It was a trial that captivated the minds of many. A hero and a champion admired for his persistence to overcome the odds of his own disability, was awaiting the verdict for his own murder trial. Media frenzy was at an all-time high, throngs of reporters were jotting down notes for what is going to be the main story for the next day. It was a classic case of the fallen Paladin or champion. But there was only one question in the minds of all, did he or did he not kill Reeva Steencamp in cold blood or was it all a mistake brought about by flaring passions?
Oscar Pistorius is found guilty for Culpable Homicide or Manslaughter
Prior to the verdict, hopes were high that the legal framework would allow for some leniency given Pistorius’ status as a symbol of man’s triumph over his own physical limitations. Much publicity was given to his role in showing that even a double amputee could participate in the Olympics and could win a gold medal. He was destined to be a beacon of hope for millions of disabled people.
But then and there, on a dreadful Valentine’s night of February 14, 2013, fate appears to have swayed to the other side. Nobody would really know exactly what transpired on that night, but one fact remains true, Reeva Steencamp lay dead from gunshot wounds. Testimony of witnesses pointed to an argument with a Pistorius, who had a penchant for firearms. Pistorius on the other hand, asserts that he thought there was an intruder inside the bathroom.
The Next Chapter: Sentencing
The legal chatter online is reaching a feverish pitch as people weigh the merits and demerits of the case forwarded by the man also known as the “Blade Runner”. How long he would be sentenced remains to be seen. Some speculate that he may serve up to 15 years but could also serve a lesser period. The prosecution is distraught by the acquittal regarding the murder charge as they claim to have made a good case about Pistorius being a ‘hothead’ who fired guns in the presence of other people. They would appeal the case.
When Champions Fall
Champions come and go, sometimes they also fall. The preponderance of evidence points to a man who has not displayed temperance in the conduct of his firearms. Regardless of what the South African judicial system or what the pundits think of Oscar Pistorius, true justice would see him as a man just like anybody else. A man who made a mistake.
His story would live on and he would still be the Blade Runner. However, the man and the icon would cease to be the shining image he was meant to be. There would be others who would replace him as an icon and an emblem, that’s for sure. If there’s any lesson to be learned is that we should not associate or attribute triumph to a single man. Hope lies with the realization that we are all equal - even in our failings as human beings.
Creative commons image via Flickr