Monday, July 12, 2010

Domestic Violence Incident

USAToday reports on a workplace killing spree in New Mexico:

A man in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend opened fire at his former company Monday, killing two people and wounding four others before fatally shooting himself.

The man, 37, had worked at Emcore Corp., a fiber optics and solar power company based in Albuquerque, where his girlfriend still worked, Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said at a news conference.

Police said they had not identified the victims and would not confirm whether the girlfriend was among the dead. They also did not identify the shooter.

The couple had two children, who are safe and with police, police spokeswoman Nadine Hamby said. The gunman and his girlfriend had at least one previous domestic violence incident in Rio Rancho, an Albuquerque suburb, but the dispute had not been reported to police and there was no arrest, she said.

"There is a relationship between the offender and the victim," Hamby said.

I have bolded the bits which don't make any sense to me. What information is added when we are told that the dispute between a man and his girlfriend was a domestic one? Do people in such a relationship have foreign disputes, too? It sounds like an attempt to label one type of dispute as something different from other types of disputes.

Then that bit about "the gunman and his girlfriend had at least one previous domestic violence incident."

Did she attack him? Or what? How did they share this incident? It's such an odd formulation. As if domestic violence incidents are something external which just fall on people and as if such incidents are somehow equal fights. Either she attacked him or he attacked her or they attacked each other, and which of these might be the case does matter, given the later events.

This could just be an example of police lingo. But I'm smelling a trend in these stories, one which labels violence which is domestic as something potentially different from other types of violence.