Friday, January 8, 2010

Is shooting a sleeping abuser self-defense?

Once again, a judge has let a woman go after executing her husband while he was asleep.

Clearly the victim, Mr. Cummings was an evil man: A white supremacist who was trying to make a dirty bomb. Amber Cummings also alleged that he was also a pedophile and sexual abuser.

But that doesn't justify a vigilante killing or premeditated "self defense." This was a murder, cold and simple. The shooter was in no immediate danger and chose to kill her husband instead of seeking help.

We have laws and rules in this country for a reason. Calling the police is supposed to be the first option when someone is in this situation. We also have a well-publicized system to take in and protect abused women. If someone is in an abusive situation in America, they always have somewhere to turn.

Well, as long as they're a woman or a child. If they're a man, we're not so concerned.

Also, there was no reference to a record of abuse before the murder. In the pursuit of justice, we should apply skepticism when someone makes an important claim over a matter as serious as domestic abuse. However, that's not the way things work out in practice.

Details like how both she and her husband slept with loaded guns simply raise more questions about exactly what was going on before she shot him in the head while their daughter was in the kitchen.

Maine's big alternative weekly, The Portland Phoenix, followed up when prison guards allegedly allowed three prisoners to savage a convicted child molester, who died a few days later. While in both of these cases it's hard to sympathize with the victim, an ordered society needs to leave these matters to its judicial system instead of the whims of violent vigilantes and mob justice.

It's really hard to muster up indignation when bad things happen to bad people. I don't think I could dedicate my life to protecting murderers and rapists from a system that must have some lapses here and there. There are other issues that resonate with me much more, but I'm glad there are people out there who care about this issue enough to get involved.

I won't hold my breath for The Phoenix to cover the Cummings killing as critically as the fatal prison beating. The staff has an ax to grind with the Maine prison system and they have been targeting the prison guards who did not intervene, not the prisoners who actually killed him. In the Cummings case, the murderer is a woman who's claiming abuse and has social activists backing her.

I wouldn't be surprised if they write an article slanted to her view. Not only was she let out with no jail time and no probation, she also escaped being institutionalized where she could receive mental health treatment.

From the Portland Press Herald article:

After [Justice Jeffrey] Hjelm left the courtroom, about 50 people wearing "Free Amber" stickers burst into applause.

Outside of the courthouse, Amber Cummings thanked people in the community for their support. Her husband was mentally ill, she said, and she didn't want people to be angry with him.

Well, at least she doesn't hate him. Instead of calling the police or a mental hospital, she must have put two .45 bullets into his head while he slept out of love.

1 comment:

  1. Factual nitpick: A jury didn't let Cummings go; a judge did. She pleaded guilty and received an 8-year-sentence, which a judge yesterday suspended.