Human beings live in a society and more often than not, we need to be around people. Save for the handful of hermits, we need each other. And from this need, we also crave the strength that a hero can provide. A person we can strive to be.
I believe that most still want to believe in people like Lance Armstrong because that elusive figure called “the hero” has dipped back into the shadows. And there are so few we can actually look up to.
Oscar Pistorius. South African. At 11 months old, he underwent a double leg amputation. At 26, he became the first double-amputee to enter an able-bodied Olympics when he did the 400m and the 4×400 in the London Summer Olympics in 2012.
Valentine’s Day 2013 brought Pistorius to trial for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Soon afterwards, the chief police investigator of the Pistorius case, Hilton Botha, stepped down in lieu of the seven charges of attempted murder. Pistorius’ brother, Carl, is also on trial for having killed a motorcyclist in a car accident in 2010. A neighbor is accusing him of assault for having slammed a door in her face in 2009. Desmond Nair, the magistrate presiding over the case, confessed that a woman, who was recently found to have poisoned herself as well as her two children, was his cousin.
And we, as a planet, sagged our shoulders a little.
I have always believed that you vibe everything. If you are pissed, down in the dumps, wildly ecstatic or just don’t know, you send it out there. And I hate that a person who was practically born without legs is having this happen to him. Not because I want to pity him but because he was an example. An example because even I, who have my faculties, could say, “here’s a guy who fucking picked his ass up and with no legs, did what everyone thought was impossible. I have no excuse, shame nor reason to still be fat/in bed/unhealthy.”
I don’t know what happened that Valentine evening in Pretoria and I definitely do not condone taking another person’s life, especially in such a violent manner. If he had premeditated it, karma will make him pay, whether it be in a courtroom or during his lifetime. What I do know and plan to take is that the gumption to live life as a person, regardless of how you are packaged, is enough of a reason for me to believe that there is something important about a South African boy with no legs, who did not allow his circumstance to regulate his desire, and who left that image behind to become an adult and an Olympic athlete.
That, in itself, is worthy. And that’s what I’m holding on to.