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Sunday, April 16, 2017

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, THE LIVES OF FEMALE BLACK FOLK, AND JONATHAN MARTINEZ

Cedric Anderson killed his estranged teacher wife, Karen Smith, and one of her students, 8 year old Jonathan Martinez, while she was in her classroom in San Bernadino, California.
Cedric Anderson and his estranged wife Karen Smith

Police said the shooter told school staff he was going to the classroom to visit the teacher who was killed. He was recognized by the staff member in the office and was not accompanied to the classroom.

“He simply said he was there to drop something off there with his wife,” Burguan said.
http://heavy.com/news/2017/04/cedric-charles-anderson-karen-smith-north-park-san-bernardino-school-shooting-shooter-suspect-gunman-husband-wife-teacher-murder-suicide-photos/


The way the school handled this is a problem. The staff should have been the front line against this intrusion. Of course nobody should be dead. But Jonathan Martinez should never have laid eyes on Karen's Smith's husband in the classroom. Cedric Anderson shouldn't have made it past the front office.

When I was in first grade, I knew everybody was born and had parents. But somehow my classmates and I were shocked to find out our teacher had a life outside the classroom and a husband too. It was like we thought somebody poured batter into a human shaped mold marked "teacher," baked her, popped her out of the oven then gave her instructions: "Go forth make little children learn."
From kindergarten to high school, I never saw any of my teachers' husbands or boyfriends. I think I heard a rumor once in Junior High that somebody saw a favorite teacher kissing her husband in the parking lot once.   
Now that I think of it all these years later, it probably wasn't an accident we never saw anybody but teachers and staff in the classroom. 
This was probably a security precaution. 
Jonathan Martinez
8 years old when he died
 Even if it wasn't, it's probably a better idea that nobody but the teachers and students are allowed in the classroom unless something special and pre-approved is going on.  
I am assuming that each public teacher in the nation has some sort of security check before her or she is hired. (That's a big assumption since our luggage wasn't even being screened before being put on an airplane prior to 9/11) 

Still, let's assume there's some sort of a security check done on all public school teachers. Unless these same schools are also running security checks on husbands, fathers, and friends that might come to the school, nobody but the teacher and possibly parents of the children have any business anywhere near the classroom without some sort of screening being done. 

If the world was different and we were living under some sort of paranoid dictatorship, and the husbands, wives, etc. of a potential teacher being considered for hire actually had to have background checks done in order for a teacher to be considered safe for children to be around, then that background check for Karen Smith would have revealed that the court documents mentioning Cedric Anderson show a clear pattern of domestic abuse.
  • In one of the court documents, a live-in girlfriend accused Anderson of trying to suffocate her with a pillow and threatening her with a butcher knife.The woman was able to obtain a restraining order against Anderson in 2013 and it expired last June.
  • In 1997, Anderson's wife at the time also got a protection order for herself and their three children, accusing Anderson of threatening to kidnap their children and kill her.
  • Anderson then met Smith in 2013. They had an ongoing relationship for four years before marrying in January. But the couple became estranged a few months into the marriage.Smith had been private about their marriage, telling only a few close family members about turmoil in the relationship, including Anderson accusing Smith of infidelity.
http://abc7.com/news/documents-show-abuse-allegations-against-san-bernardino-gunman/1866289/

The answer for the school is as I said above. Outside of an emergency, no adults go to the classroom without a damn good and pre-arranged reason. Even parents of children should be escorted if they want to observe the classroom because there's no telling what that one parent is capable of doing to other people's children. Furthermore, there should probably be some sort of policy about teachers (male and female) having to reveal any change of address immediately and/or changes of marital status.

The office staff should have some sort of warning that a boyfriend or husband they assumed the teacher trusted last week is potentially dangerous this week. That compromises the teacher's privacy, to be sure. But it is my experience that women dealing with domestic abuse DO NOT see domestic abuse AS domestic abuse until it's fairly late in the day.  

The school aside though, what is the answer for women like Karen Smith?  How does a woman like Karen Smith protect herself? 

Should women do a background check? In this patriarchy soaked country, most of non-feminist women and especially non-feminist men are conditioned to believe that women routinely lie about domestic violence and rape, that women routinely use these accusations to manipulate men when they are "out of control" and "angry" when women aren't the primary ones doing the beating and the killing when violence becomes part of an argument.   



When women's right's activists, mostly feminists, pushed to have police arrest men like O J Simpson arrested, the white men that run local, state, and federal governments and police departments pushed back. During a domestic dispute, the police will arrest the man and the woman involved. The arrest of the OJ Simpson-stand-in and the Nicole-stand-in, both at the same time, has had the affect of making it appear that women have become more violent.

But the dead bodies don't lie.
Who is the perpetrator vs who is the victim is clear when there's a dead body


At Least A Third Of All Women Murdered In The U.S. Are Killed By Male Partners




http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/men-killing-women-domesti_n_5927140.html


Men being left as a result of domestic violence don't behave like demons 24/7. I've always known that domestic abusers have their good days, good weeks, and good months between bouts of violence. And, because a friend of mine volunteered at a women's shelter, I knew that women left and went back to their abusers an average of 5 to 7 times before they left for good.

I also knew and still know, from personal experience, that women lie to themselves about the psychological and emotional damage being done to their children even when he "only hits me."

So, I knew "why doesn't she just leave?" was never an appropriate question. 



Over the years, I've met women a number of women who have told me stories about leaving men that had beaten them. And, I've been close to intimate partner violence while it was happening too. 

  1. A couple of decades ago, I told my ex-sister in-law to leave my brother. Even now, after the healing and forgiveness, I find it impossible to believe my brother was ever capable of killing her -- on purpose. But in my head? I know that anybody who will raise his fists to you in order to control you like you are his property, his slave, is capable of killing you.
  2.  An old friend of mine had her ex-husband chasing her around for about two years. Stalker-like, this white man even executed a slow car chase once -- while his child was in the car.  Living in an affluent area, this woman had options. Friends offered her guest houses to stay in when she was afraid to go home to her own apartment. Her eight year old daughter wound up telling her therapist that her worst nightmare was that her father would kill her mother and leave her stuck with him.    
My brother was in the military when he was violent. That and being black would have put him under a jail if he'd gotten as crazy as my white friend's white husband. So he pulled himself together. But a white man like my friend's husband, by comparison, has the world by the ass. That's why her husband wasn't the least bit afraid of court orders, the police, or what might be reported to his employers. He wasn't "crazy" as some of our other friends said. He was just well informed as to his status in this country.  
By the way, in case you haven't noticed, white women aren't worth two cents to the white community unless their husband or father says they are worth two cents.
  • Rape sentences aren't nearly what they should be most of the time. And Judges can decide that they are more worried about a male rapists future then the female rape victim. 
  • Furthermore, just recently I found out that rich white girls aren't worth much either. A story just broke about an affluent boarding school in Connecticut called Choate Rosmary Hall which has been covering up sexual abuse of students, declining to call the police, for decades. 
So my white friend's white husband was able chase her around, without much threat of repercussion, for close to two years  Do you know what finally stopped him from stalking his ex-wife? It wasn't the police, court, and threats to tell his employer. Her ex chose to stop pursuing her because he fell in love with a new woman 

-- a new woman much like Karen Smith, right?

I had mixed feelings about this new woman back when this happened, but not very mixed. I was so overjoyed that this man was not threatening my friend and her daughter that I couldn't let myself think about the next woman at all.

But as I think of her now and as I think of Karen Smith, I can't help but think that we as women have to do two things to survive the patriarchy as it stands:


1) Trust but verify  

  • Once we get to be 30 and 40 years old, and a man has a long history, maybe it's not the worst idea in the world to hire a private investigator if you have no way of ever seeing or talking to an ex-girlfriend or ex-wife. What he did or didn't do might not be recorded in court documents anywhere. But in Karen Smith's case, this information might (or might not) have saved her life.


(Some tips on hiring a private investigator from police in Arizona. http://licensing.azdps.gov/knowpi.asp )

2) Make our sisterhood stronger. 

  • I don't think we have to be best friends with an ex. I am fairly firm believer that the ex should be completely removed from his life voluntarily before you even arrive in his life as a mark of maturity and as a mark of having common values (if he hasn't had children with her). But I observe that non-feminist women tend to see the last woman a man was with as competition she has bested. 
  • When the feminist woman refuse to see the last woman in this way, a woman she's superior to/ a woman she's beaten out, that's when she can listen between the words a new man is saying about his ex. If he paints a picture where the ex is evil and he himself was all goodness and light, then maybe a strong minded woman should know that she should run....instead of coming to see herself as "the good woman that's going to save him." 

It's very possible, even likely, that Karen Smith could have done these two things and every other thing recommended by domestic violence shelters and still wound up dead. That's because the thing that really needs to change in our society is not how women protect themselves. The thing that needs to be destroyed is the patriarchy that leads men to think they are the slave masters, overseers inside their own homes. 


While I understand unemployment and other stress creating events more prevalent in the black community lead to black women being 35% more likely to suffer from domestic violence,  I also refuse to understand why white men's treatment of black men hasn't led them to a fuller understanding of sexism and patriarchy. 

If you understand white supremacy, you can make a choice to understand male supremacy. To me, that's all it is: A choice.