By now you’ve probably heard this morning’s stunning news that Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner with no legs who quickly rose to fame during the Olympics, was charged with murder in the death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. And… well, we don’t know a whole lot more about the incident than we did this morning: Pistorius is accused of shooting Steenkamp, and according to some reports, he told police he mistook her for an intruder and shot her in self-defense, but it’s unclear if he actually did. About all we know for absolutely certain is that Steenkamp is tragically dead.
What’s set the story apart aside from its shocking nature, though, was the number of tidbits that came out after it was reported that, if they didn’t lend clarity to what happened, looked eerily prophetic in hindsight. Take this Pistorius tweet from November (that we included in our first post this morning):
Nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking its an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry! waa
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) November 27, 2012
It’s been pointed out since that South Africa has a high crime rate – and therefore, one might justifiably be worried about home invaders there – though while official statistics point to violent crime in the country being significantly down in recent years, but (if those figures are correct) perception doesn’t seem to be catching up to that reality, leading to a widespread fear of home invasion.
Perhaps more infamously, there was this Nike ad Pistorius used to be featured in, but will now be discontinued for, among other things, extremely unfortunate wording:
This isn’t to make light of the situation at all, by the way. Just… ugh. Others also seized on this profile, which contained passages like:
As he put together lunch for all of us… he mentioned that a security alarm in the house had gone off the previous night, and he had grabbed his gun and tiptoed downstairs. (It turned out to be nothing.)
“We should go to the range,” he said. He fetched his 9-millimeter handgun and two boxes of ammunition. We got back in the car and drove to a nearby firing range, where he instructed me on proper technique. Pistorius was a good coach. A couple of my shots got close to the bull’s-eye, which delighted him. “Maybe you should do this more,” he said. “If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly.” I asked him how often he came to the range. “Just sometimes when I can’t sleep,” he said.
Of course, just because a guy likes to shoot a gun doesn’t mean he’s going to shoot a person, and again, fear of home invasion is extremely common in South Africa, so it would be unfair to read that and demand to know why the alarm bells didn’t go off. However, in context of this morning’s report, it’s still chilling to read. Speaking of chilling to read… a tweet of Steenkamp’s from yesterday:
— Reeva Steenkamp (@reevasteenkamp) February 13, 2013