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Sunday, August 21, 2016
Mass Murder-Suicides, Familicides, WHY?
Megan and Mark Short Facebook post with their children Mark, Liana and Willow. Mark shot Megan and his three children, then turned the gun on himself.
Mark Short's little ones - Liana, 8; Mark Jr., 5; and Willow, 2 - were in their pj's on Saturday, Aug. 6, when he blew them away with the gun he had bought two weeks before.
Babies bleeding to death in their jammies. I cannot begin to shake the image from my head.
Short also took out their mom, Megan, 33, and the family dog before putting his brand-new .38-caliber handgun to his own head.
The coward didn't have the balls to meet his maker all by his lonesome. He forced his family to come with him.
God forbid that his wife, who had planned to leave him that very day, should find someone new to love. Or that another man would raise the kids he didn't feel like sticking around for.
Monday's news conference by Berks County authorities confirmed that Mark Short was the shooter in the murder-suicide that sent the family's Sinking Spring neighborhood into shock last week. But some members of his extended family seemed to know from the get-go that it was Short who pulled the trigger.
Last week, reeling, they described him as a hardworking man who would do anything for his family - except allow them to live, apparently.
"Don't think any less of him, because he's a really, really good guy. He would do anything for anybody," one cousin told NBC10. "You don't know the situation, so don't try to judge."
But what is there to know about this situation, other than that Short's life had taken a turn he didn't like? The way it does for everyone at some point in their lives. And that his final response was to stomp his foot in rage and cock a gun.
Short was more than a distraught dad. He was a towering narcissist whose final act was mass murder.
I hope he chars in hell - and that Ruben Johnson crisps right alongside him.
Johnson is the 50-year-old Burlington County man who killed his wife, Mashanda, 48; their 10-year-old little boy, Ruben III; and himself just two days after the Shorts' bodies were found.
Mashanda Johnson knew her husband was a danger. A few years ago, she told childhood friends that he had threatened to kill her. As one friend told the Daily News, "She would say, 'If something ever happens to me, it's going to be Ruben.' "
Well, it did, and it was.
You know who else belongs in hell with them one day? Yet another controlling, rage-filled abuser, Aaron Wright of Germantown.
On Aug. 1, Wright, 47, a former Temple University police officer, beat to death his girlfriend, Joyce Quaweay, 24, because "she would not submit to his authority," said Philly Homicide Capt. James Clark.
Wright didn't exert his manly power all by himself. He was allegedly assisted by his buddy Marquis Robinson, 41, who helped Wright strip Quaweay naked and handcuff her to a bench while Wright killed her.
All of this went down in front of Wright's four children, two of whom he fathered with Quaweay.
How can those little ones un-see the violence inflicted by their monstrous father? Who the hell will raise Quaweay's kids - ages 10 months and 2 years - now that she's gone?
And why does domestic violence remain so prevalent in this angry, messed-up society that we are still asking these questions?
Jeanine Lisitski's heart ached Monday when she read the timeline before the Berks County murders. Three weeks before she was killed, Megan Short had called 911 to say she was afraid of her husband.
When police arrived, her husband was no longer home. Police advised Megan Short to file a protection-from-abuse order, which she said she would do the next day. She never did, and police never followed up.
Yesterday, Sinking Spring police said they followed "protocols," which Lisitski doesn't doubt. Except that when it comes to domestic abuse, we badly need new ones.
Abuse victims need more outreach and guidance than what already overburdened police are able to provide before they must handle another 911 call.
"If there had been a broader response to [Megan Short], this might've turned out very differently," says Lisitski, executive director of Women Against Abuse.
In Philadelphia, Lisitski's group is among 24 city agencies, nonprofit service providers, and advocacy organizations that are developing a coordinated community response to domestic violence.
She envisions the day when a 911 call like Short's triggers a response that results in a victim's immediately speaking with someone from a domestic-abuse hotline and being assessed for risk. Help would also be immediately available for PFA paperwork to be filed or for the family to be removed from the home.
Currently, no such coordinated effort to address domestic violence exists in any American city, Lisitski says. If Philly's five-year implementation plan goes well, its new protocols could be adapted everywhere to ensure fast response and assessment when victims are in trouble.
"It's too much to expect police to handle this alone," says Lisitski. "Domestic violence affects the entire community; it needs a community response."
In one short week, we saw three very different communities reel from its deadly shock - upscale Sinking Spring, middle-class Burlington Township, and a rough block of Germantown.
You never think about domestic violence invading your neighborhood, until it does.
Leaving a trail of what-ifs that we should be sick of asking.