May 13, 2015 Editorial
The recent discovery of high-powered weapons and a number of pistols at a city wharf would have sent shivers down the spines of the law-abiding among us. It represents a startling reminder.
The increasing incidence of gun crimes are cause for serious questions, not least of which would be what is being done to arrest this dangerous situation, where human lives are being mindlessly snuffed out. It is a truism that perception very often mirrors reality, and the general view seems to be that citizens are at the mercy of marauding elements bent on disrupting their peace and security. In such an environment characterized by an almost pervasive fear of crime, people are understandably very apprehensive for their personal safety.
Such a situation demands a coherent and comprehensive operational policy to respond to a menace that is likely to overwhelm the country’s law enforcement efforts against illegal guns and ammunition. At present there seems to be no properly articulated strategy to address this phenomenon; if one does exist it is probably in the minds of the operatives.
However, the issue really should be whether the strategists are working within a framework which requires that lessons learned must be recorded so as to inform on the level of success or shortfall as the case might be. The days of ad hoc approaches to crime have surely passed, but this does not seem to be the realization of our operational policy makers.
The fact remains that an ordinarily undermanned police station would be hard pressed to provide adequate manpower to render the necessary assistance to a public under siege. From claims made by ranks assigned to perform extra security duties, they do not receive any monies.
It seems that the more sensible arrangement would be for the police to conduct a security assessment in a consultative capacity that is paid for by the organisers who can then contract private security firms which supply those services. Those obviously will leave the police to provide adequate patrols in hotspot areas where crime is prevalent, particularly during those times.
However, it would be myopic to believe that regular crime-prone areas should remain the sole focus of crime prevention efforts to the exclusion of potential hotspots which might be opportunistic in their manifestation. The wanton shooting to death of innocent citizens says a lot about where we are heading as a nation. Brutal home attacks on the elderly indicate exactly what any one of us is likely to be confronted by in the presumed safety of our residences.
The solution to gun crimes lies not in stricter legislation for firearm licencing control, because the problem we face is one which involves illegal firearms in the hands of people with no compunction about taking lives.
Moreover, gun control laws are focused on law-abiding people who for the most part are not about to arm themselves without seeking to ensure that they are in compliance with the law. The fact is that this is not simply a case of introducing a buy-back programme to rid the streets of illegal weapons like obtains in places like Australia, and the USA. It therefore means that those criminally inclined in possession of illegal firearms will not be falling all over themselves in a rush to hand in what they might consider the tools of their nefarious trade.
The state must adopt a vigorous approach to dealing with gun crimes reflected by severe jail time. The sentences given to those found guilty in high profile arms matters is an indication of how these matters should be dealt. Crying about the porous borders and the ease of illegal arms entry is not the answer.
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