Yesterday I drove up to Baton Rouge to a Committee on Ministry meeting. The trip takes me about an hour and gives me time to relax and listen to the radio. As I was driving, just after I passed LaPlace, I saw about ten police cars with their lights on on both sides of the Interstate. I slowed as a passed them and saw one police officer had his 9mm raised toward one of the cars. I drove on.
Five minutes later, on the radio I heard, “Breaking news, murder suspect just arrested outside LaPlace.” Little do we know the things, sometimes very serious things, going on as we drive down the road.
This morning I got the full story on the front page of the Times-Picayune. Apparently there was a woman who lived in New Orleans, was married, and had six children. When Katrina hit, she moved to Florida and took up residence there. Her marriage broke up (something that quietly happens statistically at a higher rate after a disaster).
She started dating a man in Florida six months ago, but broke up with him when he turned violent against her. She got a restraining order against him, but this didn’t dissuade him. So last week, she moved with her children back to the New Orleans area. Last week she registered her kids in school down here. And yesterday, she drove two of them to school.
Allegedly, the boyfriend from Florida pulled up in the school parking lot, pushed a man aside who tried to stop him, and gunned her down. And then he raced off, and the police caught him outside Laplace.
As I sit in the coffee house I frequent to write, the song “My Name is Luka” plays overhead. For those of you who remember it, it is a song about a woman who is abused by her significant other and seems to blame herself for the situation.
When are we as a society going to stop accepting domestic abuse? Of course, many will be ready to send the suspect, if convicted, to the electric chair. But all the cases hauntingly similar to his in the past didn’t dissuade her killer. There has got to be other answers, and we’ve got to find them.
If you would like to help the father, who now has custody of the six children, a fund has been set up for the mother’s funeral and to help support the children. I hope our community responds.
Most of all, I hope we find a way to derail those who would hurt those they have loved.