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Malan Strydom
 
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Firearms Ownership And Disability

15 April 2014, 21:30

Dear reader,

Before reading further, please don’t confuse an opinion with a judgement, there is a very tangible difference between the two in this context.

Throughout the entire Pistorius – Steenkamp tragedy, I have been very reserved. Decidedly so as I did not want my opinion regarded as judgement due to the fact that I have some things in common with the accused.

I have now heard most of the evidence and feel comfortable to voice my opinion without being prejudiced and judging Mr. Pistorius of being either innocent or guilty of culpable homicide or murder – premeditated or otherwise.

What I meant before with “things in common with the accused” is that I too am disabled – I am an amputee. I am a firearm owner. I too have heard worrying noises at night and have in fact had home invaders in my yard in the relatively recent past.

Unlike Mr. Pistorius, I lost my one leg in early adulthood, I did not grow up like this and am not as well experienced or well adapted. Without my prosthetic limb fully fitted, I have no stable mobility at all. I cannot walk without my prosthesis. With it fitted I can walk without assistance, but I am unable to run at all.

Like Mr. Pistorius, due to my physical ability, or rather lack thereof, security in and around my home is also of great importance to me. The safety of my family, loved ones and of myself is after all my own responsibility.

I think the most important differentiation I can conclude between myself and Mr. Pistorius is that I have taken comprehensive measures to secure our family’s safety with very careful consideration to my own physical limitations, I believe that is what a reasonable, responsible disabled firearm owner would do.

Our family has a well thought out safety plan.

When I hear concerning noises, or my alarm system alerts me to a possible intruder, I make very sure where my family is, then get them all to our safe zone. From there I will call the armed response company tasked with our protection. While I wait for them to arrive and investigate, I have enough time to fit my prosthetic leg and get ready to face a threat inside my house if I need to.

No measure of security is impenetrable but a well designed system is layered to buy you time, hopefully enough until help arrives. My firearm is the final but a vital layer in my security system.

This has happened a couple of times. From being alarmed to being satisfied that we are safe, I have my firearm in my hand or on my person and yet during these stressful events I have never fired through a door once.

Mr. Pistorius was stupid. Ms. Steenkamp died, that’s how stupid…

What frustrates me even more;

It is very true that one of the most vulnerable times for me is when I don’t have my prosthesis on.

This is what Mr. Pistorius has been using as an excuse, numbing fear from feeling vulnerable and in hindsight impaired judgement as a result.

I can give the reader the assurance that the above is simply not true (for me).

Unfortunately, the ever illogical anti-gun lobby, and more importantly, possibly the Central Firearms Registrar won’t see it that way now, now they’ll possibly think that every amputee loses the ability to think reasonably and will act irresponsibly as soon as they take their leg(s) off at night.

Being disabled is a very real and very valid reason for needing a firearm to “level out the playing field”, to use as a force-multiplier to enable me to effectively protect my loved ones’ or my own right to life against one or more able bodied attackers.

It is very unfortunate how (dare I say conveniently) Mr. Pistorius has used this as an excuse to his advantage as soon as he needed to.

For using his legs as an excuse, I am appalled at Mr. Pistorius as his decision to do so may negatively affect me too…

I hope I am mistaken in thinking that he has selfishly trampled on the rights of an entire demographic.

I am however no longer prepared to keep quiet to the detriment of my own rights because it may be considered politically incorrect to call him out on his negligence and irresponsibility.

Many have said before that we should wait for the truth before judging (read: commenting).

Ask the Americans how long they have waited for the untainted truth from O.J.

A verdict, sure, let’s wait for that, but the truth? We’ll never hear the whole truth, ever.

I’m not waiting for anything anymore before I am allowed to think that he should be punished because he killed a person – which he did.

I’m not waiting for anything anymore before I am allowed to think that he should take responsibility and not blame his disability – it won’t make Ms. Steenkamp any less dead.

Mr. Pistorius is not representative of reasonable and responsible firearm owners, let alone disabled firearm owners.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

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