Circumstance

Jamaica is going through a phase right now which my mind can’t comprehend. Gunshots competed with the sounds of a Jamaican programme on my TV last night and the night before that one. I’m not directly affected by it, living about 10 minutes away from the tense community from which the shots erupted and never having reason to pass by there (plus hearing nothing of it on the news). But the life of someone I love very much is actually being affected a few miles away in a different community. The firing there had been going on for weeks before it made way to the news. Thankfully, the bloodshed has been very small (2 lives lost, 1 injured.. so far) for the thousands of spent shell casings found so far, over 300 in one instance. It seems as if there’s no real motive. Kingston’s gunmen are merely vying to see who have more ammunition. The fact that they can waste ammunition so carelessly shows that they have a steady cheap illegal inflow of bullets too and if that doesn’t worry anyone else nor the guys who can do something about it then I seriously begin to question my patriotism. Look at what’s going on at home yet Jamaicans have some nerve to complain about our athletes “un-stellar” performance in the ongoing 2017 World Championships.

What I will say next may sound shocking to some but honestly, I was unbothered by all of that. Seriously I was (or still am perhaps?). Why? It doesn’t really hit home a lot. No one I know has been hurt, the aforementioned person I love goes in and out at all hours of the day and night unbothered by the chaos in his community. He says a prayer and expect that it will serve as a bullet proof vest should be unlucky to come face to face with a bullet when he comes in at night from a full day of school. No change in behaviour can occur when you don’t perceive yourself at risk because he has lived there his entire life, born and raised, and has learnt that that’s normal. Every few months men in one lane war the men on the next for trivial reasons. You live and work and are unbothered by what’s 5, 10, 15 minutes away so you are “safe.” We all become numb to it, turn off the news, don’t read the papers, ignore or pretend that it doesn’t happen because you yourself are fine and so are your loved ones even if they live in the communities which are affected. In fact, it’s been a while since I heard gunshots honestly. I forgot what they sound like. And no they’re not close range so they do not sound as dramatic as in the movies.

So if I’m unbothered, what’s the point of this blog? Well, something made it hit home. I’m fine still, my loved ones are fine yet, but a 17 year old brilliant mind who made the mistake of saying no to sexual advances of men in her inner city community is not. She made the mistake of being born in the wrong community, for being too ambitious and over-achieving because how dare her do well in GSAT, pass for & attend one of the top secondary schools in the corporate area on her own merit, how dare her sister come up in her footsteps and attend a similar institution, how dare they stay at home and study to try and make something of themselves and not become a statistic? How dare they not sneak out to the dance which keeps every few nights I’m sure which is unsuitable for underage teenagers, how dare they not become sexually active and for want of a milder term hold out on giving up the p**** for the godforsaken criminal elements in their community who believe it is their right to “bruck out” (sexually groom) and pluck the cherry of every female fruit they deem ripe in their community. That girl minded her own business, likely was teased and ostracized for staying indoors instead of mixing with the scum which shared her neighbourhood for all her life. When you have a goal, you do not have time to waste with people who aren’t likeminded. You need to surround yourself with people who share your morals, values, attitude, perseverance, determination and imagination if you are to escape your circumstance which is being born in the wrong side of town. Our country (and world at large) love to glorify those who suceed from humble circumstance and sneer as if to say, “See? You can succeed from anywhere in life. If you don’t, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough.”

But at about 4:25 am on Sunday August 6, the day where we celebrated our 55th anniversary of independence, Mickolle Moulton of Tenth Street, Zimbabwe, in the community also known as ‘Jungle’, class of 2017 Meadowbrook High school graduate was shot through her bedroom window who was in bed, along with her 12-year-old sister. They were taken to hospital where Mickolle was pronounced dead. They didn’t get a chance to escape the community fast enough. The only thing which made Mickolle different from me and all other young women from “humble beginnings” trying to suceed in Jamaica is circumstance.

This crime has to end. Our girls cannot continue like this.

Rest in peace Mickolle.

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