Mon. August 7, 2023
Capital punishment, though still on the books, has been unofficially abolished in Belize for a few decades now. Unfortunately, there remain a few members of our society who think otherwise, or at least they consider that the rule does not apply to them, so they go about their business of targeting their enemies or those who have done them wrong, and execute their own form of capital punishment, albeit without the involvement of the state or any pre-execution announcement. In the case of animals, dogs in particular, apparently there are some that are trained to kill. As opposed to the traditional “dog war da Matthew Lane,” these animals go immediately for the jugular and are seemingly wired to kill once triggered to target another animal, and become completely beyond the control of even their owner once they smell the blood of their victims. There may be a Humane Society that deals with such animals; but certainly, they have no business living in a neighborhood with other “normal” pet dogs. With us humans, it has been an uphill battle to convict and thus remove the active killers from society.
When families and children have no choice but to live in a neighborhood where each night is filled with uncertainty and stress from the night sounds of gunshots, and innocent lives have been lost while sleeping in their beds from bullets that penetrated the wooden walls, our whole nation is failing. If nothing else, the benefit of living in a nation state should at least be that people are safe in their homes, especially at night when they go to sleep. In war times, all the rules go out the window; and perhaps we are now living in a sort of civil war, the level of violence that has been occurring sporadically in certain neighborhoods – thus the recent State of Emergency. And if we hope or intend to get our nation back on its proper footing, where citizens can live in peace without daily fear for their lives, then we must devise a plan to either reform or remove those “killers on the loose” from amongst us. One cannot remain a killer in mindset, and expect to enjoy the privilege of living in a society of peace-loving and law-abiding people.
Of course, even such individuals as would be branded with that despicable title, would be the first to deny being such, as they consciously know and acknowledge that it is wrong to intentionally take another’s life. In court, when charged, they will proclaim, “It wasn’t me,” or find some explanation to prove that it was a case of self-defense or extreme provocation – no accused killer has ever admitted to being a cold-blooded executioner, for hire or for fame, or in compliance with orders given to them as part of gang duty. With all the mitigating arguments, therefore, society has been left with the only alternative, when a conviction is realized: to restrict the guilty person to some years in prison for possible rehabilitation, so that in time and with counselling and reflection, the “killer” mentality might be removed from the mind and heart of the individual.
There are, unfortunately, in a highly stressed society with poverty still rampant, a number of crimes of passion or anger, where the emotions spill over among even friends or relatives, and it sadly ends in violence, even lethal violence. But, as bad and as sad as that is, there remains the too frequent occurrence of another type of killing: the cold, calculated execution that offers the victim not the slightest opportunity to defend him/herself. The individuals who take up a gun and go about the business of targeting their unsuspecting victim “from the back” or without obvious provocation, giving no chance for self-defence or counter attack, those individuals are the killers on the loose in society. And they should not be. While as a society we have come to abhor the taking of life in any form, and thus are reluctant to send anyone to the “gallows”, it must be that we still make it the highest priority to ensure that there are no killers on the loose. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, and in fact, the tit-for-tat violence among competing gangs and drug-dealing groups over the past three decades has resulted in hundreds of young men going to an early grave, and many walking the streets with the secret badge of “killer” in their hearts. For some, it is a badge of honor in their gang, but all who have not yet “turned a new leaf” and put their violent past behind them, are a real and current danger and menace to “peace and love” in our little Belize.
While as a community we remain confounded with the horror and complexity of the issue of cold-blooded murder, in particular, and murder of all kinds, and it is extremely difficult to positively identify anyone’s loving son as a confirmed cold-blooded killer on the loose, who should be denied the privilege of sharing the same streets and communal spaces with the rest of civilized and peace-loving people, there is not so much of a problem in identifying killer dogs on the loose. It is a real danger and concern for many Belizeans with dog pets, who enjoy taking their dog for an occasional walk on the city streets. Killer dogs, which are trained to see other dogs as an enemy to be killed, have no business traversing our city streets. If there is a legal dog sport in Belize for fighting killer dogs, then those owners have a responsibility to keep them out of sight and away from our peaceful streets, where innocent citizens may be taking their pets for a stroll.
As culpable as the owner of a killer dog might be for the trauma and the ordeal of a pet dog owner who endures the sight of an attack on his/her pet by a killer dog on the loose, even on occasion resulting in the death of the pet dog, how much more egregious is it when a parent upholds and covers up, for the love of their child, the actions of their son who has become a killer on the loose. What then? Prevention is certainly better than cure; and it is advisable for every loving parent to use all their efforts to “bring up” their child with an abhorrence for the crime of murder, because, as night follows day, if you love your child, be assured that his “day” will come if he is involved in the execution business. For all our sakes, killing is not what it’s all about; life is precious, all life, and our young men are caught up in a fool’s game where their victims “rest in peace”, while they must run and hide and live in fear and torment for the inevitable retribution, either through prosecution and jail, or by the same cold-blooded end they dished out to an unsuspecting victim.
The message is as old as time: choose life, son!