Where is all the outrage?
In the last few days, I have read about an intellectually disabled boy being gunned down by police in the streets of Eldorado Park in Joburg and about bodies being found off Baden Powell Drive in Strandfontein.
The one body was of a naked woman who had been stabbed numerous times and beheaded, after presumably being raped.
I believe it is an especially psychotic kind of inhumanity to not just take someone’s life, but to go through the effort to painstakingly remove their head.
And of course it being Women’s Month makes it that much worse.
I can’t even count how many times I have written similar words on these very pages.
Year-in and year-out it’s the same thing over and over again. A never-ending cycle of violence perpetrated with impunity and which police and government are seemingly unable, or unwilling to stop.
And while I say “impunity”, I also understand that it isn’t impossible to address some of the factors at play.
Take the “Baden Powell killing fields,” as it has been dubbed.
Bodies turn up in the stretch of bushes between Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Strandfontein Pavilion with sickening regularity.
When attacks on motorists on the N2, in the vicinity of the R300, became intolerable a few years ago, a law enforcement satellite station was established and patrols increased, until it dropped.
So we know increased visible policing works when it comes to reducing crime.
The area is also extremely dark, making it easy for criminals to hide away.
Again, there are statistics showing a marked reduction in crime in areas that are well lit.
It makes sense, because skollies prefer the cover of darkness, so a quick and easy way to fight back, is to flood them with light.
As for the shooting of an apparently innocent teenager by police, it has become more and more apparent that law enforcement training worldwide needs an overhaul.
Of course we expect officers to be tough and ready to defend life and property with necessary force, but that force has to be appropriate and proportionate.
Many officers are far too trigger happy at the slightest sign of provocation.
Alongside their training in applying the law and using their guns, they also need training in critical thinking, effective communication, conflict resolution and a bit of social psychology.
What we need are strong, honest, compassionate and intelligent cops who are effective in all situations.
For our part, even if we did have the super cops that I describe, we would still need to help them be that effective.
Let’s face it, we are nowhere close to being the society that we would all like to live in.
And while much of the blame lies with our political leaders, we can at least do our part on the ground to make our lives safe and secure.
We can be good citizens and regularly report the criminal activity that we know of, while at the same time demanding better from our political and community leaders.
But as a society, we haven’t yet found a way to stick together to make our voices heard.
And until we find our collective voice to demand a life free of fear, innocent kids will continue to lose their lives, whether by the gun of a cop, or at the hands of a criminal.