Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pistorius Verdict - Part 1

BBC - September 11, 2014

The BBC quotes from the judge’s initial decision, that Oscar Pistorious is not guilty of premeditated murder, but that she will pass a sentence on him tomorrow for “culpable homicide”:
"The accused had reasonable time to reflect, to think and conduct himself reasonably.
"The accused knew that there was a person behind the door, he chose to use a firearm which was a lethal weapon, was competent in the use of firearms as he had received training," she said.
The judge also took time to reject the defence arguments that Mr Pistorius is more likely to confront danger because of his disability - both his legs have been amputated.
"Vulnerability is not unique - There are many people in this country without any form of security at all," she said. [Emphasis mine]
Whatever else comes out of this case in the end, this rather oddly worded statement nevertheless addresses the disability issue pretty effectively. Disability can certainly be a vulnerability when it comes to the threat of physical violence. However, it would be too much to give everyone with a verifiable vulnerability extra leeway to shoot people. Each case should be judged on its individual merits, and there are many situations where disabilities aren’t vulnerabilities at all.

That, coupled with the fact that the judge says Pistorius did not act reasonably, actually says quite a lot.