Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thinking about that case in South Africa

I have this weird fascination with following the Oscar Pistorious case.  I haven’t seen much personal commentary on it besides the national news, but maybe I should look.  From the news coverage, I see a manipulative, controlling man who is perhaps “sorry” for what he’s done, also doesn’t want to go to prison, and is using the legal system to mount the best defense possible.  Which is his legal right, in the criminal system—to defend himself and raise doubt on his intent. And yet this someone has a history and obvious knowledge of firearms, their safety and their risks, along with a sketchy record on mis-using them (shooting through a sunroof, having it ‘go off’ at the restaurant—a mystery!).  The whole “I mistook my girlfriend for an intruder,” wow.  If you were in your bedroom with your person, and you thought there was an intruder, what is your first move?  In my mind the very first thing would be to reach over and see if my person is in bed next to me.  And his ex-girlfriend testified that is exactly what he did before, so why not in this case?  I kind of want to barf.  Am I wrong for wanting to barf? 

The records of communication between the two of them, only three months into the relationship, eerily reflect familiar exchanges that I’ve seen in my own or described in other relationships with manipulators and abusers.  The abrupt cold shoulder or behavior coming from him, her doing her best to placate him and to explain how she feels and him continuing to “pick on her” and making her feel embarrassed for perfectly normal things that she’s done—i.e. talking with her friends at an engagement party—then forcing her to leave early.  His talking loudly to personally offend her in earshot of her friends, his blaming his petulant behavior on having a headache, pushing it off as something out of his control, rather than taking responsibility for acting like a jerk. L  Yes, I am colored by my experiences.  I see her explaining her behavior to him in a way that both helps her express her feelings, and at the same time placate him, it’s a familiar story and one I lived for a long time. 

The dramatics of Mr. Pistorious barfing and covering his ears and crying, to me read as someone who may be sorry about what happened, but is also doing everything he can to not go to jail for the rest of his life, rather than taking responsibility for his controlling behavior and killing his girlfriend.  Is it awful to me to see what I see—manipulative moves to deflect responsibility?  Because I know that some people are sorry for what they do when they hurt people, and I know that when they are, the sorrow only goes skin deep.  They hurt again and again, and they escalate, and I think that’s what happened here.  I’ve also seen dramatics, crying, and sobbing and saying they’re sorry, but that didn’t mean the behavior stopped.  So maybe he didn’t mean to squeeze the trigger, but he did.

I realize the facts of this case will be decided by weighing the evidence and I am no judge or attorney for that matter.  And yet, I’m struggling because I see a case of domestic violence, and I am worried and wonder what will happen.

I am so sorry for the Steenkamp family, I have no idea the grief and pain they must be feeling.  If someone shot my daughter, my heart would break into a million pieces. <3

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