Good people should be celebrated, not killed
Seventeen-year-old Micholle Moulton was shot in the head and killed while she slept in the community of Arnett Gardens on Sunday. Her 12-year-old sister was also shot and injured in the incident that has drawn the ire of Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the Minister of National Security Robert Montague.
However, some members of the community seemed more concerned about the fact that it is being reported that Moulton's killer is from the community.
Against the background of claims being made that the exceptional teenager, who was interning at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), was killed because she rebuffed the sexual advances of gunmen, residents have declared that there were no 'raper men' in the community, and that the girl's mother needs to come clean about why her daughter was shot dead.
There seemed to be little concern that the girl was actually murdered. It was almost as if death was so much a part of their daily lives that it is easy to dismiss the thought that a talented young woman's life was so senselessly snuffed out.
There was no expression of empathy, nothing to suggest that an exceptional child had just been killed. Instead, a concern over the men from that community being targeted as suspects in this most heinous of crimes.
What concerns me is why have they become like this? Years of neglect in these communities have forced people to shut down their emotions and embrace their most basic instincts of survival. Years of being forced to embrace a culture of tribalism have created communities that have become a major problem for the country in ways we could never have imagined.
For this to change, there needs to a significant shift towards empowering people in these communities, allowing them to make a move away from the dependency syndrome that sees them being at the mercy of area dons and politicians.
There needs to be a shift towards a thinking where people like Moulton are celebrated and protected. Where people like her are seen as examples of how individuals can work towards breaking the cycle of poverty that has plagued many of these communities for far too long.
If Jamaica is to really move forward, have a strong economy and control the scourge of crime, Moulton's death should become a rallying point towards a process of change where people like her are seen as pillars to build on, and not someone to be shot dead in their sleep.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org