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Domestic Abuse Is Often At The Forefront Of Gun Violence

You wouldn't be wrong to look at the shooting at North Park Elementary School as another tragic case of gun violence.

Here's a warning, though. If you do look at it that way, you might be inclined to react in a way that doesn't quite suit the story.

A shooting occurs, we react with shock, shock turns to anger and that anger eventually prompts people to demand... more gun control laws.

That last part is where things get complicated, though, specifically as it relates to the events in San Bernardino on Monday.

California already has relatively strict gun laws, which are meant to keep weapons away from people like the man who committed the shooting.

Simply put, the focus here shouldn't be about a lack of gun laws, necessarily. But there is another subject that focus should definitely be devoted to: domestic violence.

Along with two students who died on Monday, there was a third victim: 53-year-old Karen Elaine Smith. Smith was shot by her husband, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, who she was separated form, according to San Bernardino Police.

Smith and Anderson had only gotten married in January, the LA Times reports, but split shortly after they began living together.

After the shooting, the wife's mother told the Times,

She thought she had a wonderful husband, but she found out he was not wonderful at all. He had other motives. She left him and that's where the trouble began.

Similarly, a friend of the husband also implied that the incident seemed to come out of the blue, telling the LA Times,

He was a deeply religious man. There was never any signs of this kind of violence … on his Facebook he even criticized a man for attacking a woman.

That right there is what the North Park shooting is about: the volatile nature of domestic violence and how it can escalate so suddenly. An incident can cause concern related to multiple issues all at once, of course, but this specific shooting gives us an opportunity.

After all, when it comes to the subject of domestic violence, we know the line is blurred with just how many people can become victims to abuse within their own relationships.

You only need to look back to the infamous Ray Rice incident, the football player who punched his wife on tape in an elevator.

At the time, it was so important for people to seize that opportunity and educate others. That was the right time to talk about how black women are disproportionately affected by domestic abuse, for example.

And now, this week is the right time to talk about that again.

Three US women are killed every day by people they've been romantically involved with.

For instance, did you know that nearly three women are killed in America every day by people they've been romantically involved with?

How about this one: did you know that sometimes people might stay in uncomfortable relationships because the alternative might present more danger?

Tiffany Turner-Allen, program director at the National Center on Violence in the Black Community, told NBC,

Lethality increases the moment a woman says she's leaving.

It'd be understandable if you didn't about these things.

After all, domestic issues are usually just that: domestic. The problems form behind closed doors, where few people can see.

Unfortunately, though, we've all seen what happened on Monday, when those issue went beyond a private home.

The best response now would be to educate ourselves now, and make sure we play a part in preventing these situations altogether.