HomeOpinion & AnalysisNo need to keep guns in houses

No need to keep guns in houses

While some people were trying to save their “romantic” lives by buying that last- minute bouquet of flowers, box of chocolates or securing a dinner reservation, friends and relatives of South African model Reeva Steenkamp were learning about the brutal death of their loved one.

report by grace mutandwa

We might never find out if the South African Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, killed Reeva by mistake or if he had planned it all along, but what we know for sure is that he murdered his girlfriend.

When our heroes fall from grace, we hope that they or those close to them will make even just a small gesture to show they are sorry — a minor redeeming feature.

In my mind I had already decided that Oscar knowingly murdered his girlfriend. There is no way a man can get out of bed without noticing that his partner is not in bed unless he is blind. Even a blind man would feel around the bed to ensure his partner is in bed if he is too scared to call out. The first thing any normal couple would do is waking each other up if they hear any unsettling noise. Reeva was not a tiny mouse, she was a grown woman and her absence in bed would have been the first thing Oscar would have noticed.

We all know just how much rage can be produced by misplaced jealousy. The love to control a loved one can also bring out the worst in some people. We live in a continuously violent world where guns feature prominently. Some people feel a sense of power through gun possession while others use guns to instil fear and mask their own insecurities.

Reeva was not just a beautiful woman with brains, but she was a woman who wanted to make a difference. She was a woman who had joined other women in the battle to eradicate violence against women. On the day Reeva’s life ended some men and women in South Africa and other parts of the world were participating in the One Billion Rising (OBR) global campaign to demand an end to the culture of rape and any other forms of violence against girls and women. She was denied the opportunity not just to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but to also support a cause she strongly believed in — the OBR campaign.

Both Reeva and Oscar were big names. Oscar was a hero who had overcome his mobile disability and become an Paralympic champion athlete. We hold in great esteem people we see as heroes.

But the reality is that most heroes are greatly flawed. Martin Luther King was a womaniser but to this day we still love him. There are several other people we are in awe of even when we know that their characters are flawed. We always hold onto a small hope that through all those flaws, our heroes will still exhibit some redeeming behaviour. We cling to the hope that even when they behave badly our heroes will show a human side to them.

Oscar’s lawyers might be able to distinguish between what is premeditated murder and what is simple murder but at the end of the day, the brutality that comes out of trying to chop down the prosecution does not in any way show any remorse on the part of the accused. It just shows a man who knows he did wrong but is unwilling to pay for his crime or still wants to play on our emotions to feel sorry for him.

Hearing that Oscar’s father actually smiled in court at the fact that Oscar’s lawyer was poking holes into the prosecution’s case made me wonder what kind of parents the athlete had. Does Oscar’s family feel any compassion for Reeva’s family at all?

This tragedy brought out the differences between the two families. Reeva’s family chose to mourn in a dignified manner, never once saying anything that the Pistorius family would find painful. On the other hand, the Pistorius family are all guns blazing, going all out to tell the world that Oscar is not guilty of murder. Bottom line is Oscar killed Reeva and in a world of mere mortals, that is murder.

We all make mistakes or do bad things that might not necessarily include full-scale murder but what separates us from animals is our ability to feel remorse. If that ability is non-existent then we are no better than animals. Even when we defend those that have erred, we must spare a thought for the grieving family. High-powered spin will never clean a blood-spattered reputation.

We also need to face up to the fact that guns are dangerous and should never be kept in homes. If you keep a gun in your home at some point you or someone in your house is going to use it and I am willing to bet my last penny that it will not be to kill a rat. How many men do we know who pretended they kept guns to scare away burglars but actually ended up slaughtering their wives and children?

Violence of any form should scare us – it should worry us. Anyone who finds solace in owning a gun must know that they are contributing to a violent society. Give your children a legacy of building, not destruction. Help eradicate the culture of violence.

Twitter: GraceMutandwa1

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