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April 11, 2014

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Anybody keeping up with the Oscar Pistorius trial is South Africa?
There is no question that he killed his beautiful girlfriend by firing four rounds from a gun through his bathroom door. The only question is whether he did it with foreknowledge of her presence in the bathroom, - or was it an unfortunate accident?
From the sound bites of Pistorius' own testimony during questioning by the prosecutor, he gives the impression that even he does not know why this awful thing happened. It could be a very elaborate ruse on his part.
Ah....the poor jurors who have to make a decision.

It seems Pistorius and his girlfriend were having one hell of an argument. My guess is she was fed up with his behavior and was threatening to leave and/or break up with him. At that point, when he saw he was losing control of her, he snapped and got out the gun and she headed for cover in the bathroom. He followed, and in his enraged, irrational state of mind he fired repeatedly. I'm sure even he can't understand why he behaved as he did. In such a state of mind, where is will, free or otherwise? There is only wild emotion governing the primitive, reptilian aspect of the brain.

Still, "someone" must be held accountable. Pistorius was the embodiment of that madness and that embodiment is going to prison, I think.

Most of us probably have the potential within us to "snap" at some point. Fortunately, the threshold of madness in most people is not as close to the "surface" as with Pistorius and we will never be pushed to that brink.

Whether there is free will or not, or Pastorius is responsible for his actions or not, there is the appearance of a free will gone awry that must be contained.

It is arguable that some embodiments of this so called free will are so unimaginably vile and reprehensible, so utterly cruel, savage and ruthless that they must be eliminated completely so that the possibility of it acting out in such a way will never happen again. Like polio. I am not saying Pistorius is one of those types of embodiments.

Some prisoners are so dangerous that they must be kept isolated and transported in special containment devices at all times not unlike Hannibal Lector. It is even dangerous to serve them food and special precautions must be taken to reduce risk to staff. Such entities may be too dangerous to allow to live.

So, belief in free will may not necessarily be tied to the desire to punish, although obviously at times it is and capital punishment could be viewed as a practical matter like removing a sharp nail sticking out of the floor, and not really in the realm of philosophy, psychology or ideals at all.

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