Category Archives: domestic abuse

To Our Republican Neighbors: You Don’t Get To Talk About Weinstein, Ever

Excuse me, but if Republicans are pleased to discuss the odious adventures of Harvey Weinstein, then I have one statement for them: STFU.  They have no room to talk. They have no credibility on this subject.  This isn’t a matter of “both sides do it.”  No, this is a matter of no one should do it, and it’s the Democrats, the Liberals, who are willing to back up their opprobrium with action.  The Republicans, not so much.

Where’s John Edwards?  Certainly not in a leadership position in the Democratic Party.  Compare to Sen. David Vitter, whose involvement with the DC Madam in 2007 was conveniently overlooked by Republicans in 2010 when he was returned to the Senate.  Where’s Anthony Weiner? Certainly not active in Democratic Party operations these days.  How long did Republicans attempt to cover for Rep. Denny Hastert?  How many blind eyes were averted from Rep. Mark Foley?   And, now we come to one Donald J. Trump,  who’s been accused of various forms of sexual misconduct by at least 12 women (as of October 2016), and while we’re on the topic … what’s on the rest of those Access Hollywood Tapes, the ones we’ve not yet heard?

The ultimate irony is listening to Ultra Snowflake Tucker Carlson present his whackadoodle theory that Sec. Hillary Clinton is somehow responsible for enabling Weinstein’s behavior while he’s sitting in Bill O’Reilly’s chair broadcasting on Roger Ailes network.   As at least one comedian has observed, this renders irony officially dead.

If Republicans want to discuss the widespread and inhumane instances of spousal abuse, sexual assault and harassment, and downright misogyny,  then they may do so — but they don’t get the “both sides” do it argument so long as the Misogynist In Chief is in the White House, and they don’t get to own it while their Secretary of Education is trying to make it harder to victims of assault on college campuses to report and sustain charges against their attackers.

Republicans don’t have the high ground while they make it more difficult for women to control what happens to their own bodies.  Please, don’t try to convince me that you have women’s interests at heart while removing contraceptive prescriptions from mandatory health insurance coverage.  Don’t tell me you care about women’s health while passing some inane bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, especially not when reputable scientific reports indicate there’s no “pain” until at least after 29 weeks, and your evidence to the contrary is spurious at best.   We know why late term abortions happen, either the woman couldn’t get access to abortion services earlier because of unavailability or logistics, or there were serious complications which could be lethal for the fetus, the mother, or both.  [Gutt]

Spare me the rhetoric while Republicans can find every dubious argument under the sun why women don’t deserve to be paid the same as men for the same work.  Thank you, I’d already heard that claptrap back in the ’60s when I was told “men had to support the family,” and other, equally risible bits of self-serving chatter.  One of my favorite examples of the latter being “it’ll just open the way for frivolous lawsuits,” — yes, and now explain to me how a suit brought to gain equal pay for equal work is “frivolous?”  But, but, but, there will be thousands of them!  Thus admitting that the practice is general, and if that’s the case then there shouldn’t be thousands of cases, there probably ought to be millions.

So, spare me you Righteous Republican faux outrage. Spare me your pontification.  Spare me your indignation and alarm until you have called for all the women who have alleged sexual misconduct on the part of your standard bearer in the Oval Office to be acknowledged and recompensed.  Until then: STFU.

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Filed under abortion, domestic abuse, feminism, Politics, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Let’s Discuss the Ladies?

Boom: The National Rifle Association is pleased to tell us that only Donald Trump will defend our 2nd Amendment rights…which isn’t true. Now it’s running a $6.5 million ad buy telling ladies to strap on the holsters to ‘fight back.’ [Salon]  This may not only be a function of current politics – the NRA has a problem, “not enough people are buying guns.”

Gun ownership graph What we do have is an increase in the number of people who own multiple guns:

“Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every American adult, according to the most definitive portrait of US gun ownership in two decades. But the new survey estimates that 133m of these guns are concentrated in the hands of just 3% of American adults – a group of super-owners who have amassed an average of 17 guns each.” [Guardian]

Little wonder the manufacturers want to sell more to the ladies?  Unless, of course the ladies have  seen the actual numbers:

“If we examine data from within the United States, the odds aren’t any better for gun owners. The most recent study examining the relationship between firearms and homicide rates on a state level, published last April, found a significant positive relationship between gun ownership and overall homicide levels. Using data from 1981–2010 and the best firearm ownership proxy to date, the study found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate and a 0.7 percent increase in the total homicide rate.” [Slate]

The Good Woman with a Gun is simply a variation on the old Good Guy with a  Gun, and neither is true.

Bust: What we could do is to have a national discussion of domestic violence and begin by taking rape, domestic violence, and assaults on women more seriously.   Jeff Van Gundy had some words for the NBA which are well worth highlighting.

Huh? There’s an anti-Question 1 ad in Nevada, showing the various law enforcement people against the proposition which would close the gun show loophole in the Silver State.  We ought to assume that these law enforcement professionals are tasked with the enforcement of NRS 203: 360 which forbids the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, addicts, those adjudicated mentally ill, and those guilty of domestic violence.  Now the question becomes WHY would any law enforcement officer NOT want to find out if some felon, fugitive, addict, mentally ill, or domestic abuser was trying to purchase firearms at the local gun show?

Duh?  That little exchange in the Vice Presidential Debate last night about “punishing women who have abortions merits a comment or two.

Governor Pence has some antediluvian thoughts on mothers, womanhood, and the value thereof, see this piece in Alternet.   See also: Cosmopolitan;

“Though there is little doubt how extreme Pence’s anti-abortion stance is, he made it explicitly clear on the campaign trail. “I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” he said during a town hall in July. Of a Trump/Pence administration, he said, “We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

Then there was the not-so-small matter of Pence cutting funding for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, thus cutting HIV testing for Scott County, Indiana.

“In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions.

Mothers-to-be in Scott County must drive 50 miles to visit a gynecologist or an obstetrician. That’s not an isolated insight. Of Indiana’s 92 counties, Scott County has ranked 92nd in unhealthiness for five straight years.” [ChiTrib]

Health professional saw what was coming when the funding was cut. They begged for help from the state. None was forthcoming. Better an AIDS epidemic in a rural area than funding which might tangentially touch abortion services?

Mr. Trump is a classic misogynist, Governor Pence is downright dangerous.

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Filed under abortion, domestic abuse, Gun Issues, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Domestic Violence is Everyone’s Business: Just Perhaps Not The State of Nevada’s Business?

Domestic violence costs $8.3 billion in expenses annually: a combination of higher medical costs ($5.8 billion) and lost productivity ($2.5 billion).” [Forbes]

In the same year this quotation appeared in Forbes magazine, the Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence reported 58,582 contacts concerning  domestic violence in the state. 37,439 of them were first time contacts, another 13,670 were “repeats,” and there were 7,473 follow up contacts. [FY2012-13 pdf]  In the next annual report there were a total of 61,229 contacts; 38,042 initial, 15,165 repeats, and 8,022 follow ups. [FY 2013-2014 pdf]  The calendar year report for 2014 shows  a total of 65,026 contacts, 40,927 first time, 15,534 repeats, and 8,565 follow ups. [CYR 2014 pdf]

DV victims total We also know that in calendar year 2014 the primary victims were most often women (38,145) as contrasted to men (2,782).  We can also infer from the numbers that they are in the age range 18-64, or during the years in which they are most likely to be employed.

Indeed, some 9,119 of the primary victims were someone’s full time or part time employee.  Perhaps what we can’t know is how many of those in the unemployed category were women who were isolated in abusive domestic

DV victims employment statussituations where they were forbidden to work outside the home, or in some instances to have only very tenuous contacts with those outside the house.

What we can know, and do, is that in national terms we are losing an estimated $2.5 Billion annually in lost productivity costs. Domestic violence contributes to lost wages and reduced earnings, it impeded  the victim’s job advancement, and compromises safety for the employees and their co-workers. [BBoston]   That $2.5 billion also includes time lost as the victims miss work, arrive late or have to leave work early to care for themselves or other family members.

A Fall 2000 report for the State Attorney General’s office (pdf)  outlines recommendations for employers to mitigate the effects of domestic violence: (1) condition perpetrators’ continuing employment on remaining non-violent; (2) intervene against stalkers in the workplace; (3) safeguard battered employees’ employment and careers by providing flexible schedules, leaves of absence, and establishing enlightened personnel policies; (4) provide employment security to battered employees; (5) provide available resources to support and advocate for battered employees.

A follow up report “Nevada Domestic Violence Prevention Council Domestic Violence and the Workplace:  A Toolkit for Employers,” (pdf) was issued by former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.  This document links to the Workplaces Respond (to domestic and sexual violence) model policy guidelines to implement the recommendations set forth in the 2000 report.   The model policy guidelines would work well for moderate to large sized businesses, what isn’t clear is how many employers in Nevada have  clearly stated and implemented domestic violence prevention and mitigation policies in their personnel manuals. For that matter, it’s difficult to determine precisely what the state is doing – assuming that the state should function as as example for other entities to follow.

Let’s look at the  the model policy and compare it to the State Personnel Manual.  The Model Policy includes the following:

“[Employer] recognizes that victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence may need time off to obtain or attempt to obtain a restraining order or any other legal assistance to help ensure his or her health, safety, or welfare or that of his or her child. [Employer] will work in collaboration with the employee to provide reasonable and flexible leave options when an employee or his or her child is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and/or stalking. [Employer] will work with employee to provide paid leave first before requiring an employee to utilize unpaid leave.”  [Model Policy]

Here’s an exercise. (1) Download the State of Nevada’s Employee Handbook. (pdf)  (2) Type <Cntrl F>  (3) Type “Domestic” in the inquiry box.”  If you don’t want to do this yourself then you’ll have to trust that I found 5 instances of the term “domestic” anywhere in the document.  The first concerns insurance benefits, the second concerns domestic partner benefits, the third concerns survivor benefits, the fourth is in the same paragraph as the third, and the fifth finally gets around to the issue at hand:

“ The personal safety and health of each employee is of primary importance. It is the responsibility of all employees to support safety and health programs by reporting any threats received or restraining orders granted against a disgruntled spouse, domestic partner, acquaintance, or others. You must report all incidents of direct or indirect threats and actual violent events to a supervisor, and the matter will be treated seriously. A direct or indirect threat and/or actual violence will be documented and reported to both the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Administration, Risk Management Division using the report form found on their website http://risk.nv.gov/LP/WV/. All incidents will be immediately investigated and appropriate action taken. (NAC 284.646-284.650)”

The link takes you to the Risk Management site.  In short, the Nevada policy manual for employees addresses workplace violence, but not necessarily violence which takes place “off campus.”  Yes, workplace violence should be taken seriously. Yes, domestic violence all too often translates to workplace violence; but NO the State of Nevada has not adopted personnel guidelines which would put a dent in those lost productivity, lost career advancement, lost earnings and wages columns that plague other institutions?

Comparing the Model Policy with the State Employee Handbook, the Model Policy calls for collaborative efforts to assist a victim of domestic violence get a restraining order or legal assistance.  The victim should give the employer a reasonable amount of time to juggle schedules or fill in when calling in, and the employer should make every effort to secure the legal protections which may be necessary.

The State Handbook does address what happens after the battery.

“If you are a full-time employee, you earn 10 hours (1¼ working days) of sick leave for each month of full-time service. Part-time employees earn a prorated amount based on full-time equivalent service. Sick leave can be used as soon as it is accrued. (NRS 284.355, NAC 284.113, 284.5415) You may only use sick leave for authorized reasons. Authorized reasons for using sick leave are: an inability to work because of illness or injury, incapacity due to pregnancy or childbirth, medical and dental appointments, family illness (subject to some limitations), and death in the immediate family.”

Apparently, about as close as the state gets to addressing the needs of a battered person to secure legal or technical assistance, is:

“An employee does not need to use this leave entitlement in one block. Leave can be taken intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule when medically necessary. Employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule leave for planned medical treatment so as not to unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Leave due to qualifying exigencies may also be taken on an intermittent basis.”  (emphasis added)

If we put this all together we have a situation in which (1) Nevada obviously has issues regarding domestic violence in the State; (2) Domestic violence has ramifications beyond the medical and legal costs associated with it and has an impact on earning power, career advancement, and productivity; (3) Nevada has at least two publications endorsing and promoting positive measures employers may take to reduce the medical, legal, and economic impact of domestic violence; and (4) Nevada doesn’t include policies designed to assist victims of domestic violence in its own Personnel Manual.

What’s wrong with this picture?

References: Weller, “Covering Domestic Violence: A Guide for Informed Media Reporting in Nevada, (pdf)  State of Nevada Employee Handbook, Department of Administration, Division of Human Resource Management, (pdf)  National Resource Center – Workplaces Respond to Domestic and Sexual Violence, Model Workplace Policy.   Catherine Cortez Masto, AttyGen, “Nevada Domestic Violence Prevention Council Domestic Violence and the Workplace: A Toolkit for Employers.” (pdf) Nevada Network Against Domestic Violence: Statewide Statistics FY July 2013-June 2014. (pdf) NNADV Calendar Year Report Jan.-Dec. 2014 (pdf) NNADV. org general resources and web site; statistics.

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Filed under domestic abuse, Economy, Nevada, Nevada economy, Nevada politics, Women's Issues

Silver Bullets and Straw Man Arguments: Gun Legislation in Nevada (Updated)

OK Corral Here we go again.  Another spate of gun violence yields another editorial assault on common sense gun regulation from conservative sources, this time the editors of the Las Vegas Review Journal.  The title says it all, “Expanded gun background checks not a cure all.”  There are at least a couple of things wrong with this argument.  First, it’s a straw man argument. No one is claiming that universal background checks will cure the American violence problem.  The claim is that closing the gun-show loophole and requiring background checks for sales to non-family members will reduce the probability of gun violence.  Secondly, as the editorial itself acknowledges, background checks can prevent gun sales to domestic abusers.

Even this legislation, SB 175, didn’t really go far enough, and in some respects represents a step backward in terms of controlling access to firearms.  Those guilty of domestic violence, who are subject to an extended order of protection, are forbidden from purchasing or otherwise acquiring a firearm during the period the order of protection is in effect. To get this small attempt at controlling firearm access by domestic abusers, meant the NRA won state control of all gun related issues, county concealed carry permits in Clark County went by the wayside, and expanded language was added to liability in instances in which a “reasonable person might be afraid” for his or her life.

The second logical issue with the editorial is good old fashioned circular reasoning.  The authors logic appears to be that (1) effective background checks require efficient offender databases; (2) Nevada has an inefficient offender data base system; therefore (3) Nevada cannot have effective background checks.  This logic works IF one is prepared to skip blithely over the question of how to make the Nevada offender data base more efficient – and is perilously close to the old Undistributed Middle.

And then comes the perfectly predictable: “Regardless, as has been shown countless times, criminals are not going to follow any gun control law.”  So, if we extrapolate this to its obvious, and much referenced conclusion, there is no reason to enact sanctions against bank robbery and bear baiting because criminals are not going to follow the law?

Now back to the Domestic Violence issue.  What was gained by victims of domestic abuse in SB 175? Answer: Precious Little. [DB April 2015]  Under Section 5 of the bill a domestic abuser (the Adverse Party) was forbidden to purchase firearms for the duration of an extended order of protection.  Please recall that Nevada has two types of restraining orders, temporary and extended, and it can take up to 45 days to get an extended order. [NRS 33.031]   Meanwhile, the statistics are available for the period from April to June 2015. (pdf)

Between April and June 2015, there were 16,245 “contacts” made by authorities concerning domestic violence, and 10,637 were “first time,” another 3,537 were “repeats,” and there were 2,071 “follow up contacts.” Of the 10,637 victims 9,938 were women (93.4%), 699 were men (4.27%).  The age of the victim was not reported in 4,316 instances.  There were 1,479 female victims between the ages of 18-29; 2,577 female victims between the ages of 30-44; and, 1,193 female victims between the ages of 45-64.  Arrests were made in 1,490 cases, no arrest was made in 1,648 cases, and 135 cases are pending.  During the period between April and June 2015 there were 3,327 temporary orders of protection prepared.  2,402 temporary orders of protection/restraining orders were provided.

Assuming that law enforcement and the judicial system were functioning effectively, we had 2,402 cases in a three month period in which it was determined that the victim – most likely a woman – was deserving of a temporary order of protection.  However, the “adverse party” would be free to retain possession of firearms during the length of the temporary order, and for 45 days until an extended order of protection could be issued.

These numbers take on some urgency when put in the context of domestic violence in Nevada.  Back in 2012 25 of the 84 homicides within Las Vegas police jurisdiction were related to domestic violence, the numbers were worse in 2013 when 33 of 105 homicides were related to domestic disputes. [LVRJ]

More alarming still, the national report published by USA Today, on mass killings and family problems.  We have a “mass killing” about every two weeks (since 2006);  the FBI counted 172 between 2006 and 2011.  These numbers may be an undercount because of erroneous and excluded cases, leaving the FBI with a 57% accuracy rate.  And here comes the disturbing part:  Of those mass killings, in 53% the victims were family members. (Other 21%, Public 15%, Robbery/Burglary related 11%) A break up of some kind is the tipping point in 1 out of every 4 mass killings that aren’t connected to strangers, gang violence, or a robbery gone wrong. One in four victims were close family members, children, siblings, spouses, etc. In 77% of the mass killings the weapon used was a gun.  One-third of the victims were under the age of 18; and, 75% of the guns involved were handguns.

The USA Today report drilled down further: semi-automatic hand guns were involved in 49.6% of the shootings; handgun/revolver in 22.4%; and automatic pistols in 0.9%.  Single shot rifles were used in 9.5%; semi-automatic rifles in 8.6%; and automatic rifles in 0.4% of the cases. A shotgun was used in 8.6% of the deadly events.  One third of the perpetrators will be dead at the scene.

It’s certainly true, a domestic abuser will resort to whatever weapon may be at hand from guns to kitchen knives to baseball bats and to manual strangulation… however, as these statistics suggest the outcome is more likely to be deadly if a firearm is involved.

So, should the “little woman” be armed, does the gun in the home constitute an “equalizer?” The answer is no.

“A recent meta-analysis concluded what many people already knew: the availability of firearms is a strong risk factor for both homicide and suicide. But the study came to another conclusion that is rarely mentioned in the gun control debate: females are uniquely impacted by the availability of a firearm. Indeed, the study found that women with access to firearms become homicide victims at significantly higher rates than men.

It has long been recognized that higher rates of gun availability correlate with higher rates of female homicide. Women in the United States account for 84 percent of all female firearm victims in the developed world, even though they make up only a third of the developed world’s female population. And within American borders, women die at higher rates from suicide, homicide, and accidental firearm deaths in states where guns are more widely available This is true even after controlling for factors such as urbanization, alcohol use, education, poverty, and divorce rates.” [LATimes]

In another study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers interviewed 417 women across 67 battered women’s shelters. Nearly a third of these women had lived in a household with a firearm. In two-thirds of the homes, their intimate partners had used the gun against them, usually threatening to kill (71.4 percent) them. A very small percentage of these women (7 percent) had used a gun successfully in self-defense, and primarily just to scare the attacking male partner away. Indeed, gun threats in the home against women by their intimate partners appear to be more common across the United States than self-defense uses of guns by women. [LATimes]

Another large case-control study compared women who were murdered by their intimate partner with a control group of battered women. Only 16 percent of the women who had been abused, but not murdered, had guns in their homes, whereas 51 percent of the murder victims did. In fact, not a single study to date has shown that the risk of any crime including burglary, robbery, home invasion, or spousal abuse against a female is decreased through gun ownership. Though there are examples of women using a gun to defend themselves, they are few and far between, and not statistically significant. [LATimes]

Thus much for the advocacy of yet more guns, and yet more permits to be able to conceal those guns?  And yet more reason to take note of the statistics on domestic violence, the presence of guns in unstable households, and the need to remove firearms from volatile domestic situations.

Questions Remain

  • When do the NRA talking points asserting there is no magic single solution to gun violence become stale and hackneyed?  When does the public come to understand that this is a straw man argument which does little good for the safety of the state and the families residing in this state?
  • When does the profoundly illogical argument that because something might be difficult, or even require more effort, that the desired outcome (less gun violence) is therefore impossible, become a clear example of circular reasoning and unfounded assertion?
  • When do we act on the statistics which strongly suggest that the presence of a firearm in a home increases the probability of lethal domestic violence and suicide? Not to mention tragic incidents involving children.
  • When do we take into consideration the fact that there are some 45 days under Nevada law during which a domestic abuser is free to retain firearms, indeed, free to obtain more “firepower” during that period?
  • What additional arguments must be made before those who advocate for zero restrictions on firearm ownership/possession understand that in a civilized society the temporary removal of firearms from a volatile domestic situation doesn’t mean there is a violation of a Constitutional right?

Update: The Violence Policy Center released its national report today. Nevada is 5th in the nation in female homicide rate.

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Filed under domestic abuse, Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics, Women's Issues

The Ammosexual Assembly: Nevada Legislature and SB 175

NV Legislature wide A much amended SB 175 is still alive in the Nevada Legislature.  [LTN]  This “gun bill” contains several items on the ammosexual wish list, and with copious amendments got out of the Senate on a 14-5 vote.  There’s a subtle, but important revision in Amendment 136 which should given reasonable individuals some hope for sanity in an otherwise irrational session.  In the Kill At Will portion – otherwise known as Stand Your Ground – the language changes from “knew or had reason to believe” that the shooter was imperiled, to “reasonably believed” the victim of the shooting was in the act of perpetrating a violent crime.

This is improved language because merely because I have a reason to think a person is in the act of committing a felony doesn’t necessarily mean I have a good reason, or even a rational explanation.  The improved language now specifies that I must provide a rational explanation, something a reasonable person might believe.  The new language sets a higher and better standard.

The second change of note is that the aforesaid ‘knowledge’ must relate to the act of committing a violent crime, not merely any felony.  If a felonious action is all that is necessary then a person embezzling more than $650 may be said to be in the act of committing a Class C felony in this state – and who gets shot for embezzlement?  Or mortgage fraud? Or even running a chop shop?

The language is still a bit sloppy in the sections dealing with reciprocity of concealed carry permitting.  Existing law requires that the out of state permit be “substantially similar to” or “more stringent than” Nevada statutes. The new language merely says the state will describe any training, class, or program required by the initiating state.  That an issuing agency (sheriff’s department) knows the training level doesn’t necessarily mean it is an appropriate training level, or that the restrictions on an individual seeking  a concealed carry permit can be discerned from a description of training, classes, or programs.

The domestic violence issue is also barely resolved.  Here’s the portion, with the line reference numbers retained:

37 Sec. 5. Chapter 33 of NRS is hereby amended by adding thereto a new 38 section to read as follows: 39 1. If a court issues an extended order pursuant to NRS 33.030, the adverse 40 party shall not subsequently purchase or otherwise acquire any firearm during 41 the period that the extended order is in effect. 42 2. A person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 is guilty of a 43 category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a 44 minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 45 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.”

Here’s the problem – notice that in line 39 the confiscation of firearms is associated with an extended order of protection.  The related statute is NRS 33.030 and 33.033.   It’s necessary at this point to look at the provisions of NRS 33.020 – which says there can be two types of protection orders: temporary and extended.  A temporary order of protection would not, under the language of SB 175, allow the authorities to confiscate firearms from the ‘adversarial party.’ AKA the abuser.  There’s a hair-splitting argument to be made that getting an extended order allows the abuser to have his or her day in court, and thus wouldn’t violate the 2nd Amendment.  This argument works if, and almost only if, the absolutist theory of the 2nd Amendment applies.

If the absolutist theory is attached to other elements in the Bill of Rights then perhaps one couldn’t be immediately arrested for yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater? Or, for indulging in the ancient Aztec religious ceremony of removing the ‘still beating heart’ to offer to the Sun God? One would have to have “his or her day in court” before any preventative measures could be taken to mitigate further damage? Yes, this is a silly argument, but nonetheless it illustrates the limitations of any absolutist theoretical framework. And there is evidence of ‘immediate damage.’

Nevada, Louisiana, Alaska, and South Carolina have the highest rates of homicide for women who are victims of domestic violence, all with a rate in the range of 2.00 to 2.50. [HuffPo] This is not the Top Four in the Nation category of which we should be proud.

We might be able to get out of this unfortunate ranking by inserting language which allows the removal of firearms from a premise if any order of protection is granted, until the expiration of that order.  The firearms have not been permanently taken from the rightful owner, they’ve just been removed temporarily from a volatile environment in which the two ‘adults’ may not be the only potential victims – bullets have been known for going through apartment walls.

If the ammosexual contingent in the Nevada Legislature can contain its enthusiasm for shootin’ up the state, we might want to have a serious discussion about whether we want the least restrictive statutes for firearm possession and ownership, or those which have the greatest potential for removing obvious threats to public safety.

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Violence Leaves Home: Active Shooting Incidents and Domestic Violence

The report (pdf) from a joint FBI/Texas State University doesn’t have much good news for the absolutists of the National Rifle Association.  The study analyzed shooting incidents in the United States over the past 13 years and reported the following resolutions to the incidents.

The Violence

In 37 (23.1%) of the 160 active shooting incidents the shooter committed suicide at the scene before police arrived.  In 21 (13.1%) of the incidents an unarmed citizen successfully restrained the shooter.  In 2 of the incidents (1.3%) armed off-duty law enforcement personnel ended the threat.  In 5 of the incidents armed non-law enforcement citizens ended the shootings in which 3 shooters were killed, 1 committed suicide, and 1 was wounded.  For all the noise about arming everyone to the gunwales, only 5 of the 160 incidents ended because of armed citizen intervention.  No doubt the NRA ammosexuals would argue that if More Citizens were Armed, then More Incidents would have been resolved at the scene by a Citizen Shooter.  This conclusion is actually counter-intuitive.

More people firing more rounds in an active shooter situation doesn’t make anyone safer.  The NRA logic requires that we ignore a crucial part of the equation – the bystanders.  The fantasy that our Citizen Shooter will “take out the bad guy” requires that the scene be something out of the OK Corral mythology during which bystanders fled to safety, or possibly that the Citizen Shooter is so marvelously competent that no bystander or witness will be in peril of flying rounds of ammo.  Nor does the Citizen Shooter image crack through the actual numbers – in 13.1% of the incidents an unarmed citizen was successful and in only 3.1% was an armed citizen successful.

The Domestic Violence

However, there’s more to this analysis than the augmentation of what we already know – more guns doesn’t solve the problems – there’s a link between active shooting incidents and domestic violence. From the report:

“Of note, male shooters also acted violently against women with whom they had or once had a romantic relationship. In 16 (10.0%) of the 160 incidents, the shooters targeted current, estranged, or former wives as well as current or former girlfriends. In 12 incidents, the women were killed; in 3 incidents, the women sustained significant injuries but survived; and in 1 incident, the shooter could not find the woman.  While perpetrating this violence, an additional 42 people were killed and another 28 were wounded.”

Not to put too fine a point to it, but 42 people died and 28 suffered gunshot wounds because the ‘domestic violence’ got out of the house.

Here’s the point at which NRS 33 (Injunctions) kicks in.  Nevada statutes allow for an emergency restraining order or a  temporary restraining order, with courts available 24/7 to issue emergency orders barring the ‘adverse party’ from threatening the victim or victims, being in the victim’s residence, and doing any harm to pets.  [NRS 33.020]  But, the TRO doesn’t get the guns out of the house. The TRO doesn’t take the guns away from the ‘adverse party,’ and if the aforementioned ‘adverse party’ is of a mind to participate in something like the 16 incidents in the FBI report, then there is nothing in the law to stop him.

It is only when an extended order of protection is sought that anyone starts paying attention to the firearms.  NRS 33.031-033 offers the ‘adverse party’ potential shooter some protection for his firearms.  Here’s the catch:

“ A temporary order can last up to 30 days.  However, if you file for an extended order at the same time that you file for the temporary order (or at any time while the temporary order is in effect), the temporary order will last until the date of your hearing for an extended order (which could be up to 45 days from the date you file for the extended order).*1 [WLOrg]

That’s up to 45 days for our hypothetical ‘adverse party’ to retain the firearms, and perhaps decide to use them.  This gives the ‘adverse party’ his day in court to protect his ‘gun rights,’ but on the other hand it gives him possession of lethal weapons for up to 45 days.  In a much safer world the firearms would leave his hands during the imposition of the emergency restraining period.  The ammosexuals would no doubt start sputtering.

But, but, but “I have a Constitutional Right to my Gun?”  “You can’t take it away from me before I have my day in court!”  The Day In Court Argument is logically fragile.  I have a Constitutional Right to my own religious practices, however if I decide to become a practicing Aztec and select victims for sacrifice to the Sun – there’s little doubt the state would make every effort to stop me well before my court date.

In a safer world the guns would be gone during the period  specified by the temporary restraining order.   There’s no requirement that the ‘adverse party’ show up at the TRO hearing, but there’s nothing to prevent it either?  In our not-quite-so-safe world those guns can be in ‘adverse party’ hands for up to 45 days.  There are at least 70 casualties mentioned in the FBI report which might have been prevented by tougher injunctions, and more vigorous enforcement of those orders?

There is a compromise position which the Legislature might consider.  How might domestic violence in Nevada be mitigated if we agreed that if the domestic violence incident included shooting or threats of shooting, then the emergency protection order could include the dispossession of firearms? Or, if the ‘adverse party’ was the perpetrator of previous acts of violence then the firearms would be handed over to law enforcement for storage pending further actions by the court?   It would seem logical to take the escalation factor into account when dealing with those who tend toward assault and battery.

Nevada’s laws aren’t the worst in the nation, but they could be better, and more focused on preventing active shooter violence – something for the next session of the Legislature to consider?

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Filed under domestic abuse, Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics

Rant: The Junior High Boys Club and Domestic Abuse and Violence

Rant in Progress Every misogynistic rant from Rush Limbaugh gives them permission to slap the little woman around.  Every hyperventilating right winger who spouts off on the wussification of America gives them permission to use a belt on the kids. 

Every time the buddies excuse his behavior with anything from “Boys will be boys,” to “she had it coming,” he feels more entitled to demonstrate his God-given authority over women.  “I’m a real guy! And, if she doesn’t want it she must be frigid or a lesbian.”  In other words, some fellows never really got out of junior high.

The Junior High Boy Boors Band

So it’s no surprise to find we have a  hedge fund employee at Swiss Performance Management & Fiduciary AG who thought it amusing to grab the posterior of a female bartender, and then rage when she publicized his behavior.

“That f–king c–t, for her to do something like that is pretty ridiculous, I will make sure she doesn’t get another job in New York City. I know everybody. The bar owners, the club owners – that’s a terrible thing to write about somebody.” [C&L]

His Twitter buddies found his comments acceptable, and worthy of encouragement.  Do we suppose it would curb his performances if the firm were to sit him down for a one hour sensitivity training session?  Two hours?  This appears to be the answer the National Football League is giving to the question of domestic violence, to wit:

“The memo he issued Thursday says: “These initial sessions will begin to provide the men and women of the NFL with information and tools to understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault. We will work with the NFL Players Association to develop and present this training in the most effective way.” [ESPN]

Thus, in the next 30 days the League personnel and its staff will “undergo training in on the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.” [ESPN]   Let’s indulge in some speculation.  First, most of the people undergoing the training don’t need it.  Most of them understand what outrageous and disrespectful behavior is when they see it.  Most don’t condone it, and most will sit politely through whatever sessions are provided because they already know that domestic violence and the degradation of women is unwarranted; and, they already have the information necessary  to “understand and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault.”

Secondly, the Junior High Crowd won’t get it.  They already know what domestic violence is, and they are perfectly aware of what constitutes sexual assault.   They, like the Entitled Hedge Fund employee, simply don’t think the rules apply to them.   When she says, “NO,” it means “YES,” because having no self restraint, little self control, and still less self esteem they have to have what they want when they want it.   If they can’t dominate the ‘weaker sex’ who can they dominate? – and they have to dominate someone.

If she rejects them then she’s a C—, or a B—, or a D—because surely no right minded woman would fail to be impressed by their righteous hyper-masculinity?  If she fights back physically, then “of course, she’s asking for it” if she doesn’t accept her beat down, by their dim lights.  Surely, the Junior High Boys reason, if she’s fighting back then that means she’s participating in domestic violence too!  Their imaginations don’t take them much further than, “I have money,” or “I have power,” or “I have the world’s coolest job.” How could anyone not do exactly what I want, when I want?

One ESPN analyst, former coach Herman Edwards, nailed it this afternoon  when he opined that some players came to the NFL having never been held accountable for their actions or their attitudes, and he’s right. However, others offered excuses such as the horrible home lives some NFL players have endured as a possible reason for their criminal conduct.  Slow down here a moment.  Do we suspect that the obnoxious hedge fund manager comes from a dysfunctional home?  Do we automatically assume the posterior grabbing boor in the bar comes from a poverty stricken, violent home? Probably not. 

If poverty and broken families were the drivers of domestic violence and sexual assault then why do the statistics demonstrate conclusively that this behavior cuts across ethnic and  economic lines?  Women aren’t necessarily at greater risk from a Black, White, Rich, Poor, man.  They are at risk when they are in the company of a Boor/Goon, and Boors/Goons come in all types imaginable.

Changing the Cheers

Assuming we want the Boors/Goons to change their behaviors: What factors drive changes in behavior? We know from research since the 1950s that there are some basics: 

“Behavioral change theorists now agree on eight factors known to influence behavior: (1) intention, (2) environmental constraints, (3) skills, (4) attitudes, (5) norms, (6) self-standards, (7) emotion, and (8) self-efficacy.” [HarvardFRP]

So, we know that a well intentioned individual, who is not stressed by environmental factors, who has developed some coping and interpersonal skills, and who has positive attitudes is not going to be a member of the Junior High Boys Band of Boors.  Nor will a person who has internalized the norms of acceptable social behavior, has high expectations he can meet his own personal standards, and who feels empowered to reach those goals.

Yet here’s the problem for the Wall Street Hedge Firm, the National Football League, and perhaps even Bill’s Garage on South Elm Street.  How do you hire people who aren’t going to drive customers away, who aren’t going to tarnish your brand, your reputation, by being Boors?  Here’s where ‘corporate culture’ comes into play.

“Sometimes people change their behavior depending on whom they are with.  They might want to behave in a certain way to fit in with their friends and then start taking those behaviors as habits of their own.  They may learn by watching others and decide that they want to do those behaviors as well.” [Sci360]

If the behaviors are ‘good’ and socially acceptable, not to mention legal, then all’s well. However, if the negative, unacceptable, behavior is being rewarded by peers and co-workers,  and  even some elements of the media, eventually the firm, the league, or the garage owner is going to be faced with public humiliation.  He might have been one of the best money men, transmission specialists, or interior lineman – but once he humiliates the boss all bets are off. Or are they?

When the NFL initially handed down a two game suspension to Ray Rice the reaction was swift and vehement.  [USAT]  Unfortunately, there were those who pontificated that the actions were part of the “feminizing” and “chickifying” of football.

“We’re feminizing this game. It’s a man’s game and if we keep feminizing this game we’re gonna ruin it. If we keep chickifying this game we’re gonna ruin it. It’s gonna become something it was never intended to be, and so many men now, executives in the league and sports Drive-Bys are in a race to see who can be the most politically correct feminized guy. It’s comical to watch this.” [Limbaugh, WaPo]

No, there’s nothing comical at all about reinforcing socially unacceptable, or downright criminal, behavior. There’s actually little to differentiate Mr. Limbaugh’s comments from those made by the friends of the odious bar patron from the hedge fund.  What the hedge fund, the National Football League (and perhaps our hypothetical garage) needs to decide is whether the opinions expressed by the associates of the repellant bar patron, like those expressed by Mr. Limbaugh, are representative of the corporate culture.

Changing the Culture

On the bright side, the NFL Commissioner announced the hiring of staff whose task it will be to advise the league on domestic violence and abuse issues – a former prosecutor with the Manhattan DA’s sex crimes unit, a former Liz Claiborne executive who founded an organization to alleviate domestic violence, and a former head of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.  All women. Additionally, Anna Isaacson will move from “neighborhood affairs” into a role as VP of Social Responsibility. [DailyNewsSen]  The Commissioner also suggested the formation of a committee which will deal with domestic violence and abuse (and other) personal conduct considerations, on par with the Competition Committee.

The not-so-bright side of the NFL seems to be that it takes something like an off the Richter Scale earth moving event to get its corporate attention – former players  had to commit suicide or delve into the depths of dementia before the Health Committees decided to get serious about the dangers of concussions.  The national audience had to be witness to the miserable treatment and abuse dished out by locker room bullies in Miami before the League investigated.  Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Campbell Soup, and Radisson had to firmly and publicly disavow the lenient policy on domestic abuse of any kind before the League decided it needed a Social Responsibility Office.

This suggests one more lesson for the hypothetical garage, the hedge fund, and the NFL – there’s an inconvenient but useful management style, once popular but now somewhat out of date; it was called Management by Moving Around – literally telling managers to get out from behind the desk and find out what was happening on the shop floor.  Perhaps the individuals in the new Social Responsibility office will move from 280 Park Avenue and into venues in which they are more likely to come into contact with players, coaches, and team owners.   The distance problem isn’t anything the NFL hasn’t dealt with before.

Team owners and coaches were “shocked, Shocked I say” to find out that bullying, harassment, and intimidation were happening in the Miami Dolphins organization.  National media attention, a nasty scandal, and some personnel changes later and  the League office got at least a tenuous grip on the issue.  More “management by moving around” might have prevented that issue  from becoming an embarrassment, as it might alleviate some of the problems associated with boorish and violent players.

It shouldn’t take national mortification before corporations, companies, and professional athletic leagues understand the dangers of negative behavior on the part of their employees.   However, once in the limelight we can only hope the chorus from the righteous makes the lamentations from the Boors imperceptible.

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Filed under domestic abuse, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights