The massacre at a Brookfield spa last Sunday, where three individuals were killed and four seriously wounded, ironically took place in the month the nation focuses its attention on the prevention of domestic violence.
Since 1989, October has been the month we nationally observe Domestic Violence Awareness. Created by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the intent of the observance is to connect battered women advocates across the nation and educate the public about this intimate form of crime committed against women and children.
We doubt Radcliffe Haughton, the shooter who took the three lives (one of whom was his estranged wife Zina Haughton) at the Azana Salon and Spa before committing suicide, was aware–or even cared if he did–of the significance of the month in which he committed his horrific act.
Most men who committed domestic violence this month and the other 11 months of the year probably didn’t know or care either.
The only thing Haughton and the other abusers cared about was revenge against the ones who they believed spurned them and their peculiar expression of “love,” the type which requires the use of violence, threats, intimidation, psychological control and–unfortunately–death.
Anti-domestic violence advocates are now engaged in an effort to assure women that saying “enough” to their abusers is the right thing to do (Zina Haughton had a restraining order on her husband at the time of her death); encouraging them to take out restraining orders to keep the abusers at bay until they can divorce them and completely break the hold they have over their lives.
The massacre has reportedly prompted state lawmakers to pursue the creation of a law that would prohibit the sale of firearms to people under restraining orders, allow police to remove guns from the scene of a domestic violence incident, as well as let courts and prosecutors know if a batterer has a conceal/carry permit.
State Sen. Lena Taylor is one of two legislators who reportedly vowed to reintroduce a failed 2009-10 bill that would have forced abusers to prove they have complied with a restraining order requiring them to surrender their guns.
Experts have said getting guns out of the reach of batterers is the most important thing lawmakers can do to keep domestic violence situations from escalating to the level it did Sunday. Will these laws stop batterers from getting their hands on guns?
No. But as one judge reportedly said, everything humanly possible must be tried to educate the public and protect the victims.
Only then can we reduce the number of domestic tragedies like the one we witnessed in Brookfield Sunday.