May I Have a Little Victim-Blaming With That?

(This is Kathy from Birmingham Blues. Thanks for the opportunity to post, Liss!)

On Saturday, a Washington state man apparently murdered his five children and then killed himself. It's a horrific story, and of course the press are all over it, trying to figure out why it happened. And what have they found? You guessed it -- there's a woman to blame. Or at least that's what you'd think if you read the headlines:
  • Yahoo News - "Police: Dad Killed 5 Kids Because Wife Was Leaving"

  • Kansas City Star - "Man Who Apparently Killed His 5 Children 'Devestated' [sic] over Wife Leaving"

  • AFP - "Spurned by Wife, Man Kills His Five Children, Self" (note they're his children rather than their children)

  • CNN - "Husband Saw Wife with Another Man before Killing Kids"

  • My local paper (no link available)- "Police: Kids Killed Because Mom Left"
Yep -- mom did it.

The text in the AP story is disturbing as well:
Authorities and relatives portrayed a father believed to have killed his five children and then himself as a strict parent who had been reprimanded by the state and a jealous husband driven to rage by another man.
Strict? Sorry, no. A strict parent holds kids to their curfew and makes them finish their chores before they go out with friends.

Buried toward the end of the story is this:
Harrison was put on a parenting plan by state child welfare officials in 2007 after what Troyer describes as a "minor assault" on one of the children. He agreed to the plan and the case was closed, [Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed] Troyer said.
This guy wasn't strict. He was a controlling, abusive asshole who used one of their children to stalk and spy on his wife. And when she didn't follow his order to return home, he took his revenge.
The night before, the father and his eldest daughter went in search of the wife, Angela Harrison. The daughter used a GPS feature in her mother's cell phone to find her with another man at a convenience store in Auburn, said Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff.

The woman told her husband she was not coming home, and was leaving him for the man with her at the store. The father and the daughter left, distraught, Troyer said. Sometime after the children went to sleep, he shot them each multiple times. Four died in their beds. The fifth was found in the mobile home's bathroom, surrounded by signs of violent struggle.

"He wanted the kids dead," Troyer said. "It wasn't like he shot a few rounds. He shot several rounds."

Investigators believe he then returned to the area near the convenience store looking for his wife. His body was found near the store, Troyer said.

"A working theory is that he probably went back up there looking for her, wasn't able to find her, realized the gravity of what he'd done and shot himself," Troyer said.
This guy murdered five children and may very well have intended to murder his wife as well. I don't care how "devestated" he was or how spurned he felt. He made the choice; he pulled the trigger.

How about we put the blame where it belongs this time.

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