Saturday, February 15, a local high school girl’s basketball team led their opponent 47-1 at the half. Their coach eased up in the second half for a final score of 78-4. Lately, that’s about the margin any prosecution faces in gaining a fair sentence when the victim is black and shot dead by a member of another lighter-skinned race or when the defendant is famous.
We’re already too familiar with a piece of vigilante, gun obsessed trash named Zimmerman. He killed a young black man in the most frigid of cold blood and was cheered by an embarrassing percentage of the population when acquitted of murder and manslaughter back in July of last year. Let off scot- free, because, as one juror stated, “He didn’t do anything unlawful.” And you know what? Killing a black teenager for doing nothing isn’t unlawful in “Stand your Imaginary Ground” Florida. But I’ve already written about the story as have countless others. Tens of millions of words have been largely wasted about the deed and verdict and what a true scumbag Zimmerman really was and is. My colleagues are still writing about it.
Of course the level of scumbaggery didn’t reveal itself until after the verdict. Nonetheless, a prosecution team with even the most minimal level of competence could have nailed Zimmerman easily at trial.
And there’s recently been yet another log thrown on the fire that is right-wing racist America. Back in July of 2012, some guy named Dunn fired 10 rounds into an SUV occupied by four black kids who dared crank up what Dunn described as “Thug Music.” On the stand and under law enforcement questioning he laid out a carpet of falsehoods and exaggerations that made Nixon’s “I am not a crook” pale by comparison.
And it worked, though, unlike Zimmerman, Dunn is going to pull some prison time for killing teenager, Jordan Davis, who, according to Dunn, but not a single witness, was pointing a shotgun right at the “9mm gun-in-the-glove-compartment” middle-aged white guy. While Dunn was convicted of charges with a potential of parking him behind bars for 57 years, he wasn’t convicted of first-degree murder. He hasn’t been sentenced as yet, but I’m betting on about 10 years concurrent and hitting the bricks in maybe 5 or 6.
Technically, it was not a case tried with the “stand your ground” defense, but, in fact, it was a stand your ground case. All white folks have to do in the ‘shoot ‘em up’ red states is make one simple declaration: “I was in fear for my life.”
But we’re far from finished. A year ago last Valentine’s Day, a once-heroic South African athletic figure, Oscar Pistorius, shot and killed his live-in model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp reportedly over a tweet or text from some Rugby player dude. She had fled to the bathroom, terrified of the double-amputee, Paralympic track recipient of countless medals dating back to 2004. He won three golds in Beijing competition and thrilled the Brits by participating in the Paralympics and able-bodied Olympic games, both held in London in 2012.
Here’s where you can read all about his successes. That was then, this is now. Oscar Pistorius, the central figure in an incredibly inspiring story of overcoming every obstacle thrown in his way, may, in fact, be a murderer.
We already know he’s a killer. From about five feet away, he shot four rounds through the bathroom door of his residence where Reeva cowered in terror. She was hit by three of them. Oscar told authorities he thought he was shooting at some bad guy who had broken into his place. And Reeva didn’t utter a word or scream at the top of her lungs? A targeted intruder would have screamed as well or fired back. That’s where the defense starts, “The dog ate my homework.” Oh, then there’s the matter of a cricket bat that Pistorius says was used to break down the bathroom door when he realized his mistake, though news sources say it was bloody. Forensics may play a major role in this case and both sides are loading up on them.
But it doesn’t stop there. Pistorius’ defense team, capable of dreaming up anything to get their man off have come up with the air-tight reason that the Pistorius multi-shot attack makes all the sense in the world. That’s because Reeva had once written a letter to a newspaper expressing deep concern about being a victim of a violent break-in at her parent’s home in Port Elizabeth when she was visiting. Therefore, by some extraordinary leap in logic, the Pistorius murder, ‘er accidental killing, was justified. Get to the letter site here.
No question, it’s a frightening letter, wouldn’t you agree? The fearsome circumstances notwithstanding, here’s why the letter to the newspaper is irrelevant in defense of the murder charge. The attacks, as described in the letter, happened some five years before Steenkamp was shot. There is absolutely no tie-in. The scene of the Steenkamp death was at least 600 miles distant from Port Elizabeth, a sea-coast, holiday city located at the very southern tip of Africa. So those most likely drug-addled goons, the object of her letter, were a good 10 hours driving time from Pretoria where the fatal shooting took place.
Reeva described her parent’s house as small, so one could assume the neighborhood was on the poorer side and less protected by law enforcement than Pistorius’ fancy $600,000 home in a gated high security Silver Woods Country Estate community in Pretoria.
So, forget the letter, though apparently Oscar’s lawyers still think it’s a big deal. For his part, Pistorius is going to try to sell the judge (there will be no jury) on the fantasy defense that, as the UK Telegraph newspaper reported it, he shot his girlfriend in a rush of “terror” after mistaking her for an intruder. The compressed version is that he woke up and thought he heard somebody break into his house. He then grabbed his 9mm handgun from under the bed, high-tailed it to a position just outside the bathroom door and started blasting away. He added: “It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet.”
I’ll tell you what “fills me with horror and fear;” the idea that yet another murderer is going to sashay out of yet another courtroom with clean hands even though guilty of a filthy deed. Oscar is apparently next in line. In addition to a clear propensity for stretching the truth, Oscar has a couple of other things going for him. South African police are notoriously corrupt. You can never tell how far a Rand or two (or considerably more) will get you. And Oscar has already beat one very serious rap where, at his own party, he was accused of slamming a door so hard in a rage that a piece of the door broke off and injured a young female guest in the leg. Most accounts say that the case was dropped for lack of evidence. The case was dropped because Oscar paid the victim off to avoid a trial and civil suit.
Be prepared to stay angry!