Mere weeks ago the news media were filled with reports about the horrible events in Parklands, Florida. A deranged piece of human excrement murdered a number of school children and teachers.
Why is this event relevant to South Africa? Because the anti-gun “liberal” Left decided it is.
There are many arguments regarding why it is stupid for the South African gun lobby to become involved in this debate. Personally I don’t see us having a choice, because Gun Free SA and all their cronies will have a field day with it. Social media is on fire. Twitter hashtags, Facebook videos, and an awareness campaign by the schoolchildren themselves. It is difficult to be completely objective about the issue, but I spot a familiar trend every time similar horrible events occur.
There are outpourings of #hashtag-campaigns, anti-gun talking heads on TV, and politicians wringing hands. The sole outcome of these “discussions” are to make people feel as if they are doing something. Without them actually doing anything, of course. Social media users share a video or retweet a #hashtag and immediately feel better about themselves. Because they successfully fool themselves into thinking that they have contributed to a solution.
As much as they annoy and frustrate me, I cannot be too angry at the Left. I think they sometimes honestly believe their solution of gun bans, especially the banning of semi-auto rifles, are the way to go.
Back to the title, why do I say this is a people problem? I don’t like using statistics in my articles. Mainly because for every pro-gun stat I offer the Left have a counter. So the net effect is null. And I have never seen anybody have their minds changed because the stats say so. As much as we would like to argue using facts and figures, it’s simply not going to work on some people. They need the emotional “feel good” factor.
The gun ban logic is flawed. If guns could simply kill by themselves, gun shows and sport shooting events would be a massacre. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Not too long ago in SA you could buy a gun and mail it anywhere in the country without a problem. In the United States youngsters would drive around with rifles in their trucks (bakkies) to go hunting after school. Yes, you read that right: after school. And no mass shooting pandemic resulted. In the early 1900s you could buy a full-auto submachine gun through a mail-order catalogue.
Conversely, Japan is one of the most regulated countries in the world. Gun ownership is almost nonexistent. On 26 July 2016 in Midori Ward, Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan 19 people were killed and 26 others were injured (13 severely) at a care home for disabled people. They were massacred by a deranged man who didn’t need a gun to kill and maim.
The Boston Marathon Bombers used pressure cookers. Osama Bin Laden’s terrorists used airliners. In France trucks are the terrorist’s weapon of choice, next to AK47s used during the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Somehow evil people kept finding a way to perpetrate mass murder.
If a gun cannot shoot by itself and the regulations are stricter than before, what causal factors remain? Us. We changed. We live in a world of instant gratification and where mediocrity is applauded. Everyone is a winner if they just pitch up.
We are forced to accept everything and anybody, because sentiments are more important than facts. Because hurting anyone’s feelings is verboten.
We also live in a society of broken families. A society with increasing numbers of absentee fathers. Young men lack strong male role models, and single mothers have to do the best they can by themselves. So gangsterism and violence become part of a young person’s life from an early age.
Children are being brought up by parents who are more concerned with their careers than their offspring. They think money solves all problems. Thus, children come home to a place where their parents are so uninvolved, they don’t realise their kids have serious problems. Schools are overcrowded and classrooms are large, and overworked teachers don’t notice problems either. Serious mental health issues are compounded and aggravated by lack of proper care and attention.
Young people are screaming for attention but nobody hears.
The mainstream media love mass shootings. It jacks their ratings and subscriptions. An impressionable young person sees this as a possible easy road to infamy. “Fine, I’ll make you notice me!”
Banning guns won’t work because it’s a bandaid fixing a bullet hole (sorry TaySway – Ed). It is a lazy, quick-fix solution. And it makes us feel good. Like we are doing something worthwhile. Nobody’s got time for care and attention anymore. It’s a fast-paced world. Hashtags and Tweets baby! Gotta keep up with the times!
We need to fix our society. More family and friends. Less Facebook and Twitter. Get rid of the need for instant gratification. Sorry young lady, but Instagram followers aren’t real friends.
We must teach our kids not to idolise bullshit. You don’t have to play First XV rugby to be worthwhile. You don’t need to win some kind of fake prize at the matric farewell to be noticed.
The Left love the “kids-are-our-future” argument for banning guns. But they don’t seem to care about kids other than using them as a political prop. To those on the left, it’s always somebody else’s fault for their failures. Donald Trump. Guns. Men. The scary Russians. You get the drill. It’s all identity politics and screeching at the sky.
Banning guns won’t save the kids. Bad people still blow them up. And stabbed. And run over. The enemy is within.
In SA we also have bullies and social media. We have quasi-celebrities and children thinking what they say matter. We have gangsters and religious fanatics just like anywhere else.
If we are responsible parents, we have to teach our kids true value. We have to teach our kids how to be a friend and confidant. To listen not tease. To have sympathy, but not tolerate bullies and bullshit, and to be strong and courageous. When we one day accept responsibility for bringing up our children to be the best adults they can be, as opposed to leaving that job to social media and celebrities, maybe then things will begin to change.
But that requires involvement, time, and effort. There is no quick fix for this problem.
Written by Rouen Heiberg.
Rouen is a rough-and-tumble kind of fellow from the dank depths of the Garden Route. He haunts the lands around George, and does his part in running a shooting club down there. He does unarmed combatives, firearms training, and causes trouble on the Internet.