EDITOR, The Tribune.
Nassau was submerged in a bloodbath over the past weekend. The Nassau Tribune’s report that five persons were killed in four separate shootings over a three-day span suggests that The Bahamas will record another 100-plus murders in 2022.
One need not be a criminologist to know that the recent spate of killings stems from grieving individuals seeking retaliation.
Criminologists define this troubling phenomenon as vigilante justice. Exodus 21:24 says an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Also in the Old Testament, Yahweh instructed Israel to establish six cities of refuge for those who killed a person unintentionally as protection from the avenger of death (Numbers 35:6-7 and Joshua 20). And so provisions were made for involuntary manslaughter.
Concerning Exodus 21:24, the uninformed Bible reader will undoubtedly interpret this verse as giving private citizens the unfettered right to even the score or take retaliatory measures against those who have wronged them. Under such a scenario, chaos would ensue. In His Sermon on the Mount message, Jesus gave His infallible interpretation of Exodus 21:24-25 in Matthew 5:38. According to American Bible teacher John MacArthur:
“The law did establish this standard as a principle for limiting retribution to that which was just (Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21). Its design was to ensure that the punishment in civil cases fit the crime. It was never meant to sanction acts of personal retaliation. So again (see notes on Matt. 5:17–18) Jesus made no alteration to the true meaning of the law. He was merely explaining and affirming the law’s true meaning.”
It is important to stress the point that the Sermon on the Mount was not directed at the state or civil government. As MacArthur rightly stated, this retaliatory prescription was aimed at private individuals. Jesus affirmed the crucial role of the state in Matthew 22:21 and John 19:11. Moreover, the New Testament epistles of Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14 and Titus 3:1 also affirms the legitimate role of the state. I believe that the system in The Bahamas, whether legislative or executive or judicial, has capitulated to the British Privy Council by failing to carry out the death penalty. This capitulation has led to grieving family members of murdered Bahamians hiring vigilantes to do what the state is biblically mandated to do. This is the talk I’m hearing on the ground.
This sin of omission is one of the major reasons Nassau has a thriving eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth industry. However, the fallacy of vigilantism being permanently effective can be seen in these violent reprisals that goes on ad infinitum in the inner-city communities of Nassau. I believe that’s why individuals charged before the courts for homicide and granted bail are being gunned down within days of being released from state custody.
Many of our current and past lawmakers live in the Western and Eastern areas of New Providence in safe, upscale communities. Conversely, tens of thousands of grassroots Bahamians live in the overcrowded communities in Nassau where many of these killings are occurring.
I suspect that grieving individuals, inclusive of gang rivals, in the Over-the-Hill areas, are taking part in Nassau’s eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth industry.
The only way to put an end to this dark industry is for the state to stop capitulating to the British and start carrying out the death penalty.
March 14, 2022.
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