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The whole Shabang-bang

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The whole Shabang-bang

by Esther Lewis
23 Apr 2008
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

"GUNS don't kill people, people kill people."

I can't begin to tell you how often I've heard that line being used by pro-gunners.

But I do find it hard to imagine people throwing bullets hard and fast enough at their victims? heads to kill them.

Unless of course they aim for the mouth, the victim swallows the bullet, and chokes to death.

At the risk of sounding like a peace-loving, tree-hugging, anti-war hippie, I think we would all be better off without those dreaded weapons of mass destruction. If there's one thing that doesn't sit well with me, it's how easily and readily available guns are in our communities.

Then we have the likes of Susan Shabangu, Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, encouraging our police officers to "shoot to kill".

Yes, police officers are often faced with life threatening situations. It's been almost a year since two Lansdowne police officers tragically lost their lives while on duty.

Shabang-bang was on to something when she said police officers need protection from criminals.

But instead of giving the short-sighted order to shoot to kill, why does she not come up with something proactive and long term? If she is that concerned for the safety of officers and civilians alike, she would invest some time, money and energy in a full-blown operation to rid our streets of guns.

I know all guns will never be taken out of society, but it would go a long way towards making things more difficult for criminals.

Can you imagine a group of bandits trying to pull off a cash in transit heist armed only with knives and their wits?

Imagine how many parents would still have their children with them, were it not for one stray bullet. How much grief and guilt could have been avoided if there was no gun inside the house for a five-year-old child to find, play with, and then kill himself with?

We cannot escape the fact that we live in a very violent society. But this does not justify Shabang-bang's declaring open season on criminals.

Where would she draw the line? Am I, as an ordinary citizen, also allowed to shoot to kill in self-defence? What if a scruffy, suspicious-looking character approaches me after dark and reaches into his jacket? Do I shoot before he draws whatever it may be hidden in there - possibly a gun, or just a packet of cigarettes?

Can I shoot an armed intruder who wants to make off with my entire life's work, knowing that my life would be destroyed if he got away?

My dog could be like a child to me. And if I feel its life is endangered by an intruder, do I have the right to shoot to kill?

How do you weigh up the value of life, any way? And how, if you take a life - regardless of that person's ranking on the food chain of humanity - do you live with the knowledge that you've ended it?

No, guns do not kill people. But they do make killing much too easy.

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