Oscar Pistorius versus Individual Accountability

Stupidity. Overreaction. Missing the point. Losing the plot. Hysteria. I’d say these statements serve as a fairly accurate characterisation of what we have read and heard in the mass media the last few days. The Pistorius trial is finally nearing its end, in a manner of speaking since the state can, and likely will, appeal the rather unexpected judgement that was handed down last Friday. That ought to drag things out quite a bit more, but if we are fortunate (and if there exists some merciful Devine Presence in the Universe) the media may be bored of the whole thing by then.

The court had scarcely adjourned when the eminent disseminators of anti-logic began their ill-conceived crusade to pin the blame of the whole affair on the presence of a gun.

A gun was to blame for Reeva Steenkamp’s untimely and terrible demise. The criminally negligent behaviour of the perpetrator, Oscar Pistorius, is not to blame. His blatant disregard of the Four Rules of firearm safety, despite having been intimately acquainted with them as a competent firearm owner, is not to blame. His failure to ascertain the identity of his supposed aggressor, locked in his toilet cubicle, is not to blame. According to Adele Kirsten and Gun Free South Africa, Oscar Pistorius is innocent of any wrongdoing, because the presence of the gun lead to this tragedy.

I am not going to bother linking Ms. Kirsten’s statements to the press, because if you care enough to read the tripe that she spouts you can darn well Google it yourself.

What sickens me is this inclination we as a society have developed; the propensity to refuse to accept any and all responsibility and, more importantly, accountability for our choices and actions. We blame other people. We blame circumstances. We blame laws. We blame the government. We blame inanimate objects, like guns.

Naturally, this sort of tendency suits those organisations and individuals whose ultimate goal is to create a gun-free society. They are convinced that somehow, if we remove all firearms from society, that all violence and death will come to an end. They want to create an Utopia. They ignore the fact that firearms are useful tools utilised by numerous responsible citizens to save lives every year. They ignore these facts because it does not serve their purpose, which is to achieve their end goal of total disarmament no matter how many lies and deceits they must propagate. Your safety, your family’s safety, is not worthy of obstructing them from achieving their success.

The ends justify the means to them, no matter the cost. This was pretty much the same attitude Joseph Stalin had during the interwar period when he subjected the Soviet Union to his ambitious Collectivisation project, and his numerous Five-year Plans. It cost the lives of millions of Soviet citizens who were starved and literally worked to death.

Voltaire said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.”

It is absurd to believe that the presence of a gun lead to the death of Reeva Steenkamp. It is absurd to believe that Oscar Pistorius is not wholly and completely responsible for her death. It is absurd to believe that removing the most effective tool citizens have to defend their lives will make South Africa better. It is absurd to believe that it is acceptable for us to continue our rejection of individual accountability and responsibility.

The etymology of the word Utopia is from the Greek οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no-place“. Thus I deem it acceptable to say that Utopia does not exist, and it never will. As long as Homo Sapiens stride upon the crust of this world, we will find ever more inventive and brutal ways of dispatching one another. The only thing that will not change is the shallowness of our motives for doing so.

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