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Friday, March 8, 2013


We've all heard of Oscar Pistorius  He is the South African who ran in the London Olympics using carbon fiber blades for feet (his legs were amputated below the knees when he was one), but, more recently, shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  He is at his uncle's home after posting bail for 1 million rand ($113,000).  The next court hearing will be on June 4.

The 11March13 issue of TIME had a comprehensive article about Pistorius and the incident.  I did not know enough to pass judgement on him, but this presentation convinced me that he will probably be acquitted.  

Why?  It has everything to do with South African crime culture and the agonizing sociological transition.  Eighty-nine percent are black and 9% white,  Forty percent of blacks are below the poverty line and the percentage for whites is less than one.

Southern Africa has the highest regional intentional homicide rate in the world.  However, the rate is higher in the Ivory Coast, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and several countries in Central America and the Caribbean than South Africa.  (In the map above, the darker the higher the rate.)  Interestingly enough, though, the U.S. guns/capita ratio is seven times higher than South Africa, but the murder rate per capita in South Africa is eight times higher than the U.S.  If I lived in South Africa, I would own a gun.      There seems to almost be an inverse correlation of gun ownership to murder, at least involving the U.S.:

In South Africa, 27.6% of men admit to being rapists.  Ponder over this statistic a while.  However, in a poll of what citizens feared the most, sexual offenses ranked fourth at 27%, while house burglary was #1 at 50%.  Perhaps this has something to with gender, but it is worth underscoring that the province Pistorius lives ranks #1 in residential robberies.  There has been an 88% increase in these burglaries just over the past five years.  Thus, imagine yourself what you might do under these circumstances.

From all divulged indications, there was no trouble in the four month relationship of Oscar and Reeva.  Pistorius' story is that they had a quiet Valentine's Eve at home, went to bed, and heard a noise.  Fearing that an intruder had entered through an unblocked bathroom window, where he recalled the contractor had left a ladder, he grabbed a nearby gun.  Not noticing in the dark that Reeva was not there, he yelled a warning then shot through the bathroom door at least three times.

With his future looking fabulous, what kind of logic, illogic or character flaw would drive Pistorius to murder his girlfriend in this manner at his home, then call the police to report what happened?   From this rather sparse information provided by this article, if all true, then it must have been a tragic accident.  However, polls seem to indicate an overwhelming sense that he will be convicted for first degree murder.

The Dow Jones Industrials will again break a record today.  With sequestration and loss of jobs, how can this be?  Well, for one, the national unemployment rate just dropped to 7.7%.  Bernanke and the Fed Board keeping interest rates low is mostly given credit for this bull market, as the fundamentals remain generally weak.  

An even more remarkable rise is the 20% increase of the Nikkei since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's election in December, for he seems to be doing everything wrong.  However, at 12,284, the Nikkei remains less than a third of the 38,916 attained at the end of 1989.

Tropical Cyclone Sandra is at 70 MPH, will strengthen into a Category 2 storm, then weaken to a Category 1 before probably running into New Caledonia:


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