Athletics: NZ a safer new world

By Ben Guild


As a former competitive junior sprinter in South Africa, Tauranga Masters Games athlete Bruce Solomon is keeping a keener eye than most on proceedings in the sensational murder trial of Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius.

He believes it to be difficult for many New Zealanders to fully appreciate some aspects of everyday life in many parts of South Africa.

"Having lived in South Africa for 45-odd years and in New Zealand for almost five, I can speak from experience that South Africa is a much more stressful environment," Solomon asserted.

"Not to be drawn into a political discussion, I can say that it isn't abnormal or unusual for people to have guns to protect themselves. We all agree that every country has its problems with violence, but South Africa has an added element of sadistic violence.

"At times, there's no reason to rob or steal, rather it's to break in and intimidate. This violent element has no demographic exclusion - you can be rich, poor, young or old.

"If they feel like targeting you, they will. Security around houses is very prevalent - alarms, burglar bars, alarms, video surveillance,even dogs.

Nothing stops them.

"Knowing this and living in this environment, one cannot be frowned upon for having guns and for using them to protect oneself."

He described a similar incident a few years ago in which a farmer shot and killed his daughter who was sneaking out of the house to visit her boyfriend early in the morning.

The man thought someone was stealing his car, so he inadvertently shot the young lady dead from his bedroom window.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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