Domestic Violence and Parents

Nothing speaks more powerfully than the murder of a child by the hands of a parent,  and the  killing of a parent by a child is just as powerfully numbing.

In Kalispell, Montana an 11 year-old boy is to be charged with “mitigated deliberate homicide”in the shooting death of his 47 year-old father using a 20-gauge shotgun.

They found Gretsch dead at the scene, with a single shotgun blast to the chest….Falkner now believes a domestic disturbance was escalating in the house between Gretsch and another family member. Alcohol appears to have been involved, he said, “but to what degree that affected events, we’ll probably never know.”

At home were five family members, he said – Gretsch, his wife and their three children…..

At some point during the domestic dispute, the 11-year-old allegedly fired two rounds from a 20-gauge shotgun. One blasted into the trailer’s ceiling; the other hit Gretsch in the chest.

What’s revealing are a few of the comments in discussing the focus of ‘domestic violence’ …. surprisingly.  In 1970, my mother was several months pregnant with my youngest sister; I was 16.   I don’t recall the precise sequence of events or what transpired to set off my father but he had my mother on the floor, choking her, slamming her head repeatedly onto the floor.   Someone ran to get me (the burden of being ‘the eldest’) and while my sisters and brother screamed at my father, I —  I ran downstairs into the basement where he kept his gun, a 22 pistol.  At the moment of grabbing that gun I had every intention of loading it and shooting him.  What’s always fantastical to me is the sheer number of colliding thoughts that spiral at the speed of light through your mind until a cohesive thought emerges.  I couldn’t find the clip and yet in a microsecond I knew it didn’t matter becuase it was the THREAT of my having the gun that would make my father stop.

Running back upstairs I confronted my father crouched over my mother.  His back was to me and I’m certain the only reason he stopped and turned around was the evened out tone of me uttering, “Get off her you bastard.”   He had expectation, I’m sure, when he turned that I would be on the receiving end of his wrath ….. until he saw the pistol.  Oh yeah, his tone, tenor, stance – it all changed seeing that gun.   Suddenly he was wheedling wanting me to hand over the gun.  It didn’t happen; it was hidden.

Some days after the latest uproar, my father came and laid the clip on the kitchen table.   It didn’t matter, I said, we had the gun.  Until I left home following my high school graduation, my father didn’t lay a hand on any one of us – especially my mother, and he didn’t find the gun until then either.

That incident has been the source of several conversations between one of my sisters & I with the primary realization being that if I had killed my father I probably would’ve gone to jail/prison, and our mother would not have been supportive of me or the claim of domestic violence.  Because I know with certainty, if that gun had been loaded I would have killed him.

This youngster in Kalispell is being charged with “mitigated deliberate homicide.”   Per the Montana code:

45-5-103. Mitigated deliberate homicide. (1) A person commits the offense of mitigated deliberate homicide when the person purposely or knowingly causes the death of another human being but does so under the influence of extreme mental or emotional stress for which there is reasonable explanation or excuse. The reasonableness of the explanation or excuse must be determined from the viewpoint of a reasonable person in the actor’s situation.

Extreme mental or emotional stress…..placing yourself in the person’s shoes could you perhaps see why the person responded as they did, as extreme as the action may seem?

Something was going on in that home.   Someone was in danger in that home and this young soul stepped in.  I hope it turns out well for him.


3 Responses

  1. […] Domestic Violence and Parents […]

  2. Like you, I truly believe that this young man was put into a situation that called for action.

    The round fired into the ceiling indicates a lot to me.

    Like you, I sincerely hope this turns out well for all members of this family.

  3. The round fired into the ceiling indicates a lot to me.

    Hey! How ya been?!

    Yeah – I thought that line interesting as well.

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