For Oscar Pistorius

Posted in editorial, features, opinion, Uncategorized on November 24th, 2013 by John Coxon

Happily I don’t live in a country where gun violence is an everyday threat and neither, happily , do I live in a place where people other than our military and police are allowed to use  guns and I don’t think it is possible here to own a gun weapon for  “self protection” and here only some people can lawfully own guns for sport and hunting.

Hardly a day goes by without some criminal or other  irrational shooting in the USA where gun laws are so lax and so many citizens own guns and where tragic “accidents” at home involving guns are also pretty common place.   Out of 640 murders here in the UK  in the years 2011-2012 a mere 44 were gun related.  Our police have an incredible rate in terms of convicting killers  and RSA police record by comparison is, quite frankly a joke.  I read that in the RSA for every 1000 crimes a mere  430   are arrested and only 77 convicted and barely 8 of these are given a sentence of more than two years. ( and 94% of those convicted offend which is an awful indictment of policing there.)

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I could not believe it when I heard that Paralympian Oscar Pistorius had shot his girlfriend and having met him, struggled to believe (and still do) , despite media hints that he was not quiet the gentle angel, that he could ever be capable of premeditated murder or that this could be anything other than a tragic accident.

Citizen gun ownership in the USA is a staggering percentage  in comparison to any other country on earth  and is the U.S. gun homicide rate is 20 times the combined rate of all other western nations. Yet In 2007, there were a staggering 8,319 gun deaths murders in South Africa, a country of roughly 49 million people. The United States No. 1 in gun ownership, and with more than six times as many people—had 9,960 gun deaths homicides in 2012.

I think the trial for Oscar will take place in March next year and meanwhile, with no disrespect for Reeva’s family or making  light of the terrible grief they have to endure,  I think that no court can impose any sentence on Oscar beyond the lifetime of remorse and guilt I just know he has to find a way to deal with. This case has attracted so much media attention including programmes looking at the actual evidence, and flagging up the incompetence of RSA police, compromising  the crime scene and forensic evidence  and with a  prosecution case which has not , in my view, a cat in hell’s chance of securing a conviction. The RSA police , as much as Oscar ,will be on trial in spring next year and unlikely to come out of it with any credit.

This to me is an indictment of a wonderful country emerging from the murderous horrors of apartheid and yet still relatively very violent and with a police force that raise so many questions in terms of their competence or ethics and hence , their conclusion that this was a premeditated murder I believe is  a flawed case and I have seen nothing credible yet to suggest it actually was . South Africa so needs heroes and role models and sadly Oscar’s fall from grace has been monumental and have now idea how he is going to cope in the future.

Of course he no longer interacts on social media and anyone showing support for him is a target and, ultimately  such things revolve around  “benefit of the doubt” and our own faith. I do think he appears to have been  reckless but  if he did not live in a country where violent crime is such an everyday threat , where it is so easy to own guns as a sort of macho play thing , this could not have happened.

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