“Liberty is never inalienable.  It must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes.  Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost”. – Robert A. Heinlein

Liberty and freedom with a life void of personal oppression cannot and should not be denied.  A choice to enjoy the pursuit of happiness should be promoted at all times.  However, several questions arise when it comes to national threats to liberty and life and measures required to protect the majority of citizens.  It cannot be that a selective set of citizens, largely unaffected by those who choose to create mayhem and murder find reasons to “balance” the equation.  There is NO scale that should find a middle ground between the law abiding and lawless.

The usual cry from concerned quarters about a need to preserve the constitution when dealing with criminals is understandable, especially when these voices are draped in legal garb.  After all, isn’t it part and parcel of many lawyers’ lives to always insist on “protection” for and of perpetrators?  Should we also blindly follow a constitution without being cognizant of what its founders set out to establish under “liberty and freedom”?  I doubt they envisioned a place or position where an entire country should be held to ransom by those who plunder ruthlessly and murder with impunity.  I am assured in my mind they intended for our society to function fairly with every citizen being able to enjoy the same positive existences, while not infringing on the rights of others to also enjoy theirs.

The use of the word “enjoy” must not be taken lightly.  We must enjoy happiness, security and safety, education, housing and health facilities, family and friends in a country with equal opportunities for all to benefit society.  There is and should never be space or allowance for gunmen to “enjoy” their right to take people’s lives by the hundreds every year, knowing they are guaranteed the full protection of “civil society and interest groups” or a convenient collective chorus of town criers.  In fact, all well thinking Jamaicans should be of one voice that any method of confrontation from criminals be met with equal and greater force to permanently repel its repeat.

It is time for the issuing of firearms to law abiding citizens to become a right, not a present day privilege.  It is time for the constitution to be changed to emphasise the need for criminals to be dealt with in the harshest way possible.  We cannot continue to compromise our national and personal safety, international good name and the loss of liberty, freedom and the pursuit of happiness to a few.  There is need for change. Now.       

“The best form of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil…The right of self-defence never ceases, it is among the most sacred and alike necessary to nations and to individuals…”. – James Munroe