Don't jump to conclusions on Oscar Pistorius: ex-girlfriend
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In sport, Oscar Pistorius demonstrated how easy it is to be wrong about people. An athlete with prosthetic limbs competing at the Olympic Games? No way!
That lesson, don't leap to hasty, ill-informed conclusions, is worth remembering now as the double-amputee Olympian stands charged with murder in the shooting of his girlfriend.
Her life is gone. Anyone who declares that his life, for all intents and purposes, is now over, too, had better be 1000 per cent sure of themselves.
The question "What happened?" is, of course, natural. It was on all our lips. But the response cannot be found by pouring through old interviews Pistorius gave or from his now silent Twitter account.
This is a murder investigation, not a guessing game. Serious stuff that needs to be treated as such.
At times like these, when a public figure we perhaps liked and admired is accused of things that are abhorrent, we want answers and we want them immediately.
We want to know not only the facts but what they mean, for us and the wider world. The first reaction is often shock. Then the questions: Does this mean we should also toss out everything we thought we knew about this person? If they were wrong'uns, was it also wrong to cheer for them, take pleasure in what they did and even be inspired by it?
In short, when our stars fall off the pedestals we build for them, we want to know not only whether we should burn their biographies, wristbands and commemorative T-shirts but also erase from our minds absolutely everything they said, did and supposedly stood for.