Guns & Patriarchy

Guns & Patriarchy January 23, 2013

by Calulu

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.

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

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

The Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network

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


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  • texcee

    You let the judge know that you were an acquaintance of the victim and they STILL continued with voir dire??? You should have been dismissed immediately! I’ve worked in legal for nearly 40 years and this is clearly conflict of interest! This is not a fair and impartial jury!

  • Texcee.. I wondered why they continued because I could tell that the defense attorney was determined to make me crack, flip out or cry to prove my unfitness. I kept protesting from day one of being called for the case that I did not want to be on the jury because I had a relationship with the victim.

    The only thing I can think is that they were having a rough time getting 12 people on the jury. They called so many people and ran through so many before the jury was completed.

    The whole thing is a sick travesty.

  • AR

    Years ago, I taught a girl whose older brother had shot their mother then killed himself. They had been a very conservative homeschooling family with the children isolated with little freedom to have their own ideas or interests. I taught English and this girl wrote about it for my class and wrote that her brother needed to be his own person and couldn’t find a way. And, of course, there were plenty of guns easily accessible in the household. After the murder-suicide, their father ended up taking the three surviving children away from the very fundamentalist church, getting them professional secular counseling and sending them to our “interdenominational” school.

  • To me it seems that you can’t have a weapon that you can access at a moments notice, but that is still secure and out of the reach of people who may come across it accidentally. In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, so much information has come out about the number of guns held by citizens in the US, that I am now genuinely concerned about bringing my family over to visit.
    Here in the UK we are very much against gun ownership. As you probably know, following the Dunblane School massacre in March 1996, the UK government banned all handguns. We do have armed-response police units, but our policemen on the street are famously unarmed. If you work as a farmer or gamekeeper you can apply for a shotgun license but they are quite hard to obtain. Many doctors’ practices will not sign an application form on principle, and the police have to check out your house or place of business to make sure you have two separate lockable cabinets for storing your weapon and your ammunition separately before you are granted a license to enable you to purchase a gun.
    So, yes, we have our share of people with extreme views, but when they go on the rampage we have a far smaller number of people who get injured, and often many of them survive.
    I have lived all over the world and my father was a soldier, but we have always found that having guns only ever makes you a target. The possession of a gun doesn’t work as a deterrent unless people know about it, but once people know about it, they will hurt or kill you to get the gun!
    My family has always found that when you’re worried about security, get a dog! A dog is an early warning system, will lay down it’s life for you, and best of all, no-one can use your own dog against you!
    I genuinely can’t understand how you are supposed to lay aside your God-given common sense and trust God to look after you when it comes to an abusive partner or multiple high-risk pregnancies, but are also supposed to arm yourself to the teeth against an imagined threat!
    Okay, climbing down off the soapbox………….

  • Meggie

    I would just like to repeat everything you said, except that I am in Australia instead of the UK. Our already strict gun ownership rules, were tightened up after the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996. I am not sure exactly what you can and can’t own but I know that rules about storage of those weapons in strict. A friend who makes gun barrels has to have a shooters licence, store all his equipment in special cabinets and when he travels, there are lots of extra rules to follow. These aren’t even finished weapons. I am a jealous of the UK with the police not carrying guns. I would love to see the same rule introduce here. Shootings are not common but I would much rather a specialist officer be called in if the need arises.
    What surprises me is that so many of the people in the NRA are Christian. My understanding of Christianity is the turn-the-other-cheek, follow-the-laws-of-Caesar, love-one-another kind so the idea of ever shooting someone horrifies me.

  • saraquill

    So that facebook group you linked to says they are pro life, and also very much pro items used to take away life. I am horribly confused.

  • “To me it seems that you can’t have a weapon that you can access at a moments notice, but that is still secure and out of the reach of people who may come across it accidentally.”

    That’s why the ‘home defense’ argument in favour of having guns scares me, especially in houses where kids either live or visit. I’m not against guns–I grew up in a house with guns*, and there’s one in my home now (no ammo though). But the laxness of the laws terrify me.

    *In Canada no less. I had a libertarian classmate who thought there were no firearms north of the border.

  • B.E. Miller

    Sorry for your loss.

  • Howl

    Please accept my condolences for the terrible loss of this dear woman.
    After reading this post, I began to follow the Daniel Harmon-Wright trial. He has been convicted of manslaughter and the jury has recommended a 3-year sentence. Final sentencing by the judge is scheduled for April.
    His mother has also been charged in the case; while secretary to the chief of police in the same town, she is accused of forging public records to get negative information out of her son’s personnel file.
    I’m relieved he was convicted of something, but aghast at the light sentence recommended by the jury. The red flags raised by his history of anger and alcohol abuse led the officers who conducted a background check to recommend against his being hired as a policeman. His incompetence on the job raised more red flags but he was never fired.
    What a mess; guess the good ol’ boy system is alive and well in Culpeper, VA with a horribly tragic result.

  • suzannecalulu

    It is, with many tragic results. In the last year it has come out that one officer was apparently tipping off the drug dealers to when to expect a law enforcement raid. There are other cops accused of all sorts of things and when the town manager started poking into the mess she was suddenly fired. Plus the local former sheriff and DA had paid an informant to get a confession from a murder suspect, used that to get a conviction and now 11 years later it’s exposed that the informant got nothing and the teenager was railroaded. He finally got out of jail after eleven years served for a crime he did not commit.

    I’ve had no run ins with the cops here at all beyond exchanging a wave with the ones that come patrolling our neighborhood when I’m out and about or the officer I used to work with for our neighborhood watch group. So I didn’t know we had such a corruption problem. Then Pat was shot and it seems like every piece of dirt about the local cop shop is out in the open. I hope someone gets it cleaned up and soon.