82 is a lonely age. By that time you have buried most of your friends and relatives. No one else carries the memories you do, you probably don’t work, and the main object of your time is getting through each day in a body that increasingly lets you down as it ages.

Sometimes men in this position will find a woman in need. If she seems to care, if they get along it can beat living alone and means you have some company and some help getting through each day.

Maybe the woman has some challenges, but she makes you feel needed, she provides care and it beats being alone. For the woman, she also feels needed and more worthwhile, her immediate needs are met and maybe she does actually come to care.

Fred Stetler, 82 and Soimene Saintine, 43 had lived together for some time. We know that by following the arrest records. In 1996 and in 2001 Stetler testified against Saintine in domestic violence related cases. In the 2001 case Saintine was determined incompetent to stand trial. Neighbors say that she took medications for a mental disorder. She was arrested 5 times in 2004 for drug related charges. Deputies had been called to their address several times on domestic related disputes.

On Tuesday a woman called 911 and told a dispatcher that she had just gotten a call from a friend who had told her that he had shot his girlfriend and was planning to shoot himself.

Police rushed to the address, with guns drawn, and found both Stetler and Saintine dead. It is believed to have been a murder/suicide.

According to one of the businesses nearby, more than a dozen police had gone running through the neighborhood, some with guns drawn.

Now I am not going to comment on the issue of police running through the neighborhood with weapons drawn, when the call they recieved said that the shooting was in a home.

But I am going to say this. If you think that domestic violence is a private problem, then think what could have happened if there had been someone else innocently out in the neighborhood wrong place, wrong time. Chilling thought isn’t it?


For some couples it seems to be life as normal

Instead of his and her towels, this couple had his and hers protection orders. Cops were called to the home 33 times for domestic disputes. Between the both of them they had 10 arrests, and half were for domestic disputes. In 2002, he spent 30 days in jail for punching his wife. In 2006, he was arrested for striking his wife with a metal pipe.

 The wife was arrested in 2005 for threatening to stab her husband and throwing a bottle of vodka at him. 

After all of that, they weren’t supposed to be living together. Yet they were arrested in in Jan of this year when the husband broke down a door and was yelling and cursing his wife.  

They had a 20 year old daughter, she takes care of her 6 year old brother and her 16 year old sister. They had been married for 21 years. What the daughter said about it was “I really don’t know what I’m feeling right now,” the student said of her dad. “We hardly see him and when we do, it’s once a year.”

One neighbor described them by saying “When they were not drunk, they were nice,” “Nobody paid attention to [the bickering because] they were always fighting.”

Another neighbor said  “They have a strange kind of love. They can’t live together and they can’t live without each other.”

Sunday police were called to the address by a neighbor who had found John Shiwlall, 43 lying in the open doorway of the home in a pool of blood. His wife Sharon Shiwlall, 38 is being questioned in his death.

That is just so sad. Can you imagine the life of that daughter? What her life must have been like growing up? And even after she did grow up and leave, she was responsible for her younger brother and sister, in order to get them out of that situation. They were married for 21 years! They had 3 children together. And being arrested, losing their kids- nothing seems to have convinced them to either change or to split up. I am sorry. I believe in the domestic violence syndrome. But this goes too far even for me! Now she is in jail, and he is dead. But as usual, it is the kids who are paying for it. They are the ones who had to grow up in that atmosphere. And that daughter had to take on an instant family at her young age stepping in for her brother and sister, when her parents couldn’t or wouldn’t provide a safe home for them.

My personal opinion, there should be a domestic violence program that the courts could order both parties of a domestic violence dispute to attend. Maybe they would still decide to get back together. Maybe things still wouldn’t change for them. But they would at least be making informed decisions about the domestic violence and the effect it has on the kids, on each other, and on their chances of survival. And maybe if they had been determined to be high risk, due to drugs, alcohol abuse, or mental illness or whatever- just maybe it could be recognized and steps taken to correct it. Or at least more attention could have been paid to the kids care. Maybe it wouldn’t help. But I bet those kids would say that it might have been better than what they had.

Can you imagine what it was like to live next to them?