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Well, now we see

December 5, 2007

There are laws that blanket us in our country. Laws that protect us from harm, from theft, from evil. The facade of law is what is bothering me. I grew believing that laws were made to protect people from having bad things happen to them. In light of what has happened it is finally dawned on me that laws do nothing but attempt to punish someone once they have done something wrong. And that all hinges on whether they get caught, if they are caught that there is enough evidence and then the worst that may happen to the worst of the worst is jail. Not that I believe jail is a nice place but in contrast to what someone may have lost it is not bad.

If you murder someone and go to jail you are still around. Living, maybe not happily, but alive none the less. Your family and friends are sad that you are there but you are there. The person whose life you took is just gone. Their family has no comfort and guiltily may only feel comforted knowing that the evil person who committed the crime could be very unhappy and the wishing of that hardly seems like comfort.

Our laws that protect innocent women and children in our country from harm are pathetically lame and inadequate. I believe a celebrity, as Debbi put it so well, would have more protection against a stranger that has no easy access to their lives than from a father who has been granted visitation and forced to have continued contact with those he is harming. Our system works on the premise that you have to have undeniable proof that someone may harm you. Why is it that battered women and children need to wait for their tormentor to harm them for the law to step in and protect them.

I know you could say that it is impossible to predict what someone will do. How far they will carry meanness and terror. Why is that we must wait and see when the person that knows them best is trying to tell the authorities and judges that they fear for their lives. They know that person because they married them. Only they know what goes on behind closed doors and to tell a woman that she is not an authority on her life and that the abuser has to show the police in an overt act that he could and would harm you is in my opinion criminal. So yes, you may have a restraining order but in order for us to really do something you have to get close enough for him to harm you and live through it and then we might help you out. If you live. If you survive. If your children are lucky enough to live through this. If he does what you have been telling us he will do we could step in then. Let him prove it and then we can assist you.

How bad does your law breaking have to be? Many minor infringements only add up if they are about the same thing. Civil law and criminal law are separate and there for one does not have to do with the other. For example, a judge orders you to help support your kids? You ignore that legal order and are in contempt of court and are neglecting your children but you are still their parent so you can still have visitation. You consistently harass your spouse and try your best to force the other person to fail financially and make life difficult in all regards despite the toll it is taking on your children and yet you may still have visitation because you are their parent.

I am a parent and view parenting as a serious responsibility and if you neglect that responsibility when another parent is upholding their end should you not loose some of your rights and privileges because you are not participating in any of the responsibility?

I am aware that the premise of our law is that you are innocent until proven guilty but when there is a pattern of abuse, statistics and studies have shown that abusers may go to any length to maintain control over the situation why is the burden upon the victim to continue to prove that they are in danger?

I talked with my friends sister last night and we cried on the phone together. The ache in her heart is something I am afraid will be so big, too big to ever overcome. The horror. The blackness. The crime that may or not have been able to have been prevented but I wish that the belief that my friend expressed, her fear of her spouse had been heeded. We need to value women and children in our society and start taking domestic violence seriously.

There are law makers that are trying to make domestic violence a hate crime which carries more serious penalties and different course of action with in the legal system. Talk to your local officials and politicians. There is a huge election approaching us. Write to your chosen candidate. Ask them to support laws that protect women and children suffering from domestic abuse. We know the patterns. Sadly, we are aware of the outcomes. Make the laws fit the seriousness of this issue.

I have to believe that my friends death was not in vain. I can’t believe that nothing will come of this. Right now she died with her children because some judges didn’t believe that taking away a long barreled gun was going to assist her and that just because he didn’t own a hand gun she was in no danger. Do not reelect those judges. Elect new law makers who will support women and children and families.

We are spending a billion dollars a day in Iraq but are sorely lacking police in every state. Protect our citizens. Here. Now.

Please consider buying a christmas gift in my friend’s family. Donate to your local domestic violence shelter. Buy a toy and bring it. Something. Anything because something must be made that makes sense of the senseless violence.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2007 2:39 am

    I read about this in The Individual Voice’s blog, never realizing who her friend was who knew Gail and her children. I’m so saddened. So very sad. I’m sorry. Bless your heart.

  2. December 6, 2007 7:11 am

    Cole: I know people who’ve been reading about Gail on my blog would want to read this. Can I send them your way now? This is so important and you say it all so well, from the heart.

  3. December 6, 2007 2:44 pm

    cole: i’m way out of the loop, because of silly internet connection problems. i send you my very best from the library computer, not because it’s much but because it’s all i’ve got to contribute. not even a drop in the bucket of your sorrow, grief and pain, i know. take care.

  4. December 6, 2007 6:26 pm

    I’ve often wondered how exactly a piece of paper would protect someone who was being harassed and physically harmed. You hit the nail on the head…there is such injustice in our legal system. I won’t even go into it here but you’ve articulated it very well here. Election time is just around the corner and it’s an excellent time to take action.

  5. December 7, 2007 1:27 am

    You make me cry, Cole. I’m writing from work, because we still don’t have the internet at home. Thinking of you and this terrible tragedy. All of it so senseless and awful.

    Talk to you soon.

    Love,
    Laura

  6. joefelso permalink
    December 7, 2007 10:49 am

    The expectation of punishment sometimes seems the only control on behavior and, in the absence of that, we have only after-the-fact remedies…which are no remedies at all. How do we make abusive spouses fear penalties more? We can start by resolving not to tolerate abuse, by making it clear how horrible it is. My deepest sympathies, Cole.

  7. December 9, 2007 12:24 am

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss.

    This kind of thing makes me so sad … and so mad. You are right to urge action, Cole. Keep talking about it, and keep urging action. You are the voice of conscience here….

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