There can be very few people who would not have felt the pain of Johannesburg father Sibusiso Tshabalala, as he appeared in court on charges of murdering his son. The killing was, apparently, a tragic mistake.
Tshabalala fell asleep while waiting outside a school for his son to finish his extra lessons. When the boy knocked on the window, a startled Tshabalala thought he was being hijacked and opened fire with his gun, hitting 14-year-old Luyanda.
No father would want the blood of his son on his hands, or conscience … but this tragedy is a typical South African story.
Someone died, indirectly, because of appallingly high rate of violent crime. Tshabalala owned a gun because he thought he might be a target for people wanting to steal his car. And many others feel just as insecure.
That insecurity is because very few people have faith in the ability of our police service to either protect us from, and prevent, crime – but also to ensure justice is done once a crime has been committed.
The debate about whether guns in private hands make the problem better or worse will rage on long after this.
But the real tragedy is that we have to live like this.