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16.06.2008 Feature Article

Combating violent crime: the inter-city/STC way

Combating violent crime: the inter-city/STC way
LISTEN JUN 16, 2008

THE MANAGEMENT of Inter-City/STC Coaches Limited deserves tons and tons of commendation for their very thoughtful decision to protect the limbs, lives and property of their passengers by providing armed escort on their buses.

I particularly like what appear to be instructions to the armed escorts to “shoot to kill, take no prisoners, ask questions afterwards.”

The armed plain-clothes police officers who “ride shot-gun” on the buses of Inter-City/STC also deserve high commendation for bringing to their dangerous task great courage, marksmanship and care for the safety of the passengers.

On the back page of the Daily Graphic issue of Friday, June 6, 2008 is the story of how a plainclothes police officer on one of the buses shot and killed a violent highway robber who, together with his accomplice, attacked an Inter-City/STC bus at Nasia, near Walewale in the Northern Region. The bus was on its way from Burkina Faso to Ghana.

It made sad reading to know that the two violent criminals fired into the bus, seriously injuring two Burkinabe passengers.

It was alarming to note that, between January this year and the time of the attack, violent criminals had made eight attacks on the company's buses. The good news, however, as told by Mr. Adjei-Sefah, the Managing Director, was that, in all those attacks, no passenger had suffered injury. Speedy recovery to the Burkinabe citizen reported to be critically injured by the criminals.

Buses of the old State Transport Corporation (STC) carried this slogan, “Comfort, Safety, Reliability.” It is good to know that passengers are guaranteed safety. It is even more reassuring to note that, anytime the Inter-City STC police marksman bullet hits home, it is one violent criminal less confronting our society. Once more, I say “Kudos” to the management of Inter-City/STC Coaches Ltd.

Crime is crime, whether it is stealing just one small orange or whether it is murder. Violent crime has become a menace in the society and should not be treated with kid gloves.
King Claudius in Shakespeare's Play HAMLET, observes as follows:

Diseases desperate grown,
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all”

We have rendered the words of the King, thus, “Desperate diseases require desperate remedies.” Violent crime has become a desperate disease requiring desperate measures.

In my article two weeks ago, I referred to the horrifying attack on Madam Rebecca Obeng, a Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital midwife with more than thirty years experience under her belt.
Madam Obeng was reportedly going home after work when she was violently attacked by a young person who obviously wanted her mobile phone and her money.

The Daily Graphic issue of Saturday, May 31, 2008, carried a front page story in which the President of the Ghana Bar Association, Mr. Nii Osah Mills, was reported to have called for the removal of the death penalty from the country's statute books. Mr. Mills had about five reasons for calling for the abolition of the death penalty.

In the first place, according to him, capital punishment is a “cruel form of punishment that does not serve any good purpose.”

Secondly, there was no need to keep that law, since it was not being applied.

Thirdly, many jurisdictions in the world had repealed the law because there was evidence that capital punishment did not in any way prevent crime.

Fourthly, the justification for the death penalty was based on the Old Testament mantra of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” while Jesus Christ in the New Testament preached forgiveness, which formed the basis for repealing the death penalty.

Finally, with the discovery of new forensic methods, it had been found out that many people who were executed and others on the death roll (sic) in the United States and other parts of the world, should not have been given such punishment because new scientific evidence had proved them innocent.

Mr. Mills mentioned the execution of armed robbers during “the Rawlings regime” and rhetorically asked, “Did we clear the armed robbers from the system?”

He stated further that the essence of punishment was to deter people from committing crime and rehabilitate those found guilty of crime. Once more he posed the rhetorical question whether capital punishment would prevent the reasons that led to the commission of crime.

The GBA President then launched into sociology, claiming that social, economic and other factors led to the commission of crime and, consequently, people would commit crime as long as those factors existed.

I have referred extensively to the GBA President's views for a good reason. On the same front page of the same issue of the Graphic is the lead news with the arresting headline, “AWFUL” The sub-headline reads “Father robbed, 2 children gang-raped.”

The father-victim, thoughtfully unnamed by the Graphic, was attacked in his own home and robbed of valuable items, including laptops, mobile phones and an amount of GH¢500.
The robbers, numbering six (6), attacked and locked up five boys in the house, gang-raped the man's two daughters aged 20 and 22, and using a shovel, critically wounded the father on his head, hands and legs. The third daughter escaped rape because she fainted on coming out of her room and seeing the robbers.

Perhaps Mr. Nii Osah Mills' deep sociological knowledge tells him that those armed robbers did what they did because they had no jobs, or because they had no other way of satisfying their sexual urge, or because it was their nature which they could do nothing about, or that society had driven them to a life of crime which involved attacking their fellow human beings.
Without meaning to sound insulting, sarcastic, disrespectful or impertinent, I can only hope and pray that what happened to Madam Rebecca Obeng or to the unnamed father and his unfortunate children will NOT (repeat, NOT) happen to Mr. Mills or any member of his family.

When caught, those armed robbers and rapists would deserve the death penalty. Apart from the physical and psychological wounds inflicted on the father and his children, who knows whether the young women might not be infested with the HIV/AIDS disease or other sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the horrifying rape?
Violent criminals do not deserve sympathy.

Ghanaian Chronicle
Ghanaian Chronicle, © 2008

The author has 1023 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GhanaianChronicle

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