My family are big fans of true crime and forensic programs on television. Between those programs and the daily local news, it seems that a growing number of women are being attacked, beaten, sexually assaulted and killed AFTER warning law enforcement of the danger they face by a former lover, boyfriend, husband or stalker.
In so many of these cases, the victim had obtained restraining orders against their attackers, but the attackers ignored the restraining order. In far too many cases, the victims were told by law enforcement that a restraining order would protect them and that there was nothing more law enforcement could do. We’ve also seen in many cases that when a man continues to violate the restraining orders, little is done and sometimes the police begin to ignore the woman and even consider her a nuisance.
That’s what happened in the case of 19-year-old Shana Grice.
Early last year, Grice told the police that her former 27-year-old boyfriend had pulled her hair and tried grabbing her phone out of her hand. She didn’t tell the police that Michael Lane had been her boyfriend. When Lane denied the allegations, the police ended up fining Grice for ‘having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report.’
The police didn’t believe her, but they believed Lane.
A couple of months later, Lane stole a key to Grice’s home and let himself in without her permission. She said it was reported to the police and all they did was order him to stay away from her, nothing more.
A month later, Lane reported finding Grice’s body in her bedroom. After seeing her covered in blood and not moving, he didn’t call an ambulance or any medical help. Instead, according to police, he used gasoline to set her on fire. He later told the police that he was going to use the gasoline to kill himself because he was depressed over the death of his grandfather.
Now Lane has been charged with murdering Shana Grice. During the investigation into her death, prosecutors learned of her reports to the police and how they fined her for wasting their time.
Yes, this happened in England, but similar circumstances have happened to far too many girls-women here in the United States as well. A number of women’s advocate groups have been trying to change laws and make law enforcement and the courts take the threats made against them more seriously, but little progress has been made.
This is why there is such a need for women to own a firearm and learn how to use it. If police won’t or can’t protect women in danger, then they need to a means to protect themselves. Great Britain has fairly strict gun control laws and many British people are not allowed to own a firearm or have one handy to protect themselves. If Grice had a gun, there is that possibility that she would still be alive.
Take the case of Sarah McKinley of Oklahoma. At age 18, she was a new mother and a widow. Her young husband had recently died from cancer, leaving Sarah all alone with her infant son at Christmas time in 2011. On the day of her husband’s funeral, Sarah was visited by a young man who claimed to be a neighbor that just wanted to stop by and say hello. She did not let him in her house as she did not know him.
On New Year’s Eve, the same young man, 24-year-old Justin Martin returned to Sarah’s house and wanted in. This time, Justin was accompanied by a friend, Dustin Stewart and a 12-inch-long hunting knife. Fortunately, Sarah’s doors were locked as the two men tried to enter the house, but could not.
Instead of leaving, they continued to knock on the door, try the door knob and then proceeded to check other doors and windows. Sarah quickly went to the bedroom, put a baby bottle in her son’s mouth, grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun and handgun and then called 911.
When speaking to 911, she asked if she was allowed to shoot an intruder since it was just her and her baby home alone. The operator said they could not give that permission but that she did need to use whatever means necessary to protect her son and herself.
Sarah shouted out to the would-be intruders that she had a shotgun, but that did not deter them. Eventually, Martin kicked in Sarah’s door and went after her with the hunting knife in his hand. In an act of self-preservation, Sarah fired her 12-gauge shotgun, dropping Martin in his tracks. Martin’s accomplice, Dustin Stewart fled the scene, but later turned himself in to police.
Had Sarah not had the shotgun, she may well have ended up like Shana Grice, dead! Or, had Grice had a gun, she may well have ended up like Sarah McKinley, alive!