It has been a week now, I think, since I woke up to the news of Oscar Pistorius shooting his girlfriend. I had told “A” as soon as I could and he was quick to disassociate himself with Oscar. Actually the communication went like this;
Me - Your Pestorio or whatever his name is, is in the news for the murder of his girlfriend.
A - Indeed - we've been hearing that all morning... He's South Africa's guy, not 'our's' - we were all too happy to hold him up as a hero until today. Sad though about his gfriend...
Me - Ah! now that he has a 'criminal' tinge to him he is south african, but it was ok to boast about him before now, as though he was yours? what changed?
A - He's represented South Africa in the Olympics...
Me - I know that
A - so he was never 'ours' we just held him up as a great example of an amputee who did well... lol
Me - whatever.....
The story was news worthy in the sense that it made absolutely no sense at all. ‘Why would a high profiled person at the top of his game with a rather bright future ahead of him do this to himself?’ was what I kept asking myself.
I went on facebook and an idiot had already written a feature on the case with his own conclusion that Pistorius’ girlfriend had brought it on herself and the base of his argument was that she was rather good looking. I surfed the internet, just like I believe countless others did, to get more info about what really happened.
If it wasn’t for “A” I probably would never have known who Pistorius was, I am one of those boring few that have below zero interest in sports, and since I have stopped watching TV for the past two years now, I probably would still be ignorant. But “A” spoke of him often enough; he sort of put him on a pedestal for being a good example of what greatness one can achieve if one doesn’t let ‘handicap’ be our handicap.
Slowly, the news started to come in. First it was that the shooting was as a result of assumption of an intruder, then that the murder was premeditated because of a fight that had ensued between the couple. Two ex-girlfriends had conflicting accounts, one painted him a gentleman, the other painted him an abuser. Someone insinuated Steenkamp was in a past abusive relationship as though to show that she was drawn to abusers. There was even an interesting feature by a south African journalist that talked about the Oscar no one hears about – an Oscar with a ‘dark side’.
Still I didn’t get the sense that these assumptions were made with a 100% certainty of claims; I got the impression people felt the need to take sides and to do so fast.
Anger and judgment started to stream in from all directions, mostly from people that didn’t know the couple personally nor had enough info to serve a verdict. The bulk of what I came across said he was guilty and should pay. And I had asked myself, guilty of what exactly? I mean it was obvious from the moment the news came out that he shot her, that much we all gathered. So was he guilty of shooting her? No doubt.
When more info came through, there was his admission of having intentionally fired the shots, so yes, in that sense he is guilty. Was it premeditated as the prosecutors are trying to claim or was it instinctive as his family (and his statement of the incident) is claiming? We all will have to follow the case to decide that based on evidence/arguments etc. Should he pay? How can we quantify payment for a person’s life?
The more I hear/read about the case the more I grasped what Christ said at the stoning of the adulterous women “He who has no sin should cast the first stone”. Now before anyone is quick to condemn me for the audacity, what I simply mean is that besides the people that are directly involved in this (Oscar Pistorius/his family and Reeva’s family) none of us have the right to pass judgments based on our sentiments alone. The news is still too fresh and there are too many conflicting facts for anyone to really know what really happened or what intentions really were. What we are dealing with right now are assumptions, two faced facts and emotions.
I have no personal interest whatsoever in this case. If the court decides to send Pistorius to prison, my life will not get any better or any worse in anyway by that. Neither will it be if they let him go. I look at photos of him that have popped up since the news, and I see a boy - a very frightened boy. I have asked a countless times.
· How can a person as famous as he is, with the sort of fear of intruders he claimed to have, had not have thought of installing a security system that can alert you if there is an intruder on your grounds?
· What went on in his head all these time that he has had guns about him, waiting for that intruder? That he would shoot and hopefully life will go on?
· Didn’t he or any of the people he surrounded himself with see it fit to talk about the implications of owning a gun? IT KILLS!! I will assume he knew that already…..
This is not an attack in anyway on Pistorius or on anyone that feels the need to own a gun for self-protection. Being at the offending end of a tragedy, one would want to ask all the difficult questions first and I can only imagine he and/or his friends and family already have and are still asking, albeit they being his support right now and he needs all the support he can get too.
If this shooting is indeed a fatal accident as claimed, only goodness knows what hell he is going through right now, being responsible for the death of someone he is supposed to love. No ‘what ifs’ will erase what has happened. No regrets will bring Reeva back, no prison verdict, or pardon for accidental shooting will heal the pain everyone is feeling right now……on the other hand, I know first-hand what it feels like losing someone that you are close to and think they deserve to live many more years NOTHING can justify their death no matter how logical.
I can’t even begin to imagine though what Reeva’s family is going through right. She is gone and nothing we say or do can bring her back. Not even condemning Pistorius to prison or whatever it is the self-appointed judges out there will think a justified ‘pay back’ for this tragedy should be. I can say for certain if Reeva was my child or my sister or someone closely related to me, NO EXPLANATION WHATSOEVER will be good enough FOR ME, to accept this tragedy and let it rest, and NO PUNISHMENT will take care of the pain.
However I am not going to condemned Pistorius. I do not and cannot pretend I understand the sort of fear that makes one act first then repent at leisure. THIS TRAGEDY, TO ME IS A SENSELESS ACT. Yet if I was his friend or family, I would want some sort of grace bestowed, no matter how small. The argument would be two wrongs won't make a right. Although the opposing camp will dispute punishing him, a wrong. Whether this was premeditated or instinctive, it is obvious that the frightened boy inside this man is aware of what has happened, whether or not he understands the implications.
I watched a small clip of Reeva’s speech on the reality show she participated in, in Jamaica, it was a very brief clip, but it was enough for me to decide that I find her likeable. I can see why people that have known her (even if only through the media and not up close and personal) would want Pistorius to pay for her life.
The saddest thing is a society that is so violent with so little respect for life that one would feel the need to be armed for self-protection, knowing fully well your self-protection is someone’s death. I am not an advocate for gun ownership; I am yet to hear an argument about why gun ownership should be protected. But I don’t live in a society where there is that level of fear of violence that a need for a gun is as strong, so I cannot pretend or even claim comprehending what it feels like to be crippled with the sort of terror of intruders that would merit wanting/having a gun.
If this had happened in the USA, I suppose it would be a strong argument for those that are against the right to gun ownership – the perfect example of what can go wrong with that sort of self-protection – that is assuming of course Pistorius acted on instinct based on fear of an intruder as claimed.
While the rest of the world are divided, for or against Pistorius for this tragedy, one thing is certain, his life, and the life of Reeva’s family is forever changed by all of this. It is indeed a tragedy and a very painful one whichever way you see it, regardless of whose side you take.
I won’t sit here and pretend that some good will come out of this, but I can hope, and I do sincerely hope that one way or another something positive will emerge from this tragedy for the memory of Reeva Steenkamp and that all the people that are hurting right now (including Pistorius, if he is), because of this tragedy, will eventually come to a place of peace where the pain numbs into sweet memories of who she was to them and how she had touched their lives.
REST IN PEACE REEVA STEENKAMP.