the weekend of November 16th, two young men were shot and killed
in separate incidents in Santa Rosa, California. Both homicides
were quickly dubbed "gang-related" (magic words in police
lingo). The cops and the press were immediately breast-beating about
community safety and the need to correct this threat to public safety
before it gets worse.
Santa Rosa Police Chief Mike Dunbaugh began campaigning for a
$1.5 million, 12-person gang task force. City officials moved
swiftly, proposing increased hotel taxes, a special parcel tax
of $40 to $50 a year per household, and other creative and expensive
ways to give the chief what he wants.
men tragically killed ... $1.5 million ... immediate police action
In the Purple
Berets' office, we have a notebook labeled "MURDERS."
It catalogs the deaths of more than 25 Sonoma County women and
a few of their children at the hands of their husbands, ex-husbands,
boyfriends or ex-boyfriends. At least 18 have died since the María
Teresa Macias homicide in 1996 a murder that, according
to law enforcement, caused them to completely revamp their handling
of domestic violence and made them "see the light."
Four of the
women in that notebook died this year: Jeanie Lombard, Kim
DeLongis, Melia Ranteesi, and Kimberly Ramming. These women died
grisly, hate-filled deaths. Not impersonal drive-bys incited by
hormones and someone wearing the wrong color or flipping the wrong
sign, these murders were up close and personal way
more on these homicides, click
So why don't
we see Chief Dunbaugh out lobbying the City Council for
let's see, four dead women, that must be worth $3 million
lobbying for $3 million for a 24-person domestic violence
task force? And where are those city officials with their creative
ways to come up with all that money?
Even though it would be money much better spent, not only at ending
domestic violence, but at ending "gang violence," under
the current law enforcement leadership, that will never happen.
Violence Linked to Aggression at Home"
Recently the Boston Globe reported on a 7-year study of
youth violence. Conducted jointly by Harvard and Brandeis universities,
the study's findings debunk the commonly-held notions that youth
violence correlates more or less directly to poverty, race, and
researchers found the most direct connection to violence in kids
ages 7 to 13 is how much violence they've seen and experienced
at home. The amount of aggression children witness in their
parents is a powerful predictor of how violent the children will
become, according to author Kurt Fischer, professor of education
and human development at Harvard.
without prestigious university studies, it's pretty damned obvious:
kids who grow up in violent households are much more likely to
use violence as a way of solving conflicts or getting what they
want. What else would they use?
By far the
vast majority of the violence kids witness at home is violence
against their mothers or step-mothers by her male partner. Fully
one-third to one-half of all calls to police nationwide are to
report violence against women by their husbands, ex-husbands,
boyfriends or ex-boyfriends more by a factor of ten than
calls to report gang violence.
be fooled by the hype. If the police, the press and city officials
really wanted to stop violence in the streets, they'd stop violence
against women in their homes. This isn't rocket science. It isn't
even feminism. It's just common sense, borne out by every study,
every statistic, and even acknowledged in police training videos.
a letter to the Santa Rosa City Council asking that they instruct
their police department to use their already abundant resources
to stop street violence by fighting the real domestic terrorism:
the violence women face every day at the hands of their intimate
requires, not millions more in tax dollars, but the political
will to have police do their jobs and enforce the laws
already in place to protect women from domestic violence.
And if the
council really feels they need to raise another $1.5 million,
how about putting it into more low-cost housing, not more high-priced
and repressive cops?
PO Box 1678
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-1678