Oscar Pistorius Claims He Shot His Girlfriend by Accident, but Police Are Skeptical.

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Feb. 14 2013 11:18 AM

What We Can Learn About Gun Control From the Oscar Pistorius Shooting

South Africa's Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius leaves the Boshkop police station after allegedly killing his girlfriend

Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Terrible news to wake up to this morning: Oscar Pistorius, who was heavily covered during the Olympics for being the first double amputee to participate as a track athlete, was arrested this morning for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius claims her death was an accident, and he mistook her for a burglar. Burglary is a common problem in South Africa, but the police aren't buying his story: 

Amanda Marcotte Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

But speaking to reporters in Pretoria, another police spokeswoman, Brig. Denise Beukes said those reports had taken her by surprise.
She also said that the police had responded previously to complaints of a “domestic nature” at the runner’s home but declined to give further details.
There have ''previously been incidents at the home of Mr. Oscar Pistorius,'' said police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but Beukes said that the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Steenkamp and ''there is no other suspect involved.''
''Yes there are witnesses and there have also been interviews this morning,'' Beukes told reporters outside the gated complex where Pistorius lived. ''We are talking about neighbors and people that heard things that happened earlier in the evening and when the shooting took place.''

Steenkamp's Twitter feed in the day before her murder is a depressing read. She not only retweeted a call for people to unite against violence against women, but she also seemed to be very excited about Valentine's Day: 

While Steenkamp died in South Africa, her murder should serve as an important reminder as to why it's so critical to push for stricter regulations on gun sales here in the U.S. As Lucy Berrington for Women's eNews points out, the ease with which abusive men can get their hands on a gun leads to dramatically more domestic homicides than we would otherwise have. 

Domestic abuse is not more prevalent in the United States than in other developed countries. But in the United States, the availability of firearms makes it far more lethal. When a gun is involved, the risk of a fatal outcome is 12 times greater than in domestic assaults involving other weapons or bodily force, research shows.

South Africa passed a major gun control act in 2000, and the result has been a dramatic reduction in murders of women. The rate of murder by gun was cut in half, but contrary to the claims of pro-gun advocates, murderers did not simply switch to other methods to kill, as the rate of murders by other means stayed stable. Steenkamp's death demonstrates that gun control will not stop all gun murders, but the data suggests that it can at least dramatically reduce their number. 



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Public Opinion Should Not Dictate the Government’s Ebola Policies

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.