Monday, June 25, 2007

Murder Most Foul: Pregnant Woman's Killer on the Loose...

Cara, over at the Curvature, has a blurb about Jessie Davis and the link between the murder of women and relationships. That is: that 1 in 3 women who are murdered are killed by current or ex husbands or boyfriends. That's staggering.

She also notes that one of the things that made this case so newsworthy is that she was pregnant and likely to give birth soon when she was murdered. That's probably accurate. Sadly, she isn't alone in that regard, although there's much less news around the case of Jennifer Kathleen Nielsen. Nielsen, 22, who was expected to give birth later this week or next, was murdered outside a gas station while she was delivering papers on her second job. Police don't know yet why she was killed, but have released a sketch of a person of interest wanted for questioning.

Cases like this are important to get the word out about- it's a terrible tragedy whenever someone is murdered, but it seems especially so when there's no explanation, no reason, no information at all about what happened. I can only imagine how hard this must be for her family. Her husband is faced with explaining to their children- both under 5- why their mother can't come home anymore. Her family have to deal with the pain of having a loved one taken from them in a brutal and senseless act. And none of them have any answers about who did this or why.

This particular case also highlights one of the interesting and awful things about the internet- when you make connections to people online, you never know who they are offline, and you never know what kinds of things happen to them. If Nielsen had been a regular commentor on any of the blogs I read, she'd have disappeared, and I'd have never known why. As it turns out, her brother is a long-time member of a web-community that I used to be really active in. I was one of the founding members, and I've known this guy for years. My heart goes out to him, and his family, in this time of loss. I can only imagine the pain and frustration that they're probably feeling right now. I can only hope that justice is served.

The Davis case is still getting a lot of media coverage, and I certainly don't want to give the impression that I'm not absolutely sympathetic to her family and their loss, and to the heinousness of that crime. But, right now, there's an important distinction between Nielsen and Davis. Both cases are terrible tragedies, but Davis' case was solved. Her killer is being arraigned, and the wheels of justice are turning. Nielsen's killer is still out there, somewhere, and the police are looking for clues. Her family are still looking for answers and trying to understand what happened. I know, this is a pretty sad way to start the week, but I'm just totally at a loss here. Things like this are just so absolutely senseless.

There's a fund being set up to help Nielsen's family, in case anyone is interested.
Nielsen Family Fund
First Flight Credit Union
1156 North Main Street
Fuquay-Varina, NC 27526
Attention Kati
(919) 557-5311


Cara said...

And on the other hand, I think it's particularly important to get the word out about the Davis case because of the fact she was murdered by her SO. Usually, when a woman is murdered by her husband or boyfriend, the media ignores it-- because hell, it's really not "news" when it happens so damn often. It's about time that this type of tragedy gets the real attention it deserves.

The things is, BOTH cases are important, and BOTH deserve media coverage. How the hell do we get the media to be able to cover more than one fucking story at a time? I'm so sick of major news stories getting wiped out by a newer, bigger news story. Remember how America was just finally starting to have a real, genuine conversation about racism and sexism and what we do and don't find acceptable on the airwaves, after the Don Imus incident, and then media coverage got completely blacked out by Virginia Tech? Obviously, Virginia Tech deserved the coverage it got. But does that mean that everything else ceases to be important? NO! We shouldn't be having this kind of competition, it's ridiculous and counter-productive.

Roy said...

You're absolutely right, but I'm not sure what the solution there is. The media treat news like entertainment. They want sensationalism and excitement, and they like to keep the viewer focused on one story at a time. I think that one of the major benefits of the blogosphere is that we can give equal time to a large number of stories, and we can keep going back to and engaging our readers in various aspects of these stories, to make sure that the important parts are covered, and to make sure that conversations are taking place.

Your point is well taken, though. Both of these cases are important, and one shouldn't really have to suffer at the expense of the other- both ought to be getting attention.