Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fleurs du mal

In South Africa, suffering from one of the highest rates of violent crime in the world, people don't just want to catch evildoers. They want to make them suffer, and have come up with inventive ways of doing so . The photograph depicts a rare instance of the now vanishing Eina Ivy (translated: Ouch! Ivy). This decorative product of the booming home security industry looks like ivy, but in fact it is metallic, and conceals sharp spikes to penetrate the hand of the unwary wall scaler.

I think it has probably been banned, like the anti-hijack car flamethrower invented by a Mr Charl Fourie, which was designed to shoot gouts of fire up alongside the doors and crisp the gun-toting robbers as they loomed up at the windows.

I am not sure of the current status of Rapex, the vagina dentata device worn internally and designed (by a woman) to bite down on a rapist's knob. Forced to seek treatment, he would be instantly identifiable as a sex attacker.

The Independent Online reports: "The ... device is inserted into the vagina by a woman who feels she is at risk of rape, and if she is attacked, small burr-like teeth will attach themselves to the tip of the rapist's erect penis, inventor Sonette Ehlers explains. As he withdraws and becomes flaccid, it is only possible to remove the device by surgery, Ehlers said ahead of a launch and demonstration at Kleinmond near Cape Town."

A demonstration?

In fact, the high rate of carjacking is at least partly due to the efficacy of antitheft devices on today's vehicles: immobilisers, alarms and steering wheel locks. It's easier to just get it while it's hot: buy yourself an AK-47 for about twenty quid, station yourself near a traffic light in an isolated spot, and wait.

And the high walls favoured by suburbanites actually facilitate crime, since perpetrators are invisible to passersby once over them.

I have no burglar alarm, and my walls aren't high. I do have burglar bars on the windows and a Trellidor -- a concertina-type steel gate -- and an intercom for callers. My car has an immobiliser (electronic engine disabler). These measures are considered antediluvian. What, no motion sensors, spotlights, electronic alarms or "rape gates"? (The chilling name is given to interior concertina doors that seal off the bedroom areas from the rest of the house. As it happens, I don't need a rape gate ... I hope)

I have had two car breakins and have been mugged at knifepoint, and there is nothing I could have done about any of it. I am relying on statistical probabilities to support my feeling that I have had my share of victimhood.


Blogger Heather said...

My friend was carjacked and mugged at gunpoint at a beach in Durban. Strangely though the carjackers returned a couple of minutes later in the stolen car and left my friend with enough money to phone for help, and apologised before leaving again.

This makes them possibly the most considerate criminals (but still gun toting criminals) I have ever heard of.

12:16 AM  
Blogger First Nations said...

holy CRAP.
i just- holy CRAP, dave. do they let you carry in SA? i would.
now im gonna worry.

4:08 PM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

Heather, that really is a Ripley's believe it or not story. Durban seems to have a particularly high rate of carjacking.

FN, don't worry. I was mugged on a dark rainy morning near the CBD, years ago. Since then central city crime has been pretty well wiped out by blanket CCTV coverage and patrols by mounted security men, bicycle cops and others.
I live in a peaceful village near the city.

Packing is still allowed, but getting a licence is now very difficult. The gun lobby complain that the law-
abiding are being disarmed while the criminals tool up, but in fact a large proportion of the guns used in crime are ... stolen. Being shot with your own gun is never nice; I was grabbed by five guys, in a flash, and if they had found a gun, I might not have walked away.

7:16 PM  
Blogger First Nations said...

yeeegh. point taken.
but still, dang.

4:17 PM  
Blogger BiScUiTs said...

My God, people need rape gates?! That's a slightly worring state of affairs!

2:11 PM  
Blogger BiScUiTs said...

*worrying, not worring, whatever that is.

2:12 PM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

I've never seen one in the Cape, but certainly many people in the Joburg area gate the bedroom areas off from the rest of the house after locking up at night. The gate obviously protects everyone in the bedrooms, not just women, but the name stuck.

7:40 PM  

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