We all watched as a man known as Blade Runner competed in the Olympics. He was almost barred from competing by others who thought he had an advantage. He was using prosthetic legs. Oscar Pistorius was an example to all of overcoming adversity. He was born with fibular hemimelia (a congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. He was given prosthetic legs and he learned to play soccer using them as well as running. He was first ruled as ineligible for competition by the International Association of Athletics Federations but since he was slower in getting out of the blocks, there was little evidence that he had an advantage over able-bodied athletes. He has said, "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”As a result of his efforts to compete with other athletes, he has received sponsorship from companies like Ossur, BT, Nike, Oakley and Thierry Mugler. He was a model in an ad campaign for Mugler's fragrance called A*Men. His deals are worth about $2 million per year although Nike has suspended his contract after ads featured Pistorius saying, “I am the bullet in the chamber.” Nike said they would be monitoring the situation closely.
This was the prelude to the latest news. Pistorius has been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He claims it was an accident. He thought it was a prowler. Apparently he has gotten death threats in the past. He was charged with premeditated murder, a charge that was affirmed by Mark Fuhrman of OJ fame. Unfortunately, there are some problems with the case against Pistorius. His attorneys are saying that evidence was mishandled. Perhaps Mark Fuhrman should remain silent.
According to Oscar Pistorius, he believed there was a prowler in the house. He first put on his artificial legs and grabbed his pistol., He thought the prowler had locked the bathroom door and he fired through it. He had no idea his girlfriend was in there. It was 3 am and he thought she was still in bed.
Pistorius has been going through a four day bail hearing. On Thursday, the lead detective in the case has been removed as he faces attempted murder charges of his own. Warrant Officer Hilton Botha was struggling to answer questions because he was responding in English when his primary language is Afrikaans.
Both sides are making their final arguments about bail. Since Botha, the lead detective, acknowledged under cross-examination that there had been several mistakes in the investigation and he could not rule out the version of events given by Pistorius. The defense lawyer points to the poor quality of the evidence. The prosecution says that Oscar's version is improbable pointing to the fact that four shots were fired.
Fans of shows like Law and Order are probably debating whether Pistorius should be eligible for bail. His playboy lifestyle including trips to Italy and appearances on various tv shows including Jay Leno's does not win fans. On the other hand, his dealing with adversity has been an inspiration to millions of others. Surely there will be some sympathy. Reeva herself told South Africa's Sunday Times a few weeks ago that Oscar was an impeccable man who always has her best interests at heart. If nothing else, this incident proves that killing is an equal opportunity crime.