Social Justice Bermuda was, like most of us, shocked and dismayed to learn of the multiple shootings and subsequent double homicide at Robin Hood on Tuesday evening. We join our community in mourning the lives of these young men, and offer our deepest condolences to those who loved them.
We would like to add our voices to those highlighting that our country must address the root causes of gangs in Bermuda: structural inequality. This remains the root cause of much tragedy and injustice in our island home.
At the same time, we feel the need to warn against a reactionary mentality in response to this tragedy. Knee-jerk reactions and draconian policies will not solve our problems. If anything they will make things worse – at best just sweep the problems under the carpet until they emerge once more, more often than not worse than before.
Nor should we seek to contain violence to areas where they consider it ‘acceptable’, as we see in comments such as: “What I think is of concern is that the problem is no longer back of town. You’re dealing with an element that knows no boundaries.”
This thinking betrays a prejudice that violence is okay ‘there’ but not okay ‘here’. We must agree that such violence is not okay anywhere on our 21 square miles.
So what next? No part of our community is without ways to help. Pledge to get engaged with the young people in your life and provide support, mentorship and love. Donate to organisations whose programmes address systemic inequality and support young people.
As a community, pressure our leadership to have a real conversation about how to address the root cause:
– The introduction of a living wage.
– An end to the war on drugs and an adoption of the Portuguese approach to drugs as a public health issue.
– The introduction of a progressive tax system that taxes all sources of wealth.
– An investment in social welfare services to address structural inequalities.
– The payment of reparations for slavery and segregation.
– An investment in rehabilitation services to reduce recidivism.
We must act now to stem the rising tide of violence and antisocial behavior that’s been intensified by the pandemic induced recession
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