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Recently, a young woman named Morgan Myers was tragically stabbed to death in a parking lot in the town of Rapid City, SD. Her alleged attacker, Michael Young, was a former boyfriend. The Rapid City Journal recently reported that Myers had placed a restraining order against Young after a domestic dispute.
This event, while horrific in itself, highlights just how dangerous domestic violence can get. Even though this particular event occurred in a very public setting, violence between domestic partners and former lovers happens all too often behind closed doors. Many times the violence continues on in silence until it is too late, and the worst happens.
Those that commit these violent acts are often charming or well-meaning individuals who do not initially intend to hurt their victims, and it is this fact that often leads to the recipients of this type of violence not realizing just how dangerous this person is that they are in contact with. In this case, Young took several steps to ensure her safety. She filed a restraining order against him, and tried to remove herself from danger, but that still did not prevent her untimely death.
With the clarity of hindsight it can be easy to point out the additional steps she could have taken to protect herself, but the truth is that she thought that she had done enough. Her story highlights the limits of restraining orders in ensuring one’s safety. It is simply not feasible for the police to conduct 24 hour protection for everyone who files a restraining order against another individual.
But this does not mean that nothing can be done. One thing is to just never be alone. Even if it’s just a short trip to the gas station, always have another adult with you who can be a second set of eyes to keep watch. He or she can also act to discourage any unwanted contact. This can be a hassle, or just not logistically possible, depending on if there is someone who has the time to always be around.
If you are alone and someone comes to you that you have a restraining order against make sure to alert bystanders by screaming for help or run away. Don’t assume being in public will make you safe. If you need to get a restraining order, remember that if you see the person, don’t delay in removing yourself from that location or even calling the police for help.
It can be very helpful to carry some type of weapon for self defense. There are a wide variety of weapons that can be effective such as mace which is best for those not familiar with other types of weapons, although a stun gun can be effective as well. Self defense courses can also prove essential; If you lose your weapon or it gets knocked from your hand, you are not defenseless. It can also help to increase your confidence and encourage those who are concerned about the consequences of leaving their abuser to file a no contact order.
Unfortunately, people often take restraining orders for granted, thinking it is all that is needed to keep them from dangerous situations. A tragedy like that which struck Morgan Myers, while horrible, helps to remind us of the dangers in the world and the things that we can do to try prevent it from happening again.
Whatever reasoning Young might have had is not yet clear, but one thing is certain. This tragic event has inspired those who knew Myers, and the community at large, to rally together and support her young family that she was forced to leave behind, as well as honor the memory of a young woman whose friendly personality touched those around her in her community.
A memorial fund has been set up for anyone wishing to donate to Morgan Myer’s family. Contributions to this fund can be made at any Great Western Bank or Black Hills Federal Credit Union.