Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oscar Pistorius And The Temple Of Doom

Valentines Day 2013 will forever be remembered by Oscar Pistorius as the day he took the life of the woman he professed to love. Wittingly or unwittingly is a matter for the courts to decide, since his case has just begun. (If you hadn't heard, might I suggest you crawl back under your rock and await the next ice-age.)Now I'm not going to go into the details of what has already turned out to be a media circus and a real-life soapie all wrapped into one. What I'm more interested in is how the public reacted to the news of Oscar having admittedly shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, across all the social media platforms.

If you follow my twitter feeds ( @kaloo5 ) you will know that I'm not one to shy away from speaking my mind and voicing my opinion. The point is not whether Oscar had shot and killed Reeva or not. He admitted to doing so. The question is not what his reasoning was. That's a matter the courts will apply their minds to when deciding his sentencing. The question we should be asking is "Is he guilty of killing an innocent person?"

Put another way, if it turned out that Oscar had indeed shot a burglar instead of Reeva on the other side of that door, would he still be in court facing a murder charge? Quite simply, the answer is YES.
I'm not going to give you a lesson in legality or the law, but taking a life is a serious charge and no matter the outcome, unless your life is in imminent danger, shooting to kill is not an option.
Now many of those defending his actions across social media platforms seem to completely ignore this fact. They assume that because he is a national sporting hero, the law that applies to us mere mortals should be different to that which applies to him.

Understand that I am not passing a judgement on his guilt or innocence. What I am passing judgement upon are those of us who defend to the bitter end anyone voicing an opinion other than 'Innocence', even though legally he is guilty of having killed someone! That cannot be denied and no amount of posturing and blind loyalty will remove that fact from the history books.

I expect that the Pro-Oscar brigade will attack me with vitriol I have become quite accustomed to, but I'd like to ask them where their passion for the law and unwavering belief that 'suspects are innocent until proven guilty' was when Jub Jub was on trial?
Remember how quickly social commentators went on the attack and declared him guilty before the facts came out? Ultimately he turned out to be guilty and was justly sentenced, but this was not until he had been tried and judged in the court of public opinion.

Did I voice my opinion when Jub Jub was arrested?
You bet your ass I did!
Did I declare him guilty in my opinion before the courts did?
You bet your ass I did!
But here's the thing.... I didn't voice my opinion along with the rest of the social commentators regarding Jub Jub only to choose the moral high-ground when it was Oscar facing the same law.
I didn't suddenly find a spine and a conscience and declare it wrong and immoral to discuss or have an opinion about Oscar. That's the problem I have right now with people saying "Let the law take it's course and don't voice your opinion!"
Where were you when Donovan Moodley was accused of abducting and killing Leigh Mathews?
Sitting quietly in a corner telling people to calm down and not pass judgement?
Or were you standing on the rooftops and shouting for all to hear that he should be hung or at the very least, jailed for life?
Be honest with yourself.
It makes no difference to me.
Did you want Jub Jub and Donovan to be sentenced to life before you knew the facts?Now ask yourself how you feel about Oscar before you know the facts?

As a vocal and opinionated social commentator, I call it as I see it.
But at least I'm consistent.
If I'm critical of Donovan, and I'm critical of Jub Jub, don't expect me to hold back the punches on Oscar.
If he's found innocent of murder, he will still be guilty of having killed Reeva.

This case is far from over, but I suspect the manner and reason for it dividing opinion along the usual social and racial lines will have overtones lasting much longer than the ultimate sentence.