Ag in Africa

23 October, 2006

More guns than giggles

Filed under: Guns, johannesburg, Peace — Ag @ 11:03 pm

The idea of this blog was to mix the funny and less funny stuff up. Sorry but giggles have been a bit thin on the ground recently, so here’s another shocker.

Tonight I went to a screening of a film called American Gun (with free food and wine and all nice stuff like that). The screening was organised by an NGO called Gun Free South Africa – you do have to admire the ambition. The film was ok, but more potent was one of the people who spoke briefly before the film. She was blond, slim, say 40ish, middle class looking – you wouldn’t remark on her in a Joburg shopping mall. She told, very briefly, in just maybe two minutes, how she had lost three members of her family to guns. All of the circumstances were innocuous, but the one I remember best was her son. He was out in one of the beauty areas around Joburg with a friend. They went out messing around in the countryside, so his friend’s father gave them his gun “in case”. (I guess it’s worth remembering this is Africa, not Wiltshire, and I suppose it’s possible you could happen upon a dangerous beast.) Being teenage boys, they messed around with the gun, and her son accidentally got shot and killed. She made a point of how tiny the bullet was, and I could envisage holding this tiny little metal tube-shaped-thing between my finger and thumb and marvelling at how such a tiny thing could kill her child.

The thing about peace is that it’s such a simple and powerful concept. Or emotion or truism or Thing. And when I got it (which was only about 6 months ago) it was as strong and undeniable as my experience of love. It is everything, in the same way love is (maybe they’re the same thing), and it transcends all the arguments in global wars and domestic disputes. It works whether you’re religious or an atheist, and I say this as someone who’s a bit of both. And it works whether you’re a hippy or a cynic. Ditto.

Here I could add a nice line just to wrap it up in a well-written way. But I don’t want to because these things are unresolved.


P.S. Not sure what the blogging protocol is on fiddling with posts, but am I bovered? Ann has added a most excellent comment to this post, so please do read and then add your names to the global petition against guns at: I’m not entirely convinced such petitions are taken seriously, but, even if you’re as cynical as me, it’s worth doing cos there’s a fantastic doodling pad where you get to draw a picture of yourself with the cursor. Hours of fun.

P.P.S. Three gory gun stats from South Africa: 1) More people are killed by firearms than die in road accidents; 2) 10,854 people were murdered by firearms in 2000; 3) For people age over 15, firearms are the most common cause of death.


1 Comment »

  1. I hate guns. When I lived in South Africa I would often attend more than one funeral a month. Not of strangers, but of close friends – due to murder, suicide or accident. I totally appreciate that the UK is largely gun free. Let’s keep it that way!

    Check out and demand a global arms treaty.

    I hope you have some good experiences out there too!

    Comment by Anne — 24 October, 2006 @ 4:11 pm

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