For children of a single mother – divorced, widowed, single by choice – who is the most dangerous person in their lives? That’s right, the mother’s boyfriend, partner or new husband.
For women parting from an abusive boyfriend or husband, often for the sake of their children’s safety, who is the most dangerous person?
The same guy. Particularly when he has a firearm. Even when there’s a protective order against him.
A commonsense approach to protective orders would suggest that police would disarm a person who presented a threat severe enough for a court to recognize it. That is what police would naturally do if threats were directed toward serving officers. At them.
Apparently, though, the lives of people who don’t wear a badge are less valuable.
Every month in the US, women are killed by an angry man wielding a gun. He’s not some deranged stranger they’ve never met. He’s the man they used to accept into their body, into their life and the lives of their children. Before, that is, he began his abuse.
Maybe he slapped, molested, raped her children. Perhaps he beat her, strangled her, put poisonous liquids into her coffee. She may have tried several times to leave, but fell into the “oh, baby, I’m sorry” trap. It might be that her religion encouraged her to stay with him, or her extended family. Maybe, deep down, she just didn’t believe she deserved better.
Now she does. She’s no longer willing to protect this maniac, no longer willing to subject her children and herself to the chamber of horrors that is domestic terrorism.
So she applies for a protective order. Sometimes, courts refuse to believe that a man is so abusive to people who are smaller and weaker than he. Shame on them!
Increasingly, courts are willing to believe that a man who seems like an upstanding citizen, a pillar of the community, can in private life turn into a monstrous Mr. Hyde. So they issue the protective order for a term of weeks or months. Distance is spelled out, times are detailed.
Yet they fail to take away from him the means to murder. They let him keep his guns.
He then uses them against his former partner. Often, rather than face prison, he kills himself after he murders. Result: two adults dead, orphaned children in shock and needing love, care, and therapy.
Voice after voice has been raised against this deadly loophole. Yet it remains. Too many angry men, too many with guns.
Consider this: if you were being stalked by a man with murder in mind, who might approach you anywhere – your work, children’s school, mall, church – would you want him to have a gun in his hand?