Monday, May 25, 2009

The war at home...

It's quiet now. As we look forward to the celebration of our country, Bermuda Day, a huge cloud hangs over head. In two days over the weekend 5 people were shot in separate incidents in what has been termed a "feud" between local gangs. One person has died at this point, we have no reports of any other fatalities as of this time. Is it over? Let's hope so.

I waited a couple of days to write this, simply because I needed to get my thoughts in order. Let's run through the emotional checklist. Shocked: No, Worried: Yes, Angry: Yes, Hopeful: Yes. I could go on and on. These acts of violence in our community are seemingly commonplace now, and we should all understand that it just won't go away. We can't pray for guidance and we can't wish it away. It is here and now, and we must deal with it here and now.

It is strange that not so long ago, the local daily newspaper ran a series of articles on Gang Life. We had experts here talking to students, people who had lived the life, and more importantly had lived to tell about it. I'm not sure how many students needed the message. The victim who's life was taken was 27. I'm sure he didn't, and those who shot him didn't get that message. He probably skipped school that day. I apologize, that's a bad joke at a time we need to find answers, find hope and that we should all be terrified that this war isn't over.

Still, we have to believe that at some point in the future, people will recognize that gang-life is a way of life and that we can't just sweep it under a rock. The police for all of their efforts can not predict when these things will happen and we are all handcuffed to a time and place that if we are in the vicinity of a gang member, if we know it or not, we could find ourselves as innocent by-standers, and maybe even victims. It truly is a scary thought. When will we be safe?

What makes Bermuda special is that in fact we are one community. Our size and population, smaller than Camden, New Jersey, demands that we are in deed a community, and that we have every right to treat it as such! Crime is inevitable. The challenges for young males to find their place in life, to accept positive leadership roles is huge, but we must prevail. It is our burden, our responsibility, our challenge. We must restore confidence and fight the status quo. We must work together, east end, west end, Middletown and 42nd Street, it doesn't matter where you are. Ord Road or Fairylands, Jonestown or Wellington. The voices of the many MUST outweigh the stupidity of a few.

Our community is such that we know who is responsible, we know someone who knows someone, who knows why this has happened. We must not leave it to the police to solve the problem. It's our problem and it's time we dealt with it. It will hurt. It won't be easy. Someone's child will be held accountable, gangs must realize that they can not keep our community hostage any longer. We can not allow the gang-life to continue to threaten the fabric of our society. How do we do this? We organize. Parish councils, committees, working together in every corner of society. This isn't about US and THEM, its not about BLACK or WHITE. It's about Bermuda, One community, One heart. 

Happy Bermuda Day everyone. Let's hope for our future.

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