Remember the double amputee that amazed the world by running in the Olympics? Remember how everyone cheered and supported him? The winner of the race even went as far as to trade numbers as a sign of respect. Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprint runner, has continued his fall from glory as his murder trial continues.

While the United States is more concerned with the Kardashians and the little they contribute to society, a former Olympian charged with killing his model girlfriend has been shoved to the side. While one might argue that Pistorius’s trial has little impact on America, I see the lack of media attention as how quickly we forgot those who don’t penetrate our circle. Pistorius’s story and determination fascinated not only his own country, but also the world as well in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

However, his honorable recognition soon turned to horror six months later when he was accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The trial that took nearly a year to begin has been postponed once again — but there is little mention of Pistorius’s court proceedings in the news at all. His court hearings have raised the question: What counts as premeditated murder?

Premeditation would mean that the murder of Steenkamp was intentionally thought about and planned by Pistorius. But the question becomes how long prior to the death counts as premeditation? Is it weeks, days, minutes or seconds? How do you judge the length of time to qualify and charge someone with premeditated murder — a charge more severe than just murder.

There is neither a jury nor a death penalty in South Africa, just a judge to make the final decision. Pistorius is going to jail, but the matter of how long has yet to be decided. This is why the issue of premeditated murder is so impactful on Pistorius’s trial. If the murder was premeditated, then Pistorius would be sentenced to life in prison. However, if the murder was not, then his sentence would be much shorter.

We should be wondering what impact this has on the United States. If there is a decision made on how long before a murder occurs to determine if it is premeditated, that could affect how jurors in the U.S. make their decision. Prosecutors are arguing that even seconds before counts as premeditation. Pistorius realized his girlfriend wasn’t in bed, was angry from their argument and made the conscious choice to kill her; therefore, he is guilty of premeditated murder.

Rulings in the United States differ depending on the jurisdiction. A ruling in New York does not necessarily apply to a Florida court and its jurors. South America and the United States are no different; rules are not the same between these two countries. So while this issue remains in South America, it may still affect the way people in the United States think about what constitutes as premeditated murder.

Personally, I don’t think it was premeditated murder. It was not thought out for days, but rather an action in the middle of the night at the spur of the moment. I’m not saying he should get off lightly; he is guilty of murder, just not premeditated murder. The media in the U.S. should shed light on the judgement that passes and if it will affect the judicial system here. Jurors make the decisions, and each of them have a different view of premeditation — can it be more aligned with the decision from Pistorius’s trial? Meditate on that.

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--- Senior | Executive Editor Emeritus --- Finance/English

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