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Disarm fools

HARDLY a day passes without someone being stabbed or shot dead in Lesotho.
In this edition alone, we report about a jilted man who ran amok and allegedly shot dead two security guards who had tried to stop him from harming his wife in Maseru.
We have another story about a man who was allegedly shot dead by a security guard following a misunderstanding at an agriculture college in the capital.
In the past week, Thaba-Bosiu was turned into a mini Mogadishu as Ha-Ramakabatane and Ha-Nqosa villagers fought with guns, daggers, stones and knobkerries over livestock.
The senseless deaths of mostly innocent souls must cudgel us into serious soul-searching about violent crime in Lesotho.
Too many guns — licensed and unlicensed — are in the hands of the wrong people, including excitable fools.
Anyone in this country can have a gun, including schoolboys.
It’s terrifying how it has become fashionable even for village bumpkins and herd-boys in the mountains to sling assault rifles on their shoulders as if they are toys of some sort.
Knives are perceived as a must-have accessory by most boys and men.
They say they need those weapons to protect their territory and dignity — even when one has been dumped by his lover for another man.
A human being will even get ripped apart by a gun or knife for spilling, accidentally, another person’s beer.
Absurd indeed!
Life in Lesotho is with each passing day becoming one of the cheapest things, considering the spate of violent crimes reported in the media every day.
What kind of a society have we become that has no respect for human life?
King Moshoeshoe I, the founder of our nation whose diplomacy is quite legendary, must be turning in his grave.
We have, with no conscience at all, deviated from his peaceful methods of resolving disputes.
In the history of mankind, guns have routinely failed as the ultimate solution.
Neither have knives and knobkerries too been the answer to disputes.
We are afraid we are slowly turning into a barbarian society that believes in spilling blood either as a form of punishment or exacting revenge.
It boggles the mind what satisfaction one gets in inflicting physical pain or ending another human being’s life.
We are completely aware that social and economic challenges underpin violent crime.
But there is no excuse whatsoever that can justify barbaric behaviour such as we are seeing in Lesotho every day.
In this day and age, we cannot be a society that sees violence as the means to an end.
If we don’t have money, we must work hard to get it.
If we are wronged, we must as much as possible use diplomatic skills to resolve our differences.
If we lose our lovers to others, we must simply move on.
Violence does not pay.
It instead pains not only the victims, if they don’t die straight away, but their families and friends as well.
This is simply societal decay.
We also see the proliferation of violent crime in Lesotho as a serious indictment of the justice system.
Aggrieved people normally take the law into their own hands if they believe the existing justice system does not impartially and timeously deal with their cases.
On the other hand judges have failed to impose deterrent sentences on those convicted of gun and knife crimes.
But at the end of the day, what is happening in our country calls for concerted efforts from every citizen.
The work is cut out for the powers-that-be and the police.
A special police unit and a ministerial taskforce to fight violent crime is a matter of urgency.
Guns must not be easily accessible.
It is logical that if we have less guns we will have less gun crimes.
Those with unlicensed guns — who are, sadly, the majority — must be disarmed or better still encouraged to hand over their dangerous weapons.
The society must also accept that guns do not bring prosperity.
Instead they bring misery.

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