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

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

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

161669207
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.
Advertisement
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. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Buy a Small Business
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 PM Inking the Deal Why tattoo parlors are a great small-business bet.
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 9:39 PM Tom Cruise Dies Over and Over Again in This Edge of Tomorrow Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?