The force said a suspect had been identified and ‘is contained’, and officers were not looking for anyone else. […] ‘We are treating this as an isolated incident and there is no evidence that any other members of the public are at risk.’
Such comforting words!
“There is nothing to lend us to believe that there are any other persons of interest,” he said.
More comforting words!
These are the words of the police this week, in two different countries, being interviewed after similar homicide* incidents. More correctly, domestic violence murder-suicides, where the male of the family has killed one or more members of the family, then himself. *In the UK incident the six year old girl is currently in hospital in a critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head.
Put this in the context of two women per week in the UK being murdered by a current or former male partner, one woman per week in Australia murdered by a current or former male partner, or three women per day in the US being murdered by a current or former male partner.
These are not words of comfort for the families of these murdered women. These are not words of comfort for the millions of women and children all over the world currently living in a situation of domestic terror. If anything, these ‘words of comfort’ terrorise female victims living with domestic violence even more than they already are.
These are words to assure the general public that they are not in danger from random stranger male violence, the victims were the ‘only’ specific targets of this outbreak of male violence. It is matter-of-fact, it is routine, the cops know what to do next, because it is all too common.
Superintendent Noble said police were preparing a report for the coroner but detectives were not looking at any other persons of interest.
Business as usual under patriarchy. A woman and her three young children gunned down at their home, by the (current) husband, who then took himself to a dam on the property then shot himself.
The police at the time (before they had found Hunt’s body) seemed far more concerned about the murderer, rather than anything more matter-of-fact than taping up the crime scene of where a woman and her children were brutally slaughtered.
Commander of Wagga Local Area Command, Superintendent Bob Noble, said police were looking for a man who is “normally an occupant of that premises”. […] “We’re very concerned for the welfare of that individual,” he said.
Really? I just have no words to describe the level of revulsion reading the Superintendent’s “concern”. But what did the local residents have to say?
A businessman in the Lockhart area told News Corp Australia he had seen Hunt at a cropping meeting last week, and Hunt had appeared “completely normal.”
“There was absolutely no indication that anything was wrong or that anything like this was about to happen. He appeared to be in fine spirits. He’s a lovely guy, very easy going and he seemed happy and perfectly normal,” he said.
“The cropping meeting was about the frost, which was worse this year than it has been in the past. Geoff was worried about the frost but he hadn’t lost anything. I mean, all of the farmers are in the same boat and he certainly hadn’t fared any worse than anyone else.’’
“Happy and perfectly normal”, these are the words describing a man who has just slaughtered his entire family. Is it really normal for men to slaughter their families, because if these are the actions of ‘normal nice guys’, then all women should be aware that the ‘normal nice guy’ they are living with could massacre themselves and their children at the drop of a hat. It is not therefore, unreasonable to treat all men as ‘Schrödinger’s Family Annihilator’ (see Schrödinger’s Rapist), because any of them could go on a murderous rampage at any moment, it is committed by ‘normal’ men.
I also would question the sanity of society, when anyone could even consider that mass murder is a likely outcome for some possible frost-damage to crops. To me, this does not seem like a reasonable connection or outcome. But to that local businessman, presumably another ‘nice normal guy’, he ponders the connection. Again, what does this say about ‘nice normal guys’?
What happened in the days leading up to this family slaughter?
Geoff Hunt and his family celebrated a relative’s birthday on Saturday and went to a local football game on Sunday, before his children were dropped at school for the last time on Monday.
Only 74 students attend St Joseph’s School so, when the Hunt children failed to turn up on Tuesday, it was noticed.
This reminds me of the case several years ago, when millionaire Chris Foster slaughtered his wife and daughter, as well as the family’s horses and dogs, set the mansion on fire, dying in the massive blaze that he created.
On the day in question, an August Bank Holiday last year, the Foster family – Chris and Jill and their vivacious, horse-mad daughter Kirstie – attended a neighbours’ shooting party and barbecue. They seemed a happy, loving family, enjoying the fruits of Chris’ success in business.
Belinda Fathers, the Fosters’ housekeeper and friend, recalls that Friday as normal, ‘nothing out of the ordinary’, with Chris and his family ‘larking about’. But there was one possible signal of the impending horror: Chris and Jill had been looking at family photographs, including his childhood pictures. As Belinda recalls: ‘They watched the wedding video and cried.
Looking at family photos, the family attending a party just hours before they were killed by Foster. Foster appearing ‘happy and normal’. Perhaps ‘happy and normal’ males should be forbidden from attending parties with their families?
His last moments were captured by the CCTV cameras he’d set up to protect the family. It shows him approaching the kennels and stable block at 3:10am, with a .22 rifle, with a silencer and a lamp attached to illuminate the target.
‘He’s come out with a plan in his head, and he’s carrying it out,’ said DC Beeton. Having shot Jill and Kirstie, he shot the horses, and set fire to the stables, and then puts the dogs in their kennels and killed them.
Then he dragged their carcasses to the stables. Dominic Black, the first forensics officer to enter the house, was deeply disturbed by what he saw. ‘He shot the dogs in the head, shot the horses in the head, shot the wife in the head. No distinction is there? It indicates he classes them all the same.’
Indeed, he regarded them all the same, his possessions, to be disposed of at his will. It was later revealed that Foster was in financial difficulty, however, this again is still not a valid reason for going on a murderous rampage. The footage and timeline in the Foster case indicate just how calculated and calmly these Family Annihilators go about their ‘business’. This is never about ‘just snapping’ and losing control, it is quite the opposite, a dramatic and calculated exercise of control. The final act of control, usually bringing infamy to the perpetrator, rather than quietly going off to kill himself somewhere. It is a general media rule that they do not report suicides, so this is how these ‘nice normal guys’ get their suicides in the papers, to be remembered. They just don’t care how they are remembered, just as long as they are.
Time and time again we hear the police say “there was nothing we could do to predict that [family annihilation, or female partner assassination]”, even when women have reported the violence or threats to kill them, the police do nothing. “Come back when he has actually done something” they say to women, time and time again. These were the words that local police told to Christine Chambers, just five days before she and her youngest daughter were slaughtered by her former partner in 2011. Police fail to protect women (and children), the police are still not taking threats and domestic violence against women seriously. Is this really a case that the police cannot tell one ‘normal guy’ from the next, or do they just not care? Is ongoing domestic violence just one of those ‘facts of life’ that women must put up with, therefore the police cannot really tell which ones will end in a femicidal slaughter?
In the cases of Jill Foster and Christine Chambers, friends and family knew of their “problem marriages” (the euphemism for living in domestic terror). At this stage we do not know if Kim Hunt’s friends and family knew of her situation, many women live in hope that the situation will get better, or that they are not in any real danger—even though many women do realise they are in mortal danger. But how can women reliably leave a situation of domestic terror, when there is no reliable support from the police to act on breaches of restraining orders?
We may never know if Kim Hunt was in that situation, frequently the national papers fail to follow up on these cases. And of course, there will be another 50-70 women killed between the time of her and her children’s murder, to the time of the Coroner’s Inquest. That is a lot of dead women to count. Karen Ingala Smith attempts to count them all in the UK. The UK body count has remained relatively within the same range for the last ten years (the same ten years that the UK Domestic Violence Crime & Victims Act was introduced). It has made no difference at all, if anything, numbers appear to be on the rise, both in the UK and Australia. Even though the NSW Government have taken it upon themselves to dismantle the women-run domestic violence support sector.
I write this post on the day that Oscar Pistorius has been cleared of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. She was afraid of him too, although apparently not afraid enough. Glosswitch has written a very powerful post on the implications of that case.
We women are given volumes of ‘helpful’ advice and aids to ‘protect ourselves from being raped’ from you-beaut nail polish to wearing appropriate attire and not drinking or going out or anything. We have to protect ourselves from Schrödinger’s Rapist. No one seems to question the ‘nice normal’ men and boys that do all the raping. We must ‘accept it’ and ‘protect ourselves’, just as we have to ‘accept it’ and ‘protect ourselves’ from Schrödinger’s Family Annihilator, or if really ‘lucky’, just continue living in a state of domestic terror. No one wants to help us. We are told we must accept violence from ‘nice normal men’. Because:NAMALT. Which ones of these ‘nice normal men’ are dangerous and which ones are not, we are expected to figure that out, otherwise, we are told, we are ‘tarring all men with the same brush’, we are being ‘unfair’ to men. Husbands, boyfriends and fathers have proven themselves to be far more deadly than sharks. Yet no one calls for a culling of
violent ‘nice normal’ men, many of them like Pistorius, are allowed to roam free (the culpable homicide verdict is barely wrist slap). Dead women just don’t count. Dead women are not regarded as important enough to count or protect.
Throughout this post I have deliberately used the words ‘slaughtered’ and ‘murdered’. The former is never used in mainstream press, the latter sometimes used—but often times, the sanitised words of ‘dead’ or ‘killed’ suffice for the mainstream media, to hide the true horror of what is really going on for women and children living under patriarchy.
The slaughter has to stop.
If this is what the ‘nice normal men’ do, then I really don’t want to meet any of the ‘bad’ ones.
I am adding a number of related links, as there have been quite a number of posts and articles appearing just within the last week. I think that most of us who monitor or work within the sector are sensing a distinct increase in the hostilities towards women. Some of the posts below are Pistorius-related, but some general posts that echo what I have written above. If you only read one article on Pistorius, then read Meghan Murphy’s, straight to the point leaving no doubt at all.
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