“Now it’s a war on women? Tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something.”
—Paul Ryan, three days ago.
“But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea… We can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence.”
—Mitt Romney, five days ago.
• • •
The alleged shooter in today’s mass shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin is a man named Radcliffe Haughton. Mr. Haughton’s wife left him not long ago, and shortly thereafter someone slashed the tires of several cars in the parking lot of her workplace.
Haughton’s estranged wife believed that he was responsible for the slashings, and thirteen days ago a judge granted her an order of protection against him. Haughton appeared in court three days ago in connection with that complaint, and was ordered to surrender all weapons in his possession to the sheriff’s department.
Today’s shootings took place at Haughton’s estranged wife’s workplace. It is not yet known if she is among the three dead and four injured at the scene.
This is our country’s war on women. This is the crucial nexus between single parenthood and gun violence. It’s real, and it’s an epidemic — half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by a husband, boyfriend, or ex, and they are never at greater risk than when they leave an abusive relationship.
If you want to talk about the social roots of violence, Mr. Romney, this would be a pretty good place to start.
8 pm update | Police have confirmed that Haughton slashed his estranged wife’s tires earlier this month, and that she subsequently obtained a four-year restraining order against him. All three of those killed today are said to have been women, but there is still no word as to whether she is among the dead.
8:15 update | Local media say that all seven of those Haughton shot were women, and that his two daughters (who I’ve seen referred to as his stepdaughters in other reports) have been confirmed safe.
9:20 update | One local television station is now reporting that Haughton’s estranged wife Zina Haughton was one of the three women he killed today. The four injured women are all expected to survive.
10 pm update | Although neighbors remember Haughton as a “good guy,” court records show that Haughton was prosecuted in 1984, 1990, and 1991 on battery charges. Twice he was found not guilty, and once — in 1991 — a domestic battery charge was dismissed when the complaining witness failed to appear.
In the last 21 months he was arrested three times. In January 2011 he was arrested for disorderly conduct, on charges that were later dismissed. In January of this year he pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct and sentenced to a year’s court supervision. A few weeks ago he was reportedly arrested in connection with the slashing of his estranged wife’s tires.
10:30 update | The January 2011 disorderly conduct charge, like the 1991 domestic battery charge, was dismissed when an essential witness failed to appear.