AP Photo/ Rick Bowmer
A 36-year old woman in McCleary, Washington was forced to defend herself against her her estranged husband, who broke into the home where she was staying late Wednesday. Police say the man had an order of protection taken out against him, but that didn’t prevent him from arming himself with a knife and invading the home where she was staying.
A 60-year-old man called police after a 47-year-old man broke into the home armed with a knife. The 60-year-old man confronted him and a struggle broke out. A 36-year-old woman who was also home got a gun and fatally shot the 47-year-old man.
The woman who was forced to defend herself isn’t facing charges, according to police. On Thursday, she released a brief statement to the media explaining what happened.
“Life is precious,” she said. “Rage is real,” referring to the reason she got the protection order a couple of months ago and filed for divorce.
She added, “If it’s your life or theirs, you have to do what you have to do.”
She said her friend was being attacked, and she had no choice but to grab a handgun and shoot.
Then she concluded, “Cherish every moment of life.”
This woman did everything she was supposed to do to get clear of her abusive ex. She left the house. She filed for divorce. She took out an order of protection. Thankfully, she didn’t rely on a piece of paper to serve as a suit of armor, and she was prepared to defend her life if necessary as well.
I’ve covered enough domestic violence stories over the years to know that, even when abusers are disarmed by the law, they often find ways to illegally get their hands on a gun, or as in this case, they arm themselves with other weapons.
In fact, we recently covered a terrible murder in North Carolina where the victim’s abusive ex repeatedly violated an order of protection with few legal consequences before he showed up at his ex’s work and took her life before ending his own. Gun control activists tried to blame the death of Victoria St. Hillaire on the state’s gun laws, but as it turns out, St. Hillaire’s abusive ex had been forced to surrender any legally owned guns after St. Hillaire took out an order of protection. It wasn’t the state’s gun laws that enabled her ex-boyfriend to attack her, it was a court system that kept releasing him after he was repeatedly arrested for stalking his victim.
If you are ever in a position where you need to leave an abusive relationship, absolutely take out an order of protection if you feel like it’s necessary. Please don’t view that piece of paper as actual protection, however. It’s a legal document that may allow for prosecutors to bring charges after the fact, but it won’t serve as a magical talisman that prevents your abuser from coming after you if they’re determined to do you harm. Whether or not you purchase or own a gun for self-protection, you absolutely need to think about what your plan is if your abuser decides that a piece of paper isn’t going to stop them from trying to hurt you again.