find out that there had been another death by shooting before midnight last night (with a suspect arrested). By the time I had finished my morning soda at 8am, yet another person had died of gunshot wounds (shooters possibly known and being sought). Then I made the mistake of checking the news before lunch only to read about an 80+-year-old grandmother shot in the legs in broad daylight in downtown Basseterre. 3 people shot in 12 hours? This is on top of the other 2 shooting incidents that occurred Monday, July 4th. In just over 2 weeks, there have been 6 people killed. Holy cow. This is all on my crime page, obviously, but I couldn't help but note it here. I know crime is everywhere, but this island is only 23 miles long and most of the population (including us) lives on about 2/3rds of that length. We're not in gated communities (although they're coming), we're all intermingled and friends with everyone else and when someone is shot, robbed, etc. we all know about it are affected by it.

The unlucky Sergeant in charge of public relations for the police department held a press conference, but I'm pretty amazed that someone higher up isn't talking to the besieged public. The police forces are reportedly engaged in some sort of strategery (I couldn't help myself), but are not at liberty to tell us what exactly their new offense is going to entail. Sure hope it's good. My favorite part of the press update was a woman reporter who totally laid into the speaker about how unprepared he was (we were getting more info from the internet) and how dare he tell them that he didn't have a lot of time to talk. If he's going to have a press conference then have one where they actually give information. The speaker got defensive, pointed out it was a press update not conference and then pretty much ended the shabang. I give him credit for getting out there, it's more than they usually do, but he (or his aides) might want to check the internet first next time so he knows what's already out there (right or wrong).

I keep trying to take solace in the fact that this is a small nation, with an even smaller population that would get involved in this kind of crap. I mean Jamaica has a major crime problem but they have over 2.6 million people. Mexico City is out of control, but they've got over 21 million people. We've only got about 50,000 (including Nevis). The entire country is about the size of Charleston, South Carolina (104 sq mi with 120,000 people), except that they "only" had 11 murders last year while St. Kitts/Nevis had 20 (we're already at 19 and it's only July). We're not even talking about all the non-fatal shootings and hold-ups going on. Surely we can shut these delinquents down. I can't help but think we're in a chicken & egg situation though. I think the people want to help (despite a protective yet self-defeating anti-snitch code), but don't trust the cops. The police have to stop arresting people and then releasing them for lack of evidence, despite actually having a preponderance of evidence. No one is going to tell on someone they think might end up back in the neighborhood. The cops are going to have a hard time making arrests and convictions if no one talks. Someone better figure out where the arms/ammunition are coming from too.

(Photo by Keeth France) Well, security forces are in the countryside now, so let's see if this all ends up in a shoot-out involving the good guys vs bad. I know who I'm rooting for. BTW, I hope the picture taker isn't going to follow these guys around and tell everyone where they are the whole time - that's so CNN/FOX.