It is a question that everyone seems to be asking. It doesn’t matter where I turn the story of Oscar Pistorius shooting Reeva Steenkamp is everywhere. Twitter, Facebook, the radio, newspaper headlines… the public has gone dilly with opinions on what happened.
I have been following the story to pass on info to a friend overseas. Following in much the same way a floating leaf follows the flow of river. You can’t help but get caught up in the story. Everywhere you turn is more info about what happened the night of February 14th.
If the state prosecution is to believed Oscar is a cold blooded murder. Oscar and his defence would like us to believe that it was just a horrible, tragic accident. Somewhere in there is the truth and I don’t envy the judge who ends up presiding over this case. The bail application hearing has been a deluge of information and forensics, the trial hasn’t even started yet.
With all of this playing out in the media I can’t help to think that despite the fact that Oscar is yet to stand trial, the media has judged him and found him guilty. There have been reports that seem to be incorrect, like the bloodied cricket bat, and selective interviewing of people to prove that Oscar has anger issues. Trial by public opinion and Oscar has been found guilty. I’ve watched as people change their minds back and forth as new evidence is presented during the bail application. Guilty, not guilty, guilty, not guilty, guilty… guilty. The overwhelming public sentiment seems to swing back to guilty more than not.
Why are we all so fascinated by this story? Are we really a society of drama-obsessed voyeurs?
The story with Oscar though has an added dimension. This story has rocked the very psyche of the nation and left everyone feeling betrayed because we trusted, celebrated, rejoiced. Oscar was our hero, the Blade-runner who made the world sit up and watch by having the sheer chutzpah to run against able bodied athletes in the Olympics. How could he betray us all by doing something so stupid, so base, so human? All of this coming at a time when everyone is so angry and worked up about gender based violence after the rape and murder of Anene Booysens.
I wish people on Twitter, Facebook, on the radio and the reporters writing the newspaper headlines would remember one thing about this horrible situation; Oscar Pistorius is innocent until such time as a court of law finds otherwise and none of us know all the facts, so we should refrain from tarring and feathering him as a murderer.