Val plat!

Keith Blake, Ottery

As I drive my grandchildren to school every morning, it is with sadness in my heart that I see the headlines on our lampposts of our fellow brothers and sisters on the Cape Flats mourning the loss of a family member, a friend, a neighbour or a child who has been shot to death or critically injured due to “Wild West” shootings between rival groups.

When one reads these tragic stories then one can almost feel the heartache and, yes, the hopelessness of the victim’s families as they recount how their children are shot during these illegal shootouts.

On social media there was a video showing a shooting between two young men at a densely populated council flat and the scene showed how the shooters were shooting off bullets as they were chasing each other where there were citizens and children moving about.

As a retired police officer, I remember very clearly the words of my SA Railway Police instructors that once you pull that trigger, that bullet is travelling faster than a space ship and where it lands, that is where the damage or death is bound to happen, so choose your target very clearly and only once you are more than 100% sure then you pull the trigger and never fire into the air as what goes up out of that barrel comes down faster with the pull of gravity.

Yet here are scenes playing itself out where all legal rules of discharging a firearm are thrown into the coffin and buried.The law has to be amended that any person found in possession of an illegal firearm or discharges a firearm illegally should be presumed to be committing attempted murder as the presumption clause here is that such a person can and must have foreseen that such possession of an illegal firearm or the illegal discharge of any firearm could have led to the death of an innocent person.

The main reason I am writing this letter is to try and prevent innocent people from being shot or killed during these illegal shootings in the suburb or at any shooting scene no matter where.

In the whole recording of the shooting, men, women and children were actually standing or running around, some shouting and swearing and no one made an effort to duck for cover, that is what stood out so clearly. No one dived for cover to try and avoid the deadly bullets flying in their midst.

When I saw this I recalled how a few years ago I wrote an article titled “Val plat as skote klap”. I wrote that as soon as any person becomes aware a potential shooting is about to take place or there is already a shooting taking place then to try not to become a shooting statistic. The possible solution to make oneself much less of a target or is to fall flat on the ground or encourage others to lie down immediately.

This action reduces the huge body of becoming a huge target.

I want to encourage every police officer, law enforcement officer, every councillor, every teacher, every religious leader to adopt and preach the “val plat as skote klap” initiative to their audiences and to the public.

There should be actual physical exercise of this project as practice makes perfect and practice brings the message home and not to mention posters in every police station, school or council facility. Watch any movie where there is shooting taking place and bullets are flying all over the place. What are the actors doing? Standing up? No sir ,no ma’am, they are flat on their bellies, making themselves less of a target.