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Johan Erasmus
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A similar experience to Oscar's

14 April 2014, 07:28

This is not to pick a side but merely to share my personal experience regarding an event different, yet very similar to Oscar Pistorius'.

It happened a few weeks ago. I was sitting in our dining room working late and my wife went off to bed. At about 1am in the morning I was done, I put off the lights and locked the security gate. I then walked quietly to the main bedroom where my wife was fast asleep for some time now. I slowly opened the door. My wife suddenly yelled my name, “Johan, Johan!!”. My first thought was that someone must have entered the room via a window in the bathroom and is now in our bedroom. I didn’t respond and just peered through the slightly opened door to see if I could observe any movement (she can’t see me yet, the door opens away from the bed). I was dead quiet so that the intruder will not know where I am. The gut-wrenching fear and feeling of vulnerability is overwhelming. A split second thought to run and get a knife or my self-defense revolver is in the safe was quickly abandoned because she shouted again. I barged in and there was no-one.

Misunderstanding of note! She thought that I was already asleep and that someone was entering our room, and I thought that an intruder was hiding in the room and moved when I entered and my wife saw him. This little misunderstanding shed new light on what Oscar must have felt. I too have a disability ie. I can’t see very well, and am completely reliant on glasses or lenses. I feel very vulnerable at night when I go to bed and always have my glasses very close. If they should get knocked off my face or I can’t get them when something is in my house I am rendered useless and fear for my wife’s safety.

In or country where we have the highest crime rates in the world 100% of criminals are armed and won’t hesitate to use it. If I first asked my wife if she is ok (knowing she was on the bed) when I knew the intruder was already in our room, he would have known where I was and could shoot. The thing is, if my gun was close and I saw something in the room/bathroom I would have probably shot. The fear is just too great. If I get hurt or killed they will rape my wife (this is how a South African man thinks). I want to put myself in between her and the danger. The fact is that she might have got up to hide in the room, I thought she was on the bed and if I saw something could have shot and mistakenly shot her...

You can’t think straight when you are overwhelmed with fear and everything happens so quickly. The reason I do not have my revolver close to me is because I know that mistakes like these can happen and has happened many times to South Africans who have to live in constant “security mode”. Example; The dad who shot and killed his young daughter through the door mistaking her for and intruder. He by accidentally killed the one he wanted to protect.

Justice will be served in this trial, but after some careful pondering and taking all elements of the South African man’s responsibilities into consideration with my own personal experience, I can easily see why Oscar might have done what he did.

Johan Erasmus

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