THE EDITOR: In the understatement of the century the problem of illegal guns has led to the problem of murders and other killings that we are experiencing in this country today. The problem, however, goes beyond the gun to the culture of the gun which is accepted as a necessity and even aggrandised in some communities.
Communities tolerate bad boys with guns on the understanding that they are there to provide protection from bad boys from other areas who might come in to launch attacks. Instead, it is the illegal acts of your own bad boys that attract attacks. Shootouts between bad boys or between bad boys and the police then lead to the falling of innocents.
Imagine guns in the hands of the most irresponsible, young and lawless among us. That’s why you have people being shot for crossing some imaginary borderline, people being shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, people being shot because you say something they don’t like, people being shot whether they resist or not during a robbery.
A drunk man will curse another, maybe strike another, and instead of a fight breaking out, one of them will run for his illegal firearm, because he has one; and a murder ensues. Land disputes, family feuds and tabanca can now be settled by putting a hit on the source of your troubles. No longer do people have to suffer, justly or unjustly, at the hands of another.
The illegal gun has created a nation of petty despots willing and able to indulge every evil they desire. This means however, that an ever widening cycle of violence develops. A shoots B; B’s boys, C and D, shoots A. And on and on from vengeance to vengeance.
You hardly ever hear about an illegal firearm protecting anyone. However, those with illegal firearms sometimes get a rush of blood to the head and believe a weapon can protect them from being arrested by the police. They, of course, end up dead.
They seem also never to recognise real plainclothes officers when they approach them because when you are “living the life” you always believe someone is gunning for you. You are cut down by the police not because “they wicked” but because you fire on them viciously, foolishly or in error.
It is indisputable that most dead bad boys would be alive today if they had never picked up or carried an illegal firearm. Most young people would certainly live to see their 30th birthday if they refuse to ever go near one.
JOANNE K JOSEPH