Reflections: What really can that law do?
Posted Sunday, October 27 2013 at 00:00
Criminals – dressed up in outfits of heartlessness, lawlessness and madness, have been hitting us from all sides.
These rogues, from our own homes, schools, workplaces and others from land away from our own, continue to assault our dignity and snatch away lives.
In Iganga, a 14-year-old pupil was gang-raped. And the situation is not helped by the fact that her alleged assaulters are minors. So how does one proceed from this mess?
That crime happened barely a week after reports of gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman by Pakistani ‘investors’ stoked public anger and condemnation.
In Western Uganda, seven people were hacked to death between September and October. Scores others are nursing machete wounds inflicted on them by assailants.
Reports of defilement, assault, burglary, thievery and all manner of crime, continue to grace the media while other cases die with their victims or remain silent with those strapped on hospital beds.
And amidst all this absurdity, we have heard loud cries, an appeal, a call to action but interestingly, a call for a revision of our laws, the establishing of new ones or the toughening of those deemed not stringent enough for criminals.
But what is a law, when rapists, who are supposed to be sentenced to death, rape their victims to lifelessness and…somehow…get away with it?
What is this law, when men-turned beasts, defile and lock up minors with padlocks meant for their prison cell doors and …somehow…get away with it?
What can a law do, what really can new laws do, when we have declared defeat in implementing existing ones?
Should we hang on the sporadic application of these legislations? Should we draw comfort in the arrest of that goat and chicken thief? Should we take solace that the man who stole billions of our taxes has been interdicted or has been on remand for months or years? What happens next when that man walks to freedom and our tempers have cooled down and our memory failed us?
There has to be another formula for tackling crimes than laws. What about our sense of reason, or has that too been blurred by the countless cases of lawlessness around us?
What about our sense of restraint, what about that voice which tells us ‘don’t’, ‘stop’? Is it not loud enough anymore?
What is this thing that drives us so hard to a place so dark to commit crimes our own brains can’t comprehend? What has made us this powerless, this careless or even sightless, to resist this urge of doing wrong, and to stop ourselves from raising that hand to strike a neighbour, a child, a woman and … that life?
Having laws won’t wipe away crimes – let’s implement them. Implementing the laws alone won’t work too – let’s appeal to our sense of decency, our humaneness – and trounce this societal insanity.