There are a number of situations where other lesser included crimes and homicides that are intertwined. These crimes involve domestic violence and abuse, stalking, workplace violence and the active shooter. In 2009, a man went to the dental office in Simi Valley, CA where his wife was employed where he shot and killed her and injured two other employees. In 2011, a man went to the Beauty Salon in Seal Beach, CA where he shot and killed his wife and seven other patrons of the salon. And in 2017, a man checked in at the office of the school where his wife worked as a special needs teacher. The man went into her classroom and opened fire where he killed his wife and a 8-year old special needs student.
One only has to pay attention to news broadcast or search the internet where they will find a plethora of additional cases where these intertwined crimes have been committed.
Briefly addressing each inter-related crime, we can shed light on some of the issues. If a relationship or marriage has digressed to the point where domestic unrest exists and especially if violence is a factor, the couple needs professional help to end the violence.
The person who either has or is being battered should contact law enforcement as soon as possible to stop the violence. The “primary physical aggressor” should be held accountable for their physical aggression. If an arrest has been made, there may be a 12 hour hold placed on the arrested person. This period of time is meant as a cooling off period to prevent the aggressor from immediately being released from custody and returning to continue further acts of aggression. During this time, it is hopeful that the situation and tempers have an opportunity to quell. This time can also be used for the victim to obtain a variety of services that are available from obtaining safe shelter to obtaining a temporary protection order, etc.
The effectiveness of a protection order obtained and served upon the aggressor may only work if that person served does not want further engagement by law enforcement. Simply stated, if the person who has been served with a protection order is afraid of going to jail, the protection order may serve it’s purpose to stop further acts of violence. However, if that person has a do not care attitude towards the entire legal system, the likelihood of further domestic violence is significantly increased.
In many places, the person who has a legal restraining or protection order against them is not supposed to be in possession of a firearm, but the person who has been served may be on the “honor system” and not abide by the law. I am unaware of any jurisdiction where the person has a place to surrender their firearms, or any process for a law enforcement officer to seize any and all of their weapons.
The stalking factor appears because in a domestic situation, both parties know the usual nuances of each other’s lives. Places where they work, recreate, worship in church services and the locations of friends or relatives houses are places where a person may usually go to either continue their life or seek temporary shelter. The person who seeks to do the other person harm will go to one or more of those places on the day and time they have chosen to commit any number of crimes. If the person is at their place of work, any act of violence that occurs in the work environment may be labeled as workplace violence. If the violence is committed with a firearm and other innocent people are involved, the crime is usually classified as an active shooter.
So, the people involved in the hundreds if not thousands of domestic violence incidents that occur all around us never tell others around them of the potential for a deadly violent act occurring due to their crazy domestic partner.
We can hope to empower the victim of a domestic violence issue to seek professional help. Whether that’s in the form of professional counseling or via law enforcement, intervention is necessary. Those of us when going about or daily lives at work, play or otherwise need to be aware of the sounds or visual observations of these extreme acts of violence. And lastly, we need to have our Personal Survival Plan ready to implement no matter where we are when/if the violence occurs around us.