It seems that every time someone goes on a shooting spree, one of the first questions journalists ask is if the killer's girlfriend recently left him.
We saw it back with the guy* in the Arizona shootings during which Representative Giffords was injured. We saw it in Colorado a couple weeks ago, and again this weekend in Wisconsin.
Always there's some reporter saying, "There's speculation that so-and-so's girlfriend recently left him and this might be one motive behind his rampage."
What sort of message does this send to girls (or guys) dating creepy crazy men (or women)? That if you leave this guy who is obviously nutso and no good for you, he might go off and kill a dozen people in a movie theater? That you'd better stay with this creep or you'll be responsible for the crimes he commits when you leave?
The people who commit these crimes are not stable, normal people who suddenly turn murderous because their girlfriends dumped them. Life with them is not sunshine and daisies until suddenly BOOM. They have underlying mental issues. I wouldn't want to be dating them. I wouldn't want my daughter dating them. I'm sure all these girlfriends had much better reasons for dumping these guys than they probably had for dating them in the first place.
We should be cheering for these girlfriends who got out before these guys could kill them. Not subtly blaming them for triggering mass murder.
Far too many people, men and women alike, stay in abusive relationships. They explain away the crazy, enabling their partners who need professional help.
Maybe if these criminals' girlfriends had stayed with them, they would never have gone on these horrific shooting sprees. Maybe. Maybe these women could have saved dozens at the expense of their own lives and the lives of any of their eventual children.
Because do you know where these relationships end up? They end up on the other side of the courtroom from my husband, in a situation where the best case scenario is that the children will be taken away from these parents and turned over to strangers.
People in abusive relationships or relationships with unstable people don't have a responsibility to the people that might get hurt if they leave.
They have a responsibility to themselves. They have a responsibility to their children, existing and hypothetical.
We should be glad these women got out and stop implying that their courage caused these calamities.
Because the only ones responsible for those murders are the ones who committed them.
*I refuse to name these people not because I can't go look up their names. I know that would make the post less confusing. But I'm loathe to give any more specific attention to these evil people than they already get.