To Stop Violence, Start at Home
By Pamela Shifman and Salamishah Tillet
THE pattern is striking. Men who are eventually arrested for violent acts often began with attacks against their girlfriends and wives. In many cases, the charges of domestic violence were not taken seriously or were dismissed.
Before Tamerlan Tsarnaev was suspected of carrying out the bombing of the Boston Marathon, he was arrested for beating his girlfriend. When Man Haron Monis held 17 people hostage at a Lindt Chocolate cafe in Sydney, he had already been charged as an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Before George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin to death in Florida, his ex-girlfriend accused him of physically assaulting her. He faced no charges, but has been arrested twice for alleged domestic violence since 2013.
A recent study found that more than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member. Everytown for Gun Safety, the group that released the study, found a “noteworthy connection between mass-shooting incidents and domestic or family violence.”
This connection is not limited to mass shootings. An analysis of the criminal justice history of hundreds of thousands of offenders in Washington State suggests that a felony domestic violence conviction is the single greatest predictor of future violent crime among men.
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