Angry Men With Guns

Yesterday in Clarksville, Jordan M. Hazel, 27, shot and killed his wife, Keara Wynn Hazel, 23, and their two children, Kayden, a 3-year-old boy, and Jaylynn, a 9-month-old girl. Hazel has been charged with three counts of homicide.

Not even a week ago in Plano, Texas, a woman was hosting an NFL watch party for friends when her estranged husband showed up with a gun. He killed her and six other people and wounded two others before being shot by police. One of the injured people later died.

Jaquielynn Floyd, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News penned an important column this week about the Plano shooting and the issue of guns and anger:

Mass murder in Plano underlines the toxic mix that’s killing us: guns and anger

Yes, we have a gun problem in this country, starting with the fact that we are unable to have a sensible conversation about guns without losing our minds.

We also have an anger management problem. We have a rage problem. We have some serious problems with impulse control.

It’s that poisonous symbiosis of anger and loaded weapons that can make our society feel like a war-ravaged minefield, where routine family problems and everyday grudges and neighborhood grievances can explode in gunfire.

Lost jobs, messy breakups, thoughtless drivers who cut you off in traffic: These are not pleasant things. What kind of person believes, even for a second, that they justify murder?

“A crazy person” is the response that leaps to mind, but this isn’t about mental illness — not in the technical sense of psychosis. It’s about people who meet at least two much more commonplace criteria: They cannot control their anger, and they own guns.

Sadly, acts of violence towards women like the tragedy in Clarksville are not uncommon in Tennessee.  According to the Violence Police Center, when it comes to men murdering women, Tennessee ranks 9th in the nation.  The state has ranked in the top 10 for the last five years.  The most common weapon used is always a firearm.  And in most all cases, the victim knew her assailant.  It’s usually a current or former romantic partner.  In some cases, the man shoots the woman, and sometimes their children, before turning the gun on himself.

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Below are incidents of guns being used to intimidate, injure and kill women so far this year in Tennessee:

September 14 – Clarksville
Jordan M. Hazel, 27, shot and killed his wife, Keara Wynn Hazel, 23, and their two children, Kayden, a 3-year-old boy, and Jaylynn, a 9-month-old girl. Hazel has been charged with three counts of homicide.

September 5 – Pulaski
18-year-old Colton Perryman shot and killed his 16-year-old pregnant girlfriend Samantha “Stormy” Carter. She was 22 weeks pregnant with a little girl to be named Scarlett Danielle, who also did not survive.

August 17 – Nashville
Terry Moyers shot and killed his girlfriend in the home he shared with her, their 3-year-old, and a roommate. He told the roommate to take the child across the street and when police arrived, shot and killed himself.

July 11 – Crossville
A man shot his wife, a nursing home patient, and then fatally shot himself. She sustained serious injuries and was hospitalized in critical condition.

June 17 – Nashville
40-year-old Andrew Tucker shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 41-year-old Amy Williams on the street outside her home and then killed himself.

June 16 – Oak Ridge
49-year-old Michael Deuschle shot and killed 43-year-old Tessa Deuschle and her daughter, 24-year-old Chelsea Kessel. He then fatally shot himself.

May 16 – Antioch
Police were called to investigate a possible burglary and found 52-year-old Michel Louka Guirguis holding his wife and two children hostage. He was holding a gun to his wife’s head. There as a shootout involving police and Guirguis. He, his wife and their 10-year-old were injured in the exchange of gunfire. attempted homicide, aggravated assault and aggravated burglary charges.

April 30 – Johnson City
38-year-old Lee Peifly shot his wife in the chest during a domestic disturbance and threatened to shoot her mother. He was charged with attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

April 22 – Jonesborough
61-year-old William Knight and his 57-year-old wife, Janice Knight, were found dead, both from gunshots, in what authorities describe as a murder suicide.

April 13 – Memphis
George Earl Muhammad, 29, shot and killed his 27-year-old wife Kendall Brown and her sister Kayla Brown, 19. The couple’s five children were present during the shooting but were not injured. Muhammed had been charged with domestic violence against his wife in the past.

March 23 – Greeneville
The Greene County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from a woman saying she was locked in her room, was bleeding, and a male with a gun was trying to get to her.  When deputies arrived, they found James Irvan Cowgill, 40 and Jennifer S. Sorrells, 39, both deceased from gunshot wounds. Cowgill fatally shot Sorrells, then turned the gun on himself and took his own life.  Cowgill had a history of arrests for domestic violence.

February 19 – Memphis
A couple that were considering divorce were found dead in their home after police were called for a welfare check. Margaret Swearengen, an artist, age 65, was found inside the residence with multiple gunshot wounds. Thomas Swearengen, her 57-year-old husband, was found with a single gunshot wound.

February 19 – Memphis
64-year-old James Lea fatally shot himself and his 55-year-old wife Lisa Lea. Family members found them and called 911.

January 31 – East Ridge
Joseph “Charley” Yates, 54, shot his longtime girlfriend Ellen McKenzie, 48, in the head, then put the shotgun barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger, according to a preliminary report from the Hamilton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

January 24 – Nashville
Odell Collins, 43, killed his live-in girlfriend, Dy-Keshia Franklin, 34, then fatally shot himself in the head in their Donelson home.

FIREARMS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

  • Women in the U.S. are 11x more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries**
  • Female intimate partners are more likely to be murdered with a firearm than all other means combined***
  • The presence of a gun in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%****
  • In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners*****

** D. Hemenway and E.G. Richardson, “Homicide, Suicide, and Unintentional Firearm Fatality: Comparing the United States with Other High-Income Countries, 2003,” 70 Journal of Trauma 238-42 (2011), available at doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e3181dbaddf.

*** When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2010 Homicide Data: Females Murdered by Males in Single Victim/Single Offender Incidents. 2012. Violence Policy Center. Washington, DC. Retrieved January 17, 2013. http://www.vpc.org/studies/wmmw2012.pdf.

**** J.C. Campbell, D.W. Webster, J. Koziol-McLain, et al., “Risk factors for femicide within physically abusive intimate relationships: results from a multi-site case control study,” 93 Amer. J. of Public Health 1089-1097 (2003).

***** U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Supplementary Homicide Reports, 2010, available at http://bit.ly/V1GvFe (excludes New York due to incomplete data).

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