COLUMN: In our contry, the gun is the determining factor of life

2016-04-28 06:00
opinion lunga adam

opinion lunga adam

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These past few days have been challenging. There is an air of gloom and doom around a tiny vicinity of the township where I stay.

Abahlali speak in hushed tones. It is clear to see that since the demise of Detective Lindekile Sikade that fateful morning, life has taken a complete turn.

Confusion reigns. Rumours abound. That is what a few bullets can do to the psyche of a community.

Except that here, it was not just a case of a few bullets. An innocent police officer, a husband, a father, uncle, cousin and brother to many has lost his life in the cruellest of fashions.

This is personal. A kind, warm-hearted neighbour has been wiped off the face of the earth by delinquents.
The killing of police officers– be it for their firearms or other reasons– seems to be fashionable these days, and it’s a sad thing to have to happen. It has been going on for a very long time now.

And the standard response seems to be: “We will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of the perpetrators of this heinous act. We view such incidents in a serious light, as they seek to undermine the good work of our members.”

Then, boom! Another cop bites the dust. Surely that means something is wrong with our society. If criminals can be so brazen as to think they can appear from nowhere and shoot at a police officer, we are a doomed nation.

These are the people who put their lives on the line to protect us 365 days, 24/7. Then what about the poor Joe whose only means of defence is a steel gate and a burglar bar.

The death of Detective Sikade further reinforces the belief that life is cheap nowadays.

I do not know if it is a lack of education or a malaise deeper than that, which makes one think that by killing another, that is it. Life goes on.

I live not far from the police officer’s house and was in deep sleep when the incident took place. It takes some effort to wake me from my sleep, especially after a night out. But it must have been after the first or second shot that I sprang up from the bed. Such was the impact! For a moment I thought it was happening in my yard. But after a short while, silence fell and I went back to sleep, thinking maybe it was just youngsters playing with their ‘toys’.

It happens a lot here. As recently as two weekends ago, I walked past a group of youngsters dancing next to a car with doors open, and one of them shot into the air in full view of everyone. That’s called fun in this neck of the woods.

In my opinion, the tragedy of it all is that here is a man who leaves behind a wife and three kids.

The youngest child is only a month old. She will never believe it when they tell her, much later in life, that she had a father. When they further inform her that her father was brutally killed outside the very house she will probably still be occupying, she will be at a loss for words.

Those gunshots, at 06:15 on 18 April 2016, have changed her whole life.

Never will she ever be fully at peace with the world. The battles she will be fighting in life, she will be fighting with the full knowledge that someone out there deprived her of a father figure. Most disheartening will be that she will probably never know who the killers are.

Every one of us that she will meet, she will view with a fair bit of suspicion. All the while, life will be throwing its own challenges at the poor, confused woman. And everyone else will judge her, insult her and expect her to live up to certain expectations, without really knowing her story.

May the killers of so humble a policeman be haunted by this realisation for the rest of their lives. Rest in peace, qhawe.

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