Pissing On Greatness


Pistorius and Steenkampimgage: usmagazine.com

Pistorius and Steenkamp
imgage: usmagazine.com

When I read the shocking news yesterday that Olympic great Oscar Pistorius had (allegedly) shot and killed his girlfriend, at his home in South Africa, my initial thought was probably the same as most people who read that story: how horrible.  The idea that this successful athlete had been involved in a tragic death, seemed awful in so many obvious ways. The idea that a young woman was shot dead, and an Olympic athlete who won so much support this summer, for running on two prosthetic legs, was accused in the shooting was sobering, but I figured that there was some angle that would redeem Pistorius, when more details were available.

Plenty of celebrities and athletes have done bad things (Lance Armstrong, Chris Brown, James Brown, Lindsay Lohan) and a few have been accused of or been found guilty of murder (Phil Specter, OJ Simpson, Robert Blake); it’s not entirely shocking. As the news regarding Pistorius sunk in, and more details began to come out however, I was struck by a much bigger picture, that adds to the impact of this story, I feel. Oscar Pistorius stood for all the underdogs who have felt that life might hold them back. He was a shiny example of working hard, and getting to truly live your dream, despite enormous odds.

Due to a bone disease he had from birth, Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee when he was eleven months old. Pistorius credits his mother with motivating him to be independent and successful, from an early age. In high school, he played Rugby union, tennis, and water polo. He has also competed in club Olympic wresting. The guy has been a superstar, despite his physical limits, and that made his success that much more exciting to cheer on. The world was especially excited to see The Bladerunner (watch video) tear around that track because he gave everyone a tiny sense that if he could make it to the Olympics, each of us could accomplish our goals as well.

Reeva's Tweet, a day before her death.

Reeva’s Tweet, a day before her death.

And then the news on Thursday: His girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp, was found in Pistorius’ mansion, in a pool of blood.  Ironically, Reeva (who held a law degree and worked as a model) had Tweeted to fans that she was very excited about Valentine’s Day. No doubt, she was anticipating a romantic evening with her boyfriend. Instead, she was found dead on Valentine’s Day morning in Pistorius’ home. Oscar Pistorius initially told police that he had mistaken her for an intruder. However, cameras from the estate show that she entered the house the night before. Neighbors report hearing “other disturbances” earlier in the evening, and there had been reports of a “domestic nature,” in the past. Pistorius prided himself on being a crack marksman. He owned guns and knew how to shoot them.  Personally, whatever else happened leading up to her death, I believe that Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp. He has been charged with premeditated murder, so apparently the Prosecutor believes that there is more than a mistake here.

In a country where domestic violence is a huge problem, and crime rates are high, this was another highly public story that spotlights both issues. Like many South Africans, Reeva had publicly condemned the recent rape, torture and murder of a young teen. In an interview, Oscar had told a reporter that he kept a Cricket bat, a baseball bat, a hand gun and a machine gun in his bedroom—despite the fact he lived in a well guarded and secure estate. Fear of crime is not uncommon in South Africa. Shockingly

In a moment of greatnessImage: nydailynews.com

In a moment of greatness
Image: nydailynews.com

What I thought over and over reading the story this morning, is what a waste of talent this is. What a waste of greatness and personal triumph. What a waste of all those years it took, to achieve all of this. To be born with such a potential disability and overcome that, and then become an athlete that the world can admire, takes a level of determination and self-discipline that is, I believe, worthy of the admiration Pistorius has enjoyed.  To piss it all away, in an act of what appears to be angry violence, is sad beyond sad. In the video link above, when asked why he fought so hard to compete and achieve greatness, Oscar Pistorius answers the reporter with the following: “I didn’t want to let any of my ability or talent go to waste.” In one horrific act, that is exactly what he has done.

Did you find this story particularly sad, or is it just one more famous person doing something horrible? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Related stories:  Violence in South Africa, Oscar Pistorius charged with pre-meditated murder, Outrage over slaying of young girl in South Africa, Contradictions with Oscar Pistorius, Oscar Pistorius/Wikipedia

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
This entry was posted in Blog, Blogging, Daily Observations, Honest observations on many things, Musings, News, Tales From the Motherland, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Pissing On Greatness

  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    Very, very sad. But my heart cries the loudest for Reeva Steemkamp. What a tragedy. My thoughts go out to her family.

    Like

  2. Dan Hennessy says:

    Celebrities have , perhaps , become our new deity .They are worshiped as if they are superior beings . Maybe some of them begin to believe that , too . But , then , tragic reality intervenes .

    Like

  3. Another famous person acting terribly. Another athlete, a potential role model to so many others, behaving reprehensibly.

    Like

  4. Lyssapants says:

    I’m really jaded when it comes to this – I live in a world where I am no longer surprised when “heroes” do horrible things. All I had to hear was that this couple had a history of the police coming to their house for domestic disturbances and bam – it’s all over.

    Like

  5. I’m not sure I understand all of this yet. I was hoping it was just him responding, in hyper-vigilant fear, to what he thought was an intruder. I know the crime in South Africa is horrendous. If he did this in an act of premeditation, it will blow my mind. Like you said, he showed such determination, and talent, the stuff people look up to and are inspired by — to throw that away is such a waste.

    Like

    • Unfortunately the news today does not look good for Pistorius. Likely, he will attempt to use that story as an alibi, but given that neighbors heard problems earlier in the evening, and his own security cameras show his girlfriend entering the house… it doesn’t look good. Such a horrible story, all around.

      Like

      • I just heard little bits and pieces. I guess that information seals the deal for him. Thank heaven for all this technology, cameras and such. It makes it much harder to lie when the truth is staring you in the face. It’s really disturbing. It is horrible.

        Like

        • I wonder if he would have tried to cover it up… use his prestige to get away with it? He lied to the police, and that is troubling. More disturbing is the suggestion that there was a history of domestic violence here. It sounds like others knew about it, and didn’t do anything significant.

          Like

  6. Adam S says:

    I heard about this on the radio either today or yesterday. They didn’t mention any specifics, just that he was a runner. I had no idea who they were talking about until I read this. It makes my heart sink. I watched him run this past Summer games and it was a really great story to watch unfold. Makes you wonder, yet again, what makes people flip out like this. She was a Beautiful girl, and looks like a seemingly happy couple. What a shame…

    Like

  7. Beyond the tragedy of this horrific event is the caution to choose your role models and heroes wisely. Personally, I elevate Malala Yousufzai to heroine, and role model status. I hope she wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy for girls’ education in Pakistan against seemingly insurmountable odds including being shot in the head. She will turn 16 this year. Interestingly, gun violence promoted her to celebrity status.

    Like

    • As you know Mike, I too idolize her. There’s an ironic surprise coming up, that you very interestingly tapped on here, but the main point is that this is a VERY good point. It’s hard not to be swept away by athletic greatness, musical talent, actors, etc who seem to work hard and do well… but we are all human, and we need to look a little deeper, before we put them too high. Malala did not ask to be put anywhere, she asked to put others first. That, indeed, is the key to heroic deeds. Thanks for sharing your wonderful perspective!

      Like

  8. sarafoley says:

    Ah, I didn’t realise either that he was the amputee runner. That just makes it all the more bizarre and disappointing. I think our mistake is to confer greatness on a person because they are disciplined with their bodies. The terrible imbalance is that they are undisciplined with their spirit and their heart.

    Like

    • Yes, some may be, while others work hard to be strong in mind and body. The weakness seems to be in our eagerness to assign greatness! The additional let down here is in all young people with disabilities, who looked up to Pistorius.

      Sent from Dawn’s iPhone

      Like

  9. I had similar feelings. A sad waste and misdirection. Accomplishment doesn’t bring peace or wisdom. It is simply: accomplishment.

    Like

    • Welcome to TFTM ! Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and share your thoughts. I agree, completely, that fame and accomplishment does not mean much, if you only see it as a ticket to do whatever you please. Clearly there were problems here, and it’s sad to think the problems were overlooked… probably because of his accomplishments. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll check out some other posts.

      Like

  10. I have traveled to South Africa and have a close friend who is from Durbin. The culture and attitude is very harsh. The violence and way of life is so different than ours this is a sad story but not surprising.

    Like

    • Welcome to TFTM Henrietta! I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and comment. Hope you’ll check out some other posts as well, and let me know what you think.

      Yes, I’ve been there too. I agree, there is a culture of violence that explains how Pistorius may have been paranoid,and anxious regarding safety. I’m sure that will be part of his defense. Sadly, I think the whole story stinks… long before this, there are alleged stories of domestic issues between them. Sad, for a woman who stood up against such things, publicly, but a cautionary tale to young women everywhere. Even all the success in the world can’t protect you, if you don’t get up and leave. I am NOT blaming Ms. Steenkamp, but saying that this is a problem in all walks of life.

      I believe, from the things I’ve read so far, that Pistorius is guilty. If I am wrong, it is still a very sad story. I guess we will all have to wait… as this is drawn out, and plastered in every paper and magazine, for months and months… and no doubt, countless other young women, die at the hands of men they love.

      Yowza… didn’t know that was waiting to come out! Thanks for stopping by, and please come back! I write an occasional happy post too. 😉

      Like

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT; I'M LISTENING.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s