31 March 2008

Rats in the Park

Taking a stand

It was another beautiful day in the Bay on Sunday and after a pleasant lunch; Sue and I decided to take a walk through St Georges Park. It is a really beautiful park and well worth a visit, but because of frequent muggings many people don’t go there any more. When we do, we take precautions – like taking pepper spray with us. As luck would have it, K left hers in the car, so Suzi-k and I were both armed and ready for our walk.

There were a number of families picnicking and having fun in the park and it was nice to know that we were not alone.

We came across a pair of rats at the fish pod, which were scavenging bread that had been left behind by a family that had been feeding the fish. They did not wait around long enough to be photographed so there were not any really worthwhile photos.



It was not long before we noticed that there were rats, of the two legged variety, wandering around as well. Young guys, eyeing people out; looking for easy pickings; walking up and down the paths with a purpose. They could have been innocent people out for a stroll, but when two of them, coming from opposite directions, started a pincer movement towards us, it confirmed our suspicions. We formed a laager kept a beady eye on them and took a different path. They then changed direction to intercept us, from different sides, where the paths converged ahead. It was then that we noticed another group waiting at the end of our path, so we did a quick about turn and headed up the main path, with our pepper spray visible.

As a couple in their mid fifties we could have been an easy target, if we had not been alert and armed with pepper spray.

This brings me to the question of why the Department of Justice is now proposing laws to make life easier for the criminals. They now want to make it illegal for citizens to carry non lethal weapons, like pepper spray, on their person.

I can see the need to place restrictions on the carrying of weapons, but then at least do it in a way that ensures that it is done in a controlled and responsible manner. Don’t turn law abiding citizens into criminals, when all they want to do is live a normal life without the fear of being robbed or attacked, and to be able to protect themselves in a crime ridden country. Does this mean that all our politicians are also going to get their bevy of body guards to ditch their side arms – I think not?



I decided to see what the Constitution had to say about my right to protect myself and my family. Alas there is nothing. Constitutionally we have the right “to be free from all forms of violence”, but there is no right for us to protect ourselves from any form of violence.

When our complex was burgled in October 2006, the police said I should never have admitted to the fact that I had hit the burglar with a broom, because he could now lay a charge of assault against me. Hmmmmmmm, even though he had attempted to stab me, and would have done so, had I not beat a strategic withdrawal. Oops, let’s not forget that he has the right “to be free from all forms of violence”, so even though he would have had no compunction in killing his victim, the victim must not retaliate? Not this victim.

What about other incidents in our neighbourhood, which show the utter lack of conscience of these criminals? The woman who was beaten senseless with a plank and then raped on the sidewalk; or the woman who was shot is her driveway, because the robbers thought she was in possession of a large sum of cash; or the patrons who were robbed at gunpoint, while having a drink at a local watering hole; or the women who were robbed by a rifle wielding thug outside their home in broad day light……the list is endless.

What must we do? Sit back and wait for the police to arrive? The last time I called them when I saw a crime being committed, they never arrived.

Incidentally by far the longest section in the Bill of Rights is section 35 “Arrested, detained and accused persons” - the one dealing with the rights of criminals. Pity there is not a similar clause dealing with the rights of the victims, because there are a lot more victims then there are criminals.

I have no intention of relinquishing my pepper spray, until such time as the justice system can guarantee my right, “to be free from all forms of violence”. So "rats" beware.


Andrea said...

NO NO NO NO NO.....I cannot stand a rat. YUK YUK YUK YUK YUK....Nasty things.

Momma said...

I'm with you on the pepper spray. Personally, I don't own a gun and don't want one, but I am planning to find out if I can carry pepper spray in my purse when I start grad school this fall. I don't want to be in Washington, D.C., at night - alone - a female - unprotected.

What a crazy world we live in...Peace - D

Susanne49 said...

Oh my goodness!!! It's a shame that they don't do anything against this plage. I'm so sorry for you.

Max-e said...

Andrea, I agree with you, but at least the four legged variety leaves you alone and if they become a pest, you can do something about it.

Max-e said...

Momma, thanks for stopping by. At the moment pepper spray is legal here and I will be buying a supply before it is made illegal. When we go for a walk we display it openly - the message is clear, "Don't mess with me".

Max-e said...

Susanne, the municipality does have a department dealing with rodent control.
What concern me more is the number of thugs who run around the neighbourhood stealing, killing, raping, robbing and mugging people - and then the government deciding in its infinite wisdom, that my one and only means of self defence is taken away.
On Saturday night a woman was shot and killed by robbers in a night club for the sake of a few Rands.

LiD said...

This post gave me shivers Max-e and not because of the furry rats...In Australia pepper spray is only carried by the police. I do know a couple of women that carry it illegally in their purse and one who used it to escape an attack. I think it would be great to have the right to carry it. It would certainly give a sense of security. An ex-policeman once told me that hairspray is better than nothing but of course it is nowhere near as potent as pepper spray.

I'm really glad you both kept yourself safe in that park.

And hey thanks for your comment on my blog. I am not sure what could be happening with the images on my page. No-one else has mentioned it so hopefuly it will be one of those things that sorts itself out. It's weird though

Old Wom Tigley said...

I really do feel for you on this.. we are the same over here, we are not allowed to carry anything like that. If we defend ourselves and get the upper hand we too risk arrest. ne of the betterways to deal with these two legged rats is dogs... A hope you can still have pets. A good dog will defend til death. These thugs are basically cowards, and will search out the weakest, make it so you are not the weakest looking target. I really do think it is so very wrong when you can not just get up and walk where you want because of folk like these. Good luck, and keep safe.

Anna said...

Max-e, those rats photos are cute, lol. However, just wanted to throw few cents to your interesting post. You wrote: 'When our complex was burgled in October 2006, the police said I should never have admitted to the fact that I had hit the burglar with a broom, because he could now lay a charge of assault against me.' - I never understood that too either, well we have that law here too.
The scary part here in Toronto area we have is that people are getting killed innocently, just being at the wrong time in the wrong place. Its sad. We had one incident, when father was killed when watching TV and his 2 or 3 year old son watched him die, just like that because one of the criminals shot at the house window.
Max-e, law is law, and I don't think we have the perfect one, but I just don't understand the criminals, period. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, very good post as always. Anna :)

Pamela said...

The law to stop innocent people carring Pepper Spray is one that I will protest.

Everyone I know carries it with them, and if we all get together and do something maybe we can stop it.

There is no way I am relinquishing my spray.

Max-e said...

Pamela, the address for objections is westerveldn@saps.org.za. I believe the date for objections was extended to the end of April

photowannabe said...

Glad you were safe and had your wits about you. Sometimes the laws just don't make sene do they? I don't understand the 2 legged rat haveing more rights than the victim.
Be safe and do have a good day.

Max-e said...

LiD, detect that there is also a degree of sympathy on the part of youe police, if your friend suggests hairspray.
I have decided that if having the means to protect myself makes me a "criminal" so be it.

Max-e said...

Tom, we don't have dogs - our place is too small and our lifestyle is too hectic. But I can be a crusty old dog if I want to be :)
If any one threatens my family, something inside me snaps and I go into attack mode - the normal placid Max disappears. I hate bullies and thugs.
I am thinking of buying a pick handle, which I will always be "delivering" to someone when going for a walk :)

Max-e said...

Anna, I believe that rats can be tamed and become delightful pets. We one had a plague of them, which was not so pleasant, especially as our one cat enjoyed bringing them home.
I also cannot understand the criminal mind, but I find it harder to understand the minds that turn citizens into criminals when they protect themselves.
Many communities have resorted to vigilante justice - while I can understand it, I don't agree with it. I am a pacifist at heart.

Max-e said...

Photowannabe, that is the problem with the law. The law makers try and solve one problem and promptly create another.
I believe that the law needs checks and balances and does need to ensure that certain rights are not infringed. But I fail to see how someone who has essentially rejected society should be treated with kid gloves - by their very actions they have forfeited that right.
There was a furore recently about some prisoners have telephones and television sets in their cells. Talk about making them comfortable

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Max... just a thought about spray...
Do you by any chance have stinging nettles over there?.. if so furmenting those might do well... once fermented the liquid could be strained... it stinks.. and boy do I mean STINKS... As for contact with eyes I would imagine it might sting a bit.. but the smell would scare them off for sure... ha!

Bob Johnson said...

I can't believe the 2 legged rat people criminals have more rights then the victims, gets me so upset, I'd be carrying more then pepper spray if I lived there.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

I still think you should get a pair of German Shepherds, Max.

Merisi said...

So sad to read that your beautiful country and its people continue to be subjected to these criminals. I cannot even imagine what you feel when going out for a walk under such circumstances. I do hope for you that miracles happen.

Neva said...

I am behind you all the way...and keep that pepper spray out as well!
Laws everywhere seem to protect the guilty....I really agree with what you wrote... good luck!

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