The Oscar Pistorius Trial According to Onique
“I put it to you that Oscar Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, but it was not murder.” I can already see a Barry Roux meme with those exact words going viral.
The Trial: As Entertaining as It Is Riveting
Ok, this trial is of a very sensitive nature, and it has highlighted South Africa’s dark and sordid underbelly of domestic violence and the innate fear of crime that riddles our society (amongst other things). With that being said, in light of the trial’s sensitivity, some very interesting statements have been made in court since its commencement on the 3rd of March, and this has made for some comical relief.
From SA’s Golden Boy to Murderer
On the 14th of February 2013, my then boyfriend and I woke up to the news that The Blade Runner had shot and killed his girlfriend, model and law graduate Reeva Steenkamp. It took a while for us to digest this – I think for a lot of us who held the Olympic and Paralympic athlete in such high regard, the incident felt all too surreal for us to comprehend. A man who was South Africa’s golden boy just a year prior to the shooting, now an alleged murderer? It seemed too farfetched until we realized that such were the pitfalls of venerating a mere human being.
Pistorius has always admitted to pulling the trigger, maintaining that he believed he was protecting himself and the deceased from an intruder (a case of “mistaken identity”). The State on the other hand, will call bullshit on this. They want to prove that the murder was premeditated. Not only is he facing murder charges, but his defence also has to answer for his illegal possession of ammo (for those of you who assumed illegal possession of a firearm was only reserved for vile taxi drivers and rappers) and two charges of firing a gun in public (thanks to the traitors he once called friends).
Trial of the Century
No longer dubbed ‘The State vs. Oscar Pistorius’, it has become The Media, and indeed Social Media vs. Oscar Pistorius. Everybody has an opinion on the trial and its outcome. From insensitive tweets, to thought-provoking columns and hilarious memes; the trial has become a somewhat integral part of our lives. It’s a series of mass hysteria if ever there was one – dare I say, South Africa’s own version of The Salem Witch Trials.
So far, it’s all been a big spectacle, a huge joke – and I shudder to think what’s going on in the heads of the Steenkamp family – to have their daughter’s memory, a young and beautiful woman who was full of so much promise, reduced to this circus. She will rarely be remembered for her achievements or who she was outside of her relationship with Pistorius; her name will always be synonymous with this trial. That notion is saddening to say the least.
Questions I Want Answered
- Oscar has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Ok, cool. But one thing bothers me about that: He admitted to shooting and killing Steenkamp (maybe killing was not his intention, but it happened whether that sits well with him or not). My knowledge on how the judicial system works is a tad shoddy, but when you admit to shooting and (inadvertently) killing someone – surely that counts as a charge of murder?
- Pistorius claims to have believed Steenkamp to be in bed when he proceeded to fire shots at the “intruder” on the other side of the bathroom door. Now, how the fuck do you leave your bed and not check on your lady first before attempting to confront an intruder with a weapon. Surely that’s the first thing you ought to check, that she’s ok and within a safe distance before playing the hero? Especially when the two of you are supposed to be recovering from what was a romantic Valentine’s Day rendezvous?
- What really did happen that fateful night? Cold, hard (accurate) facts PLEASE Oscar.
- If you’re sleeping over at your boyfriend’s house (in a gated community, mind you), why would you feel it is necessary to lock the bathroom door when it is just the two of you in the entire house? Was Reeva trying to protect herself from her boyfriend’s rage by locking herself in the bathroom? What if they did have an argument and it went completely south?
- According to The Telegraph, Pistorius paid R48, 500 (£2,700) for seven firearms in an order that was cancelled after Reeva died. As part of the sale agreement, he was required to fill in a series of forms including a questionnaire about when it was acceptable to use a firearm against an intruder. He was asked whether it was acceptable to shoot at an intruder for breaking into his home late at night. To which he replied “No”. Why then, would he turn around and do the complete opposite?
- What if Oscar and Reeva were actually involved in a heated argument prior to the shooting and in a moment of rage, Oscar unintentionally killed Reeva?
Quite ironic that the trial is taking place in the same court where the late Rholihlala Nelson Mandela delivered his iconic speech during the Rivonia trial. That trial too, received massive attention from the press from all corners of the earth – this is what subsequently led to the life imprisonment of the accused instead of the initial death sentence. This of course, means nothing for the Oscar Pistorius trial. Regardless of the outcome, Mr Pistorius will face serious jail time and he will be compelled to try and put the broken and tainted pieces of his once illustrious life together once all this is over and nothing but a bad memory.
While Madiba was willing to face the gallows for his ideals of a free and democratic South Africa, this country is yet to be free from the harsh reality of crime.
Are Oscar and Reeva victims of a much bigger circumstance? Let me know your thoughts.
(Image courtesy of BBC News Africa)