Pistorius Gets Five Years; Expected to Serve Ten Months

[Content Note: Guns; death; disablism.]

Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic athlete who fatally shot Reeva Steenkamp, who was dating him at the time he killed her, has been given five years in jail after having been convicted of culpable homicide:
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius has been given five years in jail for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
His girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Still, that's all she is. He has been found guilty of taking her life, and still he is given ownership of her.
Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave Pistorius a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge [for unlawfully firing a gun in a restaurant, in a separate incident before Pistorius killed Steenkamp].

...Defence lawyer Barry Roux said his client was expected to serve 10 months in prison, with the rest under house arrest.
Which is still better than the house arrest and community service with no jail time for which the defense had argued.
Judge Masipa said she considered her sentence "fair and just, both to society and to the accused".

She said: "A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy."

...[Defence witness and social worker Annette Vergeer] had argued Pistorius would be "a lot more vulnerable than the normal man" in jail.

But Judge Masipa said she was sure prisons were equipped to cater for the requirements of a special needs inmate.

She also said she had a "feeling of unease" at what she called an overemphasis on the athlete's vulnerability.

However, she said Pistorius had made an "enormous contribution to society", in his charity work and in changing the public perception of disability.
Absolutely true. Oscar Pistorius has indeed made enormous contributions in his charitable work in being a visible representative of people with disabilities. SO FUCKING WHAT. That has—should have—no bearing on his sentencing for killing Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Masipa also said, "It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and another for the rich and famous." But how does arguing that Pistorius' "enormous contributions to society" should mitigate his sentence not create the impression that there's a double standard?

His disability doesn't erase all his other privilege, which favored his opportunities to become a visible, enabled, wealthy person who could make those contributions to society. To ignore that does not feel like justice. It feels like the usual spin about how Good Men's lives shouldn't be "ruined" over a "mistake"—arguments that are reserved almost exclusively for them. Especially for Good Men who are also Famous Athletes, and just made the "mistake" of hurting women.

I'm hard-pressed to understand why I should feel mercy for someone who killed a woman in a totally avoidable circumstance, at best. I'm hard-pressed to understand why I should worry about his life being ruined.

Considering Reeva Steenkamp's life is over.

Steenkamp's family says they are content with verdict and just relieved it's finished. I'm glad it has given them some measure of peace.

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