It was with that on my mind that I read a shocking story of domestic violence in my hometown newspaper, The Newton County Times (AR), this week.
Because the link is likely to go away, I'm pasting the story here:
03/20/2008The news story makes no mention of their infant child, but word in the community is that he and 5 other minors were in the home when the violence broke out.
Two hospitalized following domestic disturbance report
By the Times Staff
JASPER - Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape said two people were hospitalized after a shooting/knifing/arson incident at Rock Creek on Wednesday night, and one of them was also under guard as a suspect in the incident. According to Slape, Paul Stuart, 36, and his girlfriend, Ida Bates, had been involved in a domestic disturbance Wednesday night.
She apparently had gone to a neighbor's house about 100 yards away.Slape said Stuart was waiting outside that residence where Darby and Vonda Hustead lived and when
Bates walked out on the porch, Stuart shot her in the face with a .22 caliber gun.Stuart then allegedly went in the Hustead's house with the gun. They were able to disarm him, but he had a knife, Slape said, adding that they suffered superficial wounds for which they were treated and released at North Arkansas Regional Medical Center.
Slape said Stuart then went back to his own residence, barricaded himself in the trailer and set it on fire. However, he soon fled the trailer and surrendered to authorities. Slape said both Stuart and Bates were airlifted to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Mo. Stuart, he added, suffered smoke inhalation.
A hospital spokesman said neither Stuart nor Bates were listed in their directory, but Slape said he was told she is in "stable" condition and he was being guarded. Slape said Stuart faces charges of attempted capital murder, arson, being a felon in possession of
a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault.
Stuart also was being held on a parole violation from a murder conviction in the 1990s. Records show Paul Stuart was sentenced to prison for the 1995 first-degree murder of his
brother, Jerry Stuart.Slape said Paul Stuart was released from prison after serving a portion of his sentence.
Ironically, it was just two weeks ago that Bates and Stuart were featured on the front page of the Feb. 28 Newton County Times in a dramatic story headlined "Miracle on Rock Creek." Bates,nine-months pregnant at the time, was swept off a low-water crossing on Rock Creek in her Geo Metro. Her car overturned in the rising water, but Bates was able to pull herself out of the window of the car. Stuart, who had come to the
crossing because he was concerned about his companion being able to get home safely, helped pull her out of the high water.
Is there any good news in this? Well, Bates survived. And, there is now a domestic violence advocacy group in the county which can fund one night in a local motel until a victim can be placed in a shelter in a neighboring county. (The county briefly had its own shelter house for a few years, but it has since closed due to loss of funding). I'm reminded of a statistic I recently read about the availability of such resources in rural America: 30% of rural counties have no domestic violence shelter; for those places, the average distance to a shelter is 36 miles.