How not To Handle Domestic Violence Next Door
Yes, this chapter is absolutely as racist as the title claims.
Remember the stories Doug told us about living on the res with his Uncle Harry? Well, buckle up kids, because this is worse. Much worse.
Doug gets a call from a pastor, asking if he’d like to come work with the Navajos at La Vida Mission.
Doug, remembering his experiences living with his uncle, decides against the idea. Unfortuantely for him and for the Navajo, God had other plans.
He and Karyn drive to the mission to visit for “a day or so.” The trailer breaks down right there in the mission yard, forcing the Batchelors to stay until they can get it fixed. It ends up taking two days, during which time Doug and Karyn see the needs of the Navajo, and decide to stay.
The mission had purchased a house in Waterflow, New Mexico, that was to be our home. They wanted us to raise up a church there, but the people occupying the house hadn’t moved out yet, nor even finished packing, for that matter. They left old furniture, unwanted junk, and garbage. They even left their dirty breakfast dishes on the table.
Sounds like someone really really didn’t want to move out. I wonder if the house was foreclosed?
The Batchelors have neighbors who live in a mobile home owned by the mission. The yard is littered with beer cans.
This mission is near the one where Doug’s uncle worked, and one day he meets up with his good buddy Ken, who is now a raging alcoholic. He says it’s been 10 years since he’s seen him, so we have some idea where we are in our timeline. Ten years since Doug lived with his uncle, so that would make him…what, 26 now? My how the time has flown.
Ken and Doug pray together, and Ken tells Doug he’s his best friend.
“No, Ken. I’ve been your worst enemy. I got you started down the wrong road. O God, what ahve I done?” I cried. “Have I destroyed a man’s life by my bad example when Iw as young and foolish?”
(Doug doesn’t say all this to Ken, he says it out loud after he leaves.)
It’s good to see Doug feel some sort of responsibility here. However, I don’t think this is necessarily Doug’s fault. Yes, he badgered Ken into drinking, but Ken is still the one who chose to start, the one who chose to continue, and the one who chose to not seek help. The main responsibility for Ken’s wrong turns in life falls upon Ken.
Doug then tells us about his neighbors. Their names were Tom and Alaice. She was a computer operator who had office skills. He was a vietnam vet, spoke English and Navajo, and was an electrician.
The neighbors were polite, but aloof. Karyn and Doug wondered wh this was.
They soon found out.
Then one night we heard a frantic knock at the door….I quickly opened it and there stood 11 year old T, the oldest of the 3 neighbor children. “Come quick!” she pleaded. “My father is killing my mother!”
I hesitated for a split second…for an instant I thought that I probably should call the police… but if I did that, I might never reach them with the gospel.
Um, what? Doug seriously thinks this? “I could call the police, have this guy locked up, and in doing so make the woman be safe, but NOPE. I can’t do that, because winning the male to Jesus is more important than the woman’s safety.”
Anyone who puts their religion over someone’s personal safety is an asshole. I actually think the Christian thing to do here is to call the police. Protect the innocent at all costs! You can witness to Tom in prison.
In any case, Doug rushes in and breaks up the fight. Doug has a background in fighting, so while I normally would think rushing in to save them yourself is a terrible idea, I’m willing to let it pass.
However, this begs the question; if Doug is willing to break up his neighbor’s fight, why THE FUCK was he not at least thinking about stopping the “black pimp” from killing that poor girl 6 chapters ago? No, I’m not going to stop bringing that up.
Doug tells Tom that he could have called the police, but he didn’t. Because Doug is an idiot.
“This is no way to settle problems. If you hate her that much, leave, but don’t beat her up.”
As much as Doug is trained in fighting, he has not been trained in handling domestic violence situations. I don’t fault him for running in to break up the fight, but he should have shouted to Karyn on his way out to dial 911. (They did have 911 when Doug was my age, right?)
Tom and Alaice begin yelling again, and Doug physically restrains Tom.
When she saw that he could not get away, she attacked him and began pulling his hair.
Good for her!
Also, this is why he should have called the police. Because then there would be two police officers who could hold them both back from each other. Instead Doug makes a bad siutation worse by trying to handle it himself.
“Cut it out!” I yelled. I threw him against one wall and her against the other–it wasn’t that hard since they were both half drunk.
She’s the one being attacked, yet you punish her for snapping and trying to hurt him back by throwing her against the wall, too.
Meanwhile, the children are watching this, crying. Yanno, Doug, if you weren’t going to have Karyn hang back and dial 911, you should at least have had her come with you to take the children to your house for a while. In fact, maybe that should be done before she dials the emergency number.
Despite them being half drunk, Doug tells them all to sit down and discuss this like rational human beings. Even sober people can’t agree on what rational behavior is, but he expects people who are half drunk to do this? He needs to call the police right the fuck now, put Tom in the drunk tank, wait for them both to sober up, then call a counselor who specializes in domestic assault situations.
Of course, none of that actually happens.
Doug takes them all into the living room. Neither one of them talks very much, which I suppose is an improvement over fighting.
I made up my mind not to leave until one of them left.
At least he did something to make sure Alaice was temporarily safe.
Finally Alaice leaves, taking the children with her.
He and Karen soon learn that this family has been making the headlines for years.
Tom was tall, handsome, and macho. Alaice was attractive and flirtatious, and they both drank. They were jealous of each other, and when they drank, the fights erupted.
Fights. This makes it sound like both of them go after each other equally, which we have just been shown is not the case. What Doug really means is, “Tom starts to beat up on Alaice, who tries to defend herself.” Yes she tried to hit Tom when he was restrained, but who can blame a woman in a situation like that for snapping and wanting to hurt the man who hurt her?
It sounds like this couple would benefit from divorce. But of course divorce is never the answer for a situation like this… no no no. These people need Jesus!
I debated what to do. Should I report them to the mission and have them evicted? If I did that, I would lose all hope of ever winning them for Christ.
I have to agree with Doug that an eviction might not actually solve the problem. Just because they have to live somewhere else doesn’t mean Tom is going to stop beating up Alaice.
Doug resolves to try and solve the problems himself, with the help of
his invisible sky fairy God.
Terrible idea, by the way. For God’s sake, let the authorities handle it. They’ve been trained to do this, and I think God, if he existed, would want Doug to use the gray stuff between his ears and seek out professionals. Why else would a hypothetical God put professionals on this earth?
Anyway, Doug proceeds to use his religon to justify making the situation worse.
When Tom got in trouble for pulling a gun on a man who had insulted him, I went to court with him. When he got in jail, I helped him get out.
Poor Alaice. She hears her husband has been jailed, and she thinks to herself she’s finally safe. Then she finds out that that no good busy body neighbor went and bailed him out again. Her heart sinks.
Seriously, this is Doug not caring what happens to Alaice. This is Doug caring what happens to Tom. Alaice is just a woman, after all, what does she know? If he converts Tom, the entire family will be converted, too.
Karyn has decided to make friends with Alaice and the kids. Sometimes the police did make an appearance, and the kids would go to the Batchelor’s house while they got things sorted.
Good. This is good. This is something I actually approve of. Make your home a safe space for the woman and kids to go while Tom is getting arrested. Yeah, ok, fine.
One night when I was gone for a few days…Karyn sat in her bed reading. Suddenly the back bedroom door opened, and Alaice came charging in. She looked at Karyn and said, “I’m sorry!” and went running through. Seconds later, Tom came chasing after her with a broom. Karyn didn’t even get out of bed. We had become accustomed to this behavior. The whole world seemed an uglier place because of their drinking and brawling. (Emphasis mine)
Wait, what? I… I….I…. what?! I don’t even know where to start. This is just awful. First off, Karyn needs to call the police when this happens. Tom is clearly a threat to Alaice, and if she cares about Alaice, if they’re really friends, she’d call in professionals.
It’s not just about protecting Alaice at this point. Tom is chasing Alaice through their house. I presume the Batchelor’s children are present. There’s no telling if Tom would be a threat to them, so Karyn needs to get her butt out of bed and protect them. And then start locking the front door in the future so this doesn’t happen again.
Poor Alaice. She thought running to her friend Karyn’s house would help, that Karyn would do something to protect her from Tom.
Note also the last sentence in the paragraph. Doug is placing the blame for this on both Tom and Alaice. Both of them may be drunk, however, Tom is the one threatening Alaice. We don’t hear Doug talk about Alaice chasing Tom with a broom or pulling a gun on people. Tom is clearly the unstable one, Alaice is not. Doug, here, is doing the classic Adventist Christian thing called “victim blaming.”
Doug is a motherfucking cuntwaffle.
When Tom is sober, Doug talks to him about God.Tom apparently has an interest in spiritual matters, and he clearly needs Jesus.
Newsflash, Doug, even devout Christians sometimes beat up their wives. Jesus isn’t going to help the situation. You need to stop getting Tom out of prison and going to court with him and let him get locked up for a while. Then Alaice needs to see a social worker to see what she can do about getting her away from him.
Nope. According to this book, these people need a Revelation Seminar! Sigh.
Here, Doug reveals himself to be not just a motherfucking cunt, but a sleazeball. Remember all that help he gave Tom? Well, apparently, it came with strings attached.
We planned another Revelation Seminar, and I really hoped I could get Tom and his family to come. I talked ot him one day. “Tom,” I said, “You owe me one.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve gone to court with you, I’ve stood by your side, I’ve fended off the police, and I’ve been a good neighbor. Now I want a favor from you.”
“All right, Doug, what do you want?” He asked.
“I want you to come to these meetings that I’m starting.” I said…..
“Oh no, Doug, I can’t do that.”
“And why not?” I countered. “Why don’t you just come the first couple of nights? Then if you don’t like them, you can quit.”
“Ok, I’ll come,” he said.
Like every single Seventh Day Adventist I’ve ever met, Doug only does things to manipulate others and try and convert them. Because that’s totally what Jesus would do.
People at the mission tell Doug he will be lucky if he can get more than 10-15 people to come to a meeting, so Doug sets a goal for 100.
There’s setting high goals to help yourself reach a high standard, and then there’s setting impossible goals.
This book, however, disagrees with me, because on opening night they have 375, including children. Everyone is amazed. Clearly this is the Lord’s work.
Tom, Alaice, and their whole family come to the meetings, which totally change their lives, they quit drinking, rekindle their marriage, and live happily ever after.
I doubt it. I seriously doubt it.
Doug is also told that the Navajos are “a gentle people and wish to please,” and often get baptized just because you want them to.
Which… ok? I have no idea how true this is, and it just sounds condescending. Indians want to please White Man, of course.
In any case, Doug thoroughly investigates the baptismal candidates before dunking them, and Tom and Alaice were among those baptized a few months later.
There the chapter is mercifully brought to a close.
This chapter was terrible, and sickening to read. I can’t help but wonder how things really turned out for Tom and Alaice. Did the gospel really help their domestic violence issues, or did it only temporarily bandage the actual problem, before it started up again, this time more underground?
Now that Alaice is a Christian, she will have a hard time making herself divorce Tom if the problems ever do return, and most church members wouldn’t be supportive of such actions.
One thing is for sure: Doug sucks royally at handling domestic violence disputes. He is also a slick manipulative little bastard who’s help comes with strings attached.
I used to think of Doug as a nice guy who was genuinely a good person but misguided. It turns out that I was wrong. I thought this book would just be a quick read as I commented on all the outrageous stories Doug tells that half to be at least partly exaggerated.
I didn’t think I was going to learn that Doug, more interested in helping the abuser than the abused, was part of the enemy.