When The Noise Dies

It took nothing this past Saturday night, November 1, 2014 for some cold, dark hearted perpetrator to unload his weapon of death on Kevin “Broadie” Newman. The selfish pursuit of a few meager dollars from a hard working, life loving, ambitious, young son and father meant more to the thoughtless criminal than the consequences of his twisted decision. In an instant, the actions of some brute changed the entire world of a family, community and country.

We pride ourselves in our abilities to come together during times of crisis. As a so-called peace loving, Christian minded people, we claim not to take pride in the demise of another. Does this describe the current and future generations of Kittitian and Nevisian people? It must say something about the state of our small twin island nation that we quietly crawl into our homes every night, uneasy about the incidence of crime around us, yet like hostages in silence await the next murder victim, who in recent times, is the face of some young man in his 30’s or younger.

While a plethora of issues hang over our nation for which many citizens hold well founded disgust, there can be no other matter that should enrage us than the gunning down of the people who we desperately need to make our nation prosper; our youth. In the past ten years alone, a pool of hundreds of mostly young men have been senselessly snuffed out; their lives deemed valueless by their killers.

Once death comes, we as survivors pay homage by rendering the all too familiar RIP as a standard way of expressing condolences to our fallen citizens. While we send off our boys to their graves, parents and family are left behind to LIT. “Live In Turmoil;” mothers NEVER the same again, thoroughly traumatized by the violent end to the lives of the children they birthed. It must be said that the woman who bears the pain of giving life to a child bears a deeper, unexplainable pain at the loss of that same child who she never envisioned departing life before her.

When we lose a loved one so violently and senselessly, the one thing the grieving family deserves is justice. No more should the noise just “die down” as we await another victim and for the cycle of “sorry” to continue. We all know one or more families in our nation whose son or daughter has become an unfortunate victim of crime. While we honor the lives these victims once lived, there is no greater honor than fighting to ensure we save one more son from the fangs of murder.

Many Christian believers ascribe to the Old Testament lesson written in the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, which speaks to a time for every purpose under heaven. It challenges us to engage in deep introspection about the changing scenes of life.

What is our purpose in this time when our nation’s sons are being gunned down by the dozens every year? Have we done enough individually and/or collectively to help curb the senseless crime in our independent St. Kitts and Nevis? The thought that trigger remorseless youths walk the streets of our villages and towns with a twisted sense of “entitlement” should have all our citizens enraged.

Educator, Calypsonian, Political Scientist and part-time Voices radio talk show host, Duncan “Big Lice” Wattley has repeatedly made a plea for members of civil society to collectively voice their displeasure and agitate against the ills of our society that directly impact the quality of life we are afforded.

He has spoken to the positive outcome our collaborative efforts can bear, void of politics, with a view to solve the many issues that plague our nation. He reminds that the color of death for criminals is their victim’s blood. Their criminal actions have no bearing on what political party individuals support. Wattley sees a time such as NOW as one that requires civil society to stand up with a unified voice and speak out.

This one brazen act committed on Saturday November 1, 2014 has far reaching repercussions for Kevin’s family, for his community, for bus drivers, for patrons of the island wide bus service, for our entire nation. It behooves civil society to stand in solidarity with Kevin’s family and the numerous families grieving their son’s loss to declare “Life Matters.” From Prime Minister to Priest, from Factory Worker to the Education Chief, we cannot allow barbarism to define our nation.

When the funerals end and the condolences are no longer exchanged, will the noise just die down?

Will we be deemed a people who failed to save our boys in life and failed to demand justice even after their death?

After the rage and the noise dies, will we just die too?

Coreentje Phipps Benjamin
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