Sanctuary for the Abused

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Catalysts for Violence

In his book Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say, Dr. Warren Farrell lists (p. 159) five catalysts to violence upon separation:

(1) Deplete the bank account;

(2) Leave a vitriolic, rejecting note;

(3) Take the kids;

(4) Have the spouse [or significant other] arrested [or served with a restraining order];

(5) Have a lover and go to her or his house.

We cite many examples below where these factors appear to have been catalysts for murder. But in how many other cases was the violence more limited than murder? After all, with a restraining order the "abuser" knows right where to find the "victim." It even tells them where to look on the restraining order: "Stay away from ____" and that was usually the man's home before the woman filed the order.

Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that avoiding these catalysts would greatly reduce the violence during separation? And not taking out a restraining order to get State-enforced custody of the kids, and possession of the house, car, and bank account, would also seem to be a wise move if violence is to be avoided. Even better would be a State that encouraged marriage and children and discouraged divorce and family destruction.

In a subsequent section we look at the relationship between violence and mankind. Men, as predators, are clearly at the top of the food chain, and survival suggests it best they remain there. Now the worst thing you can do when faced with a predator is to exhibit fear. That arouses a primitive instinct in any predator to attack. Yet that is exactly what women do in getting a restraining order, having their mate arrested, taking the children, leaving a vitriolic note, etc. Similarly, attacking a predator in any fashion invites a violent response at a very primitive level.

Mating privileges with females also trigger violent responses in most primates and many lower animals. In Colorado the image of mountain sheep butting heads during rut comes to mind.

These primitive responses to fear are also evident in human females. Women's reactions will differ somewhat, though often more cruelly (see The Female of the Species).

The catalysts for violence described here are thus operating at very basic biological levels to trigger the violence society hopes to avoid. Thus, current domestic violence laws and practices seem more designed to instigate violence than control it.

Examples of the catalytic precipitance of violence

Example one

On August 6, 1999, Laura Maria Gattas was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Eduardo, when she arrived for work at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs. In a front page story in The Gazette on November 3, 1999, reporter Bill Hethcock stated that: "Colorado Springs police detective Todd Drennan testified in a preliminary hearing his investigation showed Gattas was angry at his wife for having him arrested in May in Toronto, where they lived."

Example two
Another example of how restraining orders don't protect was published in the August 29, 2002, issue (p. Metro1 and Metro 7) of the Colorado Springs Gazette. Mary Lou Smith, age 52, was shot and killed the evening of August 28 th as she sat in the living room of a friend's house where she had sought safety. Police were looking for her husband, Marlon Laja Smith, age 47, in connection with the shooting. Court records show Mary Lou sought police help at least three times in August of 2002, once on allegations of domestic violence, and two other times to report her husband of 19 years violated a temporary restraining order and threatened her life.

The first call from Mrs. Smith came on August 10 th , when Mr. Smith was booked into jail but released on $1,600 bond the next day, according to court records. Mary Lou called police the second time August 12 th , and a third time on August 14 th when the responding officer reported she said her husband threatened to kill her.

While friends and counselors suggested Mrs. Smith go to a shelter, she did not heed their advice. We would suggest the law be revised to require a peace officer to transport the woman to a place of safety in such situations. Restraining orders do not supersede the law of the jungle and Mr. Smith is portrayed as a particularly jungly type.

Example three
Lisa Marie Boothe, age 44, was found dead July 4, 2002, in a Colorado Springs hotel room.

Two weeks before her husband, 41-year-old Philip Andrew Punk pled guilty in fast-track court to assault for slapping Boothe in a downtown parking lot. In that case he was sentenced to two years probation, 270 days work release, a six-month suspended jail sentence and 52 weeks of domestic violence classes. Mr. Punk apparently avoided jail time by accepting the relatively long work-release sentence in his plea bargain. But court records show he never reported for work release. As noted elsewhere we free the guilty and punish the innocent, who often remain in jail awaiting trial if they plead innocent.

Court records show Phillip Punk had convictions in five domestic violence cases involving at least three women in El Paso County in the past three years. He's been in and out of jail, on and off probation and ordered to take domestic violence classes. Court records also show Punk threatened to kill his previous wife and chop her into pieces. In another case, he pled guilty to beating a former girlfriend and choking her with her hair when he thought she was cheating on him. Obviously the current practices had no deterrent effect on Mr. Punk except to move him from one victim to the next.

Phillip Punk has now been charged with second-degree murder in Lisa Booth's death and was awaiting trial as of November, 2002.

Example four
On Wednesday, October 30, 2002, at a little after 11 AM Keith Warren, age 24, went to the third floor office of the Land Title Trust Co. in the Alamo Building in Colorado Springs where his former fiancee, 20-year-old Karri Frazier, worked. Warren, an employee of a security firm, after talking briefly with police, killed both Ms. Frazier and himself (Colorado Springs Gazette, Thursday, October 31, 2002, p. A1 and A8)

The couple had been going together for about a year and had been living together in recent months. But a fight on October 17 th , during which Karri Fraser alleged Keith Warren had punched, choked, and threatened to kill her, ended the relationship. Police arrested Mr. Warren that night and Ms. Frazier moved into her sister's home.

A restraining order was issued but two days later Karri complained to police that Keith had tried to contact her at her sister's house. Mr. Warren was then again arrested for violating the restraining order.

On Monday, October 21 st Keith Warren pled guilty to third-degree assault involving domestic violence under the 4 th Judicial District's "Fast Track" system that has a well-deserved reputation for railroading defendants. He was sentenced to two years probation, 45 days work release, and the standard 36 weeks of domestic violence prevention classes. A six-month jail sentence was suspended and a no-contact restraining order was imposed.

In the transcript (Colorado Springs Gazette, November 8, 2002, p. A9) of the 911 call made by Karri Frazier minutes before the murder/suicide, Keith Warren states: "She is the one who attacked me, and now I have to go through all this crap."

Whatever credence one puts in Mr. Warren's dying statement that he had been falsely accused, clearly his repeated arrests and the restraining orders had acted as a catalyst that enraged him to the point of homicide and suicide.

It is equally clear that the restraining orders provided Karri Frazier no effective protection whatsoever.

Example five
According to the Thursday, December 19, 2002, Denver Post (p. 3B) 51-year-old Michael Higgins killed a 40-year-old single mother of two, with whom he had a relationship, at her home south of the town of Elizabeth in Elbert County, Colorado, near dawn on Wednesday, December 18 th . Higgins was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head atop a ridge near an old quarry on the west side of Castle Rock in Douglas County around 12:30 PM the same day.

Higgins had been arrested in Castle Rock on October 25th for domestic-violence related harassment and had a restraining order against him.

Example six
According to the January 7, 2003, edition of the Detroit Free Press Marie Moses Irons, 41, a Pontiac Schools administrator in Michigan, was killed with an ax December 29, 2002, as she slept with her 2-year-old son at home in Southfield. Her estranged husband, Christopher Walter Howard, has been charged with first-degree murder. Irons had obtained a restraining order on December 23 rd , two days before Christmas and six days before she was killed.

Example seven
Vicki Sue Keller-Wendt, 45, was killed, along with her niece, Brandie Lee Keller, 20 and her friend, Douglas McCoy, 50, in March 2002, as they left the Isabella County Courthouse in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, following a dispute with Keller-Wendt's ex-husband Thomas Wendt according to the January 7, 2003, edition of the Detroit Free Press. Thomas Wendt had repeatedly violated a protection order.

Example eight
Abstracted from the Allen American

July 24, 2003 — Mark Taylor of Allen, Texas, called his brother on Monday evening, July 21 st , just before he shot himself in the chest.

Taylor told his brother that he'd just killed his wife and was going to turn the gun on himself, police said.

After receiving that call, the brother called Allen Police at about 7:50 PM. A little more than an hour later police found the bodies of Mark Taylor, 42, and Carol Renee Taylor, 39, of Allen, in a sport-utility vehicle on Cedar Drive in Allen Station Park.

Stephanie Taylor, 19, said her parents had just left a marriage counseling session when they drove to the park Carol Renee Taylor had filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against her husband on July 15, according to court records.

She said her father hadn't physically harmed her mother since they separated 10 days before their deaths, but that Mrs. Taylor had obtained the restraining order because she wasn't sure how Mark Taylor would react to the divorce.

Police Capt. Robert Flores said police are still investigating the case, including where Mark Taylor obtained the small-caliber handgun with which he shot his wife twice in the chest before killing himself.

Example nine
Abstracted from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Man kills wife after she sought protection, then commits suicide Thursday, August 7, 2003, Vancouver, Washington — The bodies of Helen Hampton Lycklama, 54, and John Lycklama, 58, were found Tuesday evening in the master bedroom of his upscale home with a .357 Magnum revolver between them on the bed, Clark County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Trimble said.

The woman, a schoolteacher in Portland, Ore., had been shot in the head, and other injuries indicated she tried to defend herself in a struggle, Trimble said.

The man, a local home builder, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Detectives believe the shootings occurred August 1, the day the two had made plans to meet at a Hazel Dell restaurant, possibly to discuss their pending divorce.

Records show the Lycklamas were married in August 1995, and sheriff's deputies said they had no reports of domestic violence involving the couple.

In April, however, Helen Lycklama filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order that barred him from molesting or disturbing her or coming within 1,000 feet of her home or workplace. "I believe my husband is stalking me," her request for the order stated.

Example ten
Abstracted from the Denver Post

Prison guard shoots estranged wife and her two sons, then himself
Wednesday, September 17, 2003, Colorado Springs — A Colorado Department of Corrections officer, whose wife apparently left him for another man, shot and killed her and her two sons, ages 5 and 10, before taking his own life, according to El Paso County sheriff's officers.

At 11:50 PM Thursday, September 11 th , Rutendra Raghunandan went to his wife's apartment. Lolita would not let him in but he managed to get inside through an open door on the balcony, according to a court document. Once inside, Raghunandan found another man in the apartment and asked him to leave. The other man, who has not been identified, did.

Lolita told a sheriff's deputy that her husband then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into the bedroom, a court document shows. "Mr. Raghunandan shoved Mrs. Raghunandan against a bedroom wall, grabbed her hair and forcefully shoved her head into the wall causing pain. Mr. Raghunandan also tore Mrs. Raghunandan's shirt," the deputy wrote in the court document.

The deputy noted that a screwdriver was embedded in a bedroom door and that a closet door had a hole in it. Raghunandan told the deputy he caused the damage.

Raghunandan was arrested and booked into the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center on suspicion of third-degree assault, domestic violence and second- degree burglary. A judge advised him of his rights Friday, and he was released on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond with a mandatory restraining order at 7:23 PM on September 12 th . Raghunandan's supervisors at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility, where he had worked as a correctional officer since April 1, 1999, were notified of the arrest, and a DV conviction would certainly have cost him his job.

On Friday, Lolita apparently also went to TESSA, who helped her obtain a civil restraining order against her husband as well. By now Rutendra had lost his wife, any children that might have been his, and his job due to his wife's actions. And with only the sketchiest of hearings and no trial, everything he owned or loved was taken from him and the legal system left him among the living dead. By Monday, he, his wife, and her sons were dead.

A neighbor, worried that she had not seen the boys, asked a maintenance worker at the apartment complex to check on the family Tuesday morning. The man opened the door, saw Lolita's body and called the sheriff's office at 8:53 AM September 16, 2003.

Lolita Raghunandan, 32, was found in the living room of her east Colorado Springs apartment, 7135 Independence Square Point, where she had moved less than a month ago after separating from her husband. Sons Akash, 10, and Rene, 5, were found in a bedroom with her husband, Rutendra Raghunandan. A 9 mm gun was found near the father.

Lt. Rodney Gehrett, El Paso County sheriff's spokesman, said detectives believe the shootings occurred one or two days before the bodies were found. Neighbors gave conflicting reports; some reported hearing shots late Sunday night, and others said they heard them Monday morning.

Even under the draconian provisions of current law, which negate virtually every Constitutional civil liberty, clearly there was no effective protection available for Lolita. Conversely, Lolita seems to have invoked at least three of the five catalysts for violence tabulated above. And note that while the newspaper referred to the children as his, DNA paternity testing of children in other similar relationships suggests there is at least a 30% chance that one or both of her children may not have been Rutendra's. That suspicion is reinforced as Lolita was apparently having an affair, since Rutendra found another man in her apartment at midnight.

Example eleven
Canton, Ohio, woman murders her husband after he obtains restraining order and files for divorce

Abstracted from Akron Beacon Journal

April 8, 2004, Akron — Sobbing throughout Wednesday's court hearing, a 38-year-old Canton woman avoided the death penalty by agreeing to plead guilty to aggravated murder and aggravated arson in the death of her husband last year.

Sass, using gasoline, started the fatal fire on the morning of September 14, 2003, at the home she once shared with husband Christopher A. Sass in the 7500 block of Oakhill Avenue Northeast in Washington Township, authorities have said.

Francine Sass, who had a history of arrests for domestic violence, waived her right to a jury trial, saying she agreed with and understood the pleas after being questioned for more than two hours by a panel of three Stark County Common Pleas judges.

Christopher Sass, who had filed for divorce in April of 2003 — even gaining a protection order — was 34.

Court records show Francine Sass was arrested for domestic violence twice — on October 19, 2002, and just five months later.

Example twelve

Warning signs go for naught and court worker murdered at city center
2004 Abstracted from a story by John Ingold published June 27, 2004, in the Denver Post

According to court records, Mrs. Tina Esparza filed for divorce from her husband in early 2004, shortly after her husband was charged with misdemeanor sex assault in Jefferson County, Colorado. Soon thereafter she got restraining orders against him for herself and their four children.

Tina Esparza was reportedly terrified of her estranged husband during the final months of her life. "I can't help but wonder," she wrote in an e-mail to her attorney, "what else he is going to do to 'make me pay' before he leaves." In e-mails, she told friends how messy her divorce had become, how angry her husband was, how she feared what he might do next.

In January, 2004, Mrs. Esparza called police and asked them to increase patrols at the parking lot at the Englewood, Colorado, City Center where she worked in the municipal court. Her friends organized a buddy system to walk her to her car every night.

In early April, Mrs. Esparza had her truck taken; she told police she suspected her husband. Because the Esparzas were still married, police didn't pursue a car theft case, but an Englewood police division chief told officers to keep a closer eye on the parking lot at the city center where she worked.

On May 14, 2004, Tina Esparza was killed at 12:43 PM as she walked in the Englewood City Center parking garage. She was shot once in the chest and died with her car keys in her hand.

Prosecutors have arrested and charged her husband, 37-year-old Gabriel Esparza, with murder.

What is the answer?
So is the answer ever more draconian laws as victim feminists would have us believe? We think not! Or should women act in ways to ensure their own safety and protection, and take responsibility for their actions? The latter would seem to be a safer course for both individuals and society. Civilization is but a thin veneer when a man is given no options and society backs him into a corner.

Other examples and opinions

Additional examples are given in When Men Are Driven To Desperation. A man who intends to kill a woman and plans to take his own life, or knows that he will face murder charges, won't be deterred by the penalties for violating a restraining order, as too many headlines show.

Whether a woman's partner be male or female (lesbian relationships are apparently the most violent of all) restraining orders do not protect. By violating the civil rights, and eliminating due process for men they are imposed upon, such orders can only incite. By stripping everything a man owns and loves from him without so much as a hearing, society makes him treacherous. Men with nothing to lose are very dangerous.

The National Violence Against Women survey (NVAW, p. 52) found that approximately one-half of the restraining orders women took out against males were known to have been violated and nearly one-third of the orders men had against women were basically ignored.

Several other studies also suggest that, despite their widespread use, restraining orders have little, if any, protective effect. Cathy Young quotes: "A 1984 study by Janice Grau, Jeffrey Fagan, and Sandra Wexler has concluded that the orders have a protective effect for women who were not severely victimized in the first place. If so, peddling them to women in real danger is like giving cancer patients aspirin."

Incredibly, the Equal Justice Foundation has never encountered a case where a restraining order provided any documented level of protection, or even anecdotes about how a restraining order made a woman safe. And we hear from many women on this issue (see In Women's Own Words).

Unfortunately, since restraining orders don't protect endangered women (or men), radical feminists then claim that even more draconian laws are required. As one result we have the present nightmarish system that protects no one and violates virtually every civil liberty a man has.

Making the penalties for violating a restraining order ever more draconian is very unlikely to change the rate at which such orders are violated but does increase the catalytic effect such orders have on violence. Dugan and others (2001) found that:

"...Increases in the willingness of prosecutors' offices to take cases of protection order violation were associated with increases in the homicide of white married intimates, black unmarried intimates, and white unmarried females..."
One manifestation of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome. Are we not doing exactly that with restraining orders?

Instead of more iron-handed laws we need to provide means of protecting women in danger.

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shared by Barbara at 12:24 AM



I am appalled by the comment in Example 10 that states, "On Friday, Lolita apparently also went TESSA, who helped her obtain a civil restraining order order against her husband as well. By now Rutendra had lost his wife, any children that might have been his, and his job due to HIS WIFE'S ACTIONS." (emphasis added)Whoever wrote this comment seems to blame the victim for the choices of a murderous abuser. HE was the one that caused the resulting actions to take place that affected losing his wife, children, and his job!! HIS choices of violence caused the results that transpired, including murdering his victim(s). STOP BLAMING THE VICTIM FOR THE CHOICES THAT MURDEROUS ABUSERS MAKE! THANKS.

8:30 AM  

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