A criminal is not fair game
Stabroek News
January 30, 2002

Dear Editor,

It would be an act of indecent cowardice were the wholly misguided letter of one Flattie Singh, (19.01.02), captioned, "Only criminals are shot" allowed to rest, without being racked and pilloried.

Obviously, this soul has not the slightest idea about the subject since even the official police record of their victims is replete with the names of persons who were never charged with a criminal offence, or even a police arrest.

The police have to date, depending whose accounting you choose to rely on, shot somewhere between 137 and 143 persons dead, over the past decade, as a result of 145 shooting incidents.

In only two of those incidents did the police shoot and kill persons who were actually engaged in the commission of a criminal act at the time that they were shot.

All of their other victims were shot whilst in their homes, whilst in vehicles and in other locations and situations far removed from and not even remotely connected with, the crimes which they were posthumously accused of being involved in.

In most instances the police press releases after these killings do not even specify the crime, in connection with which the police allegedly 'wanted' the deceased. They are bland and insouciant.

In a society based upon the rule of law, adherence to the rules of justice and the equality of all subjects before the law, it cannot be held to be either safe or fair to promote or condone a policy which allows that because a man has been known to commit robberies, he is fair game for a slaying and a posthumous bad name tag.

This is assignation on the basis of speculation and the use of suspicion as proof of conviction. This ought not to be.

Killing people does not solve crimes. The death of an alleged suspect still leaves unanswered the question as to whether or not he or she was really the guilty party (ies).

The slaughter of persons suspected of involvement in crime guarantees neither a reduction in the number of criminals or a reduction in the number of persons who are willing to venture along that path.

Most importantly, a nation which is prepared to condone and support the marauding of bands of men, to whom it has given license to kill, will soon find itself at the mercy of the monster it has created. The historical record says much about the entwining toils of state sponsored terror.

Yours faithfully,

CRB Edwards