I confess that I never liked Oscar Pistorius. I didn’t think anything about his attempt to compete with able-bodied athletes was courageous. But I am astounded by the absurdity of his alibi against charges that he intentionally shot and killed his girlfriend last week.
“I fail to understand,” Mr. Pistorius testified in court, “how I could be charged with murder.” Surely, he is the only one.
According to Mr. Pistorius, he was asleep in the home he shares with his girlfriend when he heard a noise about 3 in the morning and “felt a sense of terror rushing over me.”
Crime, they say and I believe, is a big problem in South Africa. Indeed, one journalist who was a friend of the victim said, “The best case is that he shot her by mistake. And that is a particularly South African mistake.”
But another big problem in South Africa is violence against women.
Experts say that a woman is raped every four minutes in South Africa. Many die at the hands of partners, siblings and friends.
The first thing Mr. Pistorius does is grab his gun. He gets up on his stumps — Mr. Pistorius is a double-amputee — and while checking out his house, he hears a noise in the bathroom. I think many people would have called out, asking if it was their significant other/roommate who was behind the door. Some people would have seen an intruder behind a closed door as a momentary advantage, and taken steps to flee for safety. At least one person, a lawyer for the prosecution, asked, “Why would a burglar lock himself into a toilet?”
Mr. Pistorius, whether he considered these points or not, fired his gun four times.
He testified that it did not occur to him that it could have been his girlfriend making all that noise in the toilet.
After realizing what he had done, Mr. Pistorius told the court that he tried to kick down the bathroom door with his prosthetic legs. When that failed, he claimed to have used a cricket bat. Now, we are not acquainted with the quality of South African hardware, or with prosthetic limbs, but it beggars belief that either item would make a dent in the bandbox door to my Brooklyn bathroom.
In any case, Mr. Pistorius said his girlfriend was still alive when he finally got the door open. Yet multiple people beat the police to his home, suggesting that calling an ambulance was not the first thing on his mind.
It’s easy to judge in the sober sunshine of a Thursday morning the actions of an admitted gun-loving paranoiac in the middle of the night. But it is hard to forget the grim visage of O. J. Simpson at times like this, especially after an influential detective is conspicuously reassigned and the police admit investigative bungling.
So, what was on Mr. Pistorius’s mind? Perhaps building an alibi that fit pieces of evidence like a history of menacing and reckless behavior, blood on a cricket bat and a victim’s grievious head wounds.