Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Shannon Burke - Is he a loose cannon?

From reading the media coverage and talking with local experts, it is apparent to this CourtWatcher that Edward Shannon Burke's "accidental" discharge of a .40 cal pistol, hitting his wife and her dog, was no "accident." A direct correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence has been made by the experts, and this is a classic example of it. Tragically, this kind of abuse often extends to children as well.

The Humane Society lists the following as reasons why batterers abuse/threaten/kill pets:

To demonstrate and confirm power and control over the family.
To isolate the victim and children.
To eliminate competition for attention.
To force the family to keep violence a secret.
To teach submission.
To retaliate for acts of independence and self-determination.
To perpetuate the context of terror.
To prevent the victim from leaving or coerce her/him to return.
To punish the victim for leaving.
To degrade the victim through involvement in the abuse.

Click here for more info about animal abuse and domestic violence.

Three women have now been granted temporary injunctions against this man. That fact alone should tell everyone, even his devoted fans, that he has abusive (power & control) tendencies.

Burke had previously been prohibited from having unsupervised contact with his children. One more indicator that he is a dangerous man.

I applaud these women for doing everything in their power to protect themselves and their children. But an injunction is only one part of a safety plan. I tell people all the time that it is not bulletproof. If the perpetrator is not afraid of the criminal justice system, or if they feel they have nothing to lose, no piece of paper in the world will keep you safe. The most dangerous abuser is one who thinks that life is no longer worth living and they become suicidal. Burke has now lost his job at Real Radio 104.1 (WTKS is a station whose website does little more than objectify women by sponsoring bikini contests) and his reputation. He's lost his home (at least for the time being) and his wife has filed for divorce. He's being monitored by Orange County for alcohol consumption in their VOP (Violation of Probation) case. A GPS device has been ordered in the Seminole County case. So even though he's out of jail, he's lost a significant amount of freedom. I suspect he scores off the charts on lethality assessments.

I hope the Seminole State's Attorney upgrades the charges from Aggravated Battery w/Deadly Weapon to Attempted Murder. If, after pulling the trigger and getting no response from your weapon, you eject the pistol's magazine, insert a new one, and pull the trigger again, the State should charge you with attempted murder.

Ultimately a jury will have to decide, unless the State cuts him a plea deal. And even though there was only one victim relating to this May 1st shooting incident, I hope and pray the State's Attorney will keep the other victims apprised of any developments in the case. Call it a "fatality prevention" measure.

PS: I suspect Casey Anthony is glad for the media respite.

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