Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Pistorius, The Bladerunner

By now everyone has heard of the case of Oscar Pistorius, the South African athlete who had a double amputation on both legs and went on to race in the Olympics and win gold medals. He was a national hero because of his remarkable feat. Now he is facing premeditated murder charges because he shot his live-in girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, three times. His story, as to what happened, seems unbelievable to me and yet a judge decided to grant him bail and release him until his case will be heard in June. This decision was made even though violence against women is so bad in the country of South Africa, it is said to be a national crisis. What message does this send to men and women alike?

The story Oscar is telling is that he thought there was an intruder in the house, so he got out of bed, grabbed his gun, without wearing his prosthetic legs, and shot four times through a locked bathroom room, killing Reeva. She was hit three times. He claims he thought Reeva was in bed at the time. He claims he shouted to the intruder to get out. He claims he never put the lights on until after he fired all the shots. It was only after firing the shots and going back over to the bed, did he realize Reeva was not in the bed.

Does that make sense to anyone? It doesn’t to me, and like Judge Judy says, “if it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true.” First of all, when anyone in bed hears a noise in their home, don’t they first check to see if their significant other is still in bed? I mean wouldn’t your first thought be that they may have gotten up to use the bathroom or get a snack? And, if they were still there asleep, wouldn’t you at least wake them and alert them to the fact someone may be in the house, so they aren’t sleeping ducks OR maybe so they can call the police while you fire shots? What burglar do you know who would invade a heavily guarded house and then lock themselves in the bathroom where police can break down the door and escort them to jail? And why, if Oscar screamed to the intruder to get out of the bathroom, didn’t Reeva answer from the either the bed or the bathroom, asking what was going on? Surely that would have been anyone’s natural reaction in that situation. Did he think she slept through the whole thing? There were many more questions brought up by his explanation than were answered. All of them pointing to a story full of holes and illogical statements.

Some reports say one witness heard arguing and described it as “non-stopping fighting,” hours before the shooting. Another witness says they went to their balcony when the first shots were fired and saw the lights on at Oscar’s house, then heard a woman scream and two more shots fired. I wonder if the judge, who was so quick to grant bail, took those pieces of testimony into account?

The facts of this case are disturbing to say the least, and coupled with the social issue of gender violence in South Africa, it’s unbelievable that a judge would allow Oscar to walk freely for three to four months while the case against him is pending. One can only hope and pray, that because he is such a prominent figure worldwide, that attention and focus will be given to this case from every corner of the world. Maybe this case will create international scrutiny and pressure on South Africa to take this issue seriously and cause them to enforce their laws and punishments for rape and other violence perpetrated against women. Maybe Reeva’s death won’t be in vain. Maybe she her legacy will be in the loss of her life she will be saving the lives of other women. One can only hope to try and make sense out of the senseless killing of a beautiful lady with her whole promising life ahead of her, and pray for her family who suffered such a tragic loss.

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