Murder and mayhem, South African style
If all the drama of the Blade Runner case were packed into a movie, the audience would emerge grumbling about how unrealistic the story was. Even "Dexter" never got more complicated than this saga of murder and mayhem.
First came the startling news story about the Saint Valentine's Day shooting by Olympic track star Oscar Pistorius of his supermodel mistress. The footless flyer pumped four shots through his bathroom door, then claimed he thought he was shooting at an intruder. So far the Johannesburg prosecutors and police aren't buying it.
Next came the astounding revelation that the lead police investigator in the Pistorius case faced being charged with seven counts of attempted murder for unloading his sidearm into a moving vehicle packed with people.
Then, last Sunday, came the crÃÂ¨me de la crÃÂ¨me. Pistorius's sibling, Carl, stands accused of "culpable homicide" - what I think might be labeled negligent or vehicular homicide here in the states - for killing a woman in a traffic accident. The crash occurred back on '08. The deceased was on a motorcycle. Charges got dropped, but have now been reinstated.
The resuscitated charges appear to be an odd coincidence, coming hot on the heels of brother Oscar's peccadillo. However, the director of an outfit called Lawyers for Human Rights is quoted in the media to the effect that reinstating dropped charges, following subsequent investigation, isn't uncommon in South Africa. Whatever …
Meanwhile, as if the merely bizarre insisted upon morphing into the truly macabre, Pistorius's dead girlfriend appeared ghostlike in a previously videoed episode of a reality (are you kidding?) show called "Tropika Island of Treasure 5." Never mind that she had already been buried by the time the episode aired.
If you thought the O.J. Simpson and Casey Anthony "soap operas" racked up the ratings, just imagine what the Blade Runner will bring in, worldwide, if his case goes into a televised trial. No, folks, you just can't make up anything weirder than this one.
Pistorius's claim that he thought he was shooting a burglar isn't as crazy as it might sound. Johannesburg is listed as one of the five most dangerous cities in the world, with burglaries being one of the most common crimes. A total of 77 percent of those burglars bring guns with them; but the real irony is, the first thing they look for when burglarizing a home? Guns. (http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/02/14/oscar_pistorius_shooting_why_is_gun_violence_so_common_in_south_africa.html)
Not surprisingly, most South Africans don't claim to feel safer because they own guns. It's a vicious cycle owning guns to avoid crime, which in turn causes the crime to land on one's own doorstep that has been somewhat alleviated by the passing of 2000's Firearms Control Act. Whether the Pistorius shooting was an accident or not I'm sure we all know the answer to that the incident has brought to light how very easy it is for good intentions to turn sour. Making guns available for personal protection isn't the foolproof formula for safety that American Republicans like to pretend. Criminals aren't only the people on the streets they sometimes live in the nicest houses on the block.
Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said there have "previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius," leading them to believe the shooting was not an accident and that domestic violence in that home was not an aberration. I have to wonder: if we'd all stop looking at gun crime as something perpetrated only by those dirty criminals out on the street, and stop thinking that the solution is to arm more civilians to the teeth, could we have avoided yet another senseless death?