Blaming a Murder Victim

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The Associated Press has recently made a lot of noise about “enforcing” its copyrights on the Internet. Conveniently enough, making bloggers afraid to copy portions of AP articles into posts allows the AP to evade criticism for its unbelievably bad reporting. As an exercise of fair use, below is the entire text of this article, though I’ve omitted the photo. The paragraphs from the AP piece are indented; my comments are not.

Posted on Mon, Sep. 07, 2009
2-year-old, 3 others dead in La. murder-suicide
Associated Press Writer

A Louisiana killing spree that left four family members dead, including a 2-year-old boy, marked the bloody culmination of an ongoing domestic dispute between the suspected gunman and his estranged wife, said the father of a woman who survived the shootings.

Dennis Carter Sr. shot and killed his wife, son and 2-year-old grandson, then shot himself to death as police tried to pull over his car about 20 minutes later, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief of Operations Perry Rushing said Sunday.

Also shot was Carter Sr.’s daughter-in-law, Amber Carter, who was six months pregnant and was in intensive care in a New Orleans hospital after giving birth to a healthy boy named Aubrey, said her father, Paul Williamson.

The “culmination” of the “ongoing dispute” was that a man shot and killed his estranged wife, who was trying to stay away from him. He also shot and killed his son and his grandson. And he shot his pregnant daughter in law, though she managed to survive. I’m thinking the “dispute” was comprised of his entire family trying to stay away from this violent creep, and with good reason.

Williamson said Carter Sr., 50, had a history of assaulting his wife, Donna Carter, and recently tried to attack her with a machete. Donna Carter had a restraining order against him that her husband had repeatedly violated.

“This had been going on for quite some time,” Williamson said. “It was one of those domestic violence things that just gets worse and worse.”

It was the MURDERER who was “getting worse and worse.” He tried to attack his estranged wife with a machete. It was clear he wanted her dead. And also that no one in law enforcement was particularly interested in trying to stop him.

A 16-month-old boy was in the house during the shootings but was not hurt. The child was related to the Carters but Rushing was not sure how.

Authorities were called to the home in Holden, about 30 miles east of Baton Rouge, around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Donna Carter, 49, and Dennis Carter Jr., 26, were dead inside. Found outside were Amber Carter, badly hurt, and their son, 2-year-old Masson Carter, who was dead.

Rushing said it appeared Amber and Masson Carter escaped from a second-floor window but it was not clear if the gunman shot them inside or followed them outside and shot them there. Williamson said his daughter had bullet wounds in her kidney and liver, plus spinal damage sustained when she leapt from the window, probably trying to escape her father-in-law.

That poor woman.

Rushing said deputies spotted Dennis Carter Sr. about 20 minutes after the shootings driving on a highway. When they tried to pull him over, he shot and killed himself.

No comment.

“It’s very unusual to have this many victims,” Rushing said. “This is an anomaly by any stretch of the imagination.”

Sadly, it is not unusual at all, which the author of the article should well know.

In a statement released late Sunday, Stephen Alexander, a lawyer representing other family members of Carter Sr., said they were “obviously devastated by their tremendous loss and they ask that the media respect the family’s privacy during the grieving process.”

All the Carters lived at the house in Holden except Dennis Carter Sr., who used to live there but had recently moved to nearby Hammond. Williamson said Carter Jr. and wife Amber had been planning to move to another house.

It’s easy enough to understand why his family wanted him to reside elsewhere.

Williamson described the senior Carter as a semi-employed mechanic. He said Carter Jr. was a scaffold builder; Amber Carter was a secretary at North Oaks Rehabilitation Center in Hammond, where Donna Carter worked as a data entry clerk.

Rushing said that state police ballistics experts were conducting tests on a gun found in the senior Carter’s car.

Williamson said he didn’t expect to learn exactly how the killing spree transpired.

“We won’t ever know what happened inside that house,” he said.

Amber might be able to provide some details, but doesn’t sound like anyone much cares what really happened. They just want to shrug and write it off as “one of those domestic violence things.” The reporter not only doesn’t seem interested in challenging Rushing about this, but uses the entire article to prop of the narrative that this was unpreventable and partly the fault of at least one of the victims.

–Ann Bartow

ETA: Per this source:

Medical studies estimate that between 1,000 and 1,500 deaths per year in the United States are the result of murder-suicide.3 This VPC analysis reveals that in the first half of 2007:
-There were 554 murder-suicide deaths, of which 234 were suicides and 320 were homicides.
-Using these figures, nine murder-suicide events occurred in the United States each week during the study period.
-Of the 234 suicides, 218 were male, 11 were female, and five were of unidentified gender.
-Of the 320 homicides, 227 victims were female and 74 victims were male, and 19 were of an unidentified sex.
-Forty-five of the homicide victims were children and teens less than 18 years of age.
-Forty-four children and teens less than 18 years of age were survivors who witnessed some aspect of the murder-suicide.

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