cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
The shootings at the spa in Brookfield have again focused us on the issue of domestic violence. It again shows the inability of a court’s restraining order to bring tranquility, and to stop the violence. The restraining order might well have been the final straw that ended this situation with the death of both people in this relationship. It again shows the road map of repeated encounters with law enforcement that ended in the death of the spouse and others in the immediate area on the day that this violence moved to the last stage.
Domestic violence is likely around us more often than we realize when we see someone we know who simply doesn’t seem like himself of herself, or when someone we know seems to have had an unfortunate series of falls or stumbles or whatever is used as the excuse for bruises or swelling or scrapes.
Domestic violence is among those occurrences that many of us choose to ignore or to explain away since we don’t want to get involved beyond feeling sorry for the other person or by being willing to accept the explanations that don’t necessarily add up because it is none of our business.
We saw, again, the relative impotence of the local police if there is not sufficient evidence or if the abused spouse is unwilling to admit to him or herself that the relationship is not going to be a good relationship ever again. The doubt of self-worth that emerges is a terribly degenerating part of such situations from what we’re told.
I recall one situation in the workplace when several of us noticed a difference in a female co-worker that moved to bruises and twisted ankles and so on that were explained with professed clumsiness. I had met her spouse at company functions and he didn’t seem ‘the type’ to be involved, but do we ever realize just what ‘the type’ really is, or that it can present itself as different in nearly every instance?
Attempts at intervention failed in this instance. For all I know, those types of attempted interventions might fail in many such situations. Friends and associates typically aren’t equipped as professionals would be and therefore approach these situations as concerned friends without knowing what ought to be done short of providing a shoulder for the other to lean on, if that is something they want. I suspect that shame and embarrassment are typical companions of the person in the abusive relationship. Self-esteem is not typically something you see in these situations.
I lost track of that person and former associates as I moved on to a different company. I never saw a news report about an arrest or killing in this situation, and I have no way of knowing where each person is today, either physically or emotionally.
I thought about that experience as I read about the spouse and two other people who died at the hand of the man who then took his own life. I thought about it as I read follow-up stories where we learned that the Brown Deer Police Department had been in regular contact through the years leading up to this final chapter. I thought about it as I recalled similar situations that seem too often to end in some kind of violence.
I am thankful that I haven’t any more direct experience than I’ve had in such situations, and I worry about all the other such cases that obviously exist in our own community or in our own circle of acquaintances…and I realize how impotent we are even if we do become aware of such a situation. I think about the police calls for domestic disturbances that we see in the local newspapers almost every week.
Where will the next emotional explosion occur and what will be the human cost?