The murder of Kieran Wylie in west Belfast demonstrates the wanton nihilism of the so-called dissident republicans. The micro groups have no political agenda and are bonded solely by their desire to kill people and be part of a criminal enterprise.
hey have demonstrated their blood lust on several occasions by targeting members of the PSNI, by recklessly killing journalist Lyra McKee while attempting to murder police officers or, as in this case, murdering someone who somehow ran foul of them.
The barbarous nature of Mr Wylie's murder, shooting him several times in the head in front of his two daughters, aged 16 and 28, was matched only by its cowardly execution. It takes no courage for two gunmen to kill an unarmed 57-year-old man in his home.
It merely shows that the criminals involved are ruthless and devoid of any humanity. They have no right to take the law into their own hands and whatever feeble excuse they come up with for the murder will merely underline the need to put them and their ilk behind bars.
Twenty-two years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement endorsed by the overwhelming majority of people on this island, there should be no place for gangsters masquerading as some sort of politically-motivated organisation to be dispensing their macabre notion of justice.
Like the UDA gangsters who earlier this month threatened journalists and politicians who supported the ideal of a free press, the criminal elements have been allowed to flourish for too long in this society and will continue to use threats or force - right up to murder - to sustain their position in the communities they pretend to defend but in reality continue to condemn to deprivation.
While it takes no courage to shoot dead unarmed people, it does take real courage for communities to stand up to the gangsters. They depend on frightening people into silence in the knowledge that the PSNI are largely powerless to bring the gunmen, bombers and bully boys to justice without the cooperation of the public.
The public needs to be empowered to give evidence to the PSNI which will stand up in court and ensure that the guilty are put behind bars.
Today two young women are left with the trauma of seeing their father shot dead. It is an event which is bound to scar them mentally and for them alone we owe it to put the killers behind bars before anyone else is left in a similar position.