May 282009

As we pointed out several weeks ago, the recent way over the top reaction to Swine Flu comes at the cost of diverting resources and attention from known and frequently curable epidemics.  In an excellent piece with the very excellent title, Domestic Violence More Deadly Than Flu, Casey Gwinn points out that while we were having the bejeepers scared out of us by the media, government and world health agencies, more people died from domestic violence than of swine flu.

As of May 2, there have been 167 confirmed cases of the flu in the United States and one death. But there has been little news about the mass killings of 68 people across America in the last 52 days, with men doing all the killing and virtually all related to men with a history of violence against women.*

There have been 12 mass killings in the last 52 days in the United States. In 10 of the 12, the killer had a history of violence against women. Eleven of the 12 were directly related to or defined as domestic violence. Sixty-eight people have been killed in those mass killings including 20 children and seven police officers. Those who have lost their lives are listed.

March 10 – Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people, including his mother, grandmother, aunt and uncle, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy in rural Alabama. He then killed himself. The worst mass killing in the history of Alabama killed: Virginia White, 74; James White, 55; Tracy Wise, 34; Dean Wise, 15; James Starling, 34; Lisa McClendon, Michael’s mom; Bruce Maloy, 51; Andrea Myers, 31; and Corrine Gracy Myers, 18 months.

March 21-Lovelle Mixon, a parolee with a history of violence against women, sexual assault, and other violent crimes shot and killed four heroic Oakland police officers – Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40; Officer John Hege, 41, SWAT Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43; and SWAT Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35 before he was shot and killed by police.

March 29-Robert Stewart, 45, shot and killed eight people at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Robbins, N.C. He came to the center seeking to kill his wife, Wanda Neal, 43, a nurse’s assistant. She was working in the Alzheimers Unit when he entered the facility and survived after herding residents into the TV Room and locking the door.

Mr. Gwinn goes on to list all of the murders.  It is quite a list and you should read it in its entirety and heed his wise call to action,

The next time you hear someone say they cannot afford to keep a family justice center or domestic violence shelter program open because of the economy, ask them to read this article. Next time, you hear someone say that we don’t need any new, evolving, innovative approaches to family violence prevention because our current service delivery models are doing the job well; ask them to read the list of 68 names from the 52 bloody days of domestic violence in 2009.

Don’t be silent; don’t let elected officials, or policy makers, or bureaucrats, or disinterested community members ignore the tragedy of domestic violence. We must address flu in America and around the world but we must also take guns away from men who are violent and start spending the time, energy, and money necessary to stop the pandemic of violence by men against women that is destroying families, killing women, men, and children, and continuing to destroy the lives of so many.

In late April, President Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion dollars to fight the current outbreak of Swine Flu.  Consider that the next time funds to your local shelter are cut and yet another woman in your community dies at the hands of her abuser. It’s not that we don’t have the funds, it is how we choose to spend them.

*As of May 27, there are 100 known deaths from Swine Flu world-wide and the death toll for intimate violence world-wide would obviously be much higher.

 May 28, 2009  Posted by on May 28, 2009

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