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Jamaica's self-defence laws need modification

JASON MCKAY

Sunday, September 02, 2018

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I have often heard criticism directed towards Muslim states when punishment is effected on offenders that appears brutal or inhumane. This includes, but is not limited to chopping off one's hand when you steal, or castration when you rape.

I understand why persons are taken aback by this type of public brutality, but I personally think there is an actual equality in the punishment as it compares with the crime. Let me explain. Stealing a man's possessions in rural settings in poor countries can often mean the loss of his livelihood. You are, in effect, taking away his ability to make a living. Chopping his hands off has a very similar implication. Rape is a crime of absolute brutality; castration is equally a brutal act.

This system of reciprocity is also practised in the United States. Terrible crimes happen there, so they kill killers like it's a pound sale! Yes, it's not a misprint. The Government legally murders six persons a year in the USA. They actually executed 23 persons in continental USA in 2017. Hats off to them. The punishment should equal the crime.

The political will supports these practices in the USA even though there is strong opposition to capital punishment. I'm saying that to say politicians robustly support capital punishment despite the danger of criticism.

Is there one Jamaican politician coming forward and stating hard-line truths like “we need to pop their necks” Or questioning that too much money is being wasted funding investigative sections to find out why criminals are shot in gun battles with the police, whilst we lack basic life saving devices in our hospitals?

Is this what the descendants of Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle have come to? Men who are afraid of speaking what they feel in public, but will give you their true beliefs mic-free?

So let's look at our island home. We have the most brutal set of animals the devil ever blew breath into killing, robbing and raping at record rates. So why are we not cutting off men's genitals on live TV? Why is not the brutality of the punishment equal to the crime? Why are we different? We have a condemned block waiting to get the justice they deserve and rope is not scarce!

Self-defence laws are also a reflection of the dangers and brutality of criminals in particular environments. This is what resulted in the creation of the 'Stand Your Ground' law. I agree it needs modification, but in principle it and other laws reflect a society under attack and a determination to fight back.

Based on this theory, Jamaica should have some really hard- line self-defence laws. But they don't. Our self-defence laws justify defending yourself only when you perceive a threat against your life or serious injury. This is masked in old English jargon, but in essence it is only justified by a threat of losing your life or suffering serious injury. So think on it, you don't have the right to stand your ground, you are in fact encouraged to 'tactically retreat'.

The manifestation of these prohibitions doesn't really seem that serious until you consider how it leaves you being legally exposed. For example — you are being robbed at gunpoint and on completion of the robbery the offender is walking away, with back turned, and no longer has a gun in his hand. You, however, have a licensed gun that he did not find and you draw it and fire. You just committed murder if he dies.

Imagine also, you are in your home and you are the victim of a home invasion. However, the offenders are leaving when you get the chance to empty your gun in them. You are guilty of murder.

It doesn't count that they just gang-raped your daughter. It gets worse. If you are attacked and your entire family is killed except you, and the attacker leaves his empty gun and is sauntering away and you take it up, arm it with ammunition and discharge enough bullets to kill him, you are guilty of murder.

Where is this I woke this morning? In Sweden. It must be a country with no crime and no brutality for these silly rules to still exist.

Here are the changes I want. Once a man enters another person's house, all rules protecting the offender no longer exist. Loosely put, you can freely shoot anyone who illegally enters your home.

Once attacked by anyone, to include a machete-wielding robot taxi driver, you have the right to stand your ground and not be told you had the chance to run like some shameless coward and did not take it.

Also, I want the public castration of any man found guilty of raping any human being under 10 years old; and the public whipping of anyone found guilty of raping any minor over the age of 10 years old must be considered.

Last, but not least, I would like to see the emptying of our condemned cells due to a good, working gallows, and when the international human rights groups launch their attacks we can say whilst pointing north — 'why unno nuh trouble dem wen dem do it'.

Feedback: jasonamckay@gmail.com

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