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Oscar Pistorius' Pathetic Agony

Oscar Pistorius' Pathetic Agony

By Dennis Loo (4/9/14)

As a social scientist, I am trained to look for patterns.

In Oscar Pistorius' case, a pattern can be seen in the wretched and embarrassing spectacle of his frequent and over-the-top emotional displays in court - retching, sobbing, covering his ears and/or eyes because he can't stand to see the results of his actions - together with his fevered professions of love for Reeva. This pattern is consistent with his behavior the night he and Reeva argued and then he killed her through the safety (in his eyes) of a locked door. I say "safety" because he didn't have to see what his bullets were doing to her as he was murdering her, just as he now cannot stand to see the results of his actions and just as he now cannot and will not take personal responsibiity for his actions. While he was systematically executing Reeva he was likely thinking to himself as he pulled the trigger four times while Reeva screamed in terror and trauma that he was similarly not to blame for what he was doing but that Reeva had brought it on herself.

As has been reported and as testified to in court by witnesses, acquaintances, and friends of his, Oscar is unwilling to confront and own up to his actions, getting a friend, for example, to take the blame for Oscar's accidental discharge of a gun in a restaurant.

People who try to cover up what they have done such as Oscar are unable to halt their normal behavioral and psychic patterns when they are engaged in their elaborate cover-up, thus inadvertently revealing the truth. His hyper-emotional and fragile state he hopes - on a conscious level - will prove to the judge, courtroom, and court of world opinion that he is not only contrite but incapable of murdering his beloved. Some people have been taken in by his actions to think that this proves his contrition. But what his overwrought behavior actually underscores is how emotionally volatile he is and how in fact this only shows how he was in fact capable of dramatically over-reacting to whatever threat he perceived from Reeva who had, in response to their very loud argument and the fear she felt towards this extremely agitated and insecure man, retreated to the toilet room and locked the door.

What he could not do during their relationship and could not do when they argued on Valentine's Day, was control and calm himself. He reacted in fear and extreme anger, not to an alleged intruder, as the story of an intruder is undoubtedly concocted, just as he cannot control his pathetic uncontrolled agony the whole world sees in the court everyday. Rather than his murder of Reeva being "out of character" as some have claimed about Pistorius, his embarrassing lack of composure in court reveals to those who can see past his conscious purpose in those displays his true character.

See also "Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp, and the Locked Toilet Room Door" and "Oscar Pistorius Covers His Ears."


+1 # James Dewey 2014-04-09 21:39
this article brings up two different social phenomenon. One being that Oscar is attempting to appeal to the judge, courtroom, and court of world through his overly emotional actions. However, like this article already discussed, these actions in fact allow the judge, courtroom, and court of world to see that he is simply an overly emotional individual and deviants usually are overly emotional to begin with. The second social phenomenon is somewhat of a deeper concept and has to relate to Durkheim's theory of crime and sanctions.
The whole purpose of a trial is to see if a crime actually occurred and if it did, what should the punishment be. What Oscar is trying to do through being overly dramatic, is try to express that he is already suffering enough through the trial. Yet society has placed a distinct form of sanction to deal with murderers, and even though Oscar didn't harm anyone on the jury, he still harmed the conscious collective, thus sanctions are in order.
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-1 # Beatrix 2014-04-09 23:54
I agree both with you & with Dennis' article. Pistorius's virtually never ending outbursts are childish reactions which display the strength of his regret and suffering, we are seeing HIS emotions about HIMSELF. Emotions designed to distract, to advertise remorse and to inspire pity amongst the courtroom and the wider world. I'm certain his behaviour would be nowhere near this extreme if the cameras were not present.

I think there is still a good chance Pistorius will escape jail, most likely through a plea of mental illness following perhaps a nervous breakdown if the trial continues to go against him. His behaviour so far has already paved the way for that and Gerrie Nell has only just started cross examining him.

As there is no jury system in South Africa, following the years of apartheid, the decision will come down to the judge and her alone. A huge responsibility for one person and either way I'm sure her decision will be criticised.
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+1 # giovanna Serrano 2014-04-16 18:41
I can totally agree with you about how Pistorius is using his emotions in order to help him portray a better image amongst court and amongst the jury. Like you said his childish reactions in the courtroom are I believe a task or a game strategy to help him in his case. What he needs to do like Loo mentioned is own up to his actions rather than making it seem like his girlfriend "brought it upon herself".
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+1 # deltoro 2014-04-19 01:27
Soc 305. I believe that he is acting. He is showing his emotions to try to win his freedom. And he seems not having control over this situation by the he acting. He needs to check over his values and morals and up to his action.
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0 # Sadiez Moreno 2014-04-12 09:17
I honestly would not have thought of this perspective if it weren't for this comment. It is such great insight that I just can't help but agree. Durkheim argued that there is nothing that could be deemed a criminal act unless, as a society, we set such boundaries. I believe that Oscar Pistorius is aware of these boundaries and limitations in today's community and civilization, and is therefore afraid to face the consequences. Because he is going to extreme lengths (e.g. excessive crying and vomiting) in order to conceal and suppress his guilty conscience (and not to mention to fool the public!) he is also showing the rest of us that he is aware of the horrendous act that he committed and that he knows one should be punished for such a crime.
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0 # Elizabeth arroyo 2014-04-16 07:59
Although there is corruption in the way the correctional system works, Oscar did murder someone and has to pay the consequences. Like James said earlier, in the fact that a crime did occur and a punishment has to be implemented. He is in sorrow because he knows what he did was wrong. If he is this out of control in court in the fact that he is so emotionally all over the place, he had to have been emotionally unstable he was the night of the murder.
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0 # Susan Torres 2014-04-18 01:06
Quoting Sadiez Moreno:
he is also showing the rest of us that he is aware of the horrendous act that he committed and that he knows one should be punished for such a crime.

It's very interesting that you point this out. The fact that he is AWARE of the horrendous act that he committed and the consequences he should face could be what is causing him to act the way he does in the court rooms. Other than an act that he is putting up to deceive the audience. I personally haven't looked into or paid much attention to his case unfold but from reading Loo's perspective on it I can definitely see through his schemes. He should definitely own up to his actions instead of reacting the way he does because he is only digging a deeper hole for himself.
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0 # Christine Lopez 2014-04-14 00:40
I agree with James Dewey that the Theory of Durkheim crime and sanction relates to the crime murder that Oscar Pistorius committed to his girlfriend Reeva. Oscar Pistorius case is very popular in South Africa it the first to be aired Oscar Pistorius was a very popular athlete who nobody would ever believed would commit a crime such as murder. But indeed Oscar true character is coming out during the trail like the sobbing, crying dramatically I am not sure if the jury would have sympathy over him by acting very polite during cross examination. I believe if Oscar really thought there was an intruder he would protect Reeva and even ask her if she was alright. I hope that Oscar does not gets a different treatment or sentencing then anyone else that commits a crime of murder, because it is not fair for Reeva and her family. I hope that the jury can see through his emotions and make a fair judgment.
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0 # Soc 123 2014-04-14 06:32
I agree with both points that you made. By him consciously being dramatic it is proving that he lets his emotions control him.He clearly shows signs of a mental disorder so with that said everything he does has been thought through like a serial killer.
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0 # Karen Cornejo 2014-04-09 22:46
I watched part of the trial on T.V. and just like the article above says, his over the top emotional actions just make it seem like he is trying to get people to feel sorry for him. He apologizes over and over trying to get words out while sobbing uncontrollably but when they show Reevas parents in the court room you can tell they are not believing any part of his sad story.

The thing that always makes me mad is that you always hear they are building a case for PTSD or for something else that makes the person on trial seem not guilty or for something that makes them not take full responsibility for what they really did.
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0 # Aria 2014-04-14 06:35
I feel like a lot of people would act extra emotionally in order to get sympathy from judges. I feel sad that he would have to cry and apologize over and over in order to try and be free when it seems as though he clearly knew what he was doing. I am glad that her parents do not believe his story and that people are able to see that it is probably made up. Hopefully the judges will make sure that he does take responsibility.
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0 # ROB 2014-04-10 15:10
interesting view
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0 # ROB 2014-04-10 15:11
interesting view yes
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0 # katgrl15 2014-04-12 18:36
It is common for people not to take responsibility for committing a crime because they fear the consequences and would rather point the finger at someone else. Dennis states that, "Some people have been taken in by his actions to think that this proves his contrition”. This statement can be related back to Durkheim’s coined term the collective conscience. People in society do not accept murderers but in some circumstances where the guilty party can receive enough sympathy, people will somewhat overlooked the crime that was committed. People have the shared belief that if someone can be that emotionally distraught, it could be a possibly mean that they have already received the punishment of being emotionally unstable and will sympathize for them. Either way Oscar is guilty of a crime, whether he cries or acts overly emotionally and should be exposed to the consequences of his actions.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-04-12 18:40
OP's disgraceful and histrionic behavior in court also points to what his behavior must have been like the night he murdered Reeva: over-the-top emotions, in full knowledge that he was killing his "love," preceded as we know from witnesses, by a screaming argument during which Reeva sought refuge behind a locked toilet room door, not realizing that Oscar was capable of shooting her four times and thereby ending their argument.
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0 # Lomonaco 2014-04-14 03:45
I truly hope the jury does not overlook the crime. His outrageous outbursts should be looked at as pathetic. Even if he is sorry or feels remorse it does not excuse the actions or the outcome of what happened. People need to be held accountable.
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0 # katgrl15 2014-04-16 23:59
I honestly believe people assume that if they get enough sympathy that their crime or actions will not be held accountable. I hope the jury determines a verdict based on the evidence and factual information presented in the case and not based off of his in court performance. There have been too many cases in which the jury and the judge do not hold a person accountable for their actions. Most of these cases I have been exposed to pertained to celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan's car crash case.
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+1 # marcam 2014-04-18 21:10
I agree with you. I too hope that the jury doesn't overlook the crime that he committed. He did commit a crime, a serious crime if I may add. Feeling remorse doesn’t mean anything in my opinion. The crime has been committed and someone is dead as the result. There are many people that commit crimes regret their actions. That doesn’t mean they can go along with their lives as if nothing happened. They are paying for it behind bars and OP should pay the same way.
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0 # Sme 2014-04-12 22:39
The fact that he cannot recognize and accept that his emotions took over the day he killed her, should serve as evidence that he is unable to control his emotions. Even when asking for forgiveness and showing people emotions to try to pursue them to feel sympathy towards him should the fact that he killed he is enough to prove he is guilty due to the events that surround the killing. If he is not able to control, his anger or emotion towards someone he used to care about, or if the fact that he cared about her so much triggered such response, should let the judge know that he is guilty.
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0 # Sherlock 2014-04-13 07:44
I feel that yes, the judge should charge him as guilty. I think he needs to own up to his actions and stop hiding behind the screens hes creating for himself. If he had the audacity to murder his wife for a disagreement then he needs to own up to that.
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0 # Anandhi 2014-04-13 10:00
I think shooting from behind the toilet door is a very significant aspect. Sometimes, during an argument when we move out of the place, it helps to cool off. In this case was it the opposite for OP?
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0 # cutemeow 2014-04-13 19:52
I hope that the jury, judges, and courtroom can see through his overly emotional act and stick to the facts of the case. Oscar knew exactly what he was doing, and his apologies are empty. Its that old cliche, "you're not sorry you did it, you're sorry you got caught." His actions in the courtroom are his last hope for getting off the hook. By being overly emotional, and grasping for sympathy, he is only highlighting his manipulative impulses. Maybe he did it on purpose, and maybe he didn't...But from what I can see, he is continually lying and unwilling to take responsibility for his actions.
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0 # soad 2014-04-13 20:18
When I was watching part of the trial online, O.P.'s overemotional screams and tears made me think that this is pathetic attempt to make himself look more vulnerable to the public- but I can't imagine seeing anyone believe it. I liked how in the article, Professor Loo brought up the part that O.P. "killed her (Reeva) through the safety (in his eyes) of a locked door". He didn't see Reeva get shot, he just heard her screams; Pistorius did not what his bullets did to her during the action of shooting, but saw the aftermath of it and cannot accept what he did to her.
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0 # Catman 2014-04-14 00:44
"Rather than his murder of Reeva being "out of character" as some have claimed about Pistorius, his embarrassing lack of composure in court reveals to those who can see past his conscious purpose in those displays his true character."

I really don't think just because he isn't coming out and saying doesn't make him out of character. On one side he could be a monster and not care about murdering someone but on the other hand, no one would want to admit to the world that he is a murder. The title of murder is way worse than consciously not showing his true character. Pistorius could simply be falling to the conformity of wanting to blame every problem on someone else and he could be afraid of how his peers and community sees him as.
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0 # Catman 2014-04-14 00:55
This case is very sad. I remember seeing him in the Olympics and he was an inspiration. I'm pretty sure everyone was rooting for him to win his races. The sad thing is such a monster can hide so easily. I think the worst criminals are the ones that are different in public than behind close doors. I absolutely think that OP committed murder, but our judicial system states that a person can only be found guilty if there is indisputable evidence. Also, I think if anyone killed someone and then got caught, they would do anything in their power to get not guilty, whether it is faking emotions or fighting for PTSD. No one wants to admit murder because then that person goes to jail for 20 years to life.
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0 # LA305302 2014-04-14 01:04
I believe what Oscar Pistorius is doing based on this information is trying to build himself up as the distraught boyfriend that would never dare hurt the women he loves by playing with what Durkheim would call the collective conscience. By putting up an act that he can not watch the photos of a shot Reeva, throwing up and crying in the court room, people will begin to rationalize that a man acting like this can not possibly have hurt his beloved girlfriend.
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0 # flr9d 2014-04-14 02:09
This is a great example of an individual not taking responsibility of his actions. I read furthermore on this case, just to get a better understanding, and Pistorius emotional patterns show how unstable he is now and at the time of the murder. I believe he has convinced himself that he is not the one to be blamed for this tragedy.Now the real question is, why did he commit the murder?, what drove him far enough to murder.
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0 # tiffany 2014-04-14 02:46
Court cases like this on are times when I see the system failing. He is emotionally unstable, he is slowly losing his cool once again and to me he seems like a ticking time bomb. The courts need to look at what happened, consider the facts, and find evidence to prove what happened. He is in denial trying to save himself from the worst and it is wrong.
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0 # draen 2014-04-14 03:35
I think his overly-emotiona l display is just a ploy to get sympathy from the court and the media, leading them to believe that he is remorseful of his actions. I honestly don't believe that his actions are going to achieve what he is hoping. As the article stated, it really just shows that he is emotionally unstable.
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0 # Princess Peach 2014-04-14 04:18
I think that his emotional display is simply a tactic that Pistorius is utilizing to show the courtroom that he is not capable of murder. Not only does Pistorius want to convince the courtroom that he is not capable of murder, but he also wants to convince the public that he is not capable of murder. As discussed in the Criminology textbook, Pistorius wants to create a good image of himself in order for the public to form their own sentencing preferences and punitiveness. He wants the public to form their opinion on what his sentencing and punishment should be. With these tactics he thinks that the public will form a positive opinion of him and he hopes that the public will think that he does not deserve a harsh punishment.
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0 # Michelle Ngo 2014-04-14 05:51
The fear of consequences is always in people's mind, it could be anything, but always a bad side to it. From what I have learned in other Sociology classes, men tend to not want to express their emotions due to the scrutiny they would receive from their friends. His actions caused him to be sentenced to jail. He put himself in a situation that could have been controlled if he saw what he was doing. Did he let his emotions get in the way of seeing reality?
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0 # BBM 2014-04-14 05:57
A person with half of a brain would find him guilty of murder. I agree with the article, most people who are trying to flee from their current situation are usually the ones that lock themselves behind doors. Reeva was obviously in fear for her life, and the "loud argument", previous to the shooting is a key, that would lead one to automatically believe that it was Oscar who pulled the trigger.

Regardless of the "inspiration" Oscar might have been in the past, we have to remember that the media plays people out to be whatever character they want them to be.
If Oscar is not found guilty, I think that our Criminal Justice System has gone down the drain.
It will just end up being another tragedy, like the Zimmerman and Martin case.
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0 # Aria 2014-04-14 06:32
When reading this article I thought of my abnormal psychology class because we learned that there are laws in place that state if someone is not in the right mental state of mind, they can be charged not guilty of a crime. I fear that he could get off by pleading that he was psychologically disturbed and thus did not have control over his actions, although he clearly did. Hopefully the judges can see through his acting as crazy and deem what he did as a crime instead of letting him off the hook.
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0 # Slovebee 2014-04-14 06:54
It's cases like these that make me so upset. There are so many other unjustifiable cases that will never get as much coverage as this overly emotional athlete. I think that his own testimony is going down the toilet so far with the evidence being found. Like we learned in class, you are more likely to be killed by the people that are closer to you. His reactions in the court room are consistent with his behavior the night of the tragedy. I agree and think that Pistorius is not able to control himself. Multiple shots fired at the door mean there was intention behind it. I hope that the court gets this right and I hope Riva's family receives peace and justice for the case.
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0 # Aria 2014-04-21 06:54
That is true, I forgot that we discussed how people we know are more likely to kill us. Since he knew her well he probably knew her reactions and if she was not opening the door that would be unusual. If someone I knew had locked themselves in a bathroom and it was not normal behavior, the last thing I would think of to do would be to shoot through the door. And I agree with your statement that 'multiple shots fired at the door means there was intention behind it', because if he had simply fired one he could have checked using that one hole as a peephole.
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0 # Ambularnpink 2014-04-16 00:52
This brings me to think of today's class discussion on how the government has used techniques to shift the public's attention to punitive issues. For example, how the attention for deindustrializa tion of the nation was shifted from frustration with corporate America to the "war on drugs" and ultimately blaming minorities (or more prominently black males).
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-19 01:01
Soc 302. This article make me think how a person is playing a role in the justice system in order in to get away from his actions. Oscar is acting. He does not feel sorry for his actions. Also, I feel that he is getting more or they are giving him a break because of his being famous.
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0 # deltoro 2014-04-19 01:13
Soc 305. This make me think that he is getting away just because he is famous. The higher social class are getting away with so much. If a man of working class kill his girlfriend, I wonder if the justice system would treat this person the same as Oscar? In addition, if Oscar set free, this case is going to show how women in society are being attack and kill and that it is okay.
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0 # mitchell denerson 2014-04-19 04:34
This case disgusts me in a lot of ways. Its obvious that Oscar is trying to get away with something he knows he did. The fact that he is trying to come up with all these excuses of being an emotional person just seems stupid. He seems to be using a tactic, i guess you can say, which relates to Durkheim's term collective conscience. We do not accept murderers in our society, but he is trying to make people feel bad for him so that they may overlook what he did and just might get away with it. But his attempts are rather childish and i cannot believe his lawyers are playing along with it.
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0 # thatdude 2014-04-19 21:55
The fact that this is even a case is ridiculous. I have only heard about this case briefly and now that I have some sort of background on it I completely agree with the point that talks about what "normal" people would do in the case of a potential break-in. Obviously you would check in on loved ones and make sure they are safe and secure before going around with a loaded weapon and firing. Pistorius clearly has some sort of a mental issue and deserves to be locked up and pay for his horrific actions.
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0 # Aria 2014-04-21 06:45
I did not know about the case before as well, but when we went in depth on it in class I realized how flawed it was as well. I agree that you would of course make sure to check on loved ones, but it does not make sense to fire at them to make sure they are okay. If he has a mental issue though, he might be able to get off with a lighter sentence.
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0 # Marisol Parra 2014-04-20 00:06
Soc 305-
Emotional actions portray your state of being just as Oscar Pistorius is seeking to appeal the eye of the public to plead that he is not guilty but challenged mentally. Agree with Sadiez Moreno Durkheim refers that as the conscience collective you react to what your beliefs may be. At the time of Oscar killing Reeva he may have been overreacting which lead him to take such a harsh action that lead to kill his girlfriend. By playing the victim with such outburst in the courtroom he can reassure himself that the public will think he was out of character as the article states.
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0 # shannon barkley 2014-04-21 06:20
It is all an act. Those tears and outbursts are only to have the jury feel sorry for him and to gain sympathy points from the judge. Like so many other killers they just want to not have to own up to their actions and get off with an easy pass. This is wrong because justice wont be served if the perp gets off scot free.
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0 # julia 2014-04-24 01:26
Very well written article
So right on the mark!
I truly wish the court system took more advantage of people trained to determine these exact imbalances.
As for the person who was saying they were concerned about "Oscar" trying to play the "mental' card, I think they would have needed to do that long late now...
Again very very good summation nailed it!
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0 # tiamari 2014-04-25 00:19
I found this article to be very interesting. After looking at the facts about the case, I hope the right decision is made.
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0 # julia 2014-04-25 17:45
I wanted to post this article talks about Narcissistic behavior..and in relation to Pistorious, for those who have no idea this is a real behavioral issue.
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0 # Ian Bernadt 2014-05-19 15:13
Remember Phil Spector? He shot a pretty blond through her mouth in his Hollywood mansion after she rebuffed his advances. He had 8 firearms in his home including an Uzzi. Did Oscar react in the same way at 3 am when Reeva rejected his advances? The similarity is amazing.
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0 # terry 2014-09-12 13:26
He has got away with murder, disgusting we all thought that would happen and we all think he is guilty and knew exactly what he was doing and knew Reeva was in the bathroom, the verdict stinks.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-09-12 15:50
The judge had to ignore the fact that, among so many other things, Reeva was screaming while Oscar shot her FOUR TIMES. She screamed at the first shot and kept screaming until he delivered the kill shot. Neighbors reported the screaming. According to the judge's ruling, Oscar didn't realize that he was shooting Reeva. It's OBVIOUS that Oscar knew exactly who he was shooting.
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0 # Diarmaid Cox 2014-10-13 22:10
It would seem that there is an attitude of acceptable violence in S/A especially towards women. I do not know what the usual sentence is for "culpable homicide". Few people believe a word that has come out of his (pistorius) mouth which has been by his own admission , his priority has not been about the truth but keeping out of prison, which one can only assume is if he were to tell the TRUTH about what happened and why, if he had any genuine remorse , ownership of his behaviour,or understandable guilt surely he would have engaged with reeva's family, The Truth is he could not of told that bullshit story of his while looking into the eye's of the Victim's(REEVA' S) mother.
I am confused by the fact that the judge treated him as a liar yet accepts that it was some how an accident.
when you see the layout of the house and overlay the actions of pistorius on the night it is what it looks like MURDER.
Condolences to her family and those who knew Her.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-10-13 23:53
Diarmaid: You are quite right that the judge is contradicting herself by treating him during the trial as a liar and yet accepting (the lie) that this was some kind of horrible accident. There is no basis in evidence to conclude that OP was mistaken as to who he was shooting. And yes, violence against women is something that even female judges can abide. A product of a very distorted system that needs to go, not just in S/A but worldwide.
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0 # Errrr 2014-10-14 02:41
I wonder how much vomit was found at the scene of the crime in which he was shlumping an actual bloody corpse around the house?
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0 # Anandhi 2014-10-14 09:08
I agree with you both Dennis and Darmaid - why did he shoot 4 times as an accident?
I wrote about my views here in my blog

It is a very strange law that says one need not have dolus eventualis after shooting 4 times - it is not possible for a mentally sane person....the Judge seems to have some kind of bias here I'm sorry to say.
And lastly, what does the lost life of Reeva count for in SA - I think that would decide more than anything else....the sentence of Pistorius
She was an up and coming model with lots of potential - her life was snuffed out in such a gory fashion by a man claiming to have loved her - to me, Oscar Pistorius must be made to feel the same pain/anguish/lo ss however remorseful he maybe. Would really appreciate if you read my blog on the verdict and share it with others too....
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