Fuzzy Logic Strikes Again

I take issue with Vanessa Farr’s opinion piece “Staring Down the Barrel of a Gun” in the 19 November Daily Maverick.

In her article she makes a rather bold claim that licenced firearm owners have over 50 guns a day stolen from them, according to statistics obviously. I have searched and inquired as to the validity of these damning statistics, but alas I have had no luck. Nor have any of my contemporaries. Dr Farr unfortunately neglected to provide any links to source material from which these statistics originate, which leaves me with no option but to conclude that she has made them up. I deduce that she bases her allegation that civilians lose eight times as many firearms as police upon these invented findings, in which case they are very much untrue.

Dr Farr also elects to ignore the significance of the social, economic, biological, and psychological causes of crime, and rather chooses to place all the blame directly on guns alone: “Because of guns, one sporting hero is dead, another disgraced and imprisoned; and South Africa now has a reputation as a holiday destination for those who wish to commit murder by proxy.” I think it is exceptionally insulting to those who suffer the consequences of crime in our society to trivialise the issue in this manner.

Crime is a complicated and perplexing social problem. Its causes are numerous and obfuscated, and its existence has left philosophers, scientists, and legislators searching for a solution since the dawn of civilisation. I am no criminologist, but I do advise Dr Farr to expand her reading upon the subject some more before making such flippant commentary in future.

What would Dr Farr say to all the South Africans who managed to successfully fend off violent criminals through armed resistance? Should their lives be forfeit because she does not deem them worthy of possessing the means with which to protect themselves? What of the thousands of South Africans murdered each year by use of something other than a firearm; are their deaths less significant because they were not slain by a firearm wielding murderer?

Our borders are porous, and it is estimated that thousands of struggle-era firearms are still in circulation to date. None of our security forces were issued with AK47s, thus the only source that armed robbers like these can procure their weapons from is across the border. In addition to thousands of police firearms lost, stolen and transferred through corruption to criminals, hundreds of thousands of firearms from the previous homelands are still unaccounted for.

It is patently obvious that we will never live in a gun free South Africa.

If Dr Farr is serious about tackling the crime and violence problem faced by all South Africans, than she should start by campaigning against corruption within our State Departments. Only when our police service and our judiciary are empowered to effectively and efficiently perform their duties, can the authorities ever hope to turn the tide against violence and crime.

Until then I propose a more pragmatic approach: arm and train every responsible citizen in this country, men and women, so that they may stand a fighting chance against those who seek to do them harm.

6 thoughts on “Fuzzy Logic Strikes Again

  1. Good work and this is the kind of rubbish that should be challenged. I have not read the article but from what I have read here it is lame, irresponsible and fraudulent to compare to figures which are unrepresentative. The number of stolen firearms must be divided but the base. ie number of police ~150,000 depending on year higher now. and the number of firearm owners. We must also remember that the SA Military does not report thefts, the SAPS cover up most ie theft from evidence and stores. When that is done the SAPS lose firearms at a rate 3 to 5 times higher than civilians.

    Here is some ammunition.
    Last year, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele told the Police Portfolio Committee that 3 226 SAPS firearms had been lost or stolen during 2009/2010, representing a 17% increase in the total number of lost or stolen weapons, compared to 2 759 in 2008/2009. This was also a 240% increase in the number of lost or stolen weapons since 2001. Indeed, information revealed from a sequence of DA questions has revealed that over the past 5 years, a total of 13 438 firearms have been lost by the SAPS. It is difficult to stomach the fact that SAPS firearms, and that other firearms that were being held under lock and key by the SAPS, are actually now being used against the police and ordinary citizens.

    In response to one of my questions in Parliament, the Minister of Police also revealed last year that just 26 SAPS employees were charged in terms of the SAPS Discipline Regulations in 2009/2010. Of these, only 18 officers were found guilty. This means that in less than 1% of cases of loss or theft were any charges brought. That just 26 SAPS employees were charged when 2 603 firearms were lost, implies that only one in every 100 lost firearms results in any form of charge.


    Theft of firearms
    theft of firearms Crime Information Analysis Centre

    Depends on year 5000 to 20000 2/3 are recovered. Current licensed firearm owner base. Your guess is as good as mine say 1 million.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very well written piece!

    I particularly like the point you make here:
    “What would Dr Farr say to all the South Africans who managed to successfully fend off violent criminals through armed resistance? Should their lives be forfeit because she does not deem them worthy of possessing the means with which to protect themselves? ”
    To me it speaks directly to the crux of the matter.

    Well done and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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