I am asking what do we do about it?
Megan and I had only been living in Pretoria for about 3 months when we were involved in an attempted hijacking - thankfully we got away with our lives, but it was a traumatic experience for Megan, Courtney (who was asleep on the back seat of the car) and I. We still don't stop at that set of traffic lights at night. Sadly, about a year later, Megan was a victim of a 'smash and grab' incident at the same busy intersection. In broad daylight a man simply walked up to her car window smashed the glass and grabbed her handbag and ran away... So, now that intersection, and many others, have signs that say "hijacking hotspot" and "be aware for your own safety".
We live across the road from 'The Scorpions' headquarters in Pretoria (for those from outside of South Africa, the Scorpions are South Africa's version of the FBI, their real name is the NPA (National Prosecution Authority), but they are called the Scorpions). They have surveillance cameras that monitor their perimeter fence, and also cover the entrance to our complex's gate. Yet, one of our neighbours was held up at gunpoint and robbed of all his money (after being followed home from the Airport). We have also had numerous break-ins with radios and other valuables being stolen form the cars... When the NPA were asked to help to supply surveillance evidence to make the arrests the police were told that they would have to get a judge to issue a injunction to release the surveillance tapes!
You know we are so accustomed to crime that our language has even begun to reflect it. On the news the hijacking was described as a 'hijacking gone wrong'... Sound strange? Well maybe not at first, because we hear about 'robberies gone wrong' where people are shot... BUT, this language begs the question, then WHAT IS A SUCCESSFUL HIJACKING!? Crazy! There is NO such thing as a successful hijacking, or robbery, or crime.
I am sad and shocked that a nation as beautiful as ours should struggle with such violence and crime... Of course I understand why it takes place - the gap between those who have, and those who have not, is still huge! The damage done by Apartheid will be felt for many years to come...
What made me so sad about Lucky Dube's death today is that he was shot in front of his teenage son and daughter while three men tried to hijack his car... Then the police officials in the Johannesburg area report that they will not just put 'any' policemen on this case, rather, they have appointed a 'crack team' to solve this crime. Isn't it sad that you have to be famous to get good service from the police? What do people who are not famous do?
There was a very cynical article in the Business Times Careers section this past Sunday (October 14, 2007, p.1), it was by David Bullard in his column "Out to Lunch" - the title of the article is Are those killed by crime seen by Mbeki as dispensable? In the article he questions whether the high crime figures, and the lack of resolve to do anything about crime, is in fact some kind of ploy. I think it is a little wacky, and in fact smacks of conspiracy - however, Bullard himself was shot, and almost killed, in a violent incident just a short while ago.
So, the question is what do we do? What do Christians do?
My friend Gus has a wonderful (and much less negative and not just a 'rant' like mine). You will find Gus' post here, it is entitled "The value of life".