Pistorius has proclaimed his innocence. His family issued a statement Saturday criticizing the tone of the criminal investigation.
I don't pretend to know what happened in Pistorius' home. The government believes it was the equivalent of first-degree murder in the U.S. Who knows? Maybe it was a tragic accident. We must allow the legal process to play out.
But is it even possible today for a court proceeding involving a celebrity not to eventually devolve into a sensationalized freak show?
The O.J. trial proved that the prevailing color of justice was neither black nor white, but rather green. Those with equal amounts of fame and fortune are more likely to walk free even if the evidence heavily tilts against them. The case also ignited the “reality television” genre, triggering a collective voyeurism that only worsened as subsequent high-profile criminal trials and investigations became fodder for nightly cable programming.
The justice system is supposed to speak for the victims, those who tragically no longer can speak for themselves or fear taking on the more powerful because they're afraid of damaging retribution. But in the years since O.J., it too often has become a sideshow in which the victims are forgotten and everyone's fixated instead on the celebrity who stands accused.
South Africa should brace itself if Pistorius eventually stands trial.
If history's any judge, it'll be a circus.