Murder Most Foul as in the Worst it is


Iain Rossouw at a book launch we shared in Durban.

Iain Rossouw at a book launch we shared in Durban.

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.

(The title is a misquote from Hamlet.)
© February 2017 Colonialist
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About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Africa, Current Affairs, Personal Journal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Murder Most Foul as in the Worst it is

  1. I’m shocked and sad for his family and you

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  2. dunelight says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. That is awful.

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  3. This is sad beyond words – and most of the words have already been said by your previous commenters. My heart goes out not just to the family you tell us about, but to you all who have to deal with this appalling situation. lAll I can say is, may the Force be with you… and interpret those words how you choose…

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  4. While I’ve not met L, we’ve had a good internet rapport, and I was devastated to read her post. As bearie whatsit said, we also considered SA. The two places we live now are safe and pretty crime free. In old age, that’s actually a big thing. There are no words to help, no actions to bring back a loved one, only, to mourn and empathise with that loss. Our countries aren’t the ones we grew up in. Not yours, not mine. And I’m not sure any are better. So, what’s going wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This seems so anarchical. What a pity you couldn’t have stayed here

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  6. disperser says:

    My condolences on your loss and that of your friend and family.

    As for action, as a reader of my blog, you probably well know my feelings on the matter. Police here (and I assume in most places) are often late responders and are not a prevention to the crime nor are they ever in time to prevent acts in progress, even given alarms and calls to emergency numbers.

    I agree people need to take things into their own hands, and for us here — some of us here — the choice is clear: we are responsible for our own protection and the protection of our family. People don’t want to hear it, but there is only one realistic way to protect oneself. Arming and becoming proficient in the use of the weapon of choice.

    I’ll make one other comment; I don’t know about there, but here most intrusions into an occupied home are by thieves who are not “professionals”; professionals scope their targets and want to minimize or eliminate the chance of encountering homeowners. If someone breaks into a house and is armed, that is a whole different ballgame and one that is difficult to eliminate with typical precautions. The first choice is always to try and avoid, but comes the time . . . well, no one like to talk about it, but kill or be killed is a harsh reality in many such encounters.

    Feel free to remove the following if you think the material inappropriate:

    For them who might not be familiar with the mindset of confronting violence, these are what I consider excellent resources to read:

    The Truth About Violence (excellent advice, November 2011):
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-truth-about-violence

    The Riddle of the Gun (the original written post, January 2013)
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun

    FAQ on Violence (his response to criticisms to Riddle of the Gun, January 2013)
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/faq-on-violence

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      If I hadn’t been in agreement with you on these issues to start of with, the reasoned case and arguments put by Sam Harris would have made me so
      An important point is that gun ownership imposes a duty of responsibility, and limiting it to those who have demonstrated that they qualify is not unreasonable — like a driving licence.
      South Africa is one of the places where home invasions occur with, or specifically for, the purpose of committing violence, and it is irresponsible to sit back and hope it won’t happen to you. Preparing for the ‘what ifs’ is the only sensible way.
      No-firearms legislation actually results in the criminals being the only ones armed. Why should they care that it is against the law?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. toutparmoi says:

    Sad and shocking.

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  8. By the bye, I don’t like this post, but realize you had to make it!

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  9. I just cannot imagine what it must be like, to lose somebody, I know, or knew, to the hands of killer/s. Having grown up in London/England, in the 30′ and 40’s, I formed an abhorrence for war naturally enough; and violent death was not unknown, but the senseless murder, by one, two or more, individuals of an innocent fellow human is beyond my comprehension.

    After the war, when my parents were discussing emigrating, my mother wanted to go to South Africa; (her father had been stationed there for some time, whilst in the RN; and had been head honcho of the Freemasons in Cape Town). (I have no interest in the Freemasons/Buffaloes or any such organization)

    My fathers will prevailed and as you know we came to Australia.

    All things considered, I think my dad made the right choice!

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    • colonialist says:

      The right choice was, indeed, made. The level of all crime locally is quite intolerable.
      Mind you, I must say that having been a Freemason for some years I came to realise that negative connotations are groundless to a major extent, and to develop the greatest respect for all the good done, very often anonymously, by the organisation,

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have heard many times, about the good work done by the ‘masons, and the ‘buffs’, Rotary etc. it’s not that I doubt it or their worth; but to me they hold no appeal whatsoever!
        As a lad growing up I lasted 2 days in the ‘cubs’ and even less on the Boys Brigade, got kicked out of both.
        The Australian Army offered me a commission in & between 1953 1956. I politely refused their offer. ( perhaps I was having my revenge, as the RAN had rejected my application for the Fleet Air Arm, just because I’m coloured blind! Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?)
        My wife has assured me, on numerous occasions, that I am indeed a nasty piece of work. I cannot imagine why 😄 👿

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        • colonialist says:

          A touch of inverted snobbery, perhaps? 🙂
          I have been hopelessly conformist. Rover Scouts, Jaycees, Masons as far as a Knightly Order, and then Rotary (Past President). Now Garden Judges, and on the Board of the Horticultural Society. Incurable.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I don’t know about inverted snobbery, I don’t have much to be snobbish about, I recently did a post entitled “I’m really not a snob….” and the impression I got from some of the comments seemed to confirm that I am.But as I say I don’t have anything to be snobbish about.
            I’ve never bought or owned a house; never really wanted to; I’m not very well educated, pulled from school so that I could start work at 15.
            I enjoy being alone,even though I’ve been married twice and have sired five I still feel alone. I don’t particularly like me, and, unfortunately, I have to put up with me!

            Liked by 1 person

  10. d1nx says:

    A lovely tribute to Iain and a warning to us all. I am even more vigilant than usual, but my heart is breaking at the trauma and tragedy that Lili and the kids are going through. So heartsore for them. Love to you and all too Col xx

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  11. Colline says:

    I am so sorry to hear this is still happening. We left the country for this very reason – luckily none of my young family was shot (but my aunt had been in another incident). Sometimes I think what happens depends on the individual who enters you home and whether they have murderous intent or not – no matter how you respond to them.

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  12. calmgrove says:

    I can’t think of appropriate words to say other than my heart goes out to all those affected, directly or indirectly. I don’t know how you survive it all.

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    • colonialist says:

      Regarding survival, I used to think the same about things like the London blitz. It is amazing what one can adapt to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • calmgrove says:

        Yes, but it must impinge on those who survive as seriously as ex-combattants suffering from PTSD. I know all about the Blitz spirit but it’s awful that it was necessary to summon it up to counteract what was thrown against defenceless civilians.

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        • colonialist says:

          It must be really horrible for those prone to worrying about what may happen. For the majority, though, either heads are stuck firmly into sand, or daily precautions originally done out of fear are carried out automatically out of habit. Like surveying one’s car before going near it, locking it as soon as inside, watching for any vehicles following, arming the house defenses, etc.
          After surviving an attack in spite of such precautions, one learns from the experience and shuts loopholes wherever possible. We have one Garden Judge who has been broken into three times and badly assaulted on one occasion, but it still hasn’t broken her spirit.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, I am so shocked to read this, Col. I remember meeting Iain and Lyz at the book launch in Durban. What a lovely family and what a gentle soul Iain was. My sincere condolences to Lyz and family. I am outraged too, and hope the perpetrators are found and punished, although in South Africa that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Debra says:

    What a shocking story, and I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine the sense of outrage that comes with feeing that the crimes are not thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. I have experienced the shock that comes with violent crime. I’ve lost five friends to murder and it definitely changes the way you think about self-protection. The major difference in our experience is that the perpetrators were punished at least with imprisonment. This is a very sad story. I am so sorry for Iain’s family, in particular.

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    • colonialist says:

      Five is quite shocking indeed. It is some consolation — albeit slight — that they suffered consequences.
      The family has certainly had a shattering blow — not least, being driven out of their own home by fear.

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  15. Arkenaten says:

    I have hardly been able to bring myself to even discus this. I am still somewhat in a state of shock.
    I fear that if I let go I will go ballistic.
    We know what we are dealing with.
    There are not enough words of hate in my lexicon for what I feel.
    I may post in a while. For now I try to just breathe.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Pussycat44 says:

    Sadly all too many murders like this happen in SA. Even with all the CPF’s in our area, plus the necessary deterrents in and around his house, YS has experienced 3 robberies in a short space of time. Thieves were caught on camera and after the third time one of the guys was nabbed by the police, but we don’t know what happened after that.
    I was also sad to read about Iain’s death.

    Liked by 1 person

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