Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: domestic violence

April
23rd

Tragedy led to positive public changes

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Ten years ago Friday, the South Sound was stunned by news that Tacoma’s police chief had fatally shot his estranged wife and then himself – with their two young children nearby.

The tragedy was an intensely personal one for the families of Crystal Judson and David Brame, leaving two children orphans and loved ones distraught. But it was also a very public crime, taking place in a Gig Harbor parking lot and involving a high-ranking police officer.

It touched off weeks of investigation and soul-searching by city officials and police seeking the answers to two overarching questions: Read more »

Aug.
18th

Protect Indian women without diluting Bill of Rights

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Native American women suffer outrageous rates of rape and domestic violence. The problem could be targeted far more effectively by taking political agendas out of the equation – and by taking the Constitution more seriously.

The U.S. Senate has proposed a remedy in its update of the Violence Against Women Act: It wants to give tribes the authority to prosecute and try non-Indians accused of beating or raping Indian spouses or partners on tribal reservations.

This might work if done right; if done wrong, it could strip American citizens of key constitutional protections. Unfortunately, Democrats are framing the issue in simplistic, election-year slogans: House Republicans with misgivings about the plan supposedly either hate women or want to coddle abusers.

In fact, opponents of those provisions are raising concerns that ought to give pause to any civil libertarian.

Multiple agendas are at work here. One of them – partisan politics – is obvious. Another – the simple protection of Indian women – ought to be above politics. They are victimized at scandalous rates and often have little legal recourse.

Tribal criminal justice systems currently have no jurisdiction over major crimes committed by non-Indians. Federal prosecutors, who do have jurisdiction, are typically far too busy to handle common domestic violence cases. This is an intolerable gap of justice.

Giving jurisdiction to tribes would seem to be the obvious solution. But the tribes have an agenda of their own: They see the domestic violence issue as a way to assert and reclaim broader sovereign powers. They have chafed for decades over federal limitations on their power to prosecute crimes by non-Indians on their lands.

Their point of view is understandable. The problem is, tribal criminal justice systems vary greatly in quality from tribe to tribe, and many are underfunded. More important, some of them fail to provide defendants with the full range of constitutional protections any American – Indian or non-Indian – should be entitled to.
Read more »

Feb.
26th

Young victims of abuse need to see that love = respect

Rihanna

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition

Are they or aren’t they?

On the entertainment shows and blogosphere, the speculation is rampant that pop diva Rihanna is back with the man who badly beat her three years ago, rapper Chris Brown.

Many have reacted with outrage to even the thought that the young victim of domestic violence has reconciled with her abuser (so far the official word is that the two are just friends and musical collaborators). Others, sadly, have made comments online such as, “He can beat me up anytime” – a reflection of how many young women equate a partner’s abuse with love.

In the weeks after the 2009 felony assault incident – for which Brown served no jail time – Rihanna seemed strong and defiant. She warned other women not to be blinded by love for their abuser. If she has, indeed, taken Brown back, it is a choice all too many victims of abuse make, experts say.
Read more »

Dec.
29th

Deputy is domestic violence’s collateral damage

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

It was the kind of call that law enforcement officers dread, but it is sadly all too common: a domestic.

One family member is hurting or threatening another, and someone calls 911. Emotions are running high, and alcohol or drugs may be involved. One or more of the parties may be armed.

Every call is a step into the unknown for those who respond.

Four days before Christmas, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner experienced every law enforcement officer’s nightmare: a domestic call turned very, very bad. They were trying to escort a “drunk and belligerent” man with a history of domestic violence from a family member’s home when he pulled out a gun and began shooting.
Read more »

Dec.
7th

Overkill at the post office?

I’m as down on domestic violence as anyone I know, but I can’t help wondering if the law requiring that someone be arrested in all disputes might be set on too much of a hair-trigger.

I have no idea what’s been going on behind the scenes between Lakewood City Councilman Dayton Finnegan and his wife. It doesn’t sound good: Getting your bedroom door demolished is obviously a scary thing. But the occasion of this arrest and booking was reportedly a purely coincidental crossing of paths at the post office.

I think I’d rather see the police time devoted

Read more »