When I got up this morning and looked at ESPN3 to see if there are any upcoming events available I noted that the Oscar Pistorius trial is being broadcast live.
Cases like this make me think about the purpose of laws, trials, and the nature of justice. Before I get into my thoughts I’ll recap events in the Pistorius case for those who are not following along.
Pistorius is an athlete from South Africa who I wrote about not long ago in regards to the fact that he has two artificial legs. The article that day was about how mechanically enhanced athletes will soon be dominating those without artificial aid (medically enhanced athletes already dominate those who don’t use PEDs but that’s another topic).
On February 14, 2013 Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. There are two versions of events.
Pistorius claims that he awoke in the middle of the night, heard sounds, assumed a burglar was in his bathroom, and shot through the closed-door four times only later realizing that it was Steenkamp. This is, obviously, a lie.
What happened is that Pistorius and Steenkamp were engaged in an angry, passionate fight heard by neighbors over a hundred meters away. Pistorius chased her into the bathroom where she locked the door. In a fit of rage and madness he fired into the bathroom four times, hitting her three times, once in the head.
It’s clear to everyone that Pistorius intentionally shot her. That his fabricated version of events is filled with logical holes. So why are we having a trial? What’s the purpose of laws? Judges? The nature of justice?
This is what brought me to Wikipedia articles about Law and about Justice. It speaks to why I’m a Libertarian. If we do not have laws then people within society are subject to the whims of those in power. Without the concept of blind justice those in authority can simply do whatever they want.
What happens when law becomes perverted? When wealthy and powerful people can do as they wish? When politicians can terrorize citizens without repercussions? When police agencies can take our possessions on trumped-up charges designed to fleece us?
I’ll tell you what happens: people stop believing that justice is possible in their nation. When people give up on justice they get violent. When people believe that a legal system works and they can have their grievances fairly adjudicated they work within the system.
That’s why there is a Pistorius trail, despite his obvious guilt.
I know some people are going to read these words and try to politicize them. Blame Republicans or Democrats for violating the spirit of the law. I’m both with you and against you. I’m with you in that, yes, Republicans/Democrats are eager and willing to ignore the law when it benefits them. I’m against you in that one side is in greater violation than the other.
This is largely the problem. Most people seem to have no objection whatsoever when the group they support violates the law to pursue their ends. Anything to win an election as long as it’s your political party.
When we stop looking for justice and merely want to expedite our agenda we tear down the fabric of our nation, one law at a time. If you don’t like it when the other side violates a law, I suggest the solution is to come down hard on your side when they do the same.
So I got pretty far from the headline of this post but the trial itself doesn’t interest me much. Pistorius is murderous scum regardless of the outcome. It’s the reason for the trial that intrigues me. In a totalitarian state Pistorius would either be hanged already or been given his freedom by a sympathetic dictator.
Be happy if you live in a republic (like South Africa) and do what you can to preserve it (regardless of your political affiliation).
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne
I agree. Innocent until proven guilty.
Thank you for the comment, kkessler.
It seems strange that a trial for someone obviously guilty is an important part of our legal system. It is easy to want to immediately and severely punish people who are guilty but the reality is we don’t want the law enforcement and judicial systems to have this power, for our own safety.
Come back any time!
You are welcome! I hope you check out my blog sometime!
Innocent??…a young woman brutally slaughtered with dum dums that he laughingly tested for there “fucking zombie stopping” (his words)effect…he did it..then didnt call medical help…HE TRIED TO REVIVE HER HIMSELF!!!..what happened to never moving an injured person..making sure of course he messed up crime scene.the deaf blind mute man servant never heard saw know nothing WTF..HE’S AS GUITY AS SIN.
Hi, anonymous. Thank you for the comment and come back anytime.
I think the point was that we all know he’s guilty but we still have to go through with a trial. That the state can’t just declare someone guilty whenever they want even when it is patently obvious.
I’m guessing that was the meaning of kkessler833’s comment.
What do you think about that part of the equation? Should the state just say he is guilty and be done with it or is there a important aspect to having the trial?
The average death row inmate in this country spends twenty years exhausting all options for appeal. Conceptually I agree that people should have the opportunity to defend themselves from the overwhelming power of the state. Despite our best efforts occasionally the guilty will go free and innocents will be convicted but there is also a need to demonstrate that there is justice. Defendants are guaranteed a speedy trial. There should also be a speedy appeal process.
I’m just guessing, but I’d be willing to bet good money that most people charged with murder are obviously guilty. O.J. Simpson certainly was, and so was Jeffrey MacDonald (the Fatal Vision Green Beret killer). But guilt must still be proved, because a free society requires that no one can be punished out of hand without formal conviction in an open court. Looks what happens when this requirement is suspended: Guantanamo Bay.
Hello Ian and thank you for the comment,
I agree completely!
Come back any time and don’t hesitate to tell me when I’m wrong … it happens now and again 😉