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Jennifer Sebena, 30, had just finished her probationary period as a patrol officer with the Wauwatosa Police Department as she sat on break in front of the local fire house on Christmas eve.  This is a typical place where patrol officers take their break during their shift.

As she sat in her car in the early morning hours, a man approached her, shot her in the head, apparently took her service weapon, and then shot her three to four additional times in the head and face.  When dispatch was unable to contact Sebena for several hours, it sent another officer to check on her--that officer found her dead, executed in her patrol car in the street on Christmas eve.

A few days later, her husband was arrested for her murder.  According to news reports, Benjamin Sebena, her husband, admitted to murdering his wife.  He allegedly told law enforcement that he had been stalking her for several days, and was jealous about Jennifer's interactions with other men.  And so, he apparently walked up to her parked patrol car in the middle of the night and murdered his wife.

The news may not have come as a shock to Jennifer Sebena's colleagues.  She had allegedly told at least one co-worker that her husband, an Iraq war veteran, had become increasingly violent and even put a gun to her head in recent weeks.

Beyond the gun control conversation, this incident opens up other issues that have been ignored in recent years by our political leaders: domestic violence generally, and violence against women specifically.

In recent days, a man killed a woman in Las Vegas then killed himself; another murdered his girlfriend and her daughter; a woman was shot to death, likely by her boyfriend; and a man killed his pregnant wife.  All of these murders, of course, were committed with firearms.

The list could go on . . . But the murder of a female police officer who was by all accounts an outstanding young officer, will hopefully spark a new conversation about domestic violence in this country.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope you're right (11+ / 0-)

    Sadly, I think violence against women is so deeply embedded in our collective psyche, it's going to take an unbelievable effort to get it out.

    I would be delighted to be proven wrong about this.

    •  The fact the current clowns from the GOP (8+ / 0-)

      in Congress are blocking the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act pretty clearly tells you how deep that problem goes. And don't forget, their attempts to turn women into nothing more than mobile baby production facilities is another part of that. Dominate and control, be it by force of fist or force of law.

      What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

      by ontheleftcoast on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 02:34:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Brookfield spa shooting was also domestic violence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      On Oct. 21 Radcliffe Haughton entered the spa where his estranged wife worked and shot and killed her and two other employees before taking his own life.  Zina Haughton had a court ordered restraining order against her husband but that didn't stop him from killing her.  The court ordered the husband to turn in his guns but that didn't stop him from shooting her.  He apparently purchased a semi-automatic gun on an internet site with no background check and that enabled him to kill her, two co-workers and finally himself.  He also wounded four other employees.

      Radcliffe Haughton had a long history of terrorizing his wife and threatening her and her family.  He vandalized her car a number of times.  Yet police apparently failed to take the necessary actions to arrest him and protect his wife.  They also failed to make sure he had no guns in the house as the court had ordered.

      For more information please see:

      This incident and that of the Wisconsin police officer shows that more needs to be done to protect women from domestic violence.  We also need to shut down internet sites that sell guns with no background checks.

  •  Someone commented in another diary (10+ / 0-)

    That it was easy for them to "emotionally process" that this officer was killed by her husband, when it would not have been easy for them to "emotionally process" a stranger killing her.


    So that's a huge problem in our culture.

    And the thing is, even those of us who are liberals and supposedly care about the least of us, "emotionally process" DV killings just like that.

    VAWA and DV absolutely has to be a part of any dialogue about gun violence that we have. So many killings are family annihilations. And many mass shootings/multiple murders seem to start with men killing a female family member, or acting in rage because they feel wronged by women somehow, like the guy who shot up an exercise class or the Montreal mass shooter.

    Do you not see that it is the grossest idolatry to speak of the market as though it were the rival of God?

    by kismet on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 10:30:21 PM PST

    •  I saw that comment (0+ / 0-)

      It made me want to jump off of the roof.  

      Violence against women is not going to end until a critical mass of people - male and female alike - decide that it isn't acceptable.  No matter what.  

  •  I thought cops "protected their own". (6+ / 0-)
    The news may not have come as a shock to Jennifer Sebena's colleagues.  She had allegedly told at least one co-worker that her husband, an Iraq war veteran, had become increasingly violent and even put a gun to her head in recent weeks.
    So many times we hear about cops "protecting their own", especially when they should not.  In this case, a cop was threatened with a deadly weapon, so where was this "blue protects blue" instinct when it could have been used for good?  

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 02:49:23 AM PST

  •  I keep hoping that "THIS" will be the one that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    brings about changes...

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:01:52 AM PST

    •  I am starting to think (0+ / 0-)

      that these things are happening because we want it this way.  I'm trying to shake it off - cynicism and despair really don't help - but it seems that the mental and moral adjustments we would have to make are so daunting, they aren't even on the table.

  •  This is as unpromising as the conservatives'... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, LSophia

    ...newfound obsession with mental illness as a topic for national conversation.  It's entirely and exclusively about guns, period.  Atomizing the conversation into a million side-conversations only postpones the necessary reckoning with guns.  There is no conversation about domestic violence that could possibly translate into less mortal violence against women except in the context of limiting access to guns.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 07:40:46 AM PST

    •  They would still get killed (0+ / 0-)

      by probably not nearly as often.  Also, women can be trained to use their opponents' strength against them, or even take away a knife.

      If someone comes at you with a knife, and you have a frying pan handy, your odds of survival are at least decent.  

      If they have a gun, not so much.

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