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Gripped by his fall

Nightmare: Fallen hero: Oscar Pistorius weeps in court

Nightmare: Fallen hero: Oscar Pistorius weeps in court

  • by Jo Davison
 

It’s a tragedy of such epic proportions we can’t take it in.

An international sporting superstar, the ultimate hero for turning into his greatest strength a disability which would have left many wheelchair-bound, has destroyed himself.

Oscar Pistorius did the unimaginable; he picked up a gun in the middle of the night and shot dead his girlfriend through his bathroom door.

That much we know for sure.

All the rest - about how, or why, or who Pistorius truly thought was behind that locked door, we can barely wait to find out.

We devour every word tweeted out of the Pretoria Courthouse and every scrap of gossip. This extraordinary man’s unfathomable act has triggered a morbid fascination around the world.

It’s like something out of a Hollywood script. Six months ago Pistorius was the must-see at both of the London games. He tarnished his golden image when he launched a bitter attack on the man who beat him in the 200m Paralympic final. But we forgave him; heat of the moment and all that.

Who could ever have imagined he would now be facing a murder charge and a life in prison because of another heat of the moment act?

There is a wave of sympathy for this man - from people who think he meant to kill her and people who believe his defence. But what I keep coming back to is Reeva Steemkamp. Dead at 29.

Everyone talks of a beauty which went way beyond skin-deep; of her love of life and a disposition as golden as the South African sun.

All that, reduced to ashes, memories and photographs, because of bullets through a door.

When Reeva became Oscar’s latest in a line of glamorous girlfriends just a few months ago, her family and friends must have been delighted. She was dating one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. A man who refused, absolutely, to be either shackled or labelled by his disability. A man who would not say: I can’t.

Now all who loved Reeva will wish she had never met him.

Although, had South Africa not had a gun obsession - up to six million civilians own guns; airports and casinos even have rooms where people can deposit them - Pistorius would likely not have had a pistol beside his bed and Reeva wouldn’t have been shot.

What would happen here, if you thought intruders were in your house? One of you would phone the police while the other grabbed whatever came to hand to defend yourself. Just last week, The Star reported on a Woodseats man who ran after a burglar armed with a peppermill and a meat cleaver.

The tragic story of Oscar and Reeva, surely one day a movie, has led to calls for change to South African gun control - the only good thing to come out of this.

America’s gun lobby, currently trotting out that ludicrous “baddies have guns, so we need guns to protect ourselves” argument, should take their earplugs out and listen.

 

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