FROM POLITICS DAILY:
The murder-suicide in tiny Dumfries, Va., was tragic enough, but even more scary if we believe the friends and neighbors' explanations for what may have been the motivation.
Wallis and Julie Fay were suffering the overwhelming problems that are consuming so many families. The husband and wife were found dead a day before they were to be removed from the house they had proudly called home for 15 years. After an all-too-familiar story of one setback after another, they were not able to pull themselves out of their downward spiral.
The jobs they had counted on to support their routine had fallen through. Their foundation collapsed. Friends say they were increasingly frantic about money problems that grew worse and worse.
Finally, their last tie to stability and self-respect was ripped away by foreclosure. Many who know them believe that the growing shame pushed one of the Fays over the edge. Police are not saying which one actually pulled the trigger.
As the politicians endlessly debate the fine points of regulation and rescue and take their contributions from the banks that drag their feet in extending mortgage lifelines, family agencies across the country report a jump in calls about domestic abuse. Officials say the rate of such violence is heading up as the economic turmoil has dragged so many down. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is just one of the organizations documenting a cause-and-effect relationship.
While officials enjoy their self-congratulations at the first glimmer of a recovery, they all caution it will be quite a while before the unemployment disaster turns around. That's where the anguish festers, sometimes bubbling over in anger behind the closed doors of endangered homes. A Justice Department study was just one of many to document the obvious correlation. As unemployment rises, so does domestic violence.
In extreme cases like the Fays' murder-suicide, investigators theorize that the feelings of helplessness became too much to bear. Friends and neighbors believe the Fays could not cope with the depths of their despair. Then, one or both simply gave up on life.
As policymakers quibble, they must remember that their dithering and self-serving gamesmanship prolongs the personal spiral of desperation and rage that consumes families like the Fays.