I recently was reading about the mother who murdered her two teenage children.  This is such a sad, but avoidable, occurrence.  It is said that the daughter had reported that her mother was abusing her, hut her multiple times in the head or face, and cut her lip in the process.  Children have been taken from a home for a lot less than the abuse reported by the now deceased daughter of the Army spouse…but they were from the inner city or poor neighborhoods. It is obvious that this may have been avoided if the child abuse complaint was taken seriously and not pushed under the rug because of whom they were or where they lived.  I don’t claim that I know the reasons, but there is a reason why affluent children never end up in the system and it’s not because the affluent or financially comfortable don’t abuse.  Abuse occurs at any level of the financial spectrum.  A friend once told me that a model family was broken up because the son mentioned that mom slapped him for the first time and it upset him.  His parents had adopted children as well as the son and after the teacher overheard the son complaining to a friend in class, she reported what she had heard and, subsequently, all the children were removed from the home.  This was just a slap…no cut lip, no multiple slaps, no repeated offenses, no alcohol or drug abuse (as is the case of this mother), just one slap.  What was even more horrible was that the parents reportedly had never hit their son before, and he was a teenager.  Needless to say, to road to making their family whole again was a very long one, with the children suffering the most having been handed over to the foster care system.

Furthermore, had there been some sort of support or communication for the mother offered by the Army when her husband was deployed, she may have gotten the help she needed. Maybe someone would have noticed a woman in crisis.  But, as a military spouse, I know that when your husband is deployed, you get virtually no support these days because of budgetary reasons, complacency on the part of the community, or just plain refusal or disinterest by the spouses. You feel as if you are on your own for that year and alone. It can be a tough adjustment to single parenthood when your husband has always been there to help. Back in the days of Desert Storm, those support systems were in place and the military spouse groups were more active.  I remember going to several functions for the spouses and children left behind back then.  Where are these programs now?  I get the Air Force Base paper often and never notice a mention of an event for deployed families.

But, nevertheless, this mother had her issues mentally and her husband’s deployment may have just been the tipping point. There is always an event that pushes those on the edge over it.  It’s a shame her husband did not recognize her drinking and drug use as the bigger issue it was before he left for the Middle East (and maybe he didn’t get a chance as deployments can happen quickly, especially for officers) and perhaps had another family member stay with her to help out and give her that support she was going to miss.  It’s a shame that those who have had psychological care or have been abusers of drugs and/or alcohol cannot go under a more stringent battery of evaluations or longer waiting periods before they can purchase a gun or ammunition.  I am, however not blaming this on anyone but the perpetrator of the crime. She did the deed, she’s off, crazy, or just evil and she needs to fry for it.  It’s just a shame she did not receive the help she needed before she got to the point of no return.

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