We Can Save Women And Children, Or Let Them Die

Published 1:46 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What's a life worth anyway?

Is $3,000 too much?

What about less than 50 cents?

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Suppose saving a life was far less than the cost of a single issue of The Farmville Herald for the good people living in Buckingham, Cumberland and Prince Edward.

Too much to appropriate to save the life of a woman?

That price for the life of a child too great?



So, then, suppose we say less than 50 cents for the life of the mother and her two children.

Less than 50 cents sound okay now?

Suppose we throw in the life of the father, the husband, too?

Make that four lives saved for less than one issue of The Farmville Herald.

Good economics now perhaps?

If Madeline's House receives a $3,000 appropriation from each of its member counties to place a down payment on a domestic violence shelter, then one day you can bet your last nickel that a husband won't kill his wife, that a father won't kill his two children, and that man will not then take his own life.

Three thousand dollars-or far less than 50 cents a person in each of the 10 counties served by Madeline's House-seems worth it, don't you think?

Madeline's House will be forced to vacate its 33-bed safe house shelter in Nottoway County because approximately 1,500 acres at Fort Pickett will be dedicated to use by the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs Security Training Center project-a great economic development project for Nottoway County and the region but, without a replacement shelter, it could spell the doom of Madeline's House.

And that would literally spell doom in the future for women and children whose lives will depend on Madeline's House providing safe shelter in a new building in a new location.

That is why Madeline's House is asking each of its member counties to appropriate $3,000, pooling resources to meet the expected down payment. Madeline's House has been advised that a down payment would be equal to 20 percent of the purchase price of a new property, plus closing costs.

The Amelia and Dinwiddie County Boards of Supervisors have reportedly approved funding, unconditionally, while Buckingham, Nottoway and Prince Edward have voted to do so if all participating counties also agree to follow through.

Madeline's House will present the $3,000 funding request to Cumberland County next week and to Brunswick County in January.

Two counties-Powhatan and Halifax-have reportedly chosen to pay for safe shelter for their communities' domestic violence victims at closer facilities, in Richmond and Danville, respectively. And that makes sense for Powhatan and Halifax.

So, the future of our domestic violence shelter will be in the hands of the Cumberland and Brunswick County Boards of Supervisors. If each of those boards votes to provide the requested $3,000 down payment share then Madeline's House will find a new home.

If both counties do not participate, and if Buckingham, Nottoway and Prince Edward do not relent from their condition that all counties served by Madeline's House must appropriate $3,000…

If that happens, then people will die.

Women will die.

Children will die.

The men who kill them may also take their own lives.

That's the truth of it.

No exaggeration.

And no sugar-coating the reality.

Madeline's House saves lives. We all know that is true. We cannot know how many lives have been saved but every woman and child sheltered there was in a place where they were safe from the killer's touch.

Without Madeline's House, people will die. Their one place of sanctuary will not exist. There will be no safe place for them to go and find shelter from the family member who is going to kill them.

We just cannot allow that to happen.

Madeline's House is named for a young woman who was killed because there was no Madeline's House for her. Her name was Madeline. Madeline's House bears her name and we cannot bear the consequences of losing her name on that house, wherever it finds that new home.

I do not know anyone on the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors. I do know members of Cumberland's Board of Supervisors and I believe they will find it in their hearts, despite a difficult budget, to appropriate the $3,000 needed from Cumberland County for that down payment. I have faith in Cumberland's leadership.

Madeline's House is not a luxury. Not a perk. Not a budgetary extra.

There are very few things in any budget that one can honestly and accurately describe is a matter of life or death.

The $3,000 appropriation for Madeline's House is one of them.

And $3,000 to save lives from the deadly horror of domestic violence is the deal of a lifetime.

Good for Buckingham being ready to do so if everyone else does, but I wish the stand had been even stronger-we will do it no matter what.

Good for Prince Edward being ready to do so if everyone else does, but I wish the stand had been even stronger-we will do it no matter what.

Come on, Cumberland, you can show the way.

I cannot imagine a soul living in those communities who would argue that far less than 50 cents per capita, per person, is too much to pay to ensure a life-saving shelter from domestic violence exists for their friends and neighbors, or for themselves. If not, no way ever, for themselves, then let them thank God and give their blessing to their Boards of Supervisors to vote for humanity anyway.

Anything less is indefensible. There is no justifiable argument for denying this appropriation, no argument you would care to listen to yourself make, on playback, at the end of your life as you inventory the good and the bad decisions you have made.

Here's a way to save those lives and have change left over: pick an issue of The Farmville Herald and don't buy it. Use that 50 cents to save Madeline's House and save lives, then keep the change.

Even those who are not killed by domestic violence have their souls battered and suffer emotional and psychiatric deformities, a sort of bullet that can follow them all their lives, a constant wounding.

There is a saying about “pennies from heaven.”

Let them be our pennies for Madeline's House.