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You’ve had a long night answering call after call—he-saids, she-saids, chasing a Peeping Tom through back yards and alleys, a couple of drunks arguing over a near-empty bottle of Ripple, kids spray-painting stop signs, and the guy who insisted he was Jesus and attempted to prove it by damning you to hell a few dozen times after you refused to give him ten dollars.

Yep, a looonnnggg night and it was only half over when Jimmy Bob “Peanut” Jenkins, Jr. decided to join forces with his good friend Jack Daniels to blacken both his wife’s eyes. Well, Erlene, the wife, wasn’t about to stand for that so she poked ‘ol Peanut in the gut a couple of times with a dull kitchen knife. Didn’t break the skin, mind you, but the act was just enough to send Peanut off the deep end. Oh, he was plenty mad about it, yellin’ and screamin’ and stompin’ his steel-toed Doc Martens across the linoleum, kicking at Porkchop, the family’s three-legged dog, along the way. But Porkchop, having been to this freak show one too many times in the past, knew to stay six or seven dog-dish-lengths away from his owner’s size twelves.

After about ten minutes of plate, bowl, and pot-and-pan-throwing, one of the kids, a snot-nosed, freckle-faced boy of around ten or so, picked up the cordless and punched the speed dial button for 911.

And that’s where you, Officer Save M. All, show up. And Peanut, a Friday night regular, meets you in the driveway, huffing and puffing like an old-time, coal-fired locomotive engine.

Now things are a bit dicey, with Peanut pounding his chest like a gorilla on meth. It’s best to run down the checklist before diving right in. You know, size him up. Is Peanut armed this time? Is he really going to attack? Or, is all that chest-thumping and Tarzan-yelling just a show for the neighbors? Well, you’d better find out in a hurry because he’s starting to spin like the Tasmanian Devil.

So how can you tell if this guy means business, or not?

Well, there are a few telltale signs that could help you evaluate the situation. And, since weapons and other items that are capable of puncturing your flesh, bones, and organs should be your first concern, here are some common indicators that Peanut is carrying a hidden gun or knife.

1. It’s 97 degrees outside and Peanut, standing smack-dab in the center of the intersection at 9th and Main, is wearing his heavily-insulated, knee-length, blood-stained orange hunting coat. Yes, Einstein, he’s probably wearing it to hide a sawed-off shotgun, the one Daddy gave him for Christmas when he was three.

2. The tail of his flannel shirt is out, but one side is riding higher than the other. A great sign that he’s wearing a weapon on the “high side.”

3. Even wearing a shirt tail on the outside is a sign that he might be carrying a weapon. Unfortunately, it’s also a sign known to bad guys, which means they might recognize you as an undercover officer.

Now, the signs that Peanut Jenkins is about to attempt to stomp your butt into the mud …

1. For some unknown reason, many offenders/would-be attackers seem to feel the need to rip off their shirts prior to delivering the first blow. So, when a drunk starts ripping cloth and zinging buttons across the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, well, that might be a good time to reach for the pepper spray because he’s subtly announced his intentions.

The standard shirt-ripping ritual is usually accompanied by lots of top-of-the-lung screaming and yelling, especially nasty comments about your spouse and mother. Nasty comments about the family dog are optional.

2. Another clue that Peanut is about “go for it” is when he starts glancing at a particular spot on your body, like your throat, stomach, or even a knee. Instantly, you should go on alert for a possible strike to that area. Peanut is announcing his intentions and he’s ready to pounce.

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3. Peanut constantly glances to a spot behind you, or to a place off to your right just out of your line of sight. Watch out, because his partner may be approaching for a rear ambush. And, his partner just might be Mrs. Peanut. Yes, even though her “loving husband” had just moments ago beat the ever-loving snot out of her she’ll often defend her man until the bitter end. Unfortunately, the end sometimes results in a funeral … hers.

These quick glances are also good indicators that Peanut has a hidden weapon nearby. For example, you’ve stopped Peanut for drunk driving and he’s constantly glancing toward the glove compartment. Well, there’s a good chance that a weapon or other illegal items are concealed there.

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4. The Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home – You arrive on scene and you approach Peanut, who is standing still, staring off into space. His jaw is clenched and he’s sweating profusely, even though you’re both standing in two feet of freshly-fallen New England snow (New England snow, to me, is the coldest snow on the planet). He doesn’t respond to you in any way, but you see the anger rising. Face is growing redder by the second. Veins poking out on his forehead. Eyes bulging. Yeah, you get the idea. Believe me, it is time to take a step back and start pulling every tool you’ve got on your duty belt because this guy’s getting ready to blow. Silence is definitely not golden in this case.

5. Peanut might be a “I’m not going to look at you” kind of personality. This is another indicator that an assault may be on the way. If he’s staring at place on the ground, refusing to listen and obey your verbal commands, then be prepared for an attack. At the very least, be prepared for a battle when the time comes to snap on the cuffs.

I guess a good rule of thumb is to always assume the worst, and hope for the best.

 

Let’s all imagine, just for a moment, that an animal court exists where dogs and cats have the oppotunity to present evidence against their abusers. What would the Great Dane judge and mostly dachshund and corgi jury hear about the defendants? That Jeffery Dahmer got pleasure by using sticks to impale and showcase the decapitated heads of dogs, cats, and even frogs.

Would a German Shepherd prosecutor describe Lee Boyd Malvo’s use of a slingshot and glass marbles to brutally pelt defenseless cats? Maybe a televised trial would show an Ocicat defense attorney pleading for leniency for her client because, as a small child, he was forced to watch his father kill and dismember the family cat on the kitchen table. Would the German Shepherd present evidence indicating the abuse, torture, and murder of humans could be next?

We already know that Ted Bundy, Dahmer, and David Berkowitz each confessed to brutally abusing and/or killing animals during their childhood. There are studies that show a disturbing trend of children who grow up in homes where animals were abused, often continue on to become animal abusers themselves. After all, kids do indeed like to “do as mommy and daddy do.”

Studies also report a number of abused women whose battering spouses also injured or killed family pets. In addition, abuser(s) often use violence toward family pets as a means to control their victim(s) – “I’ll hurt the cat if you don’t do as I say.”

According to a study reported in “DA’s Link Pet Abuse, Domestic Violence,” it is estimated that 40% of women elected to remain in the abusive household/relationship due to a very real fear of what would/could happen to the family pet, if they left.

Another trend we see occurring is that 43% of school shooters abused animals at some point during their childhoods. And that animal abusers between  6-12 years of age are at more than double the risk of committing a violent crime during their juvenile years.

In 2019, the County of San Diego’s District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit prosecuted 55 animal abuse cases. Of those nearly five dozen cases, 17 also involved domestic violence, child and/or elder abuse.


“Often, animal abuse crimes also have a nexus to mental illness.” ~ San Diego County DA’s Office: DA Reports Increase in Animal Cruelty Cases Linked to Domestic Violence (2019)

Jeffrey Dahmer – high school years

Are there steps that could be taken to prevent child animal abusers from growing up to be the next school shooter, or a Jeffery Dahmer copycat? Well, there are no certainties, but a good place to start is:

a) Sit down with the children in the household to discuss unexplained animal injuries or unexpected pet deaths.

b) Urge local law enforcement and prosecutors to take all cases of animal abuse seriously, and to charge those who break the law. Elected officials, such as sheriffs, mayors, council members, prosecutors, and judges, will often go the extra mile to satisfy the voting public.

c) Listen to your kids. If they’re telling you they’ve seen “Little Jeffrey” down the street shooting cats with his pellet gun, well, they’re probably telling you something that’s very important and very real. Don’t ignore them and hope the act doesn’t happen again. If necessary, call the police, approach the child’s parents, or perhaps even notify a social worker or child protective services.

d) Alert your local Neighborhood Watch volunteers to be on the lookout for animal abuse and suspected animal abusers.

e) Alert the police officers who patrol your neighborhood. Also, call your local animal control officer(s). You may not see immediate results/arrests, but the officers will then know what to look for and who to watch.

f) A talk with your veterinarian about the suspected animal abuse may produce positive results. After all, she may be familiar with the animal(s) in question, and your input could be the deciding factor that prompts a call to police.

g) If possible, and without placing yourself in harm’s way, take photos of the abused animal so you’ll have something to present to the authorities.

h) Talk to your children about all the positive aspects of pet ownerships. Demonstrate love for the animal(s) in your home. Remember, kids like to imitate mommy and daddy, and it’s just as easy to grow up as a lover of animals as it is to become an animal abuser.

Finally, if you are considering adding an animal to your family, please do consider adoption. There are hundreds upon hundreds of dogs and cats in shelters that are desperately in need of a home. They’re also desperately in need of love and attention. So go ahead, make their day.

 

 

Like all patrol officers and police detectives, I’ve seen a lot of horror. The real-life kind, though. Not the kind that sprouted from an idea that once lived in a dark, dank corner of Stephen King’s twisted mind.

Sadly, quite a bit of the terrifying gruesomeness stemmed from domestic violence, and some of the acts were far beyond the comprehension of the typical human being. The brutality discovered during many investigations were both heartbreaking and stomach-turning.

For example, one night we received a call to be on the lookout for a pickup truck with oversized tires, the kind used for off-roading. The caller said the the driver was a white male with short hair. She went on to say that he appeared to be heavily intoxicated and that had physically assaulted and abducted a white female from the parking lot of an area nightclub.

Witnesses at the scene told us that the man was known to be armed with a handgun and his truck was equipped with a gun rack mounted behind the seat and was clearly visible through the rear window. The rack contained both a rifle and shotgun. He was an avid hunter and an equally avid drinker.

Just minutes after dispatch received the initial call, they received another about the same incident. This caller, though, shed more light on the situation. The abducted woman was the girlfriend of the man who’d taken her and he’d returned home after a day of deer hunting and liquor drinking to find her gone. They surmised that he’d noticed her favorite party outfit was missing along with her “dancing shoes” and then, in a rage, set out to search for her. This would not be the first time this had happened.

A few miles from their home, the angry drunk, with a pistol tucked into the waistband of his faded Levi’s, indeed found his girlfriend on the dance floor of a local club, cheek-to-cheek and belly-to-belly with a city slicker from out of town.

After promptly decking the rosy-cheeked man who wore a crisp button-up shirt, creased khaki pants, and brown leather shoes, the boyfriend pulled the woman from the parquet floor and dragged her out into the parking lot where he punched her a few times before ripping her polkadot mini dress from her body. She’d worn nothing but her birthday suit beneath.

He pulled her across the rocky lot and then shoved her inside the cab of his truck. Witnesses said he’d caught her long blonde hair in the door when he slammed it shut and, as he tore from the parking lot spraying cars and bystanders with stones and bits of fine gravel dust, they saw her hair fluttering and waving in the breeze.

Every cop in the area was watching for the truck. Officers checked the homes of the couple and those of their families and friends. They searched the man’s hunt club, and other night clubs in the city. They drove down dirt roads and along side roads and country roads. In the city they made passes through alleyways behind shopping centers and malls and grocery stores. Beside railroad tracks and in city parks and cemeteries.

Then we received the call we didn’t want to receive. A young couple were traveling along a country road a few miles from the city when they saw something in the road. At first they thought someone had perhaps struck a deer. Could’ve been anything, though. Maybe an old mattress, a garbage bag, or even a hippopotamus for all they knew. After all, “seeing things” was a possibility since the purpose of their super-slow drive in the countryside was to smoke weed, enjoy a bit of acid, and listen to good music.

When they drew closer they realized what they’d suspected to be a deer, or a hippo, was actually the bloody body of a nude woman. They guessed her age as somewhere around 22 or 23. She was dead, of course. Her entire body was one single hunk of road rash.

We finally located the man sitting in his truck parked at the edge of river. The place was a favorite of teens and young adults. They went there to drink, swim, smoke dope, and party. The spot was in the middle of nowhere. So far out, actually, that when you reached the middle of nowhere you took a left and traveled 10 additional miles to get to this place.

The boyfriend confessed to the abduction. He also said that he and his girlfriend had argued. He told us that he’d held a gun to her head, but it was just to scare her. He also said he’d ordered her to perform sex acts on him while he drove. When she refused he hit her repeatedly with the barrel of the pistol. Then, suddenly, she managed to open the truck door and jumped out. At the time he guessed that he’d been driving at a speed of approximately 70-80.

The man said he saw her body, in his side mirror, as she tumbled along the pavement. He stopped and backed up to check on her, but decided not to get out of the truck, thinking there was nothing he could do for at that point. So he left her there, like a chunk of roadkill.

I’d previously arrested this same man for domestic violence—threatening his family with a shotgun and later pointing that same firearm at me. The woman, his wife at the time, was not the blonde who’d leapt to her death from his truck. This was a different woman—his former wife—who he’d beaten more times than I can remember. And each time, she took him back and refused to testify against him in court. It was only after he’d fired the shotgun in the direction of their children that she’d decided she’d had enough and left him for good. Still, the judge merely ordered a fine, no jail time, and he was back at it again with other women. I guess shooting up his house and threatening people with a loaded firearm, and pointing that loaded firearm at police officers, well, I guess that was simply not a big deal to the judge.

This last time, though, he was charged with manslaughter for the death of his girlfriend.

Finally, the man would get what he deserved; however, the judge, the same as before, found the man guilty as charged but let him go with time served. He’d been in jail for only a few months prior to his release.