Death is death. If you read David Trahan’s Feb. 18 column, “Mixed up on gun violence,” you may have been left mixed up.  Trahan’s false dichotomy of splitting all deaths from guns into two categories, violent crimes vs. suicides, misses a tragic reality — our extremely high rate of domestic violence.

From 1997-2001, I worked for the Family Violence Project in its Skowhegan office. At that time nearly 50 percent of homicides were caused by domestic violence — how could it be that in the most recent report of the Maine Domestic Abuse Homicide Review Panel, the stats remain the same?

In Maine, a domestic violence assault is reported to law enforcement every two hours and 40 percent of all reported assaults were domestic violence assaults.  The Maine Department of Public Safety 2017 Annual Report notes that “non-stranger to non-stranger” relationships comprised the vast majority of deaths, 66.7 percent. In 29.2 percent of the cases, it was a family member doing the killing.

In 47.6 percent of all of domestic violence deaths, a firearm was used.

Suicide is tragic, and I’m glad that we have few if any drive-by shootings, armed robberies and gang violence. Our high per capita rate of gun ownership could be because our hunting traditions, but do most hunters use a handgun to hunt?  I’m all for responsible gun ownership, although the relatively new concealed carry without a permit process does scares me a bit.

My biggest question is this: Are we doing all that we can do to enforce the protection from abuse orders that order that perpetrators’ guns be taken away? I hope so, but I wonder.


Carol Riemer Coles


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