Posts Tagged ‘Police’

 

Happy New Year to one and all.

Normally at the beginning of the year I would be at pains to compile a year in review blog. The closest I will come to saying “New Year, New Me” is to deviate from that annual rite. I am starting the 2017 “reasoning” with the views of someone else. Not a 100% sure how the etiquette goes but this is the first guest blog featured on “Reasoning With The Cunning One.”

What follows are the Guinness Stout inspired words of one of my greatest friends Mr. Ricardo Perkins who explores, in brief, the tensions between the society at large and the police with dancehall music and the dancehall space. As the cliché would have it…the views expressed do not NECESSARILY represent the views of the management of “Reasoning.”

 

“I have always been a great fan of Bounty Killa; by no means does this translate to him being the perfect role model. However, one must acknowledge, the awesome talent he is and the many times that he has stood up for what is right: and by doing so have made most of us proud! There is no doubt that he loves dancehall music, and there’s absolutely no doubt that dancehall is important to the PEOPLE OF JAMAICA.

If you are from what we call a ‘garrison’, you know that ‘corna dances’ mean that peace is upon us. Persons can move more freely with a reduced fear of being caught in the right place at the wrong time. Maybe, this perspective has biased me and has forced me to think about the (maybe little good) in something that was laden with negatives. What am I talking about- one of the best performances I have ever seen! And it was FREE! On December 29 (3am) Bounty ignited the crowd at the weekly PepperSeed. After about a 20 mins wait to apparently call some police for the show to continue, the permission came and the Killa flourished- with some of what I think are his greatest music, those from the 90’s. The crowd was moving, the performer having fun, no worries as we all enjoyed ourselves. I am sure- Beenie man fans (in fact, I think he was in attendance), Kartel fans, Movado fans were present, but this night we were all attuned to the Killa. Then midway the flourishing, the bad news came- police are back and they want the music stop! Terrible idea. I mean really terrible idea.

Let me first be clear- I despise the noise abatement act and its particular quest to put a dent in dancehall, maybe, because it is too ghetto. But, I won’t get much into that because that is another debate. Back to the Killa- and the moment I applaud. He refused to stop performing…and yea, yea, he should respect the law, the police, blah blah blah… All this is true, but we should be willing to accept what he was saying, shouting angrily, crossly, miserably had many truths. Picking out a few; “offica a chrismuss, mek we hav some fun”; “offica, we nah do nutten wrong”, “offica, a tings like this why people nuh coordinate with unu”. All of this while continuing to perform as patron relish at the graceful distaste shown to not just the police that were present, but POLICE. In the midst of this ‘angry’ outburst aimed at the police qua killer of peaceful vibes lie some truths. The need for police to actually be attentive to situations, and be willing to adjust where the gain would be much more that the lost and missed opportunity.

I can only imagine the ‘forwards and pull-ups’ the gentle police officer would have gotten if he had come on stage and said something like “people listen up- the time pass and unu haffi leave, but guess what- a chrismuss and we affi be kind to one anotha. Turn to u bredrin and sistren beside u a sey merry christmuss and mek we work together to change the new year. We all in this thing together. So u see tru a christmuss, unu hol da 25 mins ya- Killa u see you, the poor people governa, dem ppl ya listen to you. So me waa u tell dem fi stop wid the bag a foolishness and stop kill the ppl dem. U know waa me know unu a video- tek the supe numba- don’t start type enu, we know unu nuh waa ppl think unu a informa, so just record the video and when nuh baddy nah look ( but show u pikney dem) write it down and call me when unu know anything- see it ya, Bounty a me witness, me nah go call nuh name when unu shout me. Gwaun tru Bounty and mash up the place. But memba 25 mins. We agree to that?

Can you imagine what would have been the reaction of the crowd and the possible gains in the right direction for the police if it had gone this way instead of Bounty force performing, resenting the police, while speaking out against the many bad things going on, including the recent rise (or at least reported) crime against females? Imagine that video going viral, many getting the number of this Superintendent- it might not be a lot, but it would be a step in the right direction. Of course, there would have been icing on the cake if the police buss two lyrics.

This incident should call us to reflect on what we can do moving forward, it is clear that we need innovative ways fighting crime. And if we are serious, we must be willing to give people more opportunities to have the feeling that we are in this together. Maybe allowing a peaceful dance attended by ‘big people’ is a step in that direction. The fact is, we are really in this together. But I guess- the question is, of how much more importance is stopping a little noise in areas where little-to-no-persons are gravely affected match up to an actual desire to fight crime.

Big up the Killa, the people that stuck it out, the police for doing what is their current job, the soup man, the jerk man, the man dem whey a park, all hustlers.  Peaceful New Year! ”

 

 

Ricardo Perkins is a Graduate of Kingston College and the University of the West Indies. He is also a Jesuit and is currently studying Philosophy and Applied Ethics at Loyola University. He also states his claim to fame as dominating “The Cunning One” on the basketball court.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the United States of America has been thrust back into the spotlight with two very high profiled police shootings of Black men – Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota. These acts have personally hurt me greatly but I have been trying very hard to not make any grand comment on this new wave of outrage. Today that came to an abrupt end as one letter to the editor in today’s edition of the Jamaica Observer “draw mi out” in the Jamaican vernacular.

The letter went down the increasingly popular road that the now popular Black Lives Matter movement is not only racist but akin to the Ku Klux Klan. that is where my restraint ended. Below is a version of a letter to the editor I immediately drafted in response.

I must confess a lot more could be said and I know I could have structured the response much better but as the words of the original letter (link below) really upset me I cannot say that my mind was operating at full capacity.

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/letters/Black-Lives-Matter-movement-is-racist-_66851

Here goes…

Dear Editor,

I usually read the letters in your publication and nod in agreement or shake my head in disagreement and move on but today is not that day. One regular letter writer, like many tend to do, has transgressed by way of distorting facts and oversimplification. Put simply the letter of July 12, 2016 entitled “Black Lives Matter is Racist!” was just short of a joke. To say that the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) is racist is clearly a misunderstanding of history as well as the reasons it emerged and how the group operates.

If I recall correctly the group emerged formally out of a twitter hashtag campaign which engendered so much support after a series of high profile and dare I say unjustified killings of young black men none more so glaring than the snuffing out of the lives of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. These were the latest in a long history of state excess against Black Americans in the great ‘Merica which continues almost unabated. As a response to these atrocities mainly young black people took the stance that enough is enough.

Now the letter writer has decided that this group is racist on two main accounts:

1)      It is not up in arms about the recent killing of five police officers in Dallas Texas and

2)      It should be using “All Lives Matter.”

Honestly not even sure which of the two claims is more ridiculous. Firstly, let’s take an analogy – would you gatecrash a funeral and tell those grieving that “I too have felt loss.” Or if there is a breast cancer rally going one would you interrupt it under the banner of “but people have AIDS too”? No you wouldn’t. There are multiple issues that exist simultaneously and the fact that persons are seeking to speak out on matters that are of existential importance to them does not make them racist. Never mind that all official BLM operatives I am aware of have cried foul on the murder of the Dallas police officers, that is a fact that is inconvenient to simplistic arguments. The kind of simplistic arguments that do not countenance that we can both denounce the senseless killing of these officers and demand justice and critique law enforcement when they stray into the realm of excess.

This is the thing, in the history of the world only black people are asked to tone down or apologise for not accepting atrocities meted out to them. All lives matter as a mantra spits in the face of the fact that the history of the USA in particular shows that the lives of Black people have mattered very little. And a news flash for the “All Lives Matter” crowd no-one saying Black Lives Matter has ever said ONLY Black lives matter or white lives should matter less, it is a simple cry for Black lives to matter equally recognizing that until they do then it is impossible to say ALL Lives Matter.

The objective facts are there, hundreds of people of colour, particularly black people have died at the hands of the state with impunity. At the same time several very dangerous white offenders have been in standoffs with the police that have been skillfully de-escalated so that they can rightly be arrested and ALIVE. All lives matter? As an ideal that is like saying the sky is blue, but it is unfortunately not the reality at this time.

Any person who cannot see this is willfully ignorant of history and facts.

Even worse the writer goes on to compare the KKK and BLM saying black groups “promoting the interests of black people” are no different from those “promoting the interests of white people.” Anyone who wishes to explicitly or implicitly define the KKK as a group “promoting the interests of white people” and at the same time equating Black Lives Matter, and by subtle implication, the long list of past Black Civil Rights organizations cannot and should not be taken seriously on this matter.  Like honestly, lynching people and burning crosses on their front lawns were all a part of protecting the “interests of white people.” Gimme a break.

I am tired of seeing black people forced to apologise for asking, and when fed up, demanding to be treated as human beings. If that is the new definition for racist sign me up and ship me my Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

Selah.