The killing fields of Cambodia might be over, but the killing fields in homes throughout the United States continue to sow blood and destruction. The latest (at least that I read about), was in Metropolitan Washington, DC, this past weekend. Unlike the killing fields of Cambodia created by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, I am talking about killing fields wrought by domestic dictators, for what else could you call a husband and father who kills his own children?
Dith Pran, the photographer who documented much of the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia died yesterday. And on the same day that I read of his death, and recalled the horrors of the movie that was based on his life, The Killing Fields, I also read of a father in Maryland who killed his three children in a hotel room. Apparently, he and his wife were in the midst of divorce and child custody proceedings which were apparently what brought the father to this horrific act. According to the Washington Post,
“the mother tried to ‘keep them away’ from Mark Castillo [the father], Vanderwalde said. But he said the father fought for custody. In 2006, according to court records, Amy Castillo was granted temporary sole custody on an emergency motion, but Mark Castillo was granted visitation rights shortly afterward. At least twice last year, motions that would have withheld visitation rights were denied. At one point, according to the records, Amy Castillo was fined for refusing visitation rights.”
It seems apparent that someone in the court or family welfare system took the father’s word for more than the mother’s, or discounted the mother’s fears as overblown, or was upholding some absurd right of a father to be with his children regardless of a mother’s well-founded fears. Here is a mother who tried to use the system to protect her children, but it failed her! Why do these stories keep repeating themselves?! Why do we have to continually hear of domestic killing fields? When will the courts stop bending over backward to ensure that a father has the right to kill his children? When will a woman who spends her life trying to ensure her children’s lives finally be taken as seriously as she needs to be? The system has failed yet another family. And the blood of three children, aged 6, 4 and 2, are the latest victims to the domestic abuse and violence fields of the United States.