GUNNING DOWN THE NATION!
Murder has now become the means of conflict resolution in Ghana! Gone are the days when people argued unending, and in the end resorted to the use of arbitration, or the fist as a means of conflict resolution. Although these were sometimes not the best means of resulting conflicts, it was comparatively a better alternative. Overnight in modern Ghana, things have changed! These days, the gun has become the substituting alternative in conflict resolution!
Each morning, we awake to stories of murder being committed! The highlight of this story is usually when we are told that a gun was used. Rather sadly, most of these fall under domestic or perhaps marital violence. Couples are killing each other by the gun! Workers are gunning each other down! Rather sadly, the younger populace, our beloved children cannot be left out! They are not innocent! They are now playing with guns! A few years ago, these stories were usually in the movies and more westernized. Rather sadly, we have become westernized in committing murder now; the gun!
It is increasingly becoming evident that the numbers of people who own guns and other ammunitions within the country have increased. The daily news of the death of someone, attributable to the usage of a gun is enough evidence. A few years back, a gun was no common commodity. The question I keep asking is: How do people come about the gun? How do they purchase it? Where do they purchase it from? Do they even have any legal document covering it; a license perhaps? What do the laws of our country have to say concerning the usage and perhaps ownership of a gun by a household? For the gun manufacturers, what authorization do they have? Are they even legal? Who monitors or regulates their work? Is it the increasing cases of armed-robbery within this country surprising? Of course not! A gun can easily be purchased on the market! Through our borders, guns are being transported into our country each day!
These are the questions that race to my mind each time I hear of the death of someone as a result of a gun and I believe most people have also asked these same questions. Can anyone just go out and purchase a gun? How many people do have guns, and do we have records on that? Clearly, several households have guns these days for protection as a result of the increased crime-wave within the country. Is it now safe for all to own guns? What about the children in these households? How do we keep these guns? Children have killed their friends in recent past as a result of toying with the guns of their parents.
On our streets, truck-loads of guns have been seized by law enforcement agents. Rather alarmingly, these guns have been found to be in some cases more sophisticated than what our very own law enforcement agencies posses! Several criminals have been caught perpetuating crimes and in the possession of all kinds of guns and other ammunitions. How did they lay hands on these ammunitions in the first place? What is happening around us now? Formally, it was acceptable for people within the rural areas, and primarily involved in farming and hunting to be in the possession of a locally manufactured gun. In these same rural areas today, these guns are now being turned on humans rather than bush animals! People are gunning each other down! Jealous and frustrated husbands are gunning down their wives and innocent children! Children are gunning down their friends! Robbers are gunning down innocent victims! Even our law enforcement agents are being gunned down!
This is a wakeup call to our law enforcement agencies and government! We need to create and enforce a law that would control the ownership and usage of guns and other ammunitions within this country. People should be made more responsible for their weapons by ensuring that they obtain permission through the issuance of licenses. Defaulters should be made to face the law! We cannot allow people to take the law into their own hands. Must we sit and watch whiles the entire country is gunned down before the right thing is done? The increasing crime-wave and murders, associated with guns is becoming overwhelming. Rather sadly, nothing is being done about it! We need to know what the law has to say on this issue. We are hearing these gruesome stories of murders on the news! We are reading about them in the papers! What is being done about them? What does the law say? The time to act is now!
Anna Esi Hanson ([email protected]), Takoradi.