Acts of Violence
Instructor: Alan Bittel
SO333FVCA20121 Family Violence and Dysfunction
December 1, 2012
Reaction Paper #3
“Murder-Suicide is an act which an individual kills one or more other persons before, or at the same time as, killing him- or herself” (en.wikipedia.org). According to research done by Milton Rosenbaum; Murderer-suicides were found to be highly depressed and overwhelmingly numbers of men with high numbers involving cases that are male-on-female and over 90% of murder-suicide involve firearms. Although there isn’t a specific tracking system in the United States, medical studies estimate between 1,000 to 1,500 deaths per year in the United States alone. These are shocking statistics.
After waking this morning, I had already decided what to do my research paper on. I turned my computer on to see the normal news stories on Yahoo of the day. Who is dating who, who is pregnant now, who is getting divorced, etc. What I first saw changed my mind in an instant of what my research paper would be on for this week.
The headline read; “Police: Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher kills girlfriend, takes own life” (yahoo.com). Even after reading the reasons why most murder-suicides happen, it is still hard to get my hands around these alarming occurrences. When I think of murder-suicide, I picture this happening to families that have significant financial issues, job displacement or chronic history of depression or behavioral issues. I find it harder to understand when it is a young professional athlete that makes over a million dollars a year playing the sport that he is passionate about and has a beautiful girlfriend and three month old child. This just doesn’t make sense. I suppose that because we don’t know all the details surrounding these headline making news stories and may never know everything behind their motives that this may play a part of why it is so hard to understand.
“Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend early Saturday then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager” (Comcast.net). This really had me wondering why? Why would he do this in front of his manager and coach? The article continues to say that he thanked his general manager and coach for everything they had done for him and then held the gun to his head and killed himself. Reading this made me want more information about psychological factors of why this happens. Campbell, Anna D. Wolf Chair and professor at JHU’s School of Nursing, discussed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Violent Death Reporting System. Of the 408 homicide-suicide cases, most perpetrators were men (91 percent) and most used a gun (88 percent). A 12-city study that Campbell conducted of these cases found that intimate-partner violence had previously occurred in 70 percent of them. Interestingly, only 25 percent of prior domestic violence appeared in the arrest records, according to Campbell. Researchers uncovered NIJ Journal / Issue No. 266
Men Who Murder Their Families: What the research tells us is much of the prior domestic violence through interviews with family and friends of the homicide victims.
“Prior domestic violence is by far the number-one risk factor in these cases,” Campbell said. She also explained that most people who commit murder-suicide are non-Hispanic white males who kill their mates or former mates. Prior domestic violence is the greatest risk factor in these cases. Access to a gun is a significant risk factor, as are threats with a weapon, a stepchild in the home or estrangement. However, a past criminal history is not a reliable or significant predictor in murder-suicide. This information leads me to the next question of how can society help prevent these occurrences? I think that in this particular case where this young athlete killed his girlfriend then