03 February, 2009

Customs and Excise Exhibition

TT Customs & Excise officer displaying what looks to be an air rifle to onlookers at the TT Customs & Excise Exhibition last week on the Brian Lara Promenade, in downtown Port of Spain. From this Newsday photo it appears as though the officer is handling the rifle in an unsafe manner, by pointing the muzzle in the direction of the persons present. It may just be the angle of the photo though. Regardless, it’s in a busy public area with hundreds of pedestrians, so there is no ‘down range’ to point the rifle safely. As such, he may have pointed up or (less preferable, but safer than horizontal) down. Even our protective services professionals need firearms safety training. The caption also incorrectly labels the air rifle a ‘firearm’.

A Civilian Marksmanship Program would educate the public enough to be able immediately spot the unsafe practices of those entrusted with the public safety and security.

We haven’t been shooting much over the past couple weeks, as rain, family and professional commitments has kept us busy.

Last Friday, Republic Bank limited withdrawals to $5,000 per customer, according to Caroline Kissoon of the Express newspaper. Despite assurances from Anna-Maria Garcia-Brooks, group marketing and communications manager, the run on the bank continued yesterday.

Yes folks, it has started. When the largest commercial bank in the country with branches in several other Caribbean countries, experiences a loss of depositor confidence, then what follows will not be pretty. Can this lead to a banking panic, where there’s a run on several banks at the same time? We’ll see.

Turn some of your paper investments into tangibles. Stockpile food, water, tools, fuel, first aid supplies, drugs your family use and have a way to protect your family and property. Even if you cannot legally own a gun, then co-operating with your neighbours will gretly enhance your chances of protecting your family.

An effective neighbourhood watch programme will reveal both strengths and weaknesses in your security preparations. There may be neighbours with guns of which you aren’t aware. Hunters, police and soldiers on special duty, retired police, businesspersons, sport shooters et al, may all be quietly living in your midst, armed, and an untapped resource for community defence.

All will be reluctant to share this info with you, due to OPSEC and our dramatically rising violent crime rate. However, if handled with tact, and the necessary confidentiality assurances given, then some may be coaxed into being part of a well run NW programme.

Hoplophobes may be your second biggest obstacles though. The first being criminals living in your neighbourhood, along with their relatives who encourage and condone their activities.

There are a number of options in dealing with this problem, which will be discussed in a subsequent post.

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