Thursday, July 13, 2006

peace, bug-bites, and leftist reds

First, I have to say that I was net surfing for a peace sign and I got this info from a lovely, Christian Resource center in Bermuda:

The signal "actually began as a symbol of Satanic benediction during the rituals. The Leftists, radicals, and Satanists who have popularised that sign...know its ancient significance very well. In fact, that 'V' sign is now used extensively by such Communist organisations as the Young Socialist Alliance, Vets for Peace in Vietnam, and the Students for a Democratic Society."

Hmmm. Fascinating. Now, back to my original thoughts (scary as they may be, I think the aforementioned web site has me beat):

Every Thursday, I do “outreach hours” at a local church. It is in a town about thirty miles from our main office in this county (but ten minutes from my house – yay!).

I love going to the church. It’s always really peaceful. Especially lately. The main office has been feeling really busy. And hot. And smelling like a Barbie bonfire, as I believe I mentioned before.

I had a client in yesterday who got a restraining order against her husband. The cops had recommended it, even though there was no-contact bail for him, too.

So basically we were safety-planning around her domestic situation, and she lives way out in the woods (this is Maine, so, go figure). It reminded me of this call I got about two years ago. The woman was on her cell and she had run out the back door of the house because he was after her, and they lived in the middle of nowhere. She was on the phone with me, barefoot and crying. She said the police were on their way, but it might take an hour. She said the bugs were biting her and she was cold. I talked to her until her cell went dead. Not a fun call. Never found out what happened to her – usually don’t. At least she didn’t end up on the news.

So the safety plan for this new woman seemed to be heading in the same direction. She lived in the woods. No neighbors within eyesight of the house. At least she has a car and a license to drive it. Not all of our clients have those advantages – especially the ones that were in these relationships before they were old enough for a driver’s permit. But a lot of the time, it is just due to the fact that they had previously been a one-car household.

This woman has the car, the license, a cordless phone and a cell that actually gets reception – all very good. She has a don’t-be-murdered trifecta.

We talked to the cops and RD, our in-house lawyer (and one of the good guys, big time – we’ve written numerous grants, trying to have him cloned), to find out if it was legal for her to change the locks on the marital residence.

The end result was yes, but she may have to “answer for it” in the divorce. That’s how hard it is, sometimes, with domestic violence. Half the time the victims aren’t even “allowed” to lock their perpetrators out. And don’t even get me started on shared custody of the kids. This guy still has visitation and “reasonable contact regarding custody,” despite the bail and the restraining order. This is somebody who has used pushing, slapping, choking, throwing, reckless driving, and threats with weapons in the history of the “relationship.” (Those are the daily specials at our place, anyhow. The thing that makes this one an odd duck is that he got arrested for some of it).

Anyway, this woman has no internal rooms that lock. She has a cordless phone, but nowhere much to take it in order to buy herself some time. Her primary plan in a worst case scenario is to change the locks (and “answer for it” later), lock the doors, and hope the police get there before the hinges give way. So we started talking about what might happen if she had to grab the cell and run out the back door.

I said, “As crazy as it sounds, you may want to keep some bug spray handy.” I was thinking back to how many times that other poor woman had complained about the bug bites she was getting.

The new woman gave me a weird look and said, “Well, I think mace is illegal here, but I could use pepper spray.”

We had one of those grim laughs that happen in those sorts of moments when we realized that I was talking insect management and she was thinking about what she could spray in her husband’s face if he charged in and attacked her. It is crazy -- the kind of conversations I end up having.

So, no, I was not advocating chemical warfare. Especially not with DEET.

I’m out. PEACE!

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