Oscar Pistorius - 911
Now that the “trial of the century” (or, at least, one of the more spellbinding trials to be broadcast in South Africa) has come to a close, I am still fascinated by the great deal of public interest that the Pistorius case continues to generate – despite its having been postponed so often, and despite the events taking place over a year ago. And despite all the very tragic events happening elsewhere in the world.
Having closely followed this case myself, I have traversed a vast array of emotions, ranging from disgust, to sympathy, back to anger and then to empathy.
I had not been a supporter of Mr Pistorius myself, but was fleetingly aware of his achievements, as he was so often talked about in the media, and I couldn’t really ignore his face plastered on so many billboards across South Africa and the UK.
I also happened to be in the Olympic Stadium the day he ran the race that sparked controversial comments from him – you know the one I mean. What I remember about that day was the noise of the crowd’s adulation for him that was so loud that we couldn’t even hear our own conversation.
And then it all came to an abrupt end, early one morning in 2013. His long-time supporters couldn’t believe what had happened, and defended his honour “until proven guilty”. Slowly, as the trial progressed, many of them turned against him, branding him a “murderer”.
Throughout the trial, I kept wondering what it must’ve felt like to the Steenkamp family, having lost a daughter, and the world was focussed on the person who had taken her away from them. But there were also times when I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Mr Pistorius, slowly realising what he was really up against, and that his life would never be the same again, his happiness probably seeming very short-lived.
A human life has been lost, and another hangs in the balance. Feeling sympathy for him does not make me a moron or an idiot – it makes me an empathetic human. While I feel a great deal of sympathy for Ms Steenkamp’s family, I feel a degree of empathy for the Pistorius family – what would I have done if it were my brother being tried by a court and being tried by media and the public? What an awful place to be.
He has not been found guilty of murder – in my opinion, it was most likely manslaughter (or culpable homicide) as a result of a horrible error in judgement, but that’s just my uneducated opinion. I obviously wasn't there and don't know what really happened.
What I hoped more people would consider is that maybe we shouldn’t be the ones to judge him – I think he’s already in his own personal hell, and they haven’t even reached a verdict yet. Do with that what you will.