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The Gleaner publishing murder numbers on its front page

04/16/10

Permalink 03:19:17 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary, News

The Gleaner publishing murder numbers on its front page

Over the past few days, the Daily Gleaner has been publishing on its front page (with large bright text) a graphic which states, the number of murders that has been reported for the year 2010, states how many of those murders were of policemen and then below that it states "Who is accountable". This has caused alot of mixed emotions coming from people from all walks of life who read the newspaper. Some are saying that this is a good and necessary thing, some are saying its a bad thing... However whichever way you look at it, there is something about it that alot of people are forgetting, and that is that what the gleaner is doing is both revolutionary, and disturbing.

Gleaner front page with murder numbers

I say it is revolutionary and disturbing because of the arguments that are being used by the people who say that what the Gleaner is doing is a good thing. It is revolutionary because it serves as a constant reminder of the downward spiral that Jamaican society is currently going through, as we have more deaths than even some war-torn countries in the world, we are more or less the murder capital of the world. I mean, all these figures show is that there are 4 deaths a day in Jamaica, I'll let that number sink in for a while... Now when we look at the fact that we are a small island, with a population of just about 3 million people, with more murders than countries 5 times our size, I think it should give us reason to look inwards and see what we can do to stop this problem.

However there are people who say that what the gleaner is doing is wrong. I've heard people say that seeing something like this on the front page is disgusting, and it embarrases the entire nation, as the gleaner is not only read in Jamaica but also in the US and UK. Then there are those that say that children read the papers too and when they see something like this they are exposed to a side of life that they shouldn't have to see at such a young age. Instead this side argues that the gleaner should be posting good news and trying to focus on what good people have done. A recent editorial in the paper on this same topic stated that:

..."443 murders in 102 days" or "461 in 103 days" is better than 2009. Here is the arithmetic: 443 ÷ 102 = 4.343 per day, and 4.343 x 365 = 1,585 for 2010. Now, 461 in 103 days is 1,633 for the year, averaging 1609. Compare this with 2009: 1,680; and in 2008, it was 1,611. Instead of the negative hype and fear, the media should be saying that although we are nowhere near where we should be, we are heading in the right direction, at least for the time being, with a four per cent improvement on last year. We should all hope for better, and citizens should do their part to contribute to the downward trend ...

One can certainly see the merit in this writers argument, but it isnt the only side of the equation. There are the people who say the gleaner is doing a good thing... They say the gleaner is trying to highlight how much of an outrageous situation we are now in. They (The Gleaner) aren't trying to propose a solution to the murder problem, or state that there is nothing that we can do. Instead they are just trying to repulse the population into realizing that we must do something about our current situation. Maybe the gleaner is hoping that people who have witnessed crimes and have not reported them, may see this and realize that it would make more sense to report the crime and put somebody behind bars. Another editorial, that isnt exactly on the topic, but presents something that I think will help this side of the argument states that:

If the corpses of the 463 people murdered in Jamaica in the past 104 days were lined up head to toe, they would stretch for nearly the entire length of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. When they were alive, these people packed a dozen Jamaican Urban Transit Company Buses. The same group would have formed a healthy crowd in Montego Bay's Sam Sharpe Square, and could occupy the seats around the cabinet table 29 times.

This to me states just how much people we have lost. Imagine if all these 463 people were qualified to work at the Airport and how efficient they would allow it to run, and how they could help the JUTC with their patronage to and from work, or that one of them may have been the next Bolt, Powell, Fraser, or Campbell. Or the fact that out of those 463 people they could have formed the government of Jamaica, and one of them may just have been the Prime Minister Jamaica needs to lead us out of our current situation. It kind of gives you a whole new perspective on how to look at the amount of people who are being murdered in Jamaica, and the possibilities that may have left us with these victims.

Unfortunately for one side I will have to say that I agree with what the gleaner is doing. I think people have grown used to hearing that a large number of murders continue to happen in Jamaica and the act of murder has lost its shock value to us. I dont believe that a society that looks at murder like a everyday thing (which it is really), is a properly functioning society, and the gleaner is reminding us that we are in a bad way and something needs to be done.

(Isn't it funny that I give props to the Gleaner right after bashing its poor presswork).

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