Oct 15, 2011

Scott Dekraai: Can we learn anything from the tragedy?

The news came in about 41-year-old Scott Dekraai killing his ex-wife and seven others in the town of Seal Beach, California on October 12th, 2011. Dekraai entered the Salon Meritage and opened fire. When he was done, a total of six women and two men were dead and one critically wounded. It's the kind of story which proves to me, I made the right choice in my own divorce.

Divorce is a nasty, ugly business, especially when there are kids involved. Custody battles get vicious and it seems the only individuals profiting through all of the pain are the divorce attorneys. In this report the points are shared of Dekraai suffering from bi-polar disorder as well as PTSD from an accident at work which took the life of a co-worker. But there are lots of people dealing with mental illness, going through divorce and just altogether screwed up. These points alone do not usually drive someone to kill.

While the world mourns this terrible event, might we also ask ourselves if this was avoidable? Sure, hind-sight is 20/20. We always seem to come up with the relevant facts afterward, huh? I'm not talking about gun control. California already has the strictest gun laws in America and that did not stop Scott Dekraai. And no bumpkins need to scream for the death penalty. California has that too. None of these facts stopped a needless killing.

I'm not defending Dekraai killing anyone. To take up arms and kill another human being for any reason other than defense against an imminent threat is one of the most heinous acts anyone can perform. I'm not even going to suggest Ms. Fournier deserved this kind of death. Even if she did, her co-workers – those others in Salon Meritage, they did not. I'm just taking the non-emotional, unpopular, politically incorrect position of saying there's more to this than meets the eye. There always is. Reporters can only take one position on a story. So, there's no way anyone can cover all angles.

Near the end of the article there's one paragraph which speaks to a little of Dekraai's side of the story. It reads: “Dekraai said in court documents that his ex-wife had poor parenting skills and a drinking problem. She called him several times a day, Dekraai said, often screaming at him over the phone and in front of their son. He said she addressed him by an expletive instead of his name and made racist references to his current wife.” I'm just not convinced the late Michelle Fournier was so sweet and innocent, myself.

Those of us going through a divorce know exactly what I'm talking about: the little “revenges” we commit against one another; our skills at making the ex sound “evil;” our cruelty to someone we used to love. Why do we do that crap to each other? Once a marriage is over, there is no further need for the fights. These little attacks we use on each other, in an attempt to make the other behave the way we desire – they're pointless. They're vicious, cruel and evil. It's not that Dekraai's response was any less evil, mind you. But what kind of a nightmare was it which could make a man willing to throw it all away and kill people?

Maybe after this latest story of one man losing it, we divorcees can learn to not be so damned vicious to each other. Maybe we can stop using our children as human shields and bargaining chips. Maybe, just maybe, we can all learn that when a marriage fails we can end the hostilities. There's no score to settle after a divorce. If we could just be human to each other, there might be no more of a need for this kind of nightmare.

Come visit me on DonPennington.info.

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