I am dumbfounded by news today from South Africa that legless Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murdering Reeva Steenkamp, his longtime girlfriend, with four gunshots. Why would a man like Oscar ever raise a gun in fear or anger? Hasn’t his life taught him that obstacles are to be overcome and never under-gunned?
Early Thursday morning, the police responded to a report of gunshots in the upscale housing complex where Mr. Pistorius lives, said Col. Katlego Mogale, a police spokeswoman. When they arrived, they found paramedics treating a 30-year-old woman for gunshot wounds. The woman was pronounced dead and a 26-year-old man was taken into custody, Colonel Mogale said.
Colonel Mogale would not comment on a possible motive for the shooting.
“A case of murder has been opened,” she said before the police said they had formally charged Mr. Pistorius.
I have celebrated Oscar in this blog for overcoming his disability. He was born without fibulas and both legs were later amputated below the knee before he turned one year old. Without legs, he still decided he wanted to race the wind, and he did, even when those in power tried to stop him:
When Marlee Matlin recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars there were some — including the judges — that felt she deserved no reasonable accommodation in the grading of her dancing because “she has to be treated just like everyone else” even though she is profoundly Deaf since birth and cannot hear music.
That sort of mindless cruelty against the disabled — all in the name of a misguided “universal fairness” and a sorry burping of “the spirit of competition” slogan — is disgusting and unnerving, and we all need to support the Oscars and the Marlees of the world who must not only fight against their own disability, but go to war every day against the misguided intentions of a condescending world unfairly set against them.
When Oscar ran his heart out in London, we cheered:
I’m not sure why people are so quick to condemn the disabled who want to be equally treated by the middling mainstream — do we really think hearing aids give Deaf people “super hearing” or that a white cane gives sight to the blind or that a man can run faster on fake legs? — but the fact remains there are still a lot of misanthropic people out there in the wilds, festering prejudice and tending hatred and growing more condemnation and discrimination just because they are all too willing to believe in science fiction fantasies and not in rooting out the everyday hardship of living a disabled life.
Now, the man appears to have become a murderer — and in that four-shot act, he has cheapened his accomplishments and lowered his disability to that of sideshow freak — and he tumbles down the anonymous Black Hole of Moral Decay that has vacuumed up the careers of other Sport stars like O. J. Simpson and Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong and Sammy Sosa.
Do famous and talented people deserve our admiration and respect for their accomplishments without any notice or concern for who and what they are as a person? Can we ever accept O. J. without the memory of Nicole Brown? Is it possible to ever envision Lance Armstrong without a blood test hanging around his neck? Do we forgive Hitler just a little bit because he loved dogs?