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The odds are stacked against men

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The odds are stacked against men. There are about 750 million sperm per ejaculate, yet only one sperm can fertilise the single egg a woman produces once a month. A male foetus is less likely to survive full-term pregnancy than a female, and boys are more likely to die in infancy. Boys are more likely to injure themselves in accidents, and regardless of where they live in the world, young men aged 15 to 29 are more likely to die violently.

In counselling men who are HIV+ I’ve found a common denominator: what I call a father wound. Men, who have absent fathers, whether physically or emotionally, are more likely to engage in self-destructive behaviour usually through high-risk conduct such as extreme sports, promiscuity, heavy drinking or drug abuse. They often find ways to demean themselves and place themselves in danger as if saying: If my father didn’t value me, how can I be of value? And so they go out of their way to prove they are of no value.

There are obviously many exceptions to this rule, Barack Obama is a great example of a man who had an absent father and used that pain to become a great dad to his girls, but this commonality prevails in men who place themselves at risk.

Aristotle believed that virtue was an aspect of choice between two vices, so, for example, courage is poised between recklessness and cowardice. But why are so many men reckless about sex and cowardly about taking responsibility for parenting? Why have so many men voluntarily relinquished masculinity by failing to take on the spiritual and biological roles masculinity imposes — of being reliable partners and responsible fathers?

The figures for disengaged fathers in South Africa are astronomical, either as people who have no contact with their offspring or refuse to pay maintenance and their children in turn will often grow up with mothers who can’t make ends meet and are often overstretched.

Poverty harms men and women in different ways. Girls will often display more stoicism than boys, who frequently become dispirited and give up. Culturally, boys are persuaded that achievement and providing is their responsibility. When they cannot, they often feel they have failed as men too and are more likely to become involved in violent acts.

Scientific evidence also suggests some people may be genetically predisposed to violence and they have different brain structures, according to research by Dr Daniel Weinberger of the US National Institute of Mental Health. His research suggests that there are neural mechanisms associated with a gene, monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), epidemiologically linked to a risk of violent and impulsive behaviour. The gene, which is carried on the X (male) chromosome, produces an enzyme that mops up stress hormones in the brain.

Australian neurogeneticist Professor Peter Schofield, who heads the Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, says the most profound demonstration of the link was a study in the 1990s of a family in the Netherlands that had a rare and catastrophic mutation in that gene. “All the males in that family with that mutation were arsonists and rapists.”

We all have the gene which expresses the enzyme at very low levels or high levels. The low-expressing form creates problems but only in some cases. A study of a thousand men in Dunedin, New Zealand, found that only those men who had the low-expressing version of the MAOA gene and had been abused as children were prone to violent behaviour. In other words, genetic predispositions lie dormant until triggered by the experience of harm.

Violent video games have also been shown to influence aggressive conduct. Research by Dr Sonya Brady of the University of California, San Francisco, and Professor Karen Matthews at the University of Pittsburgh show that young men are more likely to believe others are hostile if they’ve just played a violent game.

Brady says young men are also more likely to think it’s acceptable to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol after playing a violent game. Playing violent games appears to have a greater effect on those who came from violent homes or communities, making them less cooperative and more competitive.

Alex Kotlowitz, a New York Times writer, wrote something profound in an essay looking at the impact of Chicago anti-gun violence organisation CeaseFire, Kotlowitz observed: “People who have little expectation for the future live recklessly.” In economically deprived areas violence is always high, along with drug addiction, alcoholism and sexually transmitted diseases.

CeaseFire was started by epidemiologist Gary Slutkin, who worked in Africa for ten years battling HIV and Aids. He returned to Chicago at a time of prevalent gun violence. For 25 years, murder has been the leading cause of death among African American men between the ages of 15 and 34, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which analysed data up to 2005.

In South Africa there are on average 50 murders a day. Victims are usually shot.

How do we reverse these trends? An obvious answer is tighter gun control, but as the United Kingdom shows where knife killings are on a sharp rise, if you remove guns violent citizens will use other weapons. We need to eliminate causes; nothing less than societal transformation is needed. Childcare for working parents must be made a greater priority by governments and companies. A parent who is an accessory to a child being harmed deserves stiff penalties — as harsh as those meted out to the perpetrator. Teachers need to be paid far more and given the respect they deserve. And in the home, we have to work harder at developing a culture of respect and tolerance between parent and child — it cannot go one way only; it has to flow in both directions.

What CeaseFire violence interrupters — as the ex-gang lords, now peacemakers are called — do, is scan communities for potential trouble. When they hear of violence brewing, they intervene. They don’t try to stop the drug trade or to reform gangsters, but focus on preventing killings. CeaseFire also holds rallies at the sites of killings. They spend considerable time and often put themselves at risk to negotiate an end to conflict; it’s a slow process, but in Chicago and at least three other major US cities that have high levels of violent crime it is seeing a reduction in murder.

And belonging is an essential need too. One man I interviewed said: “There were more guys at the London school reunion of my South African school than in South Africa. In South Africa opportunities for black men have increased at the expense of opportunities for white men. There is an imbalance and so one feels it is a country that would rather you did not succeed as a man and yet you know you are integral to the success of that nation.” You see that frustration expressed over and over in blog comments, why are we ignoring it? No form of deliberate exclusion can ever be acceptable.

There is so much work that needs to be done in South Africa to help men but it is still way too little.

  • Organisations and men doing particularly good work: Sonke Gender Justice Network (Mbuyiselo Botha), Engender (Dean Peacock).
  • View more on our special report on 16 days of activism here.
  • Author

    • Charlene Smith is a multi-award-winning journalist, author and media consultant. She has had 14 books published, one of which was shortlisted for an Alan Paton award. Television documentaries for which she has worked have also won awards. She has worked as a broadcast journalist and radio-station manager. Smith's areas of expertise are politics, economics, women's and children's issues and HIV. She lives and works in Cambridge, USA.

    45 Comments

    1. Robin Grant Robin Grant 2 December 2009

      Re the video game research: Its a load of bollocks.
      Studies have found that in very few instances where a boy may have some psychological condition a violent video game could trigger some kind of reaction. At most, the normal behaviour for boys is to be slightly more boisterous after playing a violent video game, but this soon subsides (the research you quoted does not tell you this part, because the researchers have a censorship driven agenda).
      In all instances where boys are mentally balanced, the boys can easily distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy.
      Boys who play video games have better reflexes, are better at solving certain mental problems, and in fact also make better surgeons (developed fine motor skills) and air force pilots.

    2. Mark Robertson Mark Robertson 2 December 2009

      Very good article. The pressure on men to be ‘supermen’ is huge. As a woman said, if a woman is poor, it doesn’t make her less sexually attractive. When a man is poor, women don’t even SEE him. He is neutered, a non-man, an invisible wretch, an impotent eunuch. SA is a poor country. Most men will never be rich. Is it so surprising that so many men are so angry? Note there is NO way I condone male violence or aggression – I am totally non-aggressive myself – but have you ever thought how little hope most men in SA have of being the ‘superman’ men are still supposed to be – rich, strong, handsome, respected, never gets sick, never makes a mistake, never shows any fear or weakness, never gives up, never backs down?

    3. owen owen 2 December 2009

      lol ‘but as the United Kingdom shows where knife killings are on a sharp rise, if you remove ..’ ..very subtle…

      Tooo many people always leads to social disorder.

      Also genetic randomness with always produce extreme personalities as it is how a species survives. Perhaps we are mutating in order to survive a more hostile environment / world order.

    4. Rolux Rolux 3 December 2009

      750 million! No wonder I am so thin.

      I am in my early fifties which means that I come from a generation that grew up when corporal punishment, as a form of discipline, was the accepted norm. In our early adulthood we (men) were conscripted into the army and subjected to further harsh discipline. Needless to say that a lot of missuse of authority took place.

      However, as much as I resented being subjected to these institutions of authority, today I have to admit that we ended up much better equipped to deal with the challenges of life. There is a stark contrast between the behaviour of the youth of today and our generation at the same age.

      I can understand the call for the reintroduction of coporal punishment.

      Charlene, your posting is a tappestry of many different issues woven into an insightfull whole. Thank you for this thought provoking article.

      Damn! Now I won’t be able to concentrate on my work today.

    5. old, female old, female 3 December 2009

      A brilliant commentary intended for males, who predominate as readers. My question – Will they read it with EI ?

      To simply the cause and remedy lies with the mother who is the primary care giver. Sad reality is that she treasures him and will indulge his every whim if she is able to.
      Character and core values begin (an end) with her – I have seen and heard it for so many generations. Their bond is closer than father and son – Father wants a replica and son wants to be his own man. Two bulls in one kraal. Same for daughters and mothers.
      If the mother is prepared to endure abuse of any kind – she is the role model of behaviour.

      The greatest value a man can have is to be his own man, true to his character and who can make and bring to reality – WISE CHOICES.
      That can be taught to a boy from toddler age –
      “THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES for every action.
      Mother – teach you son – it begins with you !

      Wasted words as they are not the readers of your erudite column as they are too busy trying to survive in a man ‘s world.

    6. Andrew Andrew 3 December 2009

      Women want equality when it suits them. In my case, I cannot participate as an active father to my son because mothers are seen by the law as the default custodian of children in cases of divorces. Women also get six months maternity leave in my organization. How much paternity leave do men get? 3 days. When feminists start fighting for real equality, and not just what suits women, then I will sympathize with their causes.

    7. Plonked Plonked 3 December 2009

      Thank you Charlene. Excellent article. :-)

      I read an article by a criminologist who worked with gangs on the Cape Flats. He identified youngsters who were likely to be high risk violent criminals later in life and then worked with them to reduce the possibility of them going that terrible route.

      He is not only helping the youngsters but their victims who would not have to suffer violent crime.

    8. Dark Horse Dark Horse 3 December 2009

      Why Men Rape

      Prevention efforts will founder until they are based on the understanding that rape evolved as a form of male reproductive behavior.

      (please read full article before commenting)

      PUBLISHED BY THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCES · JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2000
      http://iranscope.ghandchi.com/Anthology/Women/rape.htm

    9. The Realist The Realist 3 December 2009

      @owen

      You are just regurgitating the old worn out overpopulation theory.

      Look at India. Millions and millions of people, so crowded sometimes you cannot move in certain places, but generally very passive tolerant non-violent people. There is a lot to be said for their non-violent culture.

    10. Hlabirwa Hlabirwa 3 December 2009

      Indeed odds are stacked against men – a good read!

      One thing you did not mention is that men also die in greater numbers in the middle ages – depriving society of their fatherly ‘wisdom’ and leaving many a family with females to provide for the family.

    11. Warren c Warren c 3 December 2009

      Excellent article, but I do have a problem with the correlation between the Risky lifestyle and the role of a father figure. Or maybe it is in the definition of risky lifestyle, How can you compare extreme sports and unprotected sex? Many extreme athletes have very supportive parents.

      I have to agree with Robin on the video games, and if you look long and hard enough you will find an association.

      I do feel men are at a serious disadvantage, and the major cause of this that the role of a male in society is not as clear cut as it used to be. This in turn can be attributed to the rise of feminism (gender equality), as well as the sudden want for a modern man (Sensitive, caring etc), both have blurred and distorted gender roles.

      Any comments?

    12. Brian Rothwell Brian Rothwell 3 December 2009

      Charlene, thanks for another insightful article. One of the posters mentioned “growing up in a corporal punishment” environment. I’m 66. Young people grow up in a different world today. There are many more opportunities, but, seemingly higher unemployment. Many young people seem unaware of the importance of goal-setting, being prepared to work hard on a career, life-long education, self development and self-discipline. Probably for a variety of reasons. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can try to foster the type of environment that will help to lower the incidence of crime. I believe that there is an African saying that goes something like this: “It takes a village to raise a child”. So, instead of just building or, rebuilding houses, we need to establish viable, stable communities. Particularly with a view to helping the projected 5,7 million AIDS orphans. I have a few ideas, but, unfortunately, the 250 word limit won’t allow me sufficient space to elaborate.

    13. Chillipeppa Chillipeppa 3 December 2009

      Nice article Charlene.

      When I’m depressed and feeling a little down I can console myself that once, I was the strongest and fastest swimmer in the pack.

    14. ian shaw ian shaw 3 December 2009

      The new craze of attributing deviant behaviour to a single gene is nothing but pseudoscience and I don’t care what “authorities” were quoted. There are extremely few diseases attruibutable to a single gene and no reliable correlation exists between criminal behaviour and genes. Some pseudoscientists even say that homosexulaity is due to a gene. To disseminate such nonsense gives an excuse to criminals who can then say, that they are not responsible for their acts since they were born with the wrong gene! Charlene, you should do better!

    15. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 3 December 2009

      From the front page of Business Day:
      “Murder rate falling but grim view of crime rate persists
      ERNEST MABUZA Published: 2009/12/03 06:42:50 AM

      MURDER rates in SA had declined 30% over the past 15 years, but this has not been reflected in the perceptions of South Africans, who feel crime levels have actually increased, the South African Institute of Race Relations said yesterday.

      Researcher Kerwin Lebone said the 25965 people murdered in 1994-95 had decreased to 18148 murders in 2008-09.
      This showed a decrease in the rate of murders per 100000 people, from 70 in 1994-95 to 37 in 2008-09.”

      One very important fact to consider: Between 1994 and 2000 a million black families joined the ranks as gun owners. A million new gun owners and the homicide rate declines? The conclusion is inescapable:There is an inverse relationship between homicide rates and rates of gun ownership.

      More guns=less crime

    16. MLH MLH 4 December 2009

      When the role of men was clear cut, many of them were also absent fathers. That didn’t necessarily make their kids a mess.
      I think Charlene’s on the right track insofar men have been placed in a difficult position due to gender issues, divorce, etc. But I also think there’s a whole lot more to it.
      We all need a vocation and women often find theirs (or claim to find it) in their children. Men are less likely to do so. Possibly because they feel, in some way, to be excluded.
      Dare I repeat? In my view, men find their voacation, most often, in their jobs. Even if those jobs are deathly boring.
      No job? No vocation…
      What fathers are probably finding most difficult is teaching their sons their place, when they can hardly understand their own.
      I’m not sure I fully understand a man’s place, either. He used to head the family. He was missing in my sister’s family (divorce) and mine (never married). We both have sons who have not always been easy to cope with.
      All our sons really know is that their mothers love them desperately and that they have strong ethics and standards. They may not be perfect, but we take a certain amount of pride in them.
      My son has a friend named ‘Pierre’, who is more gentle, stable and down-to-earth than he is. ‘Pierre pressure’ has a significant ring in our family!

    17. Ariel Goldberg Ariel Goldberg 4 December 2009

      Fantastic article!
      I especially agree with this sentence:
      “We need to eliminate causes; nothing less than societal transformation is needed”

    18. Andrew Taynton Andrew Taynton 4 December 2009

      Violent video games and TV??

      “Fifty years’ of research on violent television and movies has shown that there are several negative effects of watching such fare (see http://www.psychologymatters.org/mediaviolence.html). Because video games are a newer medium, there is less research on them than there is on TV and movies. However, studies by psychologists such as Douglas Gentile, PhD, and Craig Anderson, PhD, indicate it is likely that violent video games may have even stronger effects on children’s aggression because (1) the games are highly engaging and interactive, (2) the games reward violent behavior, and because (3) children repeat these behaviors over and over as they play (Gentile & Anderson, 2003). Psychologists know that each of these help learning – active involvement improves learning, rewards increase learning, and repeating something over and over increases learning.”

      Full report:
      http://www.psychologymatters.org/videogames.html

    19. Woody Woodpecker Woody Woodpecker 4 December 2009

      Woman jailed for rape of teenage girls: A 28-year-old Swedish woman has been convicted of rape after she and her boyfriend forced two teenage girls to engage in sex acts against their will over a 12-hour period.
      http://www.thelocal.se/18998/20090421/

    20. Boxer Boxer 4 December 2009

      Rape prone and rape free societies – rape is aculturally conditioned macho behavior and a violent crime (not sexual in nature)

      New research suggests that the incidence of rape depends on CULTURAL FACTORS:
      1) The status of women
      2) The values that govern the relations between the sexes
      3) The attitudes taught to boys

      Rape-prone societies
      – regularly teach aggressive behavior, competitiveness, and the notion that men must overcome women
      – less stable societies
      – typical American rapist is not sexually deprived
      – he is a hostile, aggressive man who likes to do violence to women (women’s movement – led to more women reporting rapes in US)

      Suggest reading this very interesting report:
      http://www.csub.edu/~jgranskog/inst205/benderly.htm

      My Comment: Mothers teach your sons well. Yes Dad has a role to play as well but Mothers are the nuturers in society, create a loving nuturing society. Problem solved.

    21. Plonked Plonked 4 December 2009

      A book that changed my life on the subject under discussion many years ago was “I have life – Alison’s Journey” http://www.alison.co.za/excerpts.htm

      Then more recently in Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal where I live Jessica Foord was raped by five youths in front of her father.

      Jessica Foord:

      “Anyone who believes that an individual cannot make a difference needs to reconsider when they hear the story of Jessica Foord. This young girl has taken the most extreme adversity and channeled her fear and anger into positive action.

      Irrespective of which country you live in, or what your personal situation is, it is so easy to become a victim.

      For more go to URL:
      http://awesomesa.co.za/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=44

      Also Google Jessica Foord Foundation.

    22. Peace Brother Peace Brother 4 December 2009

      Gun Control

      The question about gun control is more about a multi-billion dollar industry worried about losing business than anything else, as well as a small bunch of macho testosterone driven men who will argue the point to have their killing toys no matter what.

      Anyone can use selective information and statistics to prove anything. We should not waste our time or energy arguing with either party to interested in gun promotion.

      As Charlene says: “We need to eliminate causes; nothing less than societal transformation is needed”. Please come up with real solutions we can get involved in so we can make a difference.

    23. Makes You Think ? Makes You Think ? 4 December 2009

      About 3000 people in the US die each month from gun shot wounds. Al Queda knocked out the Twin Towers once in American history and killed roughly 3000 people.

      Americans and their guns are more dangerous to each other than the whole of Al Queda is to America.

    24. Benzol Benzol 4 December 2009

      “..The odds are stacked against men”. And so what?

      We will overcome :-))

      What a long winded load of prejudices, supported by some semi scientific theses for some or other odd PhD in soft sciences.

    25. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 5 December 2009

      @Brett Nortje

      “More guns = less crime”

      What a load of bollocks. Do you sell guns?

      Crime fluctuates due to a number of variables such as policing, stability of society, poverty, cultural values changing, social stresses and much more.

      You obviously think an ideal society would be one in which each woman packs a gun so as not be raped.

      I think an ideal society is one in which there are no guns and no crime. A society where citizens need guns to protect themselves is in serious decay. We have to do something drastic to turn it around.

    26. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 6 December 2009

      No, I do not sell guns. But what if I did? Do the sellers of Disprin cause the crimes committed by drug-addicts?

      Not many people do sell guns legally these days. At the behest of the gun prohibitionists, most of the registered gun dealers have been driven into bankruptcy by the SAPS by the simple strategy of gross and continuous violations of their constitutional rights and the abrogation of the rule of law. In case you missed it, the Cape High Court characterised the Minister, the Commissioner and the SAPS’ conduct toward gun owners as “unlawful and unconstitutional”

      Are you going to act surprised when your Utopia turns into Zimbabwe?

      Do you believe the earth is flat, ‘Wise Old Joe’? How do you explain the fact that some of the most peaceful, stable, law-abiding societies on earth have very high rates of individual gun ownership?

      How dare you deny reality?

    27. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 7 December 2009

      @Brett

      And some of the most henious genecides have been committed without guns, while others committed using guns.

      “More guns = less crime” is absolute nonsense and you know it.

      Mahatima Ghandi turned back the British army with peaceful resistance, then was assasinated by a madman carrying a gun.

      Conclusion: Madmen carry guns.

    28. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 7 December 2009

      @Brett Nortje

      Kindly supply with the names of the five most peaceful law abiding countries with high levels of individual gun ownership.

    29. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 7 December 2009

      More guns = less crime is not my opinion, it is proven fact.

      How can you deny it?

      Do you know what happens to people who deny reality? They end up in a rubber suit in a rubber room.

      Two facts here: Two axis on the graph.

      1) Increase in the rate of firearms ownership as 1 million black families get licenced handguns for the first time.

      2) As the Business Day article shows the murder rate comes down steeply between 1994 and 2008, fastest between 1994 and 2000 as those million gunowners exert a stabilising influence on their cocieties.

      3) The fatal shooting accident rate is stable, around 10 per annum or so, despite the fact that a million new gunowners have joined the ranks.

      The inescapable conclusion is that there is an inverse relationship between rates of firearms ownership and homicide rates, that more guns=less crime.

      How dare you deny reality because you do not approve of guns?

      Guns are good for society! Gun owners commit less crime, less shooting of wives and girlfriends and family members than members of the SAPS using service firearms!

    30. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 7 December 2009

      Switzerland
      Finland
      Canada
      Sweden
      Norway

    31. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 7 December 2009

      @Brett Nortje

      Sweden tops European rape league:
      http://www.thelocal.se/19102/20090427/

      Conclusion: More Guns = Higher incidence of rape.

      Brett, those five countries happen to have the most prosperous average citizens in the world. They are also extremely stable societies, being largely social democracies with stong social welfare elements. There is little need for crime, gun ownership has nothing to do with it.

      Prosperous citizens + stable societies = less crime.

      Try more guns = less crime in the local shebeen on a Saturday night in South Africa. I think you are deluded.

    32. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 7 December 2009

      @Brett Nortje…..again

      The opposite is true according to this. Maybe this proves Less Guns in SA = Less Crime.

      “According to government statistics, violent crimes such as murder and (reported) robberies have decreased in recent years.[16] The rape and hijacking rates, however, showed no signs of such a slowdown. Hijackings and cash-in-transit heists particularly have been shown to be on the increase. The rape situation has become so bad that the country has been referred to as the “rape capital of the world”.[17].

      Recently the government has had a widely-publicised gun amnesty programme to reduce the number of weapons in circulation. In addition, it adopted the National Crime Prevention Strategy in 1996, which aimed to prevent crime through reinforcing community structures and helping individuals back into work.[18]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_South_Africa

    33. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 7 December 2009

      More guns = More money in your pocket!

    34. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 7 December 2009

      @ Witless Ol Joe

      Plumbing the depths, now, are we? You have not honestly addressed one of the issues I raised.

      Because you cannot! LOL!

      More guns = Less crime

      More guns = More money in the pockets of citizens

      More guns = More stable, accountable, democratic governance!

      Whahoooo! More guns!

      And Sweden has reported rape at the rate of 46/100 000….

    35. Michael Francis Michael Francis 7 December 2009

      @Brett Nortje – As a Canadian I laugh when you think gun levels have anything to do with crime levels. My parents have one single shot 22 rifle to put down horses or sheep with if they are suffering. The rifle is in the garage, bolt inside and ammo another place. Canada is safe because of overall prosperity, social stability and adherence to the rule of law.

      Rape and abuse of women is treated with utmost disgust and horror as it should be. A recent sudy in SA showed the pervasiveness of sexist attitudes, and an acceptance of violence towards women.

      You cannot just use an overall statistic as you do to make your point about guns without looking at each nation in context and taking into account all the other mitigating factors. That is bad science and poor analysis by any social science methodology.

    36. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 8 December 2009

      @Brett

      I guess your only defence now is to get abusive.

      “a staggering 208 090 firearms were lost by, or stolen from licensed gun owners”.

      “In recent research exploring the dynamics of house robberies and robbers, Dr. Rudolph Zinn of Unisa found that 97% of respondents used firearms in the commission of their crime. More than half of these perpetrators reported personally stealing licenced firearms.”

      http://constitutionallyspeaking.co.za/208-090-reasons-to-limit-fireararm-posession/

      No Guns = Less Crime
      :-)

      Oh, by the way the increase in number of privately owned cars has coincided with a decrease in crime over the last 10 years.

      Therefore: More Cars = Less Crime

      ;-)

    37. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 8 December 2009

      OK, geniusses, so you say I am overstating the strong negative or inverse correlation between rates of gun ownership and homicide rates (i.e. as gun ownership increases the murder rate comes down.)

      I say I have provided the figures, cited them so you can rebut.

      Denial ain’t rebuttal!

      How do YOU explain the fact that South Africa’s homicide rate came down as a million black families acquired licenced handguns? How do you explain the fact that the SAPS commit more intimate femicide and violent property crimes with their service firearms than are committed with registered handguns?

      What you just admitted to completely negates any moral justification for gun bans and you know it!

    38. Charlene Smith Charlene Smith Post author | 8 December 2009

      Brett, where you get that homicide rates are down is beyond me, it is certainly not SA Police stats, we average 50 murders a day. Or as Bheki Cele told a meeting yesterday, 200 000 murders a year in South Africa – that is NOTHING to boast about. It is higher than in any death toll in any war in the world.

    39. Wise Old Joe (PhD. Genius) Wise Old Joe (PhD. Genius) 9 December 2009

      Sorry Brett, you cannot even fool the president with you biased twisted logic and flawed comparisons:

      “On Sunday 25 October 2009 at a political rally in Limpopo province, South African President Jacob Zuma publicly raised concerns about the number of firearms in the hands of private citizens.

      In a move that is sure to anger the pro-gun lobby, Zuma suggested that a review of legislation governing firearm ownership was necessary in light of the country’s crime challenges and the number of legally owned firearms stolen from citizens. President Zuma’s comments were made in the context of the recent conclusion of a nationwide civilian firearms license renewal process, and legal action against the state by certain firearm owners and firearm interest groups in relation to the consequences of this renewal process.

      ……(Rudolf Zinn’s research which you either twist or are in denial about is then quoted)……

      It is not surprising that according to the SAPS, firearms were used in the commission of 87% of business robberies, 77% of house robberies and 57% of street robberies in the 2008/09 financial year.”

      http://www.gca.org.za/Home/tabid/1120/ctl/Details/mid/6094/ItemID/774/language/en-US/Default.aspx

      I can accept limited guns with much stricter controls, but More Guns = Less Crime is imbicilic nonsense.

      Your camparisons are flawed and you are in denial like a flat earther which you accused me of earlier.

      :-)

    40. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 9 December 2009

      @Charlene

      Charlene, I cited my sources! The article with the comparative homicide noting the drop from 1994-2008 appeared in Business Day! 1994 – 2000, the years coinciding with the fastest drop in the homicide rate, being the years when a million black families acquired licenccccccccced hannnddgggunnnnnnns! You understand? When last did you write for Business Day? One of the most authoritative newspapers in the world? Frankly, Charlene, I put it to you that you have misquoted Bheki Cele! I am no great admirer, but even he is not given to that much exaggeration….

      Witless Ol Joe, could you please make a point? Denial ain’t rebuttal, no matter how hysterical.

      I have sourced everything I have stated here! Even given you a PMG minute of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Police’s pre annual-report presentation noting their biggest problem with stolen firearms being from the SAPS! What more do you want? Do you know what happens to people who keep denying reality?

    41. Brett Nortje Brett Nortje 9 December 2009

      Minutes:

      Mr Mpumelelo Mpisi, from the research unit led the presentation

      Programme: Visible Policing
      The programme had recorded a total of 1 223 505 arrests compared to 1 274 602 in the previous financial year. It also saw the recovery of 13 675 firearms, up from 12 765 firearms recovered in
      the 2007/08 financial year. Mr Mpisi said that most of the firearms recovered were R4 and R5 rifles and it was common knowledge that in the majority of robbery cases, R5 rifles were
      mostly used. It raised a critical question which was how criminals were getting hold of those weapons since the SAPS was the main custodian of R5 rifles. He said it would be interesting
      to know how many of the recovered firearms belonged to SAPS and how many were linked to crime scenes

    42. Bodie Bodie 9 December 2009

      @(not so) wise old joe (not yet time for you to head off into the great beyond?), Charlene Smith, Michael Francis (the fake canuck) and the rest of that brainless ilk:

      There is an old adage that is very true:
      “you have never lived until you have almost died, for those who fight for it, life has a flavour the protected will never know.”

      I have and I do. (If you can;t figure that out your PhD is probably from the EC. (probably your matric as well)

      But back to the point, NONE OF YOU ANTI GUN NUTTERS have disproved anything Brett has posted.

      yes you have denied what he said and have posted reference to denials but not a single iota of proof in rebuttal.

      Typical – GFSA relies (odd ne’?) on LIES AND UNTRUTHS to garner support.

      The average response time to a 10111 call is over 4 minutes.

      The average response time of a 357 magnum is 1400 Feet Per Second.

      Which would you prefer when you, your daughter, your mother, your sister or your father is the victim?

      Be honest!

    43. Thomas Thomas 10 December 2009

      I find that Wise old Joe (Phd, Genius) is not living up to his name and may not be so wise after all. If he took the time to research the subject of more guns = less crime on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/More_Guns,_Less_Crime he would not have spouted so much old and misguided wisdom based on emotive and uninformed drivel. The statements made by Brett are well documented and know as local and internationaly undisputed facts. Should you wish to counter such comments, please provide the factual and acknowledged research that supports your statements.
      I also wish to point out that Brett is extremely conservative in his quoting of statistics and that most of the real statistics (polished up versions to sooth voter confidence, refusal to record cases etc.) are questionable at best.

      Grasping quotes from foreign funded websites like GCA does not bode well for intelligence. Every single sensationalised lie fabricated there to justify it existance has been countered with logical and factual proof. It is said that if one perpetuates a lie long enough it will eventually become the truth.

      I believe the responsible use and ownership of firearms are the only remaining option of survival for SA citizens. When a woman is about to be raped, would she prefer to have a gun immediately in her hand or the SAPS on hold on the other side of her Cell. Check this with your wives and daughters.

    44. Wise Old Joe Wise Old Joe 10 December 2009

      Looks like we have the Unabomber type on our hands.

      8)

    45. Gavin Foster Gavin Foster 11 December 2009

      @ Wise Old Joe

      Murder and violent crime in the UK are both at their highest levels ever, while gun ownership has never been lower – the British Olympic pistol team even has to go to Belgium to practise. What now?

      Your Unabomber comment displays childish petulence due to an inability to come up with a logical counterpoint.

      See also http://www.crimefree.org.za/Twocitiesf.htm

      @Charlene. SA’s crime stats have been repeatedly proven to be flawed because many policemen are now so incompetent and corrupt that they a) don’t recognise a murder when they see one and b) are incapable of keeping proper records and submitting them to Pretoria. When a person who has been assaulted, shot or stabbed dies after a day or two, the records are often not altered to reflect a murder.

      Then the politicians start fiddling the books to perpetuate the myth that things are getting better…..

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