BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
February 14, 2013
He is a celebrated South African athlete who dazzled the world with his story of success and courage. Born without a fibula in both legs, Oscar Pistorius never allowed his disability to limit his ability. He did what others said he couldn’t by winning medals at the Paralympics and made his mark at the Olympics. The double amputee, got arrested and charged with murder after his 30-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a model whom Pistorius was dating turned up dead in the Pretoria home they shared.
Steenkamp was found when police arrived at the home. She had four gun shot wounds and based on information, Pistorius 26, and Steenkamp were the only occupants in the home. The South African Prosecutor’s office, confirmed that Pistorius will appear for a court hearing on Friday at 9:00AM local time. It is unknown what caused the shooting however, some media have reported Pistorius, mistook his girlfriend for a burglar and opened fire to protect his home.
Investigators got worried to hear the media say the shooting, was a result of mistaken identity. Though, Pistorius is not known to show aggressive behavior, neighbors have expressed suspicion over disturbing noises and arguments emanating from his home in the past week. Nothing shows this is a case of premeditated murder and there is no evidence of forced entry into the home, that could be the basis for a self-defense application.
Neighbors in the gated community interviewed by investigators said there had been reports about problems of a domestic nature at the Pistorius home. Information collected, revealed neighbors heard arguments in the home earlier in the evening before the shooting. It is unknown what defense Pistorius has. The athlete is known to own a 9mm handgun and according to authorities, a 9mm was the murder weapon, found at his home in the exclusive Silver Woods Community.
Pistorius emerged as the first double amputee to compete with able-bodied athletes at the London Olympics, where he qualified for the 400-meter semi-final and 4 x 400 meter at the summer games. He is a national hero in South Africa who ran in 11 events at the concluded Paralympics and Olympics, where he won medals and two world records. He is an inspiration for the disabled, who look up to him and appreciate his story of resilience and determination. He broke all hurdles despite lacking a fibula in both legs and fought until he won to compete with able-bodied athletes.
Pretoria is known for its high crime rates. Home invasions are rampant and in the past few years, gun ownership skyrocketed. And home owners fear they might be next victim of criminal elements. Gated communities are common as the affluent take other measures besides arming themselves, to protect their homes from security breach and burglary. The alarming crime has made Private Security a lucrative business in a nation, where the rich no longer trust the police to protect their lives and property. Allegations of corruption have destroyed public trust in law enforcement, as more people become victims of preventable crimes.
While the full story of what happened at the Pistorius’s home is unknown, the athlete may have some explaining to do. There is no forced entry, he owned a 9mm the kind used for the killing, neighbors testified to allegations of domestic violence and there were just Pistorius and Steenkamp, in the home on day of murder. Also, Steenkamp got shot four times, there is a point he could have realized he just shot his girlfriend if the mistake story is true. Perhaps, it is the beginning of the worst murder to rock South Africa’s Sports Confederation and the Olympic Committee. The hope is Pistorius has a convincing argument or else, he may have opened a can of warms that would damage his career and achievements.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.