Tuesday, June 14, 2016

 

Democracy Now: The connection between mass killings and domestic violence



ThinkProgress reports that between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife.

Last year alone, nearly a third of mass shooting deaths were related in some way to domestic violence.


by Larry Geller

Related: In Orlando, as Usual, Domestic Violence Was Ignored Red Flag (Rolling Stone, 6/13/2016)

For the final segment of today’s Democracy Now (tonight or tomorrow morning on `Olelo or on the web here) Amy Goodman interviewed journalist Soraya Chemaly, the author of the Rolling Stone article linked above.

[Amy Goodman]: We turn now to this often-overlooked connection between domestic violence and mass shootings. ThinkProgress reports between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife or ex-wife. Just this month in California, a UCLA doctoral student gunned down his professor, prompting a lockdown on campus. But first, Mainak Sarkar allegedly killed his estranged wife in Minnesota, climbing through a window to kill her in her home, and then he drove thousands of miles to California and killed his professor. Last year alone, nearly a third of mass shooting deaths were related in some way to domestic violence. And the majority of mass shootings in this country actually take place inside the home. Just this past weekend, as national attention was fixed to the massacre in Orlando, a man in New Mexico allegedly gunned down his wife and their four daughters.

[Democracy Now, When It Comes to Orlando Massacre, Domestic Violence is the Red Flag We Aren't Talking About, 6/14/2016]

Time for a discussion is limited in a short video/radio segment, but there is an implicit call for action. My interpretation: police departments should spend less time spying on mosques and Muslim communities and more time refining their response to domestic violence incidents.

Unfortunately, as the interview mentions, police intervention is not an option for many abused spouses. This subject deserves far more attention no matter where we live. One last snip from the Democracy Now interview transcript:

Soraya Chemaly]: … With domestic violence, we tend to think still that it’s private, very often separated from the way we think about public violence or terrorism. And if we consider, however, the connection between institutionalized and state-sanctioned violence—and in this instance, I’m actually explicitly talking about extremely high levels of domestic violence in our policing communities; some estimates of self-reported domestic violence put that number at about 40 percent of policing communities—you begin to see the overlap between private behavior and public behavior, and then the implications in terms of state action or inaction. For many people who are suffering from domestic violence, going to the police is simply not an option, either for matters of their community and race or gender and sexual identity, but also simply because they feel that they don’t have faith that when they go to the police, that as an institution it will be supportive. And so, until we better address domestic violence in policing communities itself, it’s very difficult to say that the police are an active resource in these situations. They understand the violence, for sure. But the question is: How do they respond to it?

Police are under scrutiny as protests continue across the country against police violence, even if our local newspaper fails to report on it. Is this mention of domestic violence in “40 percent of policing communities” part of a larger and more pervasive issue that cries out for reform?

This is an important program, but it also calls for a community response and a focus on recognizing and remedying domestic violence.



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