“Shoot to kill” fiasco just gets worse

About two weeks ago I posted a blog, deploring the South African President’s support for amendments to the law which would give police officers the right to shoot to kill. In that time, an innocent young women has become the unfortunate victim of this insane policy proposal, while two other innocent citizens were injured in the same incident.

Earlier this week, police officers shot at a vehicle suspected of being hijacked, killing the young women and injuring two others who were all passengers in the car. And just to highlight the incompetence of the seven police officers involved, the driver of the car, an Air Force pilot who was the only one to exit when it stopped, was also the only one who was not shot. He later claimed that the police opened fire indiscriminately and without provocation.

Considering the unbelievably stupid shoot-to-kill remarks made by senior police chiefs, politicians and even the President, to (poorly trained) police officers, only two weeks earlier, this incident was bound to happen. Earlier this year, the Deputy Safety and Security Minister, Susan Shabangu was reported as saying: “You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your responsibility is to serve and protect.” If the Deputy Minister does not understand the concept of serving and protecting, what hope is there for ordinary police officers, weaned on serving the former apartheid state against the majority of citizens.

The police officers who were involved in the shooting can claim that it was as a result of the mixed messages that they received from their bosses, but unfortunately (and rightly so) will have to face the full brunt of the law for their actions. As usual, the politicians will literally get away with murder.

But wait; it gets worse. Yesterday the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa not only claimed that the shoot-t0-kill stance was a fabrication by the press, he proclaimed that laws concerning the  police’s right to enter  private premises would be changed, to apparently, wait for it…. save lives. The Minister was quoted as saying:

There is a lot of woman and children abuse and we can’t seek permission from abusers to enter their houses.

If the police cannot competently identify a model of car (as in the shooting incident described earlier), how can we trust them to identify an abuser, and not barge into the wrong house shooting wildly at innocent people?

Are politicians that thick that they do not learn from the mistakes of their idiot peers? The draconian measures instituted by George Bush against the citizens of the USA to curb their constitutional freedoms, in response to the 9/11 disaster is still very much in the periphery of political and social discourse. Can our public representatives not see the danger of a repeat here, or are their objectives more sinister? Are South Africans, with a history of abuse of rights and freedoms, prepared to allow our politicians to drag us back into the past?

Personally, I need the assurance that my home will remain inviolate; free from the clutches of grubby politicians and the threat of invasion by incompetent police officers. Any attempts to diminish our freedoms must be resisted.

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