Is 'Bermuda's Hidden Army' taking control of our streets?
Community needs to act now and work together to reclaim the island from the criminals
Friday, February 01, 2008 10:55 AM
In tiny 13,000 acre Bermuda - isolated out here at 32N64W - in December last year, we saw a significant retreat.
Scared by the prospect of violence if some football games were played at certain club fields, the Bermuda Football Association [BFA] retreated and declared that it would hold the Dudley Eve Cup games at the National Stadium. The BFA - in conjunction with the Bermuda Police - said that this would provide better 'security' at the games. So both the BFA and the Bermuda Police retreated.
History is littered with notable retreats. One of the first well-recorded retreats was Napoleon's 1812 retreat from Moscow. Later there was the famous 1914 BEF retreat from Mons. Then the 1940 retreat to Dunkirk. Out of wartime necessity, Winston Churchill turned the British Army's retreat to the Dunkirk beaches into a victory. But it was and still is, a retreat.
In the 1950-1953 Korean War, the US Marines had a famous retreat from Chosin. However, in that action, Marine General O P Smith didn't call it a retreat. He called it an advance "in a different direction."
Retreats of these kinds are backward movements made by a military force when it faces a superior military force. All the retreats that I've just described were retreats of that kind.
But a military force, even one possessing overwhelming technical military superiority, can still be made to retreat in the face of purely psychological or political or social forces. This happened with American Forces in the 1965 - 1973 War in Vietnam.
Ultimately, then, what causes a retreat is that one group feels, or knows, or realizes that it is facing some kind of superior or more powerful force. Or the group feels, knows, or realizes that it is likely to be the loser in a confrontation with a particular force. Whatever that force is.
From a purely local and tactical perspective, that retreat by the BFA and the police made sense. But from a national strategic perspective, it was wrong. It was wrong because that retreat showed the forces of evil overpowering the forces of good.
It was wrong because it acknowledged that this community, with its 65,000 person population and its 450 person police force, could not provide sufficient security to enable small-time amateur football matches - for that's all these games are - to take place without some kind of grievous harm being caused by some small group of people.
It was wrong because it surrendered one more piece of psychological space, or psychological territory, to Bermuda's 'Hidden Army'.
For over twenty years, there has been a visibly growing war between Bermuda's normal citizens and Bermuda's steadily growing and steadily merging under-classes of disadvantaged youth who grow into disaffected adults, and ordinary as well as extra-ordinary criminals.
I first wrote a piece on Bermuda's Hidden Army in July 1992. I re-published that piece - unchanged - in 1997 and again in 2000. In the last part of that piece I write: ".....over the last ten years of fighting this army, we have been pursuing the wrong strategic objectives. We have been defending ourselves with the wrong weapons and inappropriate tactics; because over the last decade the silent, hidden army did not diminish or retreat. Instead, it grew stronger! Much stronger!
Our own new, expanded, strengthened defenses are proof!...
All military strategists and tacticians know that every defence system is finally penetrable; and that all defenders who cower in shelters are easily vulnerable. Thus, if all that we do is try to defend, we will ultimately lose."
In the fifteen years between writing that in 1992 and writing this in 2008, the incidence and frequency of robberies-with-violence, gun-woundings, gun killings, unsolved murders, and the refusal of witnesses to come forward or appear in court has mushroomed.
Fifteen years after I first expressed those views, this Bermudian community - the community to which you and I belong - publicly retreated one more time. Giving up one more space. Advancing, by one more retreat, that day when it will acknowledge its own final defeat.
Unless this community bands together, stands together, and then takes a step forward together, that BFA and Bermuda Police retreat to the National Stadium will become - and will eventually be seen by a future historian - as simply one more advance by the criminal underclass that forms part, but only a part, of Bermuda's Hidden Army.
Band together. Stand together. Step forward together!
So, I was happy to see that the BFA and Police stood together for the games on Sunday 27th January. Keep banding together.