School shootings and domestic violence shootings are two separate, complex problems—even when they become intertwined, as they have today. Crucial in the development of this tragedy is that the victim, Karen Elaine Smith, had recently left her abuser—the most dangerous time and circumstance for a battered woman. In our righteous grief and anger because this shooting took place at a school and included child victims, we must not forget the women like Ms. Smith who need us to address this story as a domestic violence issue.
I'm a Gloria Siren, a licensed attorney, and a mother of four adults. I own my own tools, drive a stick shift, am quite fond of my Old Country Roses china, can do the NY Times Crossword every day of the week, and am told I'm "high-maintenance." Whatever. I'm an experienced traveler who can navigate through airport security faster than George Clooney's character in "Up in the Air" (2009).
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Don’t tell her what to do; talk to her and listen. Offer your help, but understand that to leave or not to leave is her decision. Respect it. And tell her you respect her.
Acknowledge the pain and turmoil she is in, most especially the emotional turmoil. If she doesn’t leave him, don’t give up on her leaving him. Give her love, respect, support, and time. It’s going to take all of that.
As I listen to the commentary and interviews in broadcast media and read op-ed pieces about the recent stabbings and shootings, I struggle to accept the truth: there but for some sort of grace goes my family. We could have been chasing after my mother on a paranoid spree of violence. We could any day be the victims of someone else’s unstable loved one. So could you. How do we face such a threat? How do we diffuse the ill, who are so often victims themselves.