By BJ Bjornson
I must be missing something here. I mean, I get that generally speaking, the Republican party isn�t exactly women-friendly by any realistic measure, but going after laws that protect domestic abuse victims? Really?
House Bill 1581 would turn the clock back 40 years to an age when a police officer could not make an arrest in a domestic violence case without first getting a warrant unless he or she actually witnessed the crime. That's an exceedingly dangerous change. Consider the following scenario, one outlined for lawmakers by retired Henniker police chief Tim Russell:
An officer is called to a home where she sees clear evidence that an assault has occurred. The furniture is overturned, the children are sobbing, and the face of the woman of the house is bruised and bleeding. It's obvious who the assailant was, but the officer arrived after the assault occurred. It's a small department, and no one else on the force is available to keep the peace until the officer finds a judge or justice of the peace to issue a warrant. The officer leaves, and the abuser renews his attack with even more ferocity, punishing his victim for having called for help.
. . .
House Bill 1608 would also almost certainly cost lives. It removes judicial discretion by severely restricting when someone who has violated a domestic violence protective order can be arrested to three offenses: committing an act of abuse or an offense against the person named in the protective order, or engaging in prohibited contact.
The bill would also, law enforcement believes, remove a judge's ability to order a defendant in a domestic violence case to relinquish weapons or prevent him or her from purchasing a gun. It would also eliminate law enforcement's ability to arrest a defendant who threatens to use physical force against a victim or her children. All are changes that could have deadly consequences and make life more frightening for abuse victims and their families.
I really wish Republicans would limit their foolishness to stuff like banning the use of aborted human fetuses in our food, because when they set their sights on real issues, the results are just downright scary.