When barely 18, my younger sister married a much older man who was in prison. In December 1980, while home from college on holiday break, I witnessed him beat her badly, with their newborn son sleeping nearby. I tried to intervene, but he turned and assaulted me. I ran to the phone and dialed 9-1-1; heard the operator answer, but his brother wrenched the phone from my hand, shoved me away and hung it up. I ran out the door, calling to her to follow.
I waited some distance from the house. She never came.
He was never held accountable. I drove directly to my parents’ home, an hour away, and told my father. He said she made her bed, now she has to lie in it.
Two more children and much violence later, she finally left him. Years later she moved to Florida.
Along the way he was convicted of a felony, something to do with a gun. He had several other arrests and convictions too.
Then, a couple years ago he won the Pennsylvania lottery. Now he walks around wearing a black cowboy hat. Last year when I visited my sister, he made a sudden, unannounced visit -- what a coincidence! She let him visit her timeshare while I was there. He jested in my presence, and in front of his four young grandchildren, about slapping women around.
In some states he would be barred from voting in this land of the free. Somehow I don’t think that would give him many nightmares.