I have not been posting on my blog nearly as often as I did in my post a day phase, but I have not been completely idle. I have been posting the odd article on a local news site, to try and get myself a bit more exposure. I haven’t reposted any of those on my blog, since they are filled with personalities, places, and incidents which would be instantly recognisable to fellow South Africans, but would require several thousand words of explanation for everyone else. And they have no pictures.
I wrote one this morning, though, that doesn’t need any explanation at all, so here it is;
The Tiger Tiger Shooting
I had an interesting experience with my kids yesterday morning. I had decided to take them to Fourways Mall for breakfast, but when we got there, the gate to the parking lot was closed. No big deal; we just went round to another entrance, and then circled back to park as close as possible to our bacon.
We needn’t have bothered. The door to the Mall was closed, too. It was, as I was told, being cleaned. I found it only mildly odd that it was being cleaned by what was clearly a bunch of plain-clothed policemen, and was turning to go to another entrance when my son shouted out “Dad! Dad! The door is full of bullet-holes!”
And it was. Well, it wasn’t exactly full; there were four of them. But that’s quite a lot for the door of a busy mall. I asked about them, but the policeman just shrugged and claimed there had been “a bit of an incident” at the Tiger Tiger nightclub that morning.
It was only later that I learned what qualified as “a bit of an incident”. A man had gone out the previous evening with two girls. As one does. Later on, he discovered that one of the girls had gone missing, and became upset. As one does. Apparently he didn’t want to break up the set.
He, and a group of his friends, went looking for her. They found her in the parking lot, with another group of men. Things got a bit awkward. One of the groups pulled out knives. The other group ran off to call security.
And then things went to hell. One of the men in the parking lot pulled a gun and started shooting. He hit a security guard in the stomach, and another in the ankle. And then he hit his own brother. And killed him.
And that was Saturday night. Two men in hospital. One young man gone forever, at the hand of his own brother. And one young man on the run; his life in tatters, knowing that nothing is ever going to be the same again.
Which brings me to the point of this article. I’m handing out some free advice to young men.
If, as you pull on your favourite tight t-shirt, splash on a dab of aftershave, and ladle some sort of shiny goop into your hair in anticipation for a fun night out on the town, you find yourself slipping a knife or gun into your pocket, you need to pause, look yourself in the eye, and slowly repeat the phrase “You’re a dick” until it sinks in and you put your toy away. If that doesn’t work, allow me to help you think this through.
If you take a knife or gun to a nightclub, one of two things will happen.
It might stay in your pocket. You will have a few drinks, enjoy a shouted conversation or two with your friends, do some dancing, and maybe even meet a girl who makes you happy, for a night, or a month, or the rest of your life. Super. And you didn’t need the weapon.
Or the weapon might come out of your pocket. Then one of two things will happen. You might wave it around a little bit, ranting and raving like a testosterone-raddled arsehole. Everyone will look at you like some sort of frightening but pitiful zoo exhibit. You will, at the very least, be ejected from the club, and your party will be over. If any girl comes home with you after that, she is likely to steal your wallet and give you a communicable disease.
Or you will use the weapon. Then one of three things will happen. You will go to jail, you will go to the hospital, or you will go to the morgue. Only one of these options has any chance of sparking a romantic encounter, and in that scenario, you will be the girl.
That all sounds a little trite. But it’s not. I’m simply pointing out that there is no prize here. There is nothing to win. In your very best case scenario, you are simply in the same situation as all those happy people who didn’t think being armed to the teeth was a necessary part of a fun night out.
There is, however, a great deal to lose. You might just find yourself driving out into the cold light of a new day, hands locked on the steering wheel and foot jammed down on the accelerator, as you try desperately to think of somewhere to go to wash off the blood of your brother that is slowly drying on your shirt. And that is a little bit too late to understand that your gun did not make you a man, and some kinds of blood never wash off.