In July this year a Witpoortjie mother and her child nearly became hijacking victims. Fortunately for her, an armed member of the public witnessed the event and decided to intervene by displaying his handgun and chasing away the would-be hijackers.
This brave man is a true hero, risking his life for a complete stranger and successfully doing so without firing a shot. It is not often that defensive gun use (DGU) makes it into the media, especially when no shots are fired during the incident and the assailants flee, because it is apparently not particularly newsworthy.
Despite obvious difficulties in ascertaining the true proportion of defensive gun uses in South Africa that involve no actual shots being fired, a thorough study on DGU’s conducted by Florida State University’s Professor Gary Kleck in the US in the 90’s estimated that around 95% of all DGU’s fall into this category, and it clearly happens much more regularly than most people are aware of.
During this same month, a Roodepoort car dealership owner saved one of his clients from a hijacking after becoming involved in a shoot-out in his parking lot. There were no reported injuries.
Also in August this year a Newlands man fended off seven armed home invaders with his handgun, although wounded in the fracas he still succeeded in fighting them off despite being severely outnumbered.
Similarly, a wounded farmer’s wife successfully took on six farm attackers who had shot her husband in the shoulder. Even after suffering a wound to her leg she triumphed over the numerical odds stacked against her and terminated two of her six assailants.
None of these aforementioned people are former Special Forces operators. They are merely ordinary citizens who possess the will, skill and means with which to protect themselves and others from becoming the prey of evil men.
Active resistance by potential victims against attackers contrasts very sharply to outcomes when victims rather choose compliance. A popular Pietermaritzburg teacher was cold-bloodedly murdered by her hijackers who shot her three times before dumping her in her driveway to bleed out.
Another tragic case that received much media attention involves a 4-year old boy who was brutally killed by hijackers who had dragged him for nearly 9 kilometres dangling from his safety belt behind his mother’s car. Although she had complied with their demands they still murdered her child.
An unarmed Pinetown man was shot in the back by hijackers after he had given up his car and walked away. He died as a result of his injuries having done nothing to provoke his murderers into killing him.
Recently published advice regarding ‘how to deal with the scenario of being hijacked’ offers little more than instruction to readers to simply comply with every wish of their attacker and essentially hope for the best. I find it appalling that the best course of action we can recommend to frightened citizens under siege from a violent criminal element is to entrust their and their loved ones’ lives to the whims and desires of violent criminals.
Many people would hesitate at the thought of placing their lives in the hands of even trained and competent professionals like airline pilots or doctors, yet the advice in the article above suggests they to do precisely that with people who live entirely beyond the limits of the law.
It appears that people who are rapists and murderers must now have our complete and utter trust in matters of life and death. Has our country gone completely insane?
Many myths circulate about why armed defence is undesirable. One, spread by Gun Free South Africa as gospel, is the belief that your firearm is supposedly “four times as likely to be used against you” during an attack. This is blatantly untrue.
The source of this fallacy is falsely drawn from the research of Antony Altbeker, the respected author of A Country at War with Itself, yet correspondence with Mr. Altbeker and access to his research material reveals quite the opposite.
As Altbeker said himself to Doctor R Wesson shortly after his publication: “The methodology of the study mitigates against drawing the conclusion that armed victims are much more likely to lose their weapons than to use them successfully.” Like most people such as ourselves, Wesson also posits in his book that “anyone who accepts ‘victim conditioning’ as the norm, themselves become a contributing factor in the prevalence of violent crime.
Another popular myth is that women are more likely to be killed by their rapist should they resist with a weapon. Again this is untrue, and an extensive research paper published in the Journal of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine by Chakraborty et al, as well as publications by Michael Z Williamson, make for interesting reading on the subject:
Victims crying or pleading were raped 96% of the time
Victims who loudly screamed were raped between 44% and 50% of the time
Victims who ran were raped 15% of the time
Victims who forcefully resisted (without a weapon) were raped 14% of the time
Women who resisted with knives or guns were raped less than 1% of the time
It is therefore quite preposterous to claim that victims presenting armed resistance to their attacker are more likely to have their weapons used against them than they are of successfully fending off their assailants. Quite simply there exists no evidence whatsoever to prove or even remotely infer as much.
What does become very obvious is that an armed woman resisting her potential rapist gives her by far the highest probability of success.
Admittedly, it is unfair and unrealistic to expect the SAPS to be able to provide every individual the safety and security they need as the police service simply do not possess the manpower and resources to do so, merely coping with the rampant levels of crime we are living under placing immense strain on the service nationally.
With that in mind, every citizen must be ‘first responders‘ to our own personal crime scenes, as the police will in the main only arrive ‘after the fact’ to take statements and draw chalk lines around the victims. For anyone wishing to present resistance to becoming a victim of violent crime, I recommend that they legally arm themselves in order to do so.
Simply owning a gun offers no absolute guarantee that one is necessarily able to use it effectively when the need arises to do so, but not owning one offers no options at all. It is also absolutely crucial that all gun owners train as often and regularly as their wallets can afford with the world class firearms instructors our country has on offer.
Chapter Two of our Constitution protects our individual Rights to Life, Freedom, Property, Security, and Dignity. But without the means and will to protect these rights, they only amount to mere words on a piece of paper.
In quoting the most honourable past President Nelson Mandela; “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”. By that, we understand that he could well have also meant freedom from the fear of crime.