Liberation

August 24, 2017 — Leave a comment

I haven’t blogged on my personal blog in a while, but felt that this is more suited here than on Urban Mystic’s blog. I’ve been listening to a great podcast called Reconstruct, which has a great conversation around black liberation theology. I don’t believe I can recommend the podcast highly enough.

Disclaimer: The following is, however, not a comment on the podcast and they’re in no way associated with this post 🙂 Rather, I’m putting forward a musing on oppression and racism in South Africa which is by no means exhaustive. OK, disclaimers aside.

As an African of European descent I’m often engaged in conversations related to the history of our country and the meaning of reconciliation primarily focused on the relationship between and economic disparity of black and white people. The problem I have with many of these conversations is that they’re often divided superficially over race. Black people don’t consider themselves racist or capable of racism or unjust behavior while while people are considered racist and as perpetuating racism and oppression. This is not in any way an accurate picture as our country is a product of multiple people groups converging on a reasonably large plot of land.

One could re-write the issue of racism and oppression from multiple perspectives, but I’d love to see more thinking and conversation around:

  • The oppression of black people by black people
  • The racism of the white Afrikaner toward the white English and vice versa
  • The struggle of white people to overthrow Apartheid
  • The ineptitude and corruption in our government

Oppression and racism don’t have single trajectories or solutions, especially not when dealing with the historical development of multiple people. In our country we’ve got the convergence of several cultures, represented by the eleven official languages of our country, with a narrow interpretation of oppression in our history as primarily focused on and related to Apartheid and white people. Yet there’s a failure to recognize that our political leaders have baptized the unholy conjunction between two dysfunctional legacy systems, particularly tribalism and Apartheid, with democracy and which has transgressed as a system toward oppressing and exploiting all peoples.

As much as we consider the struggle for liberation as being a past issue the struggle continues and has sunk deeper. It will only be complete when people of all races are freed from unjust power structures, no matter whether such is related to politics, economics, gender, or any other human power system.

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7 Key Relationships

January 18, 2017 — Leave a comment


We’ll be running the 7 Key Relationships series in February and March. We’ll host two groups, one meeting on Sunday mornings and the other on Tuesday evenings. This series is fantastic for personal growth, building community, and cultivating intimacy with God as part of a healthy lifestyle.


My trusty 17″ MacBook Pro recently died and though I’d always sworn I’d just get another I’ve taken a plunge and gone wholly mobile with a 9,7″ iPad Pro. Here’s my “beyond the stats” review of the iPad Pro as a PC, Mac, laptop or MacBook replacement.

For the most part I’ve long relied on Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop for the bulk of my bread and butter. But, in recent months, I’ve transitioned from dedicated designer and typesetter to writer. While doing so I’ve doing that I produce writing more naturally and closer to my own voice when using my iPad Mini. I can also more easily record my shorter creative insights and remain present to them. I touch type reasonably fast but found that I lose my voice when producing writing on a traditional computer or laptop and also end up not being present to my shorter creative bursts.

When I transitioned to Mac from PC it was a work requirement and I resisted it with every fiber of my being. I made the decision to go with a MacBook Pro instead of an iMac and it turned out to be the best working experience. I ended up with all the power of a desktop in a mobile device and have thoroughly loved my MacBooks ever since. Since then I’ve sworn that though they’re pricey I’d nab another the same day my MacBook died. Except that when mine died, I didn’t grab another. I bought an iPad Pro instead.

Three reasons guided my choice:

  1. The first is that I no longer work primarily as a typesetter and designer.
  2. The second is that I’ll mostly be writing and researching from now have produced my most piratical writing in my own voice most naturally when writing on my iPad Mini.
  3. The third is that the 12″ MacBook and Retina 13″ MacBook Po are significantly more expensive. With the trade-in of my MacBook Pro I could afford the iPad Pro, but not either option I wanted.

After working with it for a while there are a large number of pro’s compared to the con’s of going with this device.

Two points stand out:

  1. Get the Keyboard and Pencil. I acquired the Apple Pencil and not the Apple Keyboard. After working a bit on it if you’re going to be multitasking, the keyboard is probably the device to choose if you have to choose between the two. The on screen keyboard works well when mono-tasking but not when multi-tasking as it takes up too much space. I do intend to pick up the keyboard to round off the experience.
  2. It actually can, given the right software, replace a PC/Laptop. Many feel that because you don’t have access to the file system and can’t run desktop apps like Photoshop and Illustrator, that you can’t really use it as your primary device. Well, if that’s what you need, then I agree. However, software developers like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe have stepped up. Adobe, for instance, have conceptualized iPad Apps around workflows. Their apps Spark Post, Spark Paste, and Spark Video all focus on single tasks and are fantastic. Adobe Sketch, Photoshop Mix, and Adobe Draw are fantastic alternatives that work incredible well on the iPad. And, with handover working so well these apps play nicely with the fully fledged desktop suites and the iDevices (iPhone, iPad, iMac, etc.) all get along well. In the same vein, Microsoft and Apple have made their productivity suites available. I find MS Office and iWork comparable on the iPad Pro. They really evidence that you can, pending the right software, use the iPad Pro as a productivity device.

In short, the iPad remains a new kind of device requiring a shift in worldview and culture. But it’s not for everyone. If you’re ready and willing to make that shift, then it’s well worth doing so. If not, then keep doing what works for you and stick to more traditional desktop environments.

Logo_Daniel'sHolsters

Holsters are quite personal. You keep them close to you and they play a significant role in your experience of every day carry. Your holster can make your carry experience a literal pain or relatively comfortable. The wrong holster can really make the experience of concealed carrying a pistol pleasant or unpleasant. I’ve been carrying a Glock 17 as my EDC weapon. Due to how cumbersome its been feeling I’ve been wondering whether I should switch to a Glock 19 instead. After recently switching to a Daniel’s Holsters holster for the Glock 17 I feel perfectly happy sticking with the larger Glock 17.

Both the holster and magazine pouch I’m using are both made by by Daniel’s Holsters, who can also find on FaceBook. Daniel’s Holsters put themselves forward as the makers of “deep concealment holsters and custom kydex® holsters”. They are situated in South Africa and I’m pleased to note that they’re a local company offering first class equipment. Not only am I happy to support them and promote their products. (When I get a gear shop I’ll also be stocking their equipment.) Continue Reading…

Pro-active self defence

August 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

MMouse

The cheese is the fruit of our labour

Violent crime is an African and a South African (SA) reality and not one that is simply going to disappear through good wishes. In SA our crime rate is ridiculously high, and this is not just petty crime but the kind of crime where people lose life and limb along with property and dignity.

If one is flush enough you deal with one kind of crime by paying your e-tolls and another kind of crime by paying private security companies to respond to notifications of distress and if flush on time too you will perhaps even participate in a local community policing forum in order to plug the gap left by policing in SA. All of these “additional services” subscribed to and/or participated in are pro-active steps that are, ironically, re-active to actual crimes.

Crime must be detected in order to be responded to. By nature crime is active and, all responses to crime, reactive. What is the waiting period?

  • When notifying the police we can expect a national average response time of around 20 minutes.
  • When notifying a private security company of a crime you can expect an average response time of 10 minutes.
  • If you don’t notify anyone of a crime or no one notices that you are a victim to crime …

What can a criminal accomplish ahead of those ten minutes? Or twenty minutes? Or however long their window of opportunity is? Quite a bit it seems. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • A Pick n Pay gets robbed by a group of well armed gunmen. The gunmen are already getting away by the time the police arrive
  • A woman and her elderly parents are intercepted in their driveway, they’re taken inside and tied up, the contents of their home are ransacked and the criminals make off with their vehicles. The police arrive well after the fact.
  • A couple wakes up with several armed people in their bedroom, they’re tied up, sexually assaulted, their house ransacked, etc. After notifications, first the private security company arrives and a little later the police.
  • A man is surprised in his driveway by armed hijackers, gives up his car and is happily unscathed. He considers himself to have done “everything right” in the situation including compliance with the criminals. The criminals are well away, fortunately he’s not harmed, now the private security company and police arrive after they are notified.
  • To note some foreign examples—villagers are massacred by armed raiders and shoppers get gunned down in raids on a mall (if you read the news you can probably reference several examples here). The respective governments respond very late to the situations.

Inconveniently these criminals use knives and firearms, neither of which are licensed or traceable. They’re not legal gun owners either, do not renew their competencies, subscribe to sporting bodies or pay any form of licensing fees, nor did they have to wait for months to receive their firearms due to inefficiencies in the systems established to support and control their acquisition and usage of said weapons.

The people who are, however, directly facing the crimes directed against them are the citizens. They are threatened, robbed, and worse. It is only if there’s notification that one can expect 20 minutes for the price to respond or 10 minutes for your private security company. That’s a long time to be victimised. That’s a long time to worry about life and limb, property and dignity.

It is the public civilian who is, generally, unarmed and unable to respond meaningfully to this kind of crime that gets victimised. Criminals have learnt that the average SA citizen will comply with them. They will cooperate as they are tied up, as their homes are ransacked, as they are raped, even as they are murdered.

In my honest opinion a Gun Friendly South Africa is the way to to go. A friend of mine said it well in his blog post. We should empower and enable our citizenship to deal with crime. After all, policing and military are supportive organisations (or ought to be). If we raise responsible citizens and provide them with encouragement, opportunity and meaningful partnership then the police then we’ll be much closer to solving crime.

This will only happen when the government and police actively encourage citizens to defend themselves and when policies are created by government to enable this. It is the police and government that ought to be cooperating with the public to make this happen. By encouraging and cultivating a culture of responsible self-defence—armed and unarmed—we’ll be enabling potential victims to defend themselves against crime.

Otherwise we’re simply waiting for the trap to fall on us, given that the cheese is the fruit of our labour.

Guaranteed_victimsThe other night I was operations manager on a security detail providing security for an event. The event was in a location that exercised their right to operate as a gun free zone, meaning that under normal circumstances a law-abiding citizen licensed for conceal carry may not bring their firearm onto the premises. The gun free sign on this occasion was aptly sub titled “Guaranteed 100% defenceless victims.”

There can be no better summary of or more honest statement about a gun free zone.

On crazy islam

January 8, 2015 — 2 Comments

It seems that we ought to differentiate a collection of Islamic expressions—Islamic militarism, terrorism and extremism—from “authentic” Islam, but that’s not easy to do. The relationship between “authentic” and “crazy” islam is very close as they have a lot in common.

My concern is not so much with how we’re dealing with crazy islam in deserts and foreign countries but with how we’re going to address crazy islam on our own soil.

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Carjacking and truckjacking are serious crimes. It is both a property crime, the acquisition of a motor vehicle and its goods, and a personal crime, the psychological and/or physical damaging of an innocent human being. It is probably best described as armed assault on the occupants of a vehicle.

In this post we delve a bit deeper and consider the numbers, percentages of each province as they stack up in RSA.

We conclude this post with a brief reflection on the history of car- and truckjacking from, 2004-2014.

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The annual SAPS crime statistics report tends to focus on what it terms “serious crime”. How these are broken down by SAPS tends to differ slightly with each annual report which has added to confusion and uncertainty about crime trends however these crimes can broadly be divided into four primary categories.

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We leave from home to drop kids at school and head to work, and after work pick our kids up and return home. We spend a lot of time at home and in transit in our cars. A noteworthy fact is that the majority of these crimes – the ones that take place against people in cars and people in homes – take place in one province. If there’s anywhere in South Africa that you’re likely to be carjacked or robbed that place is going to be Gauteng.

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