Thursday, July 24, 2008

Subject to Control

The trouble had been going on for years, apparently. She had a restraining order against him, and he was prohibited from possessing firearms. She had broken off their relationship long ago, and had moved on with the man she married. But there can be a madness among men, in many cultures around the world, that insists on owning women.

Willits is a small city with a small staff, and she was the municipal payroll officer. The first responder on the scene was the fire chief, who just happened to be going to the bank when she was shot to death in her car, in this parking lot. The gunman had killed himself immediately. Someone called 911. Try as he might, with his calming competence, the fire chief could not save this woman, this colleague, with his bare hands. He was able to rescue her girlfriend, in the car seat beside her, badly bleeding from two bullets that may have passed through her friend. The police chief arrived, and saw this woman he had gone to high school with, now dead. It happened last November. I did not know her, but this event grieved many, many people, and she will not be forgotten. The shock echoed through all of us.

Such madness is never, ever about love. It is about property, and about control.


Anonymous said...

I am here and read the post but don't know what I read. Maybe it is me and the time.

Hilda said...

What a sad and awful story.

I tend to agree with your conclusion that it's about property and control. We have a long way to go educating most Filipinos about human and childrens rights. Many fathers think that they can do whatever they want with their children just because they are their children.

Dina said...

Oi, very dramatic, sad, shocking.
Somehow it reminds me of the "honor killings" that still happen here in the Moslem families.

Dina said...

P.S. A nice (borrowed) photo of Obama awaits you.

Kathy from Willits said...

This was such a sad occurance. I will never forget it. Your take on it is right on.

Knoxville Girl said...

What a tragic tale - and very strongly felt in a small community where anonimity is not an option. This story is about three things:
1. control
2. control
3. control
I'm stumbling down from my soapbox now, off to grind my teeth.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Elaine, I followed your comment on my blog back to this blogsite.

I added a link on my site to yours. This post is not the place for me to interupt, but the next time that you are talking about Willits history I will chime in.

Rosie said...

What a sad story...
It reminds me of a short story called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver

Louis la Vache said...

"Such madness is never, ever about love. It is about property, and about control."

Amen. Very sadly, amen.

Halcyon said...

That's really shocking. It's hard when violence makes its way into a community, especially one that seems as close-knit as your town.

I'm glad they have put up this plaque though so she won't be forgotten.

USelaine said...

Abraham - You read about a murder that happened on the parking lot in the picture.

Hilda - It is awful, and there seems to be no end to it through history and across the globe.

Dina - That may be one variety of the impulse to control women, in some communities. But I've read that tribal "honor killings" predate Islam, and that most Muslim families around the world would not consider it. The concept of Paul's letter including "male headship" is easily debated, and can be used by alpha-male Christians to dominate their wives. But most Christians do not use it to serve such self-indulgence. As we saw here in Willits, I'm convinced primitive ideas can crop up anywhere, using any available rationale.

Kathy - Thank you for that. It really hit all of us hard, didn't it? I sometimes wonder how those public servants are coping.

KG - Exactly. Let's always be vigilant of our civil rights, at the very least. It was hard to post this story, but I don't want it to eat at you.

Ernie - Welcome to my blog! You can chime in any time. I've enjoyed discovering your blog as well.

Rose - I'm not familiar with the story, but I hope it recognizes the misnomer here. Love was only found in the broken hearts of the community.

Louis - And with you I say, Amen.

Halcyon - It really is a close knit community, especially among those families that have spent their lives here. I only arrived here in 2001.

The plaque is a little misleading, I admit. It actually was set into the parking lot quite a while ago to indicate that the lot itself is private property, allowing the bank to legally warn off loiterers, I suppose. I found its wording to be ironic, considering what happened there.

Thank you all for your comments. This was a difficult subject, and I wasn't sure anyone would be up for it. You bless me with your interest.

Jules said...

So sad but so common. We have had a spat of these in Australia lately some involving children as well which is too horrific to contemplate!!!

As you say Love has absolutely nothing to do with it!!!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Did I ever tell you your my hero?

USelaine said...

Jules - I'm so sad to hear it. It seems all of human history is peppered with the grim reality of sociopaths.

Palm Axis - You are very, very kind. The fire and police chiefs were the heroes that day.

Petrea Burchard said...

Elaine, your writing is succinct, terse, right on. You give us the event without flowery details and trust we don't need them.

Control: he needed it. He knew--he KNEW it was wrong. But he couldn't control himself and he was willing to die to satisfy the need. A deeply-embedded insanity.