March 2, 2014 Leave a comment
The Oscar Pistorius trial, about to get under way, confuses and alarms me. I had the same reaction to the Micheal Dunn case, in which Dunn’s defense for killing one teen and injuring others was that he thought he was being threatened by a non-existent gun.
Pistorius killed his girlfriend by shooting her through a bathroom door. She was unarmed and in no possible way a threat to his safety. He says he thought she was a burglar. If he’s telling the truth, the killing (I suppose) was not premeditated murder (though why the “burglar” had to be killed is a real question). But if it wasn’t murder, does that mean it wasn’t a crime? The fact that he’s not currently in custody suggests the possibility that he is, by law, completely innocent.
Is it legally acceptable to do anything at all–including killing someone who is in no way threatening us–as long as we’re frightened when we do it?