Chris Moerdyk

Striking back at mothertrucking strikers

2012-10-15 11:14

Chris Moerdyk

I cannot get my mind off Gary Stewart, sitting in a truck, minding his own business when some moron throws a brick through the window. He died.

I cannot get my mind off another, as yet unidentified truck driver who was pulled from his vehicle in Manenberg on the Cape Flats and set alight by another moron. He died.

I keep asking myself what I would do if my son or brother were killed by a moron.

Would I turn to the teachings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and just about every religion on earth, all of which preach tolerance, forgiveness and turning one's back on vengeance?

Or, would I turn to the extremist factions of those same religions and take the vengeance option?

Not a normal society

In a normal society, I suppose it is possible to come to terms with the murder of a loved one by relying on the justice system to bring the culprit to book.

The problem is we are not living in anything like a normal society in South Africa.

I heard on the radio last week that some research or other showed that about half of this country's trade union members believed that it was ok to resort to violence.

I see the authorities standing by twiddling their thumbs while striking truckers torch more than 120 vehicles and think nothing of stoning and killing those of their comrades who have evoked their constitutional right not to strike. I am a great believer in the need for trade union movements. I am not a believer in allowing trade union members to break the law and trash the constitution.

Taking action

Right now, I hear the police say that they are taking action. I hear trades union leaders swearing blind that it is not their members who are causing all the havoc.

Whatever the reality, all I know is that my perception is that the police are doing nothing and that generally speaking, its strikers and not just criminal elements that are breaking the law.  It also seems to me that government is doing nothing. Sorry, my apologies, Government is doing something. At a cabinet meeting last week ministers "noted their concern" with regard to the ongoing illegal strikes and violence.

O wow!  I can just imagine all those strikers, stone throwers and petty criminals cowering in corners and whispering desperately to each other: "back to work everyone, stop throwing stones, leave the trucks alone, go home, lock the doors - cabinet has noted its concern...!"

What government doesn't realise however is that reality means nothing. Perception is everything.

And my feeling as a result, is that if my brother or son was killed by some moron striker throwing bricks or torching trucks, I am not completely convinced that I would have the willpower to just sit back and hope that the law would take its course.

What would I do?

I am pretty sure that if something like that did happen to my family I would spend every resource at my disposal tracking down the culprits. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing illegal about that. It's called civic duty.

But, what could come next worries me.

Assuming I managed to track down the killers and had more than enough evidence to prove guilt - what would I do?

Would I hand them over to the police?

Interesting question, because my perception is that more often than not very little happens when one hands over evidence to the police.

And even if something was done, would I have the strength to sit through years of legal proceedings, because once again, my perception is that the law is so protective of criminals in this country it takes years for a conviction to actually happen.

It worries me that my perception of this country, where violence is condoned by trades union members and where government  doesn't seem to care that some poor fellow has been killed by a moron throwing bricks, will tempt me to take the law into my own hands.

Understanding vigilantes

Frankly, I am very much against vigilantes. I am horrified when frustrated township residents take the law in to their own hands and stone an alleged rapist to death.

But, I can understand what drives them to do that.

This is what really scares me about South Africa today. It has become a country where human life has little or no value. And I am not just talking about criminals; I am including members of political parties and union members.

It scares me, because despite having been brought up as a law-abiding, taxpaying citizen with strong religious convictions, if my son or brother was killed by stone throwing morons I cannot, with any certainty, put my hand on my heart and say that I would not go out and shoot the bastards.
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