True crime and trial opinions from a layman's perspective
Will tomorrow be the day that Oscar finally answers for the killing of Reeva Steenkamp? Or will it be a repeat of September 12th, a day that injustice is allowed to prevail?
The time has come for all of us to be real about what this trial has meant to us and why it’s so important.
Aimee and Carl Pistorius would love nothing more than to point their fingers at us and let us know that we all just voyeurs, negative and unfair. They’d much prefer we sob along with them and forget all about the intrusive thoughts in our heads.
But you are all here reading this blog because you have those thoughts in your heads and you certainly have a right to explore them. More important than that, you have a voice. And if there’s something in this world that you’re not happy about, you better damn well use that voice and say something or somebody else will say it for you.
Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, Oscar’s psychologist, and diligent supporter at trial, was the first to take the stand for the Defense during the hearing last week.
She spoke of how from the outset, she did not want to get involved in the merits of the case. But when recently approached by the Defense and asked to testify at sentencing, she agreed. Why the sudden change of heart? Well, let’s be honest… because she’s his friend.
She testified about her clinical observations while conducting sessions with him for the previous 18 months.
• First consultation was Feb 25, 2013.
• Oscar presented with acute stress reaction. PTSD and depression were also noted.
• He was referred to a psychiatrist and is still under that treatment.
• He frequently spent sessions weeping, retching, perspiring, trembling, was pale and he paced.
And just as she has set the stage for everybody’s sympathy, she tells the court that Oscar was “deprived of the opportunity to mourn” somebody he loved, and this was the result of the premeditated murder charge that was leveled against him as well as the constant attention from the relentless media.
So let me get this straight… Poor, broken Oscar couldn’t mourn the person that HE killed because the State decided to charge him and make him answer for his crime. And the media, and every other person discussing this trial in public, is a bunch of selfish assholes who have no right to discuss what he has done, even though trials are public proceedings and we SHOULD care about what is happening in our societies. Um, ok. I guess it’s our fault.
She then tells us that Oscar remains in an unresolved spiral of grief without resolution. It’s called “complicated grief”.
Well of course it’s complicated… when you kill somebody and have to lie about it every day, life gets pretty tricky.
He was not able to eat and sleep, and often expressed his longing for Reeva. He now has a void without her presence in his life.
Bummer. Maybe he shouldn’t have killed her. But no worries, I’m sure Jenna Edkins can help him out.
The nature of the charge of premeditated murder played out on the world stage and he was
often portrayed in an adverse light. She suggests that this was abuse at the hands of the media.
His ability to heal was destroyed by the level of malevolence by the public.
I don’t think Oscar needs any help in being portrayed in an adverse light. The guy has been acting like a reckless punk for years now. He had warning signs galore along the way and ignored them all because he’s entitled and selfish, and hasn’t ever had to deal with real consequences for his actions. His ability to heal has absolutely nothing to do with the media and nothing to do with us discussing this matter on my blog. It has everything to do with the hollow existence that Oscar has chosen to live.
Also as a result of the premeditated murder charge against him, he has experienced the loss of mutual friends that he shared with Ms. Steenkamp. This was devastating to him because he needed the support of friends.
I’m pretty sure that their distance has nothing to do with the charge of premeditation and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that he did actually kill their friend. Oscar has a razor-sharp ability to focus on what HE needs in every scenario. Hey yea, I killed your friend, but come on over and let’s have a braai. Does that make any fucking sense? I am utterly flabbergasted that any experienced psychologist would have the nerve to make this statement in court.
The pity party continues…
Oscar has lost his identity, self-belief and reputation. He had a platform to make a difference for disabled and disadvantaged people worldwide. He feels he has lost his voice to make a positive contribution to those communities.
Yes, Oscar, you have lost your voice. And you should also lose your freedom for the horrific crime that you committed. You are not an example for any human being, disabled or otherwise.
The good doctor would also like us to remember that Oscar didn’t lose his temper when he was provoked by Nel during a “severe cross-examination”.
Big bad Nel… a favorite scapegoat of the Pistorians. She says this as if he should receive a trophy for not beating somebody up in court. Too bad he can’t control himself outside of the courtroom.
He expressed horror at leaked photos of the crime scene, claiming it was disrespectful to Reeva.
The photos are not what is disrespectful to Reeva; what’s disrespectful to Reeva is that he killed her and she loved him. She was hovering behind a closed door and screaming for her life. That’s disrespect.
She ends by saying we are left with a broken man who has lost everything.
I highly beg to differ. Unlike Reeva, he still gets to breath.
Nel reinforced this point when he confronted Hartzenberg with the reality that Oscar has a future. He can have a career and he can have girlfriends (and reportedly has one now). Nel wants to know what Hartzenberg knows about Reeva. Do you know about her dreams, what she wanted to do in life? Hartzenberg’s response, Oscar only talked about the two of them together. Well, of course he did. Reeva was never a real person to him, one with hopes and dreams and aspirations of her own. The same pattern can be seen with every one of his previous girlfriends. It’s only about what they can do for him. There was only room for his life in the equation.
Joel Maringa, a social worker at the correctional services department was asked to write a report about whether or not Oscar would be a good candidate for house arrest. These are amongst the various factors that he believes should be considered when determining the sentence:
• Oscar has been involved in many charitable organizations
• Living with his uncle, relationship with his dad is sour
• Living off savings, earning potential has been harmed
• He’s only a social drinker and only uses prescription drugs
• He’s a first offender, the trauma has been punishment enough
Maringa’s sentencing recommendation – Place Oscar under house arrest and assign 16 hours per month of cleaning duty at the Transvaal Museum. Alcohol and drugs should be banned and he should receive trauma counseling. Maringa believes that “correctional supervision is harsh”.
You know what’s fucking harsh? Being shot in the head by your boyfriend. That’s harsh. Equally harsh is the suggestion that the value of a woman’s life is comparable to a few dirty floors at the local museum.
Nel quickly set Maringa straight by telling him that his recommendation was “shockingly inappropriate” and Oscar’s behavior was “grossly negligent”. And lest we not forget that the home where this punishment is to be carried out is actually a luxury mansion.
Next up in the chain of fools, we got to hear from the non-manager manager Peet van Zyl. Here is his SAVE OSCAR campaign:
• Global sporting icon
• Brand ambassador
• Extensive list of charities
• Makes others feel welcome and at ease
• Involved in the development of prosthetic technology
• Helps land mine victims
• All sponsorships and contracts have been terminated, no money #sadface
That’s it, I’m totally voting for Oscar for President!! Oh wait… damn, that’s right. I forgot this was a murder trial.
Nel is back at it, bringing us all back down to earth. He reminds van Zyl that charities are in fact a wonderful marketing tool for any ambitious business man.
Van Zyl laments that if only the media had been kinder to his client, future opportunities would be more abundant. He also wants to make sure that the world knows that Oscar uses his own money to help under-privileged people.
Perhaps if Oscar wasn’t so interested in guns, and fame, and money and power… he could have led a genuine life that benefitted those under-privileged people but this is the road that HE chose to travel. Too little, too late.
Annette Vergeer, a probation officer, would be one of the more… um, interesting… people to speak at the hearing. Here is her offering:
• The Steenkamps stance on the accused is neutral. Huh?
• Expresses remorse, is emotional and seems genuine
• Realizes seriousness of the offense
• Publically humiliated
• He would sacrifice anything to have Reeva back
• First offender, no history of this type of behavior
• Has made monthly payments to the Steenkamp family
• Productive member of society… REALLY???
• Above average potential for reform
• Can give speeches to local disabled children
• Jail is risky – overcrowding, violence and sodomy
• Jail would make him financially dependent on state
• Reeva’s death is a bigger punishment than prison
In regards to that final bullet point – well then why the hell do prisons even exist? If the punishment of our own mind is far worse, let’s release them all today and let them roam the streets in their collective misery so that they can kill us and put us out of our misery too.
And Oscar can give speeches to disabled children? That would be great… hey kids, don’t murder your girlfriend and you too can earn tons of cash as long as you lie and manipulate and never get caught!
Nel is able to reveal that Vergeer didn’t even read the damn judgement and she responds that she is only there in court to discuss his personal circumstances, not the facts. Fantastic! Let’s forget about those nasty facts. She’d rather discuss how terrible prison is and the fact that Oscar is vulnerable to rape without his legs. Nel assures her, his legs will not be taken away.
The revelation of the Steenkamp family receiving money from Oscar, I have to admit, is very troubling to me. I really wish they had found another way to help them through their difficult financial times. It was revealed that Oscar offered them a bigger lump sum, but the Steenkamps refused calling it “blood money”. Nel puts it on record that the Steenkamps intend to fully pay back every cent that Oscar gave them.
It was a crazy day in court between the news about the Steenkamps receiving money and the appearance of Jared Mortimer, Mikey Schultz, Mark Batchelor and Samantha Taylor… It seems that the natives are getting restless!
After listening to the nauseating testimony about why Oscar should get a pass, the majority of the remaining testimony from the defense was about the conditions of the prisons and if they could accommodate a disabled person.
Nel countered with Moleko Zac Modise, the acting National Director for the Department of Correctional Services who was able to assure the court that they were ready and able to accommodate the accused, should he receive a custodial sentence.
This is not a vacation, Oscar. You don’t get to pick your bed linens and favorite shampoo. Prison sucks, whether you have legs or not. If you don’t want to go to prison, don’t commit crime.
But the most memorable and important part of last week, was unquestionably the long-awaited testimony from the family of Reeva Steenkamp.
The family has only spoken with the media a handful of times in the past year and half. They have been silent and guarded; a quiet presence in the courtroom. In Kim Martin, Reeva’s cousin, they would finally find their voice…
The State’s recommendation to the court for sentencing – Arguments from Nel
“Punishment should acknowledge the sanctity of human life.”
“We’re not dealing with a car accident, an assault, we’re dealing with Oscar firing four shots into a toilet cubicle.”
“His conduct tore a loved one from her family, it broke that family. He wants the court to believe that he’s a victim. He is not a victim. He caused it!”
“The accused’s remorse isn’t convincing – the fact that he’s sorry she’s dead can never be remorse. Remorse is when an accused verbalizes that he’s sorry he fired shots through the door knowing there was someone behind it.”
“Accused has coped brilliantly in life – he wanted to complete with able-bodied athletes, now shamelessly uses disability.”
“We argue that the only reasonable sentence will be a long term of imprisonment.”
“My lady, this is my argument. The matter is so serious, in the interests of society, the accused must get prison time.”
The state is asking for a minimum of 10 years sentence.
What am I asking for?
In the words of Judge Chris Greenland…
“Justice must be done and must be seen to be done.”
The application of justice in all cases is imperative if we are to continue living freely and civilly within our societies. The public needs reassurance that the systems and the leaders that they have put in place are honoring the laws and providing protection for their citizens. When this breaks down, when the public does not see justice being done, it creates discontent and total chaos. Criminals are granted a license to behave as they please and law-abiding citizens begin taking matters in to their own hands. It’s a volcano that has been erupting in South Africa for far too long now. I am appalled by Oscar Pistorius. Utterly and completely appalled. Oscar must receive the 15 years allowable for Culpable Homicide. In case you missed it, the word homicide is included in that charge. It’s the killing of a person; the robbing of a life. You cannot get a pass for that.
In less than 24 hours, we will know Oscar’s fate. If it’s not the 15 years, not the 10 years, or worse, simply house arrest… what will you do? What can you do? Everything has a season and right now, we are just beginning autumn.
Leaves change and eventually die, the days become shorter and people are stuck inside… left to reflect the seasons of their own lives. Perhaps this trial doesn’t only have to be about death and injustice. Maybe if we look hard enough, we can find something more. Perhaps, transcendence…