AJ Jones is a writer. She is a creator of art and expresses herself across different mediums. She embraces her neurodivergence as a unique way to view the world and create a better future.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month is always difficult and one of remembrance. I remember the last conversation I had with Linda, a friend from work. She told me how her husband had tied her up and locked her in the downstairs bathroom of the house for several hours. How he had threatened her with a knife and how he had previously threatened her with a gun.
You can imagine how that conversation went. I often wonder if my advice was sound.
Linda had her husband arrested. There was an emergency restraining order filed, she had secured a new residence, and she had gone to work that following Monday morning to see about security since they both worked at the same employer and location, though different departments. She was lucky she had the means to set up these exit strategies on her own. There was nothing holding her back from providing for a new and safe life for her and her children.
He used cash to rent a car after he was bonded out of jail, not by his wife as the newspaper reporting claimed, but by his grandmother who was also named Linda. He caught her outside of their place of work. As she exited he shot her six times in front of security guards. Following her murder, he drove to his oldest son’s where he went behind his son’s house and took his own life.
At the time, the husband’s original arresting officer said it wasn’t the system’s fault that my friend Linda was killed. “The system didn’t have a chance to work before he went off the deep end.”
Linda’s story is not unusual; it happens more often than we would like to admit. Every month, about 70 women are killed by an intimate partner. To me, that means the system is broken. A 24-hour “cool down” period isn’t enough. Guns must be kept out of the hands of a domestic abuser. A longer cool down period would give officers an extended time to secure weapons. Partners and children should not have targets painted on their backs because lawmakers and judges are afraid to address the issue of responsible gun ownership.
Women like Linda are at the mercy of the United States Supreme Court as justices consider the case United States v. Rahimi. Ultimately, this case will decide whether or not domestic abusers have the right to firearms.
We’ve seen time and again that guns in the hands of those with violent pasts harm their families and their communities. It’s time for our members of Congress to once and for all pass common-sense gun legislation that would enact background checks, and red flag laws, and keep guns out of the hands of those who intend to use them to harm themselves and others.
Photo was taken by AJ Jones and is published with permission.