Des Moines


Not that mine has, knock on wood. But when I read on the Des Moines Register’s Web site that burglars broke into the home of one of their public safety reporters, Nigel Duara, to steal his car keys and take his vehicle, I had to wonder…why is that any more important than when Joe Smith’s house down the street is broken into? Unless they left a note on Nigel’s fridge reading, “This is what you get for putting our names in the paper, you yuppie scum,” I don’t think it is.

Hmmm. I suppose it is slightly interesting. He is my competition, after all…anyway, you can bet that if my house gets broken into, I won’t tell you about it. At least until I track down the people who did it and crack them in the head with an ice pick.

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This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Every year, communities across the nation hold rallies and other activities in honor of the more than 23 million people nationwide whose lives are touched by violent crime against themselves or their property each year — including about 50,000 Iowans, according to statistical data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

This year’s theme is ‘Justice for Victims. Justice for All’. “Treating victims of crime with the care and respect is a fundamental responsibility we all share. And, victim’s rights is a critical component in the foundation of our American justice system. So, as we pursue justice against perpetrators of crime, we must also, at the same time pursue justice for all individuals who are impacted by those crimes,” said Matthew G. Whitaker, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, at a celebration on the Capitol steps Monday.

I hold this time of remembrance close to my heart. I am still struggling with the emotional and mental wounds of sexual assault, caused in September 2006 by a man who was my friend in high school. But even though it has been a long, painful journey, I have been lucky to remain relatively unscarred despite the crimes that have happened to me and people I love. Some crime victims don’t get the chance to heal.

Take this week as an opportunity to lift up and support victims of crime. Remember those eastern Iowans who have been killed in the last year — Sheryl, Ethan, Seth, Mira, and Eleanor Sueppel; Dennis First; Nathan Williams; Calvin Stringer; Jerome McEwen; and 8-month-old Antuwan Williams Jr. of Waterloo, just to name a few. And remember all the others whose lives have been seriously affected by crime.

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network

Pizza Hut delivery man James Spiers is apparently still traumatized by his run-in with a would-be robber in Des Moines. I’d be skeptical of that, except guns ARE frightening — especially when they’re pointed at your head.

It’s a good thing that this incident is making people talk about the right to carry a concealed handgun. I don’t think that carrying a gun is necessary to protect yourself, but other people do. That’s all fine and dandy. But it’s purely speculation if you think shooting the robber was the only way he would have gotten out of that alive. It’s still speculation if you think it wasn’t. The case is what it is.

I respect Spiers’ right to carry a gun, but that doesn’t mean I’m comfortable with it, or that I even need to be as long as my next pizza delivery person doesn’t threaten me with a Glock for not tipping them well. It’s a free country. I think that approach would work well for a lot of other hot-topic issues, too…ahem.