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By Sheldon Bramble

If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword!

Are our gun criminals in SVG aware that they might be caught? I would say a resounding yes to this. However, they often act in the depths of denial about this possibility. They commit their acts of violence and snap out the life of other humans without restraint. Take a deeper look at this new breed of young men who commit gun crimes in St. Vincent. Could it be that they are knowingly or unknowingly suicidal.

Depression and disappointment in relationships, a lack of parental care and attention and love and the lack of acceptance from peers/rejection are probably at the heart of these acts. They obviously show a loss of sacredness for life — both theirs and their victim’s.

When one has nothing else to lose, it’s the perfect scenario for the loss of a moral compass and what can amount to hatred for one’s own life. A self-destructive mind under the influence of demons has nothing to lose.

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Why would anyone accept an illegal gun? Why would drugs and money become of higher value in one’s eyes than life? I would like to suggest that the glorification of violence we have been finding in popular entertainment in SVG for the last decade especially speaks to the wholesale buying of ideologies typical of so-called “artistes”. They spread their self-hate and lack of happiness while on a quest for a sought solution called fame. To be worshipped by fans feeds that emptiness and this in turn attracts thousands of fans. Fans who suffer from similar broken hearts, poor self-worth, and gross disappointments at times compounded by poverty and psychoses. COVID is not the only epidemic. A breakdown in the mind has been one for a long time. Laziness and immobilization are evident in many.

Then we have narcissistic personality disorder which is a mental health condition in which people have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance. They need and seek too much attention and want people to admire them. People with this disorder may lack the ability to understand or care about the feelings of others. This is not only a genetically caused condition but also environmental and linked to parental disconnects and rejection by peers, etc.  

We, at times, see this playing out on the social media of young and full adults in these times. They speak with selfies galore. Do we really need to see you every single day in a different pose? But this is an almost compulsive attempt to fill empty emotional holes. Arrogance is the new cool look and the meaner and tougher one can appear, the more normal and attractive it becomes to people who don’t dare show normalcy. But this is how models and celebrities look. It’s cool. Do we remember how so many of these same models and celebrities’ life turn out and even end? You might call it self-expression. But what is the true self being expressed?

What an environment for youth of today! The money is not evil but the love of money is the root of all evil. Small businesses are good. Clean and honest business is even better.

Our minivans know how to market their services best to this generation with the smut they have dosed out to a few generations of Vincentian youths for a while now. Do we still think there is no relationship there between this nastiness and crimes and even gun violence? Youth already broken are attracted to this as it expresses their anger, or feeds their newest drug that numbs their pain —  illicit sexual pleasure.

How about the selling of alcohol – a nasty spirit to drown out the sorrows of damaged minds and addict them, sending them down a road possibly leading towards vagrancy? Do we still think that it has nothing to do with crime and even gun crimes? It’s perfectly legal. It will help you say and do what you can’t without it inside you.

And yes, am going to go there. Our festival of carnality — carnival? I would let you think about that one yourself. There is a saying, “If you give the devil a ride, he will definitely want to drive.” Do you think Jesus is in that vehicle? And by the way, for our officials who like to boast about the financial successes of festivals, money by any means does not justify the means.

Now that some people are getting a headache because they want their immoral party time but still God’s protection let’s just go ahead and say it. Churches reek with a self-focused version of the gospel of Jesus Christ where no one can tell anyone anymore how to do anything or challenge their “subjective truth”. Then the result is the gross misrepresentation of God by individuals who change His character to suit themselves, as if religion is all about me, my opinions and my benefits and my worldly success? Can we really still hear exactly what God is saying without some arrogant and anger filled me- and myself-focused presentation by what popular preaching has become in this day and age? A generation who are looking for authentic solutions to their brokenness and low self-worth needs a personal Saviour friend ultimately. A self-help filled version of the gospel has definite limitations. It is never going to amount to plucking out the selfishness in a heart already so inwardly focused. Contemporary psychology has been failing for decades and therapists are getting richer and richer. The good book says, esteem others above yourself. They say self-love is the greatest — not even God’s or our love for God. An abstract idea, however, cannot replace a being. Love has to be tangible. Even religion and therapy are empty still without the love of a personal friend and Saviour — Jesus. His death to have us live is our key to authentic self-worth.

It takes a village. And the village has been getting sicker and sicker by the day for so long now and we still like to say “nah”, this and that “has nothing to do with it”. “Look at what they doing overseas and over there”. “This is how we ought to be too as we need to develop and the place real boring.” Gun violence does not have one immediate cause but rather a conglomeration of culturally normalised dysfunctions playing out together over generations. And we have sadly arrived at this stage in the decay.

The policemen cannot do it alone. They are only one part of the village. The churches cannot do it alone either — the mixture of truth and error is real. The parents have sure been failing on so many fronts for so long now. The education revolution is yet to inculcate a strong dose of morality — academia void of a heart of service might be overrated. Each citizen has to become a team player for the return of the safety of our communities in SVG. Each Vincentian needs to take stock. You cannot have your gun and no shooting.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].