No one else has brought this up yet here 'In Your Neighborhood' and admittedly Orting and Graham are not my neighborhood either, but the pain that this story/crime has evoked cannot be contained merely on the 'Lights & Sirens' blog, the main page online, or the front page of the printed newspaper.
Listening to radio programs today, e.g. The Commentators on KOMO with Ken Schram and John Carlson, and to Dori Monson on KIRO 97.3 FM, and comments by callers to those programs gives an interesting spectrum of points of view. I would like to add my own thoughts.
First and foremost: Mass murder and suicide are not an individual's first foray into domestic violence. It does not begin and end in one summary act. That entire family -- now silenced -- had to have been living in a hell at home that no one on the outside was privy to. Neighbors may have known of fighting and loud yelling coming from the home, but no one could have known what was going on inside that home who did not live it every day.
A common thread I've been hearing is, "If he wanted to commit suicide, why didn't he just kill himself?" And then the immediate assumption that he killed the children to hurt his wife.
That's not it.
If you think about it, that he went back up to Auburn to kill her, too, it wouldn't hardly have given her much pain, no time to suffer just to be told that he had killed the children and now she was going to die.
He killed the children, because of his rigid beliefs. One of those beliefs was surely that he did not want his kids to have to endure the stigma of coming from a broken home. Yes, in his warped way of thinking, that was almost certainly the ultimate shame -- to come from a broken home. So he killed the children to spare them that shame. That's what people do in these situations. It was not about inflicting pain on the wife, it was about sparing the children the pain of growing up in a broken family with one parent or the other not in the home.
People who try to apply logic to this insanity will get it wrong (as they have been doing speculating about his motive). There is no sane logic to what he did. But he did what he did, because he loved the children and was 'sparing them'. Clearly, it was a deranged, controlling 'love.'
His pain over the loss of his wife, his child bride whom he had knocked-up at age 13 with the first of those five babies who were to be born into that hell, was pain over the loss of control that he had of her: statutory rape of a minor child that then led to the marriage and the births of each of the children thereafter. That's what his rage was about.
And for those who blame the mother (such as Dori Monson) for 'leaving those children with a psycho while she goes off on a two-day bender with her new boyfriend'... No one could foresee the criminal insanity that would unfold. Sure, it would have been better for her to try to make a clean break for herself and the kids before becoming involved with someone else. Of course, it would. At the same time, he had her wrapped so tightly that she probably had no idea of how to get out of the situation. And where do you go with five kids? Who will take you in? Who will ever want you again? That is all she has known since age 13.
Little girls are often raised with the belief that you are "only half a person" until you are married at which time you become "whole." This is the belief that drives the mindset that "I've gotta have a man in my life or I'm nothing; I'm only half a person; I need a man so I can be whole." Serial relationships follow. It'd be great if every relationship yielded that perfect union, but sadly it is more rare than it is the norm.
One last thing, there was also discussion/whining and complaining about why it is that the schools bring in grief counselors from the outside. "Why don't parents talk to their kids themselves? Why don't kids talk to their parents?" Sadly, there are many homes: many, many homes in all socioeconomic levels (not just the classic trailer park as in this instance), but all across the board, across every community there are homes where there is relentless physical, mental, and verbal violence.
An educator brought up the following scenario to Ken Schram, 'How can these kids talk to their parents about domestic violence when they are living it in their own home and are afraid of their parents? Afraid that their dad will kill them?' In a knee-jerk reaction, Ken put that caller down stating, that that just does not happen, that's not gonna happen.
But it does.
When you have seen a line in a movie or television show where a parent says to their child -- either in a sitcom or seriously in a drama -- "I brought you into this world and I can take you out." That is the reality for many children. That is the fear and the tyranny they live. And whether or not the abuse is directed physically at them or at their mother, the message is clear: "Cross me, and you're dead."