Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith and Domestic Violence

The Bible tells us that only the person without sin should throw stones. It also informs us that we should judge not lest we be judged. That might be good moral advice but of course a working society requires that we do judge certain sins and crimes and punish those who engage in them. That's just the way it is. Although I think everyone has dealt with lust, jealousy and anger at some point in their life not everyone lets these sins get the better of them. You have to maintain control over your actions. The result of losing your temper could be disastrous for you and those around you. Michigan State Senator Virgil Smith (D-Detroit) is finding this out the hard way as new details and conflicting stories are emerging about a confrontation between Smith and his ex-wife that turned physical.  Two sides emerged Monday in the story of a lurid domestic shooting involving a state senator with longtime family connections to the the halls of power in Detroit and Lansing. State Sen. Virgil Smith told police that opening fire at his ex-wife’s Mercedes-Benz with a rifle early Sunday morning was “the most stupid thing” in his life. In a statement Smith gave to investigators, he said his ex-wife, whose name is being withheld by The Detroit News, “was banging on (the) bedroom window,” at about 1 a.m., a Detroit Police report said. Smith said he opened the front door, and his ex-wife, “kicked the door open and pushed (past) him. 

“(The ex-wife) went into (Smith’s) bedroom and observed a female ... in (Smith’s) bed. (Smith) stated that (the ex-wife) attempted to attack (the girlfriend),” the police report obtained by The News said. “(Smith) grabbed (his ex-wife), they fell backwards, knocking over the television. (Smith) stated that (his ex-wife) attempted to attack (his girlfriend) again.” Smith told police “he grabbed (his ex-wife) and forced her out of his house,” the police report said. Smith then told investigators he went back into the bedroom to check on his girlfriend, and then returned to the front door, “and observed (his ex-wife) throwing a chair at his house windows.  “(Smith) then stated he did the most stupid thing in his life, he shot (the ex-wife’s) vehicle,” the report said.  

A second police report, containing the ex-wife’s side of the story, was taken by police at 4:41 a.m. Sunday. She said Smith had invited her to stay the night at his house, and, when she arrived, “she was met by a naked (Smith) and an (unknown) female,” the report said. “At this time she became angry and upset, and both started verbally arguing. “At some point during the argument (Smith) grabbed her by the back of her head and shoved her face first into the carpet. Victim stood up and was struck by (Smith) 4-5 (times) in the face with closed fist causing cheeks on both sides of her face to swell.” Smith’s ex-wife told police she ran out the front door, and he chased her with “an (unknown) type long gun and followed behind. She observed muzzle flash (three times) as suspect began firing at her,” the report said. The ex-wife said she ran into a nearby alley as Smith fired the rifle. She said she went into the nearby home of a friend, “who allowed her to call 911 and clean her wounds.” 

The friend later tried to retrieve the ex-wife’s 2015 Mercedes Benz GLA250, but that it was “unable to start due to gunshot damage,” the report said. Evidence technicians later found three suspected bullet holes in the vehicle’s hood; two in the driver’s side headlight; two in the driver’s side front fender; and one each in the driver’s side door, windshield, and rear driver’s door pillar, the report said.

My thinking is that if Smith did not want his ex-wife at his home he never should have opened the door. Nothing good came from that decision. Perhaps he thought he could calm her down. Or perhaps he and the ex-wife were indeed planning to have some adult fun but the ex-wife did not know another woman would be there or didn't know that that particular woman would be there. Who can really say what's going on in someone else's private life. I have always thought that if someone is an ex there is likely a good reason for that status. Why change it? The problem for Smith is that although the differing stories around the confrontation inside the house may be unverifiable, the ten bullet holes in the car and his own alleged admission of firing the gun would seem to make this a pretty simple case of assault. The only reason to use a gun is if you're defending yourself from another person's deadly force. Even if Smith's crazy ex was throwing chairs at his home windows I don't see how that would legally or otherwise justify shooting at her or her car. But once some people lose their temper and HULK out so to speak, there is no reasoning with them. Still, as far as I'm concerned it's a fair expectation that a State Senator should be able to avoid situations that are more likely to show up on Worldstar than C-Span. I wonder why the other woman in this tale has not sought to press charges for assault? 

Should Smith's fellow Senators expel him from the State Senate?

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