Issue of the Week: Domestic Violence

For obvious reasons, this weekend's television featured spousal abuse from morning until night on all the major networks. It's as if television had just discovered that husbands beat their wives or, in Adrian Peterson's case, that father's beat their children. It's about time that all of us recognize that some husbands/fathers beat members of their family and not all of them are football players.

Doctors have been known to beat their wives, so have lawyers and teachers, factory workers and farmers. For that matter, wives have been known to beat up on their husbands. If spousal abuse is not uncommon in the United States, why are we suddenly creating a medium maelstrom of it? Is it because two major black NFL stars have been named as culprits or is the elevator picture so devastating that we have come to realize that the victims of abuse really do suffer?

If football players who batter their wives or children face the loss of their jobs or even jail, why do we so rarely hear of men who hold other jobs being fired by their bosses or sentenced to prison terms after a trial by jury? My personal opinion is simply that "hot stories" galvanize severe but generally short-lived overreaction.

On the other hand, maybe today's domestic violence stories will have long-term consequences. If because of what happened over the weekend, lawyers who beat their wives lose their license to practice or doctors who do it are expelled from the hospitals they serve and are forbidden to see patients for a year or two. Will a factory worker have to give up his place on the assembly line because he sent his wife to the hospital? If a teacher hits a kid with a ruler will he be fired and never be allowed to resume his career?

"Appropriate" regulation of physical abuse has not yet become a hot legal issue, if it becomes one know we better make sure that it applies to all of us, not just black football stars. To me it seems worth mentioning that when a man (or even a woman) loses a job, their wives, their husbands, their children, also suffer. They take two hits -- one physical and then one fiscal.

If assault and battery is to be regarded as a crime, then punishment must be universal.