What Oscar Pistorius's judge didn't consider (AFAIK)

Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He admitted that during his trial, which sought to determine if he had a reasonable basis for concluding his victim may have been an intruder. Even if that were true, he could have safely mitigated the risk by walking away from the closed door separating him from the person in the bathroom, and hidden somewhere, trembling if he wished.

Or called the police.

Or waited to verify that the suspect indeed posed a risk.

But no, he just had to shoot first and ask questions later.

There clearly was no need to shoot; just flimsy excuses for it. Judge Thokozile Masipa found him guilty of culpable homicide but not murder. I find the judge guilty of demonstrating a lack of common sense.

Her perspective would have been improved by considering preceding cases, of which there are countless millions, with shockingly few dead bodies and ruined bathrooms doors.

Why? Because when I've been in such situations—and I have—my first thought is to locate my girlfriend after grabbing my gun but before using it. Most homeowners exhibit the same common sense. I don't sleep in the same room as my girlfriend, who often gets up at night, so immediately locating her isn't as easy as it was for Pistorius.

When one is awakened in the middle of the night by an intruder, hell yes it is scary, but as frightened as I've been, my first thought is the safety of my girlfriend. I'm not a rocket scientist, but I am smart enough to realize that it is just plain stupid to start shooting without identifying the target and others who may be injured once hot lead starts flying.

In rendering her verdict, Judge Masipa provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt that she lacks common sense by opening her mouth and insinuating it's silly to sleep with a gun under one's pillow, as Pistorius did.

Try telling that to Anne Pressly, a KATV news anchor who was savagely beaten to death in her bed by an intruder, Curtis Lavelle Vance. If Pressly had such a gun tucked under her pillow or otherwise immediately available, she might have successfully defended herself from the much larger Vance. Criminals are safer when guns are stored in “safe” spots like gun safes or locked, hidden closets, but homeowners are safer when they can grab a gun in a split-second, which is all the time they may have.

Reeva Steenkamp probably wouldn't have lived even if Pistorius's gun were further from him because he likely executed her after an argument spiked the tension in their souring relationship. Judge Masipa dismissed the testimony of all witnesses and substituted it with her own logic, concocted by a second-rate mind oddly detached in some ways from the real world—thus explaining why her verdict grated like nails on a chalkboard to millions of people with common sense.

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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