I was appalled that the South African sprinter with leg prostheses is being sentenced to PREMEDITATED MURDER for shooting an intruder who turned out to be his girlfriend. The prosecution insists it is because he was “shooting to kill”.
Not being a lawyer, I’d like one to explain why, by the same logic, it isn’t “premeditating murder” to take your gun out of locked security, load it and place it close at hand in your bedroom. Most guns are made, and intended, to shoot other human beings, to kill them. That’s the guns’ purpose. So any time you fire that gun in your bedroom, you’re shooting to kill. You’re carrying out premeditated murder, but only by taking the second step. You already took the first step by deciding that self-defense, or whatever your reason is, was worth taking the life of another person, and you prepared yourself to do so.
The tragedy is that there are so many tragedies such as that of Pistorius, assuming he is telling the truth. There are shootings in moments of passion, confusion, or fear such as Pistorius describes — because the gun was there at hand. There are children who find the gun you may think you have hidden well. Do we call all these “premeditated murder”, or even murder of any sort?
We must try to look at our gun culture from the outside, just as we are now viewing the horror taking place in a South African court.