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Pistorius case ‘fits the profile’ of guns in South Africa

April 8th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

On the day Olympic star Oscar Pistorius testified in a South African court about the killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, a South African gun control advocate told CNN’s Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, that the case “fits the profile.”

“It’s highly racialized, gun ownership – the use of guns, but also who the victims are,” Adele Kirsten of Gun Free South Africa said.

Women “are particularly vulnerable in their home to be shot and killed by a man intimate and known to them, usually with a legal gun,” as was the case with Pistorius and Steenkamp.

Pistorius broke down on the witness stand Tuesday, sobbing as he recounted the moment he realized he had fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

“South Africa posts one of the highest homicide rates in the world,” Kirsten said, saying that the country shared that honor with countries like Venezuela, Jamaica, El Salvador.

“But the reality is that the majority of South Africans are not armed.”

South Africa’s gun culture, Kirsten told Pleitgen, is “absolutely a product of both our colonial and our apartheid past.”

There has historically been “a strong attachment to guns, where guns were used to disposes the land from indigenous people and subjugate local people.”

“More recently, in terms of apartheid, it isn’t just the use of force by police, but it was the structural violence…in South Africa during apartheid, which continues in many ways today.”

During most of Apartheid, she said, blacks were prohibited from owning weapons – a privilege reserved for white South Africans.

“The numbers still seem to indicate that the majority of licensed gun holders are men, and usually white men.”


Filed under:  Latest Episode • South Africa
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Ex South African

    What absolute rubbish! A rationale contrived to fit an ideological bias, lacking in fact and reality. Epic fail.

    April 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Avid CNN Viewer

      I warmly applaud CNN on the coverage of the Pistorius trial. I am however repulsed by the the repeated biased statements from CNN legal analyst Kelly Phelps who appears completely incapable of interpreting any of the cross examination except as being inappropriate or unjust if the prosecution team skilfully demonstrate the false claims by Pistorius or brilliant if the defence team makes progress. CNN Robyn Curnow is also significantly influenced by her earlier pleasant rapport with Pistorius from a previous interview she had with him following his successes in athletics. On the balance of facts presented thus far I am convinced Pistorius is guilty of wilful murder.

      April 15, 2014 at 6:26 am | Reply
  2. South African

    This is the biggest lot of nonsense I 've ever read on CNN. What a shame on you. Who murder who at this stage in our country? How many police weapons are stolen or lost every year? How many of the former defence force weapons are still in the army's safes. Go read the web for "Farm Murders" and see how brutal attacks are.

    April 8, 2014 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  3. Azanian Pulse

    What a rubbish article by CNN, no facts here!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2014 at 7:15 am | Reply
  4. Tipp

    There used to be a saying "White man in Africa without a gun is a dead man". Just check who is murdering whom. My both children in their teens had a gun put to their heads. My husband was shot, fortunately survived. The "detective" didn't even bother to collect the bullet from the hospital. I am afraid to keep window open at night as I had "visitors" snooping. I go into my own garden with a panic button in my hand. I didn't have to do it in apartheid time.

    April 9, 2014 at 7:52 am | Reply
    • Jesse

      Are you saying only white south african's are victims of crime? Yes, we all know that crime is a terrible evil, but It's not always about race you know...

      April 9, 2014 at 8:46 am | Reply
  5. Tipp

    No I am saying who is doing most of killing

    April 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  6. expat

    Oscar Pistorius's beautiful home was built by cheap Black labor, who never had the free education that he had. That is why there is crime in South Africa. Until things are equalized, crime will continue. I don't know why people who ruled the country prior to 1994 were too stupid to realize that.

    April 9, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  7. South African Gun Owner

    What absolute rubbish. Please check your facts. As a person involved in the shooting sports community I come accross more firearm owners than most. These people are of all races and genders.

    April 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  8. W Coetzee

    Gun Free South AFRICA are narrow minded and one sided. If gun owners were as bad, blood thirsty and violent as they make them.out to be, then there would be no anti-gun owners...they would all have been shot!
    It is fact, reinforced by endless statistics that gun ownership reduces crime. Countries of the world where gun ownership is highest have the lower crime levels and greater freedom of individuals.
    Add to this that guns don't kill people, people do....if we are going to remove guns from private ownership then we need to remove knives, bricks, stones, sticks,cars, bottles,hands, feet.....maybe people.....then the crime problems will be solved.....
    The biggest issue is that man has a sin nature and that can only be curbed to a point...you will never eradicate crime completely...the best we can do is arm ourselves, educate ourselves and train ourselves so that, God forbid, if the day comes that you have to defend yourself or your loved ones, then you can.
    It's a factvthatvthere are not enough law enforcement members to protectively citizen. It's up to us to take responsibility for ourselves and not have the false hope and trust that our "nanny" ( the government or state) will do so.....
    Just because a very small minority of gun owners do irresponsible and unthinkable thinks does not mean all gun owners are like that. Just that same, someone has just been.killed by a motor vehicle as I type this....does thatean that you, as a vehicle owner or driver should be labeled a murderer, blood thirsty, violent, irresponsible or not needed in society?????

    April 10, 2014 at 12:58 am | Reply
  9. R Loubser

    "Women “are particularly vulnerable in their home to be shot and killed by a man intimate and known to them, usually with a legal gun,” as was the case with Pistorius and Steenkamp." Really?? Do not generalize and judge all men to be the same, as that is a very narrow minded view.

    It would seem as if though Adele and GFSA are desperately clutching at straws. First it was the "4 times more likely" drivel that has been disproved over and over again and that they have never been able to back up with any proper facts.

    Now they are staring to play the race card, this is a new all time low, considering we are 20 years into a democracy.

    April 10, 2014 at 1:27 am | Reply
  10. Jacques

    Wow it is amazing what passes for journalism these days.

    To spew out the lies of Gun Free SA without any kind of balanced view point and consider it an article of worth is pathetic. GFSA have been proven to be liars and have very little credibility in South Africa. Their favorite saying that "you are more likely to be killed with your own gun" is completely groundless and no study to support that even exists.

    Just because something can be said, does not make it so. The majority of firearm owners are responsible citizens who protect their families. GFSA, large on emotive arguments, small on facts – for shame.

    April 10, 2014 at 1:42 am | Reply
  11. Brendan

    If one looks into the criteria for legally owning a firearm in South Africa it is evident that our systems are much more advanced than most contries. In South Africa you have to prove that you are mentally fit, compitent, have the necessary storage and security in place and then endure a +- 3 month wait before your license is granted. Thorough profiling and criminal checking is carried out by the Central Firearms Register and ones motivation is heavily scrutinized before allowing a citizen to hold a license. South Africans are also restricted to the amount and type of firearms one can legally own.

    Considering the ease of owning firearms in the USA, this article coming from CNN is much like the pot calling the kettle black!

    April 10, 2014 at 3:31 am | Reply
  12. henk boshoff

    Adele Kirsten is a total idiot,legal gun owners are on the whole ,very responsible people.Statistically ,more guns are stolen from the military and police than from civilians.Gun Free South Africa do not hesitate to lie and use false info to try and prove their point.

    April 10, 2014 at 4:00 am | Reply
  13. Cammo117

    This "article", if it can be called that, is laced with the usual propaganda that spews from the likes of the above mentioned organizations, their arguments are thinly veiled and appeal to the emotions of the ignorant. they are not sensible, they are not rational, they are not based in fact.

    And now the race card come out, I can't tell you how many times that horse has been flogged and will continue to be until the cows come home.

    There is a comment above from "expat" about how Oscars house was build with cheap black labour. That is rich seeing as countries like the states and the UK where basically built by slaves from African countries.

    Hypocrisy at its best.

    April 10, 2014 at 5:45 am | Reply
  14. Juan De Kock

    Gun Free South Africa talks a lot on nonsense they don't have the facts right and when their "facts" are debated and it becomes clear there is a problem with their statements and facts, their response is it "does not matter", its impossible to debate with them because they are fanatical, you cant reason with them.

    April 10, 2014 at 5:46 am | Reply
  15. Izak

    Don Nolder‎I support gun ownership in Australia!!!
    4 hrs ·
    Hey, I've got an idea – why don't we pass a law that makes it illegal to own a car if you could possibly use that car to hurt someone in the future? You know, like they might run off the road, hit a pedestrian, or another car, because they were drinking, speeding, texting, tired, drugged or just not concentrating. Maybe that's a bit too harsh. How about we just ban the cars that can do over the legal speed limit?
    Better yet, how about we only allow people to own a car if they have a genuine reason, and they can only own more than one if they have a genuine reason to own more than one, and that genuine reason doesn't include owning a car just in case they have to get to a hospital or a doctor, because we have the ambulance service for emergencies like that, right? We could also require them to be locked in a garage when not in use, and they should take the wheels off and store the petrol separately too. By reducing the number of cars in society and making them more secure we'd also reduce the number that could be stolen and used during crimes.
    Now, how about we make sure that a majority of people that determine if these laws are passed have no idea about cars. You know, people that don't have a driver's licence or have never ridden in a car, the odd disgruntled bike riding commuter maybe, because they know best. They've seen those big, heavy, loud contraptions rolling down the street and can imagine the potential for disaster if they got hit by one. They've seen road accident and car chase stories on the news after all, and movies of course. If you run into something with one of those car-thingies they explode in a huge fireball, right? What else is there to know ...
    Hold on, that wouldn't be fair for the vast, vast majority of car owners, would it? In fact it would sort of be like Minority Report, you know, guilty before you've even committed a crime ... yet that sort of thinking appears to be perfectly valid when it comes to gun control.

    April 10, 2014 at 5:55 am | Reply
  16. Attie Heunis

    Honestly I have my own questions about the benefits of guns, but Adele Kristen's statements are so ridiculously wrong and seemed to be driven by a political agenda rather than facts. People who think that violent crime in South Africa originates from the so called white community are ignoring the facts.

    April 10, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  17. Jacques Nolte

    Adele Kirsten should get her facts straight rather than going on hear say seemingly conclusions. Stereotyping on race and gender and blaming the past won't solve/hide the fact that our leaders, justice system and police are incapable of dealing with violent crimes against any human being in SA. Fact is we as law abiding (all races) citizens have no choice but to arm ourselves to protect our, our family and our neighbours lives in a justice system where the criminal gets the benefit and uses this as leverage to have the upper hand in any situation where a crime is being committed and you have the potential of being killed by this criminals decision to act against the law. Whoever thinks that a criminal would adhere to the law of "no guns" is confused between reality and a dream as it is actaully a criminals dream to have a "no guns" policy then he can easily use his illegally obtained firearm to have a huge upperhand on any law abiding citizen. If your police can't even be trusted to keep guns safe ("losing" thousands annually) how can you expect the good men/women not to want to arm themselves?

    April 11, 2014 at 4:12 am | Reply
  18. Peregrine Dace

    I'd be careful of giving to much credence to Gun Free Sout Africa. They're notorious in South African social science circles for mis-stating research results.

    April 11, 2014 at 6:06 am | Reply
  19. AKT

    This is for the people comparing cars with guns. It is true that cars and guns kill people. However, what you are forgetting is that Guns are made specifically TO KILL; Cars are not. In one case, the killing is intentional, in the other it's incidental. BIG difference. When you hold a gun, there is a feeling of power that you derive that you don't get from driving a car. The mind set you have in a heated argument is different when you are holding a gun than when not. Not everyone is able to truly restrain themselves appropriately, and the definition of "AS A LAST RESORT", is highly subjective depending on the person that you are talking to.

    April 11, 2014 at 6:15 am | Reply
    • Peregrine Dace

      And the argument from design proves.....what exactly?
      Now if *you* get a feeling of power from holding a gun then perhaps *you* aren't the right person to have one, but that's certainly not the impression I get from the gun owners I know most if whom talk more about heavy responsibility than even the technical engineering details they enthuse over.
      And if you don't get a feeling of power from driving a car, you have no soul (or have only driven exceedingly bad cars)

      April 12, 2014 at 12:55 am | Reply
  20. kelly bridge

    it should be controlled in a way that owners with guns will be given no life bullets( ammunition) but just the one that can cause injuries

    April 12, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
  21. Andreas

    This is the reason so many people are victims to violent crime in SA, because the majority of people are not armed and thus defenseless. The reason for the poor majority not having this means of selfdefence is because groups like GFSA made the process to obtain a license crazy expensive!!! and these are the people who can not afford alarm systems and armed security so thanks to Adele she effectively made the poor majority easy targets for violent criminals. Join the movement to fight the lies and BS spread by the pro-victim groups like GFSA. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2471105086/

    April 15, 2014 at 6:44 am | Reply
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