Why, oh why does the crime continue in Jamaica?
Each morning I awake, and either go for a run, a bike ride, or a walk. I always think about how great it is to have warmth, sunshine and lush greenery around almost every single morning to exercise. While I enjoyed bolting out on cold brisk mornings for my one hour run when I lived in Washington, D.C. this never ending sunshine and island breeze feels great.
I then look out on our balcony and can see the hillside with houses of all shapes and sizes, and these views are breathtaking. But, I then open the Daily Gleaner or Observer newspapers, and it’s difficult to read about yet another senseless horrible murder in Kingston.
While I try to understand the reasons behind the numerous killings, I tell myself, I am not going to allow the negative information to dominate this blog site. Last night however I was at a barbecue with friends, and we were all having a great time, with about five to six two years old running around simply having fun. The adults started discussing crime, and a story was told by a couple, who was recently car jacked at gun point at their front gate.
I felt numb, as I could only imagine how this mother felt with her two year old daughter in hand, while a gun was being pointed at them. Did she now want to buy a plane ticket and return to her home country? Did she blame her Jamaican husband for wanting to return home to Jamaica? Or did she rationalize that crime could occur anyplace in the world. I choose to say kind words to them and silently walked away.
This past weekend, I had another new Jamaican experience while running my first half marathon race for the year. My running partner and I had just passed a “mad man” at about mile nine near August Town, and heard a popping noise. As we looked around we saw this guy leaning out of a van pointing a large automatic pistol at the mad man, and therefore at us, just behind. The popping sound came from the sound of an empty cartridge — the gun had no bullets.
“Thank God” we said to each other before running on in total silence.
I spent the next day, questioning myself as to whether this actually occurred, but I knew it was real. Could I have done anything differently? Do I now feel like I need to move away? Hmm……
My answer would be “No” to both questions, as crime happens any place in the world. Simply being aware and trying to keep myself safe currently feels like a great deal of work.
The following video is not something one would ever see from the Jamaica Tourist Board, but it’s part of daily life for many Jamaicans who live in the inner city of Kingston. Notice that its part 1 of a 3 part series, and they can all be found on YouTube. It explains some of the reasons why gun-crime occurs in Jamaica.