Does the woman in the picture look like a lethal threat to you?
Yesterday I lived through what had to be one of the more difficult days I’ve experienced in a lifetime. I spent from early morn till late afternoon waiting to be questioned as a possible juror in a local murder trial.
Why was it so hard? Couple of reasons. The victim was someone I knew very well. Her name was Patricia Cook and she sang on worship team with me for something like two or three years. She was gunned down by a local cop who had a string of excessive force complaints. Full story here.
Just knowing that the trial was upcoming, I was a jury pool member for that time frame, that friends & church members have been subpenaed as witnesses triggered me in a strange funk of mourning and anxiety. By the time I was called into the courtroom in the afternoon for the voir dire process I was a hot mess inside. It didn’t help that there were a handful of Quiverfull folks I know that were also part of the one hundred-ish jury pool members. Yes, it took over a hundred people for the court to find people unbiased enough to sit on the jury of twelve.
I let the judge know immediately that I knew the victim very well and wasn’t sure I could stomach sitting through the trial as a juror.
Once the defense attorney (with deep connections to the NRA) started questioning those of us in my session one of the first questions asked was that about our thoughts on guns, gun control and the NRA. I watched as the QF and patriarchal people I knew staunchly stated their favorable views about weaponry in the jury waiting room. The defense attorney and I got into a very hostile exchange over the fact that I’ve been a supporter and volunteer with The Brady Campaign and the Million Mom March for eight years now, that I wanted to see some gun control initiatives in place soon. He kept implying that my answer surely meant I would want to disarm law enforcement as well before I corrected him and said I had no problem with those that needed guns as part of their job having possession of guns. My problem was with the survivalists and doomsday horders and irresponsible from possessing high powered guns that had no real place in polite society.
After standing up to the defense attorney and arguing some with his assumptions about my views I was finally dismissed and left the courtroom feeling most shaky. I trudged out of our beautiful pre-Civil War courthouse and down the street to jury parking before sitting in my car and having a good long hard cry for my friend.The fact that by what the defense was saying it seemed like they were going to frame her murder as a 2nd Amendment rights case, put gun control on trial instead deeply saddens me because they are seeking to ignore what happened to Pat. On the ride home I had to stop and throw up several times because I was still so emotional and triggered.
So what does all of this have to do with guns and fundamentalists? I think it shows a harmful mindset that the patriarchal hold. Especially after hearing about this weekend’s tragedy involving a Quiverfull family in New Mexico and December’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut by a home-schooled boy whose mother was a doomsday prepper.
This weekend’s murder of Pastor Greg Griego, his wife and three of his ten children highlights the terrible dichotomy of Fundamental Christianity and keeping an arsenal of weapons unlocked and freely available to any member of the family that might want to, oh, perhaps murder a lot of people.
The shooter, Pastor Griego’s son 15 year old Nehemiah Griego, told the police that he’d planned to go to a local Wal Mart in their area of Albuquerque, New Mexico and start randomly shooting people in the parking lot.What’s someone remembered as a caring family man and gentle pastor from Calvary Albuquerque doing with assault weapons and what was described by the police as ‘multiple weapons’? The Patriarchy mindset of us against the evil world likely. Like these idiots. Dad stockpiled all those weapons against the government and world. Why didn’t he lock them up is beyond me. What he preparing for an invasion of black helicopters and federal forces to force him to pray to Satan or something? The amount of weapons and types seem like overkill.
And why did his son kill his family? Nehemiah stated to the police that he was ‘frustrated‘ and had words with his mother. Frustrated is not something accepted from the kids in fundy circles. I’m betting his rebellion against his mom and whatever they were fighting about seemed about a million times worse to the kid, considering he was likely raised in an environment where he was taught to always be cheerful and express no negative emotions. You wind anyone up tightly with no healthy outlet for their own feelings and tragedies like this happen.
The media covering this awful murder has missed the boat on the fact that the family is clearly Quiverfull and that they came from a spiritually abusive fundamentalist church. They seem to think bad seed snapped. Which could be. But from here it looks like rebellion against a life time of spiritual abuse. It’s tragic, no matter what it is.
In the coming years Patriarchy is going to have to rethink their position on guns or we’re going to keep seeing so-called normal kids turned into murderers. Own guns if you like, but for the safety of everyone else please, please keep them under lock and key.
What type of God requires his followers to be armed to the teeth prepared to murder other humans? For the life of me I cannot understand how the Bible and faith leads someone to be so ready to break one of the ten commandments so readily.
I’m still shaking.
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Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce