I'm Obsessed With the Oscar Pistorius Trial

The South African athlete's current murder trial is both captivating and horrifying. Ever been fixated on any trials or criminal cases?
Publish date:
April 20, 2014
domestic violence, murder, crime, justice, courts, punishment, oscar pistorius

You guys, I have an addiction. And it's not a cute or fun or glamorous one, either. It's a pretty morbid and wretched one, actually -- it does no one any good, and it only serves to infuriate and sadden me (as, I guess, certain addictions are wont to do), but here goes: I'm addicted to the Oscar Pistorius trial. Or maybe "obsessed" is a better word.I can't stop reading and refreshing the news headlines every day -- all the minute details keep shifting and changing, and 27-year-old Pistorius, not surprisingly, keeps talking himself into a deeper and deeper hole. The trial wrapped up its third week yesterday, but is taking a break until May 5.

In case you've forgotten -- or you've been hiding in your dank little hidey-cave like a sad little hermit all winter, and you can't seem to snap out of that unfortunate, isolate-y mess -- Oscar Pistorius is a Big Famous South African sprint runner (nicknamed "Blade Runner"). Before attracting notoriety for his role in this crime and the ensuing trial, he was famous mostly for all his athletic accomplishments. Both of his legs were amputated below the knee when he was under a year old, but he's still managed to compete -- and win -- lots of impressive races for both able-bodied and below-the-knee amputees. Until February 2013, Pistorius was heralded as a sort of masterful inspiring beacon of hope for Paralympians everywhere. But that changed, like I said, on Valentine's Day of 2013. You probably don't need me to recount all the details seeing as it's been all over the news for more than a year now, but basically Pistorius shot his girlfriend -- the model and law-school grad Reeva Steenkamp, 29 -- four times through his bathroom door in the middle of the night. He claimed it was a mistake -- that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder -- but there's a bunch of evidence pointing to that simply not being the case. The prosecution, led by a super-persistent and intense lawyer dubbed "Pit Bull" Gerrie Nel, is arguing that he killed her knowingly after a blowout fight. (He's been accused of domestic violence in the past.)So yeah. Lots of disgust, lots of horror, lots of notoriety. One of the most sickening elements of watching the trial -- which I've been doing as much as possible while I work from home -- is the grand production Pistorius has been putting on daily for both trial-watchers and the judge. He's been sobbing loudly and performatively whenever details of the shooting are brought up; he's even retched and PUKED INTO A BUCKET multiple times when, apparently, the trial was simply too painful for his delicate constitution.

He's been putting on such a show, you know? It makes him look even worse -- he "doth protest too much," etc. Plus, I never really forgave him for making another dramatic gesture of throwing his own separate memorial service for the woman he killed. That took nerve. Dude, give it up already. Admit you meant it and pay for your crime. Steenkamp deserves that much.

But one semi-positive thing that's come out of this seriously shitty case is the light it's been shining on domestic violence in South Africa, which reportedly has "the highest rate ever reported in research anywhere in the world." Sadly, Steenkamp herself spoke out against domestic violence when she was alive. She tweeted about it and posted on Instagram just a few days before she was killed: “I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against the rape of individuals in SA. RIP Anene Booysen. #rape #crime #sayNO." Back to my obsession, it's not particularly weird for me to be obsessed with this trial -- I've been obsessed with plenty of other ones over the years. First came the Jeffrey Dahmer trial when I was in grade school, then OJ Simpson's case years later. Crime stuff has always been a Thing for me; back in high school, my best friend and I both bought a creepy book called The Serial Killer Letters, which is, well, exactly what it sounds like.Have you been watching or following the Pistorius trial? Which other ones have you been creepily obsessed with? Hoping and trusting I'm not alone in this...