SOMETIMES, it is too easy to focus on the statistics.
Every time there is a murder, one more gets added to the count. Already this year the count stands at 16 people murdered.
A few more days pass and another takes place, sometimes more than one, and the count goes on.
Behind each incident, however, are two stories. There is the story of the victim and the friends and family left behind who mourn the loss of their loved one. There is also the lesser told story of the killer, and how they got to the point in their lives where they raised a gun or pulled out a knife.
The story of the victim is often told, as it rightly should be, as people pay tribute to the person taken from them too soon.
The story of the killer is told less often, sometimes in a court of law, but perhaps these are the stories that give the biggest insight into the problems in our society. This is not a question of giving sympathy to perpetrators of the crimes that plague our nation, but rather to look our problems in the face instead of hiding them away.
In our Insight section today, one gang member talks with remarkable honesty to The Tribune about the path that led to where he is. Named Ghost, he says he had a regular family life growing up, going to private schools and church – but said something was missing. As he puts it, “power and belonging”. He kept getting put out of schools until he was recruited by a gang. It started with moving drugs and guns. He started to smoke weed. His family tried to get him back on the right path, but finally his mother “said I had no soul so she told me to get out of her house. I left and moved in with one of the generals. Things were really good after that.”
Things being “good” led to Ghost being asked to kill a man. He tried to escape for a while, but the general made him move back in with him. Ghost wouldn’t answer if he had killed anyone.
His story could be the story of many others. A young man with trouble at school who wouldn’t settle down and got pulled into the wrong lifestyle.
Ghost also said that police “don’t really get involved with gang wars” – and sadly neither does society at large. These gangs are often going about their violent business and neither the root causes nor the immediate effects are truly being tackled.
This man calls the place we live in a “cowboy town” and says there is nothing anyone can do about it.
“We might go quiet for a while but then we bounce back up, lick off some shots to let you’ll know we still here,” he says.
Is he wrong? And more to the point, are we prepared to go on letting him be right?
How long would your bank go on letting you rack up the bills before it cut you off? How might you wish then to be Bahamasair, which has been given $40m and counting by Bahamian taxpayers in the past seven months to keep going. Even with that, its payroll was late last week.
Even chairman Tommy Turnquest admitted that the situation was “unsustainable”.
What can Bahamasair do about that? Well, obviously COVID-19 has been a hammer blow to the airline, just as it has for airlines and the tourism industry around the world.
Unlike hotels, Bahamasair staff was not furloughed or given temporary lay-offs, and there has been no increase in passenger traffic since the start of the year.
Salaries being late this time around is a sign of the financial firefighting going on – the government must have known the money was needed, but seemingly couldn’t get it there on time. That probably speaks to what is going on behind the scenes as the government tries to put money where it is needed most, but there are so many places where it is needed.
Things won’t be getting better for Bahamasair anytime soon – we’re going to be the ones paying for it to keep going for a while yet.
How long can that go on? We can’t say, but the airline must be thankful indeed that we are the ones footing its bills and not the bank.