The Bahamas authorities are stepping up efforts to confiscate guns from criminals, and are befuddled as to why there are still many shootings. Critics of the effort suggest the time is better spent stopping guns coming into the country. If the focus is on the gun, the program will fail. The focus has to be getting criminals off the streets, not guns. This is an island. Moreover, it’s an island where firearms are pretty much impossible to obtain legally. It is, in theory, the best type of arrangement for being able to keep contraband out of the country, and guns off the street. Yet they can’t. How do people have any hope of accomplishing that here?

5 thoughts on “Futility”

  1. If you’ve ever sailed into the Bahamas, you’ll see what a laugh their customs process is. If you arrive after 5pm, you can get off your boat, roam around, go drinking, get a bite to eat, do whatever. The only rule is that you have to be back on your boat by 7am when the customs/immigration man comes to the docks – even though you may have been drinking with him the night before. Also, there is no coast guard in the Bahamas.

  2. If they could have learned from the UK, they would see their program is a farce and understand the failure better.

    As it is, they will keep trying…blindly, and fail.

  3. This prompted a new avenue of thought: I think we are accustomed to thinking of the criminal population as relatively small, so that “focusing on getting criminals off the streets” is a relevant reaction.

    Assume, instead, that activities we would describe as criminal make up a substantial portion of the economy, and that a significant fraction of the population, perhaps as much as half, engage, at least occasionally, in activity that is (at least, de jure) “criminal” by our standards. (Perhaps petty, but still criminal.) Further assume that petty crime (at least, the de jure sort) is socially accepted, at least tacitly.

    Does this change the approach at all? The easy answer is “no, but you start by focusing on those who commit violent crimes against persons” — but something is niggling at me that there’s more complexity than that.

  4. The focus of the Bahamas authorities on the gun has an effect on Americans. This policy means that law–abiding boaters cannot carry effective defenses against the chance of pirates that are cropping up in the Caribbean again. And I don’t mean Johnny Depp.

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