And the recriminations can now begin.
Morne Harmse, the schoolboy with the masks and the Samurai sword who killed a fellow pupil at his Krugersdorp School last year, was this week sentenced to an effective 20 years in prison.
And of course, there are those who think this is too lenient and those who think it is too harsh. Aren’t there always?
In sentencing someone for these sort of crimes, I believe, a number of different factors have to be taken into consideration by the judge: the degree of premeditation, the effects of the crime and perhaps most importantly, the underlying reasons that the incident took place. And on that, there is also considerable disagreement. The sensationalists went with Satanism and Slipknot, the more rational minds with the sorry mental state of a confused and misunderstood teenage boy.
The State – pandering to the masses – wheeled out Kobus Jonker, self-styled “expert” on “the occult”, who interviewed Harmse and gave testimony that although he (Harmse) had dabbled in “the occult”, there was little evidence to suggest that this was the cause of Harmse’s attack. Wrong coloured candles, apparently. Helpful stuff.
Jonker has a dubious reputation in South Africa, as Jacques Rousseau points out in The Star today and one can only hope that in sentencing, the judge completely disregarded the nonsense this “expert” gave the court.
Perhaps there would be more value in following the advice of The Times commenter ‘RSinangola’ on this issue:
Bring back corporal punishment at school and at home and there will be a more than 50% chance that this won’t happen again.
RSinangola explains neither the background nor the mathematical workings behind his theory, but since he has submitted them for publication in a national newspaper, I think we can rest assured that he has thoroughly tested his hypothesis.
And until someone comes up with a better plan, which may give us, say, “a more than 75% chance that this won’t happen again”, maybe we should take his comment on board and reinstitute corporal punishment forthwith.
Well done, that man.