America Has a Mass Murder Problem and Domestic Violence is the Why
Domestic violence is the why of America’s mass murder problem. The indisputable truth is that most mass murderers have a domestic violence history including, in many cases, strangling women in their intimate relationships. Esteban Santiago, the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter – domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. Omar Mateen, domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. Cedric Ford, the Hesston, Kansas mass murderer, domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. MohammedLahouaiej-Bouhlel, who mowed down a crowd in Nice, France – domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. Robert Dear, the Planned Parenthood shooter, domestic violence and sexual assault perpetrator, and likely strangler. Khalid Masood, the London stabber, domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. Devon Patrick Kelley, the Sutherland Springs, Texas church shooter — domestic violence perpetrator and strangler. Most mass murderers have a power and control history with women, they are virtually all men acting out male entitlement, and they have never truly been held accountable for that violence. The rage of a man who will strangle and beat his intimate partners is the same rage of a man who will take the life of others in a mass murder.
Mass murder is the problem, domestic violence is often the precursor, and there are answers to the question: How do you prevent mass murders in America?
Let’s focus on stopping gender-based violence, both domestic violence and sexual assault and let’s replace them with rising hope in the lives of trauma exposed adults and children. We have the resources. It is only a question of priorities and commitment. The hope givers of this country — those already doing evidence-based work to stop domestic violence — have our “whys” but we also have “hows” to address mass murders in this country. We need millions of caring people to join us in this struggle. We have answers and evidence to prove what will work if we can get enough people and support to do it.
First, let’s try to bring more agencies together in communities to create Family Justice/Multi-Agency Centers where survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault can get comprehensive services in one place. Offenders are better held accountable by multi-disciplinary teams of police, prosecutors, advocates, probation/parole officers, and other professionals and Family Justice Centers are the ultimate version of these multi-disciplinary approaches. We must create accountability for offenders that causes them to make different choices and gives them the tools to do so.
Family Justice Centers and other types of multi-disciplinary approaches are the ‘Power of We’ in doing both prevention and intervention work with adult and child survivors in a trauma-informed, holistic approach. Our research proves the how — that Family Justice Centers increase Hope and Resiliency in the lives of adult and child survivors and produce better accountability for offenders when agencies are working together.
This is why we focus so much on men who strangle women. Men who strangle women are the most dangerous men on the planet. The mass murderers are domestic violence offenders. But more specifically, they are stranglers. Our Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention is focused on documenting, investigating, and prosecuting these cases successfully before the mass murder occurs. Domestic violence stranglers, usually after being trauma-exposed children, are the why of mass murders and guns are the how. Rage-filled, violent men should not be allowed access to assault rifles, handguns, or any other firearms of any kind. Can we please just start by agreeing to that even if we can’t agree on everything else about reducing the number of and restricting access to guns in this country? Our research shows the how to stop stranglers — that we can win these cases, take away their guns, and hold offenders accountable for domestic violence strangulation and sexual assault strangulation before they later commit a mass murder.
This is why we run the largest camping and mentoring program in the country for children exposed to domestic violence. In America, we raise our criminals at home and we must focus on breaking the cycle of generational violence with the children exposed to trauma. Camp HOPE America is the how — the largest camping and mentoring program ever created to help children impacted by domestic violence. We can love them and change their destinies at 10 or wait and debate motives and causes after mass murders when they are adults. Our published research proves you can change the destinies of rage filled boys before they become rage filled men and help girls avoid a lifetime of victimization by increasing hope and giving them pathways to a life without abuse.
America does indeed have a mass murder problem. Domestic violence is the why and our work, like that of many allied domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations is the how we can solve it.