Very Normal Jaded Cynicism

A few people have emailed me this story which reports that a teenage girl who was told by police to stop calling 911 was subsequently killed by her boyfriend, who then killed himself:
[17-year-old Natasha Hall]'s mother, Sherry, said her daughter was concerned about [19-year-old Clay Kufner] and informed police.

In fact, Hall said her daughter called police so much that on Jan. 15 they threatened her. "The police officer said if you call us one more time on him, I'm going to arrest you both," Sherry Hall said. "So, the day she died, she knew she couldn't talk to police. So, she handled it herself."

Michele Karpowicz said everyone noticed the warning signs before the homicide -- except police. "I was going crazy," Hall's best friend said. "He was psycho, jealous and abusive."
The police paperwork shows that police had been called nine times since November, and two police reports had been filed; on both occasions, Kufner was charged with battery. Police defend themselves by saying the family declined to press charges on other occasions and failed to file a restraining order against Kufner—a decision the family explains by saying Kufner "appeared to be getting his life in order and they did not want to ruin the life of someone once special to their daughter." I'm not going to pretend I understand that decision at all; it certainly doesn't sound like "everyone" but police noticed Kufner was a ticking time bomb, though. It does sound like it was a terribly complicated situation involving a deeply disturbed young man and a young woman who wanted to be with him despite his evident problems, a situation which can leave families and friends in the awful position of seeking an injunction on a young woman's behalf only to effectively drive her closer toward the man from whom they seek to separate her.

That the family did not seek an order of protection, or for what reasons, is neither here nor there, however, especially if the police could not have been counted on to enforce it.

Curiously, I can't seem to find a denial from the police that Natasha Hall was told to stop calling. And the deputy police chief's categorization of what was happening between Hall and Kufner is very troubling:
Records show police were at the home nine times in the last three months. They show Kufner hit the girl and posted nude pictures of her on the Internet, but the family also refused to press charges against the boy in some cases and Channel 9 learned they never got an injunction or restraining order against him.

"Basically we have a very young couple who are experiencing, at least up until last Friday evening, just very normal relationship problems," [Chief Deputy Randel Henderson] said.
Physical abuse and publicly posting nude pictures without consent are not "very normal relationship problems." Getting aggravated with one another for leaving dirty socks on the floor or forgetting to pay a bill are "very normal relationship problems." That a deputy police chief doesn't appear to know the difference is disheartening, to say the least.

It is conceivable that Deputy Henderson's assessment was not indicative of an attitude shared throughout the force, or that, if it was, that attitude did not undermine the force's ability to do its job. It is conceivable that the police did everything in their power to help Natasha Hall, and it still wasn't enough.

But, failing any denial that she was told to fuck off, and in light of Deputy Henderson's casual dismissal of abuse as a "very normal relationship problem," I'm going to have to say I'm skeptical that everything possible to avoid this tragedy was done, that every i was dotted and every t crossed. I'm just a cynic that way.

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