Two weeks ago I joined 80 colleagues for a three day summit under the leadership of the Bishop, Michel Hansrod. As one does we began by sharing news about our lives since the last time we met. “So and so had a child”… “so and so is recovering from surgery”… “so and so graduated”, etc. Shockingly in these passing greetings we heard of six murders of family/congregational members. We would be hard pressed to find too many places in the world, (that are not at war), with that high incidence of murder. The heaviness of the violence has settled on all of us in recent days. Violence, especially violence against women is endemic in our society.
It is tempting to place the blame at the feet of others — distancing ourselves from responsibility for the violence that envelopes us, but it is not truthful or helpful. Rather we should take to heart the often quoted words by Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
I appeal to you — if you have a firearm, hand it in at a SAPS station to be destroyed. You may feel more safe, but you are not. In fact you are at a four times greater risk of being shot. Besides the fact that 95% of all gun owners will never use their gun for the purpose of self-defence, around about 2 000 licensed guns are stolen/lost every month — contributing to the increasing pool of illegal guns.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has a gun — talk to them about handing it in and removing it from your home. If you are in a relationship with someone who owns a firearm and has a history of violence or anger management issues, drug/alcohol abuse or who is unstable mentally, report this fact to your local police station and ask for the gun to be removed — this is not just your right but your duty. Men (18-29 years old) remain the overwhelming perpetrators and victims of gun crime in the world and in SA. The killing of women by a firearm is most often by someone known to them and in a so-called “safe” space like the home. In Liberia the women went on a “sex strike”. They refused to have sex until their men disarmed. Just a thought …