Martin Williams
3 minute read
9 Apr 2014
9:00 am

Cry me a Reeva, Oscar

Martin Williams

Cry the beloved athlete, for he is a God-fearing, gentle soul who loves dogs, misses his mother and has overcome obstacles.

DA city councillor for Joburg Martin Williams

He’s the victim, part of a family targeted by hijackers, housebreakers and highway shooters.

While those of us who “watched” Oscar Pistorius’s sobbing apology for killing Reeva Steenkamp are divided, the Twitter jury has found against him. Oscar, how the hell can we believe you?

Of course we didn’t “watch” him. We saw the reactions of others in court as we listened to his trembling voice. He chose not to appear on TV. Following the trial closely, on TV and Twitter, I find it difficult to retain an open mind.

The majority of Tweeps made up their minds on the first day, if not before. They interpret everything to fit their pre-judgments.

If you can, try to put yourself in the place of the judge, who has to be fair, not drawing conclusions until she has weighed all the evidence presented, bearing in mind that for a murder conviction to stick the case has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Most can’t wait that long. Open-mindedness may sound attractive but we have a predilection for closure. And you can be so open-minded that your brains fall out. A desire for closure is natural but it’s not right and it’s not how justice works.

You have to hear the other side, in full.

Recently one of the closed minds Tweeted: “Listen people Oscar murdered her on purpose and if you cant (sic) see that you (sic) an idiot!!”

To which I replied: “We should all be grateful you are not a judge”.

That was silly of me because when you argue with a fool, two fools are arguing. In response I was told “idiots like you keep criminals on our streets… Then complain about crime”.

Ja, ja. There is no factual basis for such an extrapolation. Is there a factual basis for mass scepticism about Oscar’s sobbing apology? I think so. Take the religious aspect. He now tells us Reeva was a strong Christian and a blessing in his life. They prayed before meals and she prayed about his training. God is his refuge, and so on.

Really? That doesn’t come out in their WhatsApp exchanges. There they banter about having sex on the kitchen counter, the couch or the stairs. They argue about her smoking “weed”. She mentions God but he doesn’t. Like so many, he seems conveniently to have found God when it suits him. And what about all those criminal activities where he is the victim or target? Why were these not reported to the police or to anyone else? Critics will also find fault with is choice of pets. A bull terrier and a pit bull. Nice doggies? Then why do they call Gerrie Nel a pit bull (cue for outrage from pit bull fans)?

Yet we would scarcely be human if we did not feel some empathy, sympathy, pity or whatever for him. Indeed it is not unreasonable to admire and respect his achievements.

His defence team did the right thing by going through this vale of tears. It will feature in legal decisions about his character, intent and state of mind. If he is convicted, Monday’s display will help in mitigation of sentence.

However, it backfired in the court of public opinion. If he were an actor, there would be no Oscar.