Monday, March 22, 2010

"When Restraining Orders Cannot Stop A Killer"

That was the title of the ABC News "Nightline" segment I just watched, describing cases where women were murdered by exes who refused to take "it's over, now leave me alone" as an answer.
"Police patrolled the area, making extra trips to homes where Cindy Bischof stayed, and arrested Giroux several times, but Mike Bischof said there weren't adequate tools to safeguard victims like his sister.

"'They were as helpful as they could be to the extent that they had the latitude to be helpful,' he said. 'We believe that there weren't the tools available to safeguard these just wasn't part of the arsenal.'"
Interesting he should use the word "arsenal" to describe defense options in Illinois, the only state with absolutely no way for anyone to legally carry a handgun for protection, openly or concealed.

You might remember Illinois as the state where women are advised to vomit if attacked. Nowhere in the entire segment was the option of women arming themselves ever even mentioned.
"'[Domestic violence] can be stopped,' said Diane Rosenfeld, a Harvard Law school lecturer and expert on domestic violence and restraining orders. 'I think that law enforcement and the criminal justice system is not doing enough presently, obviously, to protect women from very predictable, very preventable types of violence.'"
How about women protecting themselves from very predictable, very preventable types of violence?

That's what I find most offensive about the idea that sole responsibility for keeping women -- or anyone, for that matter -- safe lies with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. It implies that women are incapable of taking responsibility for their own safety.

Oh, I agree a hundred thousand percent that putting violent offenders in prison and keeping them there is a good thing to do. But too many times, actions that would land somebody in jail in a heartbeat if taken against a male stranger are ignored or minimized by those same law enforcement and the criminal justice systems. I remember an acquaintance describing her soon-to-be-ex-husband running her car off the road into the ditch. She called 911, and when the deputies arrived, he was beating on her windows and yelling, "I'm gonna kill you, bitch." Was he arrested? No. The deputies just told him, "Aw, you don't wanna do that, Andy," and let him go. Nor did they investigate when he tampered with a gas line to try to blow up her house.

What finally got through to him was a new live-in boyfriend with a gun who made it quite clear that Andy's behavior was unacceptable.

Illinois has since passed a law to allow GPS tracking of stalkers, named after Cindy Bischof. A monitoring station will know immediately if a stalker wearing an ankle bracelet violates a restraining order.

If the monitors know where the intended victim is 24 hours a day so they can identify a violation. Then they notify the police.

The police still have to get there before it's too late.

The victim as her own first responder is already there to stop the threat. Now if Illinois would only let women carry concealed handguns to protect themselves.


Anonymous said...

You should probably read LawDog's meditations on 'paper armor'

Fenris said...

But we can't have people taking the law into their own hands! That would imply they're competent to look after themselves. Obviously that isn't the case or all those nice laws in Illinois wouldn't be on the books.

Besides, can't you see all those irrational, vengeful women running around blasting their boyfriends in "self defense" any time some poor sap crosses her?

/heavy sarcasm

Hecate said...

Like where the ISP used to claim the majority of women attempting to defend themselves with a gun shoot somebody they don't want to?

I don't want to shoot anyone, but if I have to I will shoot him (or her) to the ground.

And LawDog's "Meditations On Paper Armour" should be required reading for any woman seeking a restraining order.

Viatecio said...

I think part of the problem is the women who allow the cycle to keep going on, even in the face of restraining orders and court dates: they simply do not have the self-confidence or self-esteem to stand up and say "Enough." I can just see some woman really seriously trying to defend herself, but is convinved that "she doens't want to do that." Think about the influence these guys have over their girlfri--er, "property" even in court. They can convince them through subtle gestures or mumbled threats to drop the charges or not testify.

I am not one of those women, and if any guy tried anything of that sort with me, it would only happen ONCE, and then surgical re-attachment of various body appendages would be necessary. Unfortunately, I don't know if it's realistic without some serious counseling to make most DV victims realize that yes, they do have the power to make him stop, but it has to come from within first before they even think about pointing a gun anywhere, much less pulling the trigger.

My local paper did a series on DV in Ohio (the actual series is the Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 pieces under the "Hot Issue" link). The "Day 3" article is particularly frightening.