As Alan Oakley and 45 other domestic violence victims from 2013 are remembered, Alan Wilson’s DV proposal misses the mark
COLUMBIA — A domestic dispute turns into a massacre, with a calm, sane man killing his girlfriend and five others with a high powered assault rifle in one of the worst massacres in Greenwood County’s history. An Edgefield County woman shoots her former college football player boyfriend to death multiple times. The fire chief of a local town involved in a love triangle was slain by three women because his wife wanted to be with her lesbian lover, with all of the benefits of a dead husband.
These were just three of the domestic violence incidents from the state of South Carolina in 2013 that were read aloud by the state. In all eight men and 38 women were killed by intimate partners in 2013 – with at least six of these incidents happening in the Central Savannah River Area region of South Carolina.
[NOTE: So far this year, the number of men murdered by female intimate partners are higher than the total from all of 2013 by 50% (12 in 2014 vs. 8 in 2013).]
During the ceremony, Alan Wilson announced he would introduce a new proposal for domestic violence that would not do much of anything to alleviate the epidemic sweeping South Carolina. Democrat Pernell Diggs, his opponent, has not publicly announced any plans to tackle the scourge of intimate partner violence.
Meanwhile, the state legislature may be doing something for the first time in state history just to update the domestic violence laws: calling a session between August and January.
Mr. Wilson’s proposal calls for criminal domestic violence laws to officially be treated like the criminal sexual conduct and assault and battery offenses (degrees instead of offenses), offenders to wear electric monitoring devices (whether naked or fully-clothed), more law enforcement training and more victim advocates. While all of these things are good things, they miss the target of reducing intimate partner violence.
A more direct approach would be to keep all of Wilson’s suggestions, and add in some of Bakari Sellers’s suggestions: increase bond or remove such an option for a first time charge of criminal domestic violence, order all those officially charged with CDV – offenses or degrees – to turn over all firearms, and the requirement that the identities of those killed by CDV be kept secret.
(Jovan NOTE: The requiring of firearms to be turned over for those hit with CDV charges have become controversial because the gun lobby has a complete stranglehold on Columbia. The National Rifle Association’s opposition to domestic violence laws stems from many states, including those that are widely considered as pro-gun rights by the organization [looking at neighboring Georgia], having requirements that DV abusers give up their firearms.)
It’s very easy to see why so many advocates dedicated to ridding the state of the scourge of intimate partner violence endorsed Rep. Sellers’s proposal. Most of the women killed by their male intimate partners were killed due to the all-too-easy access to firearms – South Carolina’s lax gun laws are not at all helping when it comes to sexual violence. Although he admitted this in June in a piece about BikeFest, an event that has been the target of blatantly racist attacks from a racist governor named Nikki Haley, The Sun News‘s Issac Bailey rightfully admitted that South Carolina has a gun culture problem. The gun culture problem is what’s led to over 40 domestic violence murders statewide in every one of the three years of the 202d decade so far (this may be the fourth, as there is still time left in 2014). Domestic violence is a crime that is committed 0% of the time by strangers, so the “more guns” dog that is trotted out by the right absolutely won’t hunt in such cases.
Admitting that there is a problem is a start, no matter if it is a 12-step alcohol/drug program or if it is a crisis that can be fixed possibly with new laws. Until we admit that we have a run-away gun culture that needs to be sacked, the intimate partner violence epidemic won’t be eradicated anytime soon in Aiken and Orangeburg counties, or in any of the other 44 counties statewide.