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Reflections on Lost Life

… The general public has nothing to worry about with this man, as he was murdering people who he had a connection to. It’s just twisting the facts to garner attention.”
– blogger on www.thefrisky.com

I’ve been reading about this tragedy during the past several weeks along with the rest of the community and know nothing more than what has been presented by the media. As happens many times during times of crisis, tragedy is accompanied by heroism. Thanks and appreciation to the Doylestown, Warwick and Dublin police forces and especially to Corporal Ed Hilton, Doylestown Police and Officer William Kirk, Dublin Police, who were injured. 

It is a human and natural response to try to make some sense out of unexpected violence in order to gain some sense of stability and control.  Many have attributed Captain Egland’s actions to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a result of his 3 tours to Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  PTSD is a serious condition affecting many who have experienced war, however after a few more days of news reports a familiar pattern began to emerge.  We learned that Captain Egland and his estranged wife, Carrie, were “nearing the end of a divorce.”“Prior abuse and separation, or announced plans to separate, appear to be the biggest risk factors indicating that the abuser will seriously injure or kill the survivor.”
(Kathryn Ann Farr, Battered Women Who Were “Being Killed and Survived It”: Straight Talk from Survivors, 17 VIOLENCE & VICTIMS 267, 268 (2002) (citing additional studies) [hereinafter Being Killed]).

Data shows that women between the ages of 35 and 49 are the most vulnerable to homicide by their intimate partner. (U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, BUREAU OF JUSTICE STATISTICS, INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE AND AGE OF VICTIM, 1993-1999 (Oct.2001).

In this situation, there were four who were murdered, and the suicide of Captain Egland, makes a total of five dead.

The quote at the top made by a contributor to the blog stating that the general public has nothing to worry about expresses a commonly believed myth. In reality, the entire community is affected by domestic violence. In this situation, those at risk included the worker at Grandview hospital, several police departments, drivers on the road during the chase over routes 313 and 611 to Doylestown, and the people living in the community, under lock down until Captain Egland was found. It is a miracle that more people were not injured; Hurricane Irene played a role in keeping more of the public out of harms way.

It used to be believed, and still is in some quarters, that domestic violence is a personal matter. In reality it is a public issue that takes its toll on everyone in a community, whether through lives taken, surviving family members, expense to health care and police, and danger to the general public.

Our challenge at A Woman’s Place (AWP) is getting out the message to the community that everyone needs to be involved in stopping domestic violence. As we mark 35 years of working towards the goal of having every Bucks County home be a safe one, I look forward to when each citizen is able to recognize the risk factors for domestic violence. I look forward to when each citizen is able to give support and good information when he/she sees couples at risk. I look forward to that day when children don’t become orphaned, partners aren’t possessive to the point of murder, communities don’t have to hide behind locked doors, and when differences and the dissolution of relationships can occur in peaceful ways.

Domestic Violence is a community problem, needing community interventions in order to identify community solutions. Come join us in working towards making Bucks County a healthier, safer community!

Donna J. Byrne, AWP Executive Director

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