Three weeks ago the life of a talented, gentle, and thoroughly admirable person was snatched away by some of the despicable vermin that increasingly crawl around this country. I had only met Iain Rossouw on a few occasions over the years. We have been associated mainly through his wife, my South African publisher. Nevertheless, those meetings, and a period of communication during the editing of his brilliant textbook on forming tensional chords on the guitar, were enough to form a definite bond.
I was unutterably shocked to learn that he had been shot in his own home by robbers, while unarmed and only seeking to protect wife and children. My heart goes out to his surviving wife (such a good friend) and to the children.
In a ‘normal’ society, one should be in the vast minority by having known one person who has been murdered. As I have said before, I have lost count on my tally, and now two within a space of less than six months is utterly horrifying. The circumstances of the previous one were similar, and there again a relatively young father lost his life for no other reason than to satisfy the greed and blood-lust of parasites.
What can we as the targeted South Africans do about it? Follow the advice of police and experts who say avoid all contact, let the thugs get on with it, and then report fully to the police? (The trouble is that the current success rate for policing both in preventing crime and catching criminals is less than impressive, and also some of the criminals seek out the family whether or not they lie low.) Or does one beef up security, and pay monthly for armed response and a patrolling guard?
Yes to all of these things, with reservations. Action definitely needs to go further. One has to realise that such measures can only have limited effect. Added to them, in fact, should be a commitment by every law-abiding citizen to take an active part in wiping out this scourge.
One means of doing so is to form or join a community policing group, and then to commit to some time every week patrolling the neighbourhood and taking note of any suspicious behaviour. Professional robbers plan in advance, and if their scouting is placed in jeopardy by constant and visible vigilance they will turn attentions elsewhere. Thus, this sort of commitment is the duty of everyone who has enough integrity to throw away the ‘somebody else can/will do it’ attitude. Heads in sand simply mean that tails get shot off.
It goes further than that, though. Against all the ‘sensible’ advice, as many as possible should become militant and prepare strategies to fend off these attacks wherever possible, with deadly force from a safe base. With the current scenario, we are justified in believing that any incursion is probably life-threatening. For that reason, if I found intruders in my home I would not hesitate to launch an attack, from pre-planned cover, with intent to kill.
Robberies and murders are carried out with impunity at present. The only way to create second thoughts is if that impunity should abruptly and spectacularly vanish.