Hitting is wrong, mike.An estimated 3 million American women are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends every year. On average, between three and four women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.
We don't see anything funny in those numbers. But apparently Mike Daly does. During a recent discussion about whether to add another probation officer to handle domestic violence offenders, Commissioner Daly delivered some philosophical musings on the general subject. Drawing on his experience as a state police officer many years ago, he speculated that maybe it wasn't a good idea to arrest the battering spouse or boyfriend on the first offense, as the law now requires.
"I know there's probably some very minor cases of domestic violence," he added, "but if there's a mandatory arrest on every occasion, I question that."
Then, having stuck one foot in his mouth up to the ankle, Daly performed the astonishing acrobatic feat of inserting the other one up to the knee. "Did anybody ever think that he or she might have had it coming?" he asked.
Daly's fellow commissioner, Tammy Melton, was flabbergasted. "I think just the sheer fact that we're talking about the beating of spouses as okay really makes my stomach turn," she said.
Daly assured Melton he didn't really think beating up your wife or girlfriend was okay (even, presumably, if she "had it coming.") But when he was confronted about his amazing statements the following week, he made it clear that he still didn't get it: "I don't know why anybody would be offended. We were just joking around. I don't know what I was thinking."
We don't know what Daly was thinking either. We suspect he wasn't thinking at all; that has been known to happen before. But whatever he was thinking or not thinking, his remarks demonstrate that his attitudes on this subject got stuck somewhere around 1955.
(Although he later claimed he was "shocked" by Daly's comments, Commissioner Dennis Luke didn't come off much better. During the original exchange he remarked that "I like the old days better, where the father and brother just goes over and beats the hell out of the guy that beat up their daughter or sister.")
Deschutes County may not be America's most sophisticated metropolis, but it isn't Gap Tooth, Mississippi either, and it's astonishing that in the year 2008 an elected public official could sit in a public meeting here and make statements like Daly's - and then try to brush them off as humorous. Almost equally astonishing is the fact that the voters of Deschutes County continue to keep this living relic of the Mesozoic Era in office.
Daly says he now understands the need to arrest perpetrators of domestic violence on the first offense. But he still hasn't given the people of Deschutes County - especially the women - the apology he owes them for his appalling statements. To get his attention, here's THE BOOT - and along with it, another BOOT for everybody who voted for him in last month's primary.