Gun Ownership & a Murderous Society NOT linked.
Stephen Palos – Chairman
It is a sad truth that tragedies of major newsworthy relevance are seized by politicians and other high profile individuals for the “soap-box” opportunities they provide.
Most of the rhetoric that flow from such sad events is used in one of two ways:
Firstly, to enhance the perceived standing, importance or point of view of the orator
Or secondly, to cover a shortcoming, make an excuse or deflect attention from the orator (or his organisation) for failures of their own making.
In the case of the sad and senseless murder of Senzo Meyiwa, our national football captain and hero too many, I sense that both of these above reasons apply. They are being exploited by many of the bleating proletariat. A scapegoat MUST be found to deflect the masses from the real cause of Senzo’s, and countless thousand other South African’s demise, for the truth does not work for the “leadership” of this nation. And that truth is AN ABSOLUTE FAILURE MANIFEST BY TOP LEVEL CORRUPTION, NEPOTISM AND PERSONAL GREED!
It can be argued that South Africa has failed from the start of its democracy in terms of policy and implementation. But more importantly, save for the short “holiday” under the shine of our first democratic president, no leadership since then has done anything to enhance nation building and to further the so called “Rainbow Nation”. Instead, the polarisation of an ever more unequal society, often bubbling over in racist rhetoric as shrewd & selfish opportunist politicians use these weaknesses to their own ends, has been the order of the day. Now again, politicians, supported by certain media, are attacking the gun as the cause. Has a gun ever starved someone? Do guns leave our society uneducated because government fails to invest in our future? Have guns taken billions out of our fiscus to enrich the few? The apartheid government almost totally denied gun ownership to non-white South Africans. Similarly Nazi Germany denied citizen firearm ownership, as did Pohl Pott’s Cambodia, Stalin’s Russia and most other totalitarian regimes.
By contrast some of the most peaceful and safe societies in the world have long histories of easy gun ownership. Even in the USA the states with the most restrictive gun laws show higher tendencies to violent crime than the states with easy gun ownership. Violent crime has escalated in Britain since gun laws were tightened.
South African citizen gun ownership is largely divided into a few main basic reasons. The first and largest group is for self-defence. Then sport shooting, hunting and collecting make up most of the remainder. The latter three remain largely vested in the white community as they had a long history in these practices, never having faced the restrictions apartheid placed on their black counterparts. Self-defence is however a universal need and many black South Africans have the need and desire to own a gun. But again, the vast majority of black South Africans fall into the poorer classes and the costs and required infrastructure make legal ownership very challenging for them. Sadly, pro firearm social media is thus largely white dominated and the perspective that emanates is that gun ownership in SA is a black/white issue.
It must not be! Legitimate gun owners are almost certainly amongst the most law abiding and compliant citizens. All have willingly subjected themselves to special training, back ground checks both on a personal & criminal basis, and are subject to potentially severe penalties should they fail criminally or negligently in their social contract which the law subjects them to. In particular, for those who have a passion in firearms (sporting/hunting/collecting which may be hard to understand for a “non-gun” person but it is every bit as enthralling as anyone else’s passion) they stand the chance of losing their right to partake for committing even an unrelated offence. As an example, if I were charged with family violence, I could lose my firearms and thus my hunting, yet if golf was my thing that would be unaffected by my deviance. It stands to reason that if more of our citizenry were legitimate firearm owners, then more of our citizenry would be model citizens. I do not deny there are exceptions to this rule, but they are extremely rare.
We have an incredibly complex and onerous firearm law, promulgated in 2000 and implemented in parts over the next decade. Where it has failed has largely been where implementation has failed either because it was unworkable or where corruption reared its head. It is a matter of record that these shortcomings were repeatedly pointed out by the pro-gun lobby at the time the act was being deliberated. It is also a matter of record that once the law was a fait accompli, the pro-gun lobby largely extended a hand of help and friendship to the authorities to try ensure full & effective implementation. No one denies the values enshrined in the act’s stated intent. That hand remains outstretched going forward, but it must not be bitten…