- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 3, 2006

‘Domestic violence is never a one-time occurrence’

The victimization of Freda Edwards, doused with gasoline and set on fire by her boyfriend, Anthony Willoughby, demonstrates the lethality issues involved in domestic violence (“Man jailed in fire attack,” Metropolitan, Monday).

It also demonstrates that women never want to give up hope that their abuser will no longer continue to abuse them. Miss Edwards had recently rescinded a protective order.

She wanted to reconcile with Mr. Willoughby, who previously had committed violence against her by hitting her in the back of the head and choking her. Like many victims of domestic violence, she probably thought that if she gave him another chance, he would never again abuse her. Like many victims, she assumed wrong.

Domestic violence is never a one-time occurrence. The abuse is a cycle that repeats itself and intensifies in severity and frequency if it is not appropriately dealt with expediently. Victims who finally obtain the courage to report the abuse to authorities often want subsequently to rescind protective orders and drop charges, and this desire often is instigated by the abuser making false promises that the violence will not recur.

Commonly, the abuser exerts power and control over the victim in many ways. It is not uncommon for the abuser to maintain control of financial resources, limit the victim’s outside contacts and intimidate her with threats of harm to herself, her children or pets. He even may threaten to kill her if she pursues charges and prosecution.

Without support, the victim falls prey to the control of her abuser and remains, over time, in the abusive relationship. Eventually, she retains little, if any, self-esteem.

Miss Edwards survived the vicious and unconscionable act by her abuser, but she faces a long and difficult road ahead in terms of physical recuperation and emotional healing.

This tragedy can, hopefully, serve as a lesson to those who find themselves in similar circumstances and provide them the strength to seek assistance before it is too late.


Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University


Turning toward wind energy

Thank you for publishing Christian Toto’s “Energetic turn to wind power” (Metropolitan, July 27). Your timing couldn’t have been better. Two traditionally different scientific disciplines — basic research and applied science — are facing the same decision: how to come up with practical alternatives to fossil fuels, and fairly quickly. Long before they are finally depleted, supplies of oil, natural gas and coal will dwindle to a point of diminishing returns and become no longer commercially viable.

What at one time seemed too costly and inefficient — solar, wind, geothermal — will soon get the research-and-development dollars by default unless there is a 21st-century Thomas Edison out there perfecting cold fusion or something more advanced to bail us out. If not, and if the big energy companies are unable to compete against savvy Turks who are developing the technology and means of distribution for the new fuels, the dynamics and economics of the energy market will change radically when ExxonMobil has to tell its shareholders that it can no longer promise them the profit margins investors have come to expect.

For this scenario to unfold will take years or decades, depending on how quickly things warm up — literally — for all creatures great and small and figuratively for elected officials who keep their fingers to the wind, not reacting quickly unless a fire is lit underneath them. In election years, survival instincts take over, and their footwork becomes remarkably adept after four or six years of backsliding on some or most of their previous campaign promises. Think it doesn’t matter who’s in office? What if enough James M. Inhofes were replaced by an equal number of John McCains and Olympia J. Snowes, or latter-day Teddy Roosevelts?


Maryland Chapter

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Takoma Park

Time to bring health care into the 21st century

We’re pleased that Sen. Bill Frist, no stranger to both the successes of and obstacles to quality health care delivery in this country, has identified health information technology as the critical area of health care reform that it is (“Medical records remedy,” Commentary, Wednesday). The 160 chief executive officers of Business Roundtable, whose companies provide health care coverage for more than 34 million Americans, have strongly supported efforts to implement a health IT infrastructure as a concrete step that can be taken — immediately — to improve health care quality and affordability and strengthen our economy. In fact, an interoperable health IT infrastructure will save the system a projected $165 billion by improving quality and efficiency.

We applaud the leadership of Mr. Frist and his colleagues in both the Senate and the House for passing health IT bills. We have a real opportunity to make tremendous improvements to our health care system by bringing to it the benefits of 21st-century technology. Congress should capitalize on the momentum behind health IT legislation and finish the job without delay.



Business Roundtable


My horse, my property

Wednesday’s paean to horses, “Goodlatte and the horse-slaughter bill” (Letters) is a sterling example of the wrongheadedness and strategy of the bankrupt animal rights agenda.

The proponent of outlawing horse slaughter says that “the side supporting horse slaughter sounded like a bunch of petulant children who aren’t getting their way.” The fact is that horses are private property. The federal government has no business dictating how we dispose of our property.

Horses are not the property of either animal lovers or the federal government. If dog owners and farmers and ranchers and hunters and fishermen cannot see the precedent being set here, they are blind. We are not “guardians” or any other silly term concocted by animal rights advocates or their surrogate politicians and bureaucrats.

Furthermore, the writer, borrowing words from John Adams, states, “A republic is a government whose sovereignty is vested in more than one person.” Correct, as far as it goes. What the animal rights/horse lovers advocate is a pure democracy, wherein any mob or rabble can coerce or bribe the central government to illegally plunder the rights of fellow citizens for their own purposes.

Our Constitution, properly interpreted and enforced, should have prevented this subject even from being considered.

This attack on Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, follows on the heels of Tuesday’s attack on Rep. Richard W. Pombo, California Republican, by Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of the Defenders of Wildlife (“Wildlife habitats,” Letters). Miss Clark was the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when $45 million to $60 million was taken from sportsmen’s excise taxes for state agencies to be used by federal bureaucrats for non-game purposes and bonuses.

The attack there was masked by specious and ludicrous claims of how any reforms of the Endangered Species Act would cause “extinctions.”

In both cases, we should consider the complainants and their real purposes.

They are not about horses or wildlife; they are two political activists riding mules to attack two elephants. The upcoming elections, not “welfare” and “habitat,” determine the agendas at play here.



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