Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bladerunner and the double edged sword of "disability"

Contributor: Tasia Alexopoulos

I'm not going to mince words: Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Let's just be honest for five minutes and admit that he most likely murdered her like tens of thousands of people murder their domestic partners every single day. Women are most likely to meet an untimely demise at the hands of their intimate partner, this is a fact. I imagine that pro athletes have an increased rate of domestic violence considering their predilection for certain hormonal treatments that increase their rage and control issues(testimony today revealed that Pistorius was allegedly shooting testosterone). Sure, maybe that's a generalization, but in a world where most women have experienced violence at the hands of a loved one I'm just going to go ahead and generalize away.

I just think it's bullshit that you'd wake up in the middle of the night, partner out of bed, sounds in the bathroom and think "oh my god, there's a burglar in the bathroom!" Don't you think that if you figured a burglar had broken in your first thought would be "where is my girlfriend? Is she in danger?" Not if you're the Blade Runner. If you're the Blade Runner you whip out your 9mm and shoot blindly into a closed, locked door. Then later on you sob about how sorry you are and how much you loved her. Well, you didn't love her enough to call out her name when you thought there was an intruder in your home.

The trajectory of the bullets showed the gun was fired pointing down and from a height which conflicts with Pistorius' account of shooting up at the mystery intruder from the ground because he was without his artificial legs. Because he wasn't on his legs he felt "vulnerable." When you're feeling vulnerable you shoot wildly into the night, not caring who you might hit with your errant bullets! This is where I think the case gets incredibly interesting: if Pistorius was an "able bodied" athlete would his defense be using the vulnerability argument? I just really don't think it would be the same if they were like "OJ Simpson was feeling so vulnerable you guys, he was so vulnerable he didn't even think of what he was doing!" "Chris Benoit and Mark Rogowski were just feeling so terrified!" No. We don't say those things in the media about "regular" men. We talk about their rage. Their anger. How uncontrollable they are. Those are masculine characteristics and after wading through report after report of men killing their partners I haven't found a single one that said he did it because he was scared she was a burglar. In fact, masculine passion use to be considered a viable defense in a case where a man killed his partner. Seriously.

It's ridiculous. Pistorius is a world class athlete. He ran at the Olympics. This guy is fitter and more confident than most people in the world. Feeling vulnerable in his gated community, in his mansion? That is crazy. It is absolutely insanely crazy. The only reason that the defense is saying he felt scared is because he is a double amputee. His defense is using Ableism to convince the world that he didn't murder his girlfriend. They're using the argument that he is suddenly "less than" to say that fear made him shoot without thinking. Despite the fact that, even without his artificial legs, Pistorius could probably take down a burglar they are telling the world that we should pity him.

Well, we shouldn't pity him. We shouldn't think of him any differently. He is a man accused of shooting his girlfriend to death while she sat on the toilet in their home. A more pertinent question would be: if Pistorius was really so paranoid of a burglar that he would shoot madly like that, what the fuck is wrong with him? Instead of being swayed by the vulnerability argument why don't we look at statistics, at the world, at every single piece of evidence that points to the fact that Pistorius probably killed his girlfriend as part of a larger pattern of domestic violence.  Let's not ignore that women are most unsafe in their own homes.  Guess what: dudes without legs are capable of domestic violence too and of murder, even murders of beautiful law students who deserved much better.

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