The Virginia Badass Podcast

A Discussion on Domestic Violence with Guest Kate Ranta

November 14, 2019 Michelle and Candice Season 1 Episode 2
The Virginia Badass Podcast
A Discussion on Domestic Violence with Guest Kate Ranta
Chapters
The Virginia Badass Podcast
A Discussion on Domestic Violence with Guest Kate Ranta
Nov 14, 2019 Season 1 Episode 2
Michelle and Candice

In this episode, Michelle and Candice speak with Kate Ranta, a domestic violence survivor, gun control activist and fellow Emerge Virginia alumna, to discuss her new book Killing Kate (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble), and the myriad of issues survivors of domestic violence face when trying to hold their abuser accountable.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Michelle and Candice speak with Kate Ranta, a domestic violence survivor, gun control activist and fellow Emerge Virginia alumna, to discuss her new book Killing Kate (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble), and the myriad of issues survivors of domestic violence face when trying to hold their abuser accountable.

Candice Bennett:   0:09
Well, welcome back on. This is the Virginia badass podcast. I'm Candice Bennett. I'm a small business owner and fundraiser here in Northern Virginia.

Michelle Woolley:   0:17
And this is Michelle Wooley. I'm a recovering attorney and political activists also up in Arlington, Virginia. Today we have with us our guest camp Kate Raanta, who is a survivor of domestic abuse and gun violence. And she's going to talk to us a little bit about her story. She has a new book out, Um, and also about some of the changes we need to be making to our system. But first, we're gonna talk about ah, Tuesday's exciting events.

Candice Bennett:   0:46
Absolutely. Was that not amazing on Tuesday. What happened in Virginia?

Michelle Woolley:   0:53
It was super exciting. I think we all kind of expected the flip. I think it just was a matter of how many seats. Actually, what to me was somewhat interesting with some of the seats we didn't win or that we came close in, or that we're really bad losses where we have a lot of work still to dio. But it's definitely a new exciting time at the local level, all the way up to I would say, the state level. There's a lot of lot of changes going

Candice Bennett:   1:18
on. Yeah, and I have to say so. You know, you and I and a team we're talking about the races that were following, and I know we didn't have winds and all of those. But, man, I was so like, pumped to see Shelly Simon's pull that win out like, No, not by a handful of votes. No, no, no. She got the vote out. That was several 1000 votes in her favor. There was never create to be another round with that film canister. So that was exciting. Yeah,

Michelle Woolley:   1:48
that was That was definitely I think that was one of the most exciting ones of the night. So for sure,

Candice Bennett:   1:55
but I was also an and then also going back to one of the other races I was watching. And I was convention about the whole Washington Post endorsement process when it came to the Fair Price County School Board and Laura Jane Cohen pulled it out. She totally beetles of the Schultz showed off The Washington Post in their endorsement process. Nonsense and how exciting. The entire Fairfax County School Board is all blue.

Michelle Woolley:   2:23
Yes, I think I think we saw a lot of changes like Fairfax County definitely saw those changes on Tuesday night. I was also excited. I was following these Commonwealth's attorneys races and all the ones in Northern Virginia flipped up here, Uh, and tow reform candidates. So all of those folks One I was sad about, uh, Scott miles down in a Chesterfield. He actually who had been in office for a year as a result of a special election and did not win reelection. But those others up here across Northern Virginia one. And I think we're gonna start to see some real changes. I think those will inspire other changes in our criminal justice system. And I'm really excited to see that, too. So,

Candice Bennett:   3:04
Kate, how about you? Were there any races you are watching in particular that you know, did or didn't come out the way you wanted him to?

Kate Ranta:   3:11
Um, I know. I was just watching it. I'm in Alexandria and e I mean, for us locally and Alexandria, it's always blue. So I knew that there were there wasn't any sort of that. We're gonna be nail biters or contested, but I was just really watching, you know, that night, as the whole like happened, things were coming back and whether, like, what seats? We're gonna flip because, you know, we came so close a couple of years ago. And to see it happen now is just It's so exciting. And there's so many things, I think, uh, particularly around, especially gun control, that we might see some movement. Now,

Candice Bennett:   3:52
that's exciting. Well, in speaking of which, so we're excited to have you on our podcast tonight. Um, you know, obviously So the three of us have known each other for a couple of years. We met in 2017 when we're all in emerg Virginia together. And and actually, you were going through some pretty big life changes at the same time. Um and so were You know, Michelle and I are both really excited that, you know, you have come out on the other side of that and you now have this book out talking about your story. And we just wanted thio kind of highlight. You know, parts of your story that I know that may not always be the top headlines, but are definitely really important. Especially as we're talking about policy changes. So um, why don't you tell us a little bit of about yourself? And what brought you to write in the book?

Kate Ranta:   4:42
Sure. Um, so the book, um, is called killing Kate, and it's it took about maybe like a year and 1/2 or so with my co author, ELISA Divine, to put it together. Um, she had found me just by by a Googling around for about domestic and gun violence survivors and found some of my advocacy and asked me to be in a compilation book about domestic violence survivors called hashtag. She wins. And when she was interviewing me for for that book by the end of telling my whole story, she just like her mouth was basically hanging open. And she was like, Okay, we need to get this. We need just your story in a book. And I was like, Absolutely, because it's something that I was thinking about for a long time since, uh, the shooting that happened in 2012. And I, you know, I knew that it was a project that I just couldn't sit down and do myself. I am in marketing and I'm a writer, and so, technically, I could do it, but it's just it's too much to for me to sit down and try to do it, and I would I know I would put it off forever. So thankfully, you know, we had this great partnership. And so now we've got the book out. But the crux, I guess, in a nutshell of my story, is that after being married to my Air Force officer husband, we were together for, I guess, almost maybe three years. And throughout that time he was exhibiting increasingly and escalating, Ah, abusive behavior, a lot of emotional abuse, coercive control, power and control over me, and I finally laughed. They did what they always tell domestic violence victims to do, and I did. I just left. But the problem was that I was in much, much more danger after I left. His behavior has continued to escalate over the course of about a year and 1/2 almost two years, while I was locked in this contentious divorce with him, and then in November of 2012 he stalked me to my new apartment. I'd only been in for two weeks, and my father was there and he ambushed us with a gun. The nine millimeter Beretta. And he had hollow point bullets. So he was definitely there to kill. And he shot me twice. And my father twice in front of our our son, William, who at that time was only four years old. And thankfully, my father and I both survived. None of the bullets hit William, but it would then continue on this, you know, a lengthy legal journey of, you know, criminal trial. And just it was it was so traumatizing and so tohave it. All of this in a book, in one place, all the details. I'm really proud of that.

Candice Bennett:   8:06
It was, ah, riveting story. I sat down and read it in one fell shot, obviously. And, um, there were multiple moments that you talked about That really resonated for me that I think that are issues that don't get a lot of attention when we talk about these issues. Obviously, I think that the shooting and, you know, issues related thio of users having access to that gun's right. Um, you know that that's obviously a nisi bullet point for someone. Pardon the language. I hang a right. I

Kate Ranta:   8:49
say Hollywood. I'm like,

Candice Bennett:   8:50
way back that up. I had line talk about but one of the things that came up a couple of times in your story, as you were working through on the divorce and the issues, even after the incident, where you were having to go into family court and face him, uh, here. He had been, you know, controlling. And he'd isolated you. And, you know, the old just all the issues. And the only way for you to get redress in the system to make change that so the you and your son and your family would be safe was to continue to face him and and further re traumatize yourself. Can you talk a little bit about that? For those who might not be familiar with what the system does?

Kate Ranta:   9:45
Sure. So at the time of the shooting, I was still technically married. Him, Like I said, we were in a contentious divorce, and I wasn't getting any movement forward. He and his lawyer were stonewalling every step of the way to slow the process down so that when he came and shot us, I still had to go through the divorce and then s so I had to go in in front of a magistrate in Broward County, Florida, where he would be sitting across the table in the judges quarters. It wasn't a big, you know, a big rule of the trial room. It was it was the judge's quarters, which is really, really small. And he would be in a his jumpsuit and shackles sitting right across the table from May, Um, and, you know, it's like nobody thinks about what that would do to an attempted murder survivor, you know? And this was by somebody that had purported toe love me at one point and in our life. Um, so yeah, And then in one, um, in one situation in particular, we were in front of, ah, magistrate, and it was like the final stages of settling the divorce. And she was looking through the paperwork and noticed that he had served in the military for 25 years. And he's literally sitting in front of her in his jumpsuit and shackles and says to him, Thank you for your service.

Candice Bennett:   11:26
Oh, you were in the military. You were in the Air Force or 25 years. Thank you for

Kate Ranta:   11:29
your service and I have Ah, giant brace on my right arm because my hand had been shot through by him I know is. I mean, it was unbelievable. Um, I was told by another magistrate at one point, um there were child abuse charges against my ex and the magistrate in in her in her quarters were all sitting around the table, said Thio said to all of us, I feel bad for this child with you two as parents, As if I had done something wrong. I mean, the re traumatization waas just staggering. Um, at another point after the shoot.

Michelle Woolley:   12:18
Go ahead. Sorry. Go on. I know you keep going. I just I have a former attorney. I hear this stuff, and it's like thinking like these judges, just like they just don't stop to think like these people in the system. Are you saying I

Kate Ranta:   12:29
know it was, You know, as somebody who's not familiar with any kind of legal, you know, I I didn't understand what was going on. I was like, Why

Candice Bennett:   12:41
people saying these things? He keeps trying to kill

Kate Ranta:   12:45
us, You know, um,

Candice Bennett:   12:47
there was another way where they even said to you. Well, you know we have to do it this way, in case you know we want No, you've got to find a way to work it out. You're gonna co parent. All right. What would you cook

Kate Ranta:   12:59
right after what I always call the first kind of? Ah, physically, he attempted to the late he threatened to physically hurt me, which for the first time, and that was what kind of set the ball in motion for us. Tow? No. For me to end the relationship. Um, I would I would go back in front of the family court judge. Probably 34 babies of five times within an eight month period. Two ask for a permanent restraining order. After I had that I had been granted a temporary restraining order. And every time he would just extend the temporary and he wouldn't make it permanent because he was saying, Well, yeah, right. You're gonna have to figure out how to be civil at some point and when figure this out because you have to co parent. Not and clearly this guy had no idea about domestic violence and how it's literally impossible to co parent with an abuser that you can't do it, Um, just the ignorance within within the courthouse with them

Michelle Woolley:   14:10
and says reasons This isn't 20 years ago. This is like this'll skates.

Kate Ranta:   14:17
Like everything. The shooting happened in 2012 but all of this was going on from 2011 into 20 twelves and then 2013 and beyond with the criminal trial, so it I'd be in court. Abuse is a thing, Um, and you know, the users use the system to their advantage.

Michelle Woolley:   14:42
They definitely take advantage. And I think you get one of the things that I just really appreciate about you. And since I like since I met you is that you are so and I know this takes a lot out of you. But you like you tell so much of this story and like all of the like, how the system hurts you and like, I would encourage people to really read your book with, like, an with an open mind. It's raw like, and you are. You are generally, I think, really raw with how you describe what you went through. And I think sometimes for women, especially especially for women, who have kind of been trained to like you know, Keep it like keep it light. You know, it could be a little bit of an adjustment, like you're like, how you feel. But when you start to really think about everything you've been through and read the book, just heard your story multiple times and a CZ whilst I think you got me used to it. But it's hard to be And it's a brave thing for you to be that way and just be like I have zero s to give at this point. I'm not here, I don't know exactly.

Kate Ranta:   15:40
So there's a lot of, um, blame and shame and victim blaming around domestic violence and women who find themselves in that sort of relationship. And a big part of what I wanted to do with the book was exactly to bust that myth because some of the survivors of domestic violence that I know are some of the strongest and strongest world women that I know. And you know, my whole life I've always been the same way I've I've always been strong willed and opinionated and had things to say and, you know, independent and all of that. So the stereotype of who is who becomes a domestic violence victim is an absolute absolute myth. And so the rawness of the book was really important to me because I wasn't gonna sugarcoat it. That's I didn't feel it would help anybody if I sugarcoated what happened.

Candice Bennett:   16:39
No. And actually, you know, you kind of introduced is you kind of kicked offers book one of the things that literally like struck such a nerve and me Was they, You know, I should have known or they said I should have known. And seriously no, I only know right? No, no, no, it's not up to you. We all deserve to be in healthy, loving relationships and I'm sorry. It's up to the everybody, everybody to play their part and the person not playing the part. They're the ones making. The choice is to not be the healthy part of that relationship. It's not up to you. Stop blaming the victim. No, not telepath IQ or, ah, you know we're not lowers for God. So and with that, when these

Kate Ranta:   17:24
guys get into new relationships, it's not like they're leading with flying an abuser flag. I'm an abuser and you know, they they hide their past mine told many, many lies about his past. And I'm I mean, I think right, Most of us. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt that when they're telling there sad stories in their life stories and things that happen, that they're telling the truth, right? I mean, it didn't occur to me that he I've never even occurred to me that he might be an abuser. Granted, I also didn't have the tools or the language about the different tactics that abusers use. So I was I was, you know, pretty vulnerable. E guess Prey is really know whether he did prey on me. Um, right is on him. Why?

Candice Bennett:   18:21
Why? I think he'll figure out what it's like wide. Why? Why should I not have, like, why? Why do not walk down that dark Ali. I'm sorry. It is my right as a human being. To make that person walking down the Dark alley is not the problem. It's the person who's acting to victimize potentially the person walking on the door alley. So let's put the blame exactly where it deserves to be a butt on the person who's doing the, um, victimizing right How about

Kate Ranta:   18:51
they don't abuse there, didn't you? How about they don't abuse like,

Candice Bennett:   18:56
Why's it on Tito?

Kate Ranta:   18:57
Have to look for all the red flags and see, you know, down into that dark hole. I mean, Thea other thing about it is that it's also like I said, they don't fly the abuser flag from the beginning. And it's also such a slow process, like the grooming and the coercive control that all of a sudden, maybe two years in. That's when I started to be like it was, you know, not comfortable and also became almost like a shell of myself, you know, like like I just was in survival mode and trying to get by and not rock the boat in my marriage and just keep things calm. That's where I was

Candice Bennett:   19:41
because he had. And the way that it wasn't like one major thing was a little things were a little. And

Kate Ranta:   19:47
then Thea other thing to point out is that it's not like in these relationships things air shitty all the time. They're

Candice Bennett:   19:54
not. We had group heads

Kate Ranta:   19:56
of great times. We had some great vacations. We had inside jokes. We went to the movies we'd you know I have. I had a baby with him. We, you know, we're starting this family in this life, so it's not like every single day was was bad. So when a one off thing happens, it's easy to brush off and say, Oh, that was like a bad moment or something. Plus,

Candice Bennett:   20:21
he wasn't on it. Honestly, he wasn't hitting me and write

Kate Ranta:   20:25
to me because I didn't know really about emotional abusing and that sort of thing. It's like Okay, well, he's not hitting me. So if a guy hits you, that's what that's domestic violence. That's abuse, and that's that's really all I knew. So Y yeah, it drives me crazy. I

Candice Bennett:   20:50
think the

Michelle Woolley:   20:52
way you have talked about this deal because you've really given I mean, you've given me a whole new language of, like how to describe and we encounter these people like everybody has encounter in everyday life. You haven't and I don't always know what it is on. Yeah, and like I'm a former employment attorney and it's like I would look back over cases that I had thought about, like with, you know, people with their bosses and stuff. I was like, Oh my gosh, this person was probably psychologically abusive and

Kate Ranta:   21:19
it's a power dynamic right at work. A lot of the time it's a power dynamic. And so somebody that's got power over you and your livelihood, it's psychological abuse. But it's also financial abuse. So

Michelle Woolley:   21:31
you can you talk a little bit, too. Speaking of employment on that front, like you talk in the book about your that you had some really good bosses who were really flexible and were supportive of you. And I think that's one of the things to that people don't understand when you're trying to leave a relationship like this and like some of that, like there's, you know, that you had, like, a financial abuse situation as well. Plus, you know, you need to take time off of work. And if you don't have a supportive work environment or it's like you're not Saturday, you don't have P t know like how impacts things And can you talk a little bit about how you know you found support and what what was good and what wasn't in that in those situations? Yeah,

Kate Ranta:   22:11
I would implore, Ah, bosses, managers, places of employment to undergo some kind of domestic violence training? Um, not that I think my managers had, but they just were the two managers in particular that I had when things were really going south and Ah, and you know, I was having toe and I go to court and deal with that. And he was like, he had vandalized my car and I couldn't get to work. And I you know, they didn't lose patients with May. I never felt that my job was on the line. Um, they were both were very, very empathetic. And that made such a difference. It was still obviously I was stressed about missing work, and I didn't want toe look bad in any way. And what was awful was that because these all the stuff was going on, I really had to divulge what was happening. You know, it wasn't something. I How many excuses can you make for not going Theo for not

Michelle Woolley:   23:19
going to think How has can you have or, you know, really, you know, my son don't again and like that to me,

Kate Ranta:   23:27
I It's like I instinctively knew that that would be worse. I didn't, like, sit down and go, Oh, I can't stop making excuses. It just was how I It just was how I decided to handle it and just was really open about like what he was doing. And you know how it was, you know, affecting. So I was just very, very lucky to have managers that we're not victim blaming. We're not exasperated. I I didn't feel that my job was on the line because of it, but I know so many survivors that, um, like, have lost employment. Do Thio. You know, managers not caring or having any empathy, and they think about it go. It's then that's financially devastating. Um, and you find yourself in a hole and to the employment, saying, regardless of my managers and not my job, not not being on the line, I still found myself in a financial hole because of separating from him, and he stopped paying bills. So I still experienced, you know, financial trauma. I couldn't pay the mortgage on our brand new house in Park in Florida that we had just we had built. We had bought a lot. It was brand new. I could you know, we were splitting the mortgage payment. I couldn't afford it on my own. My son was in preschool, and that was basically a mortgage payment. So All right, I it was I was basically working to keep him in preschool, and I couldn't really pay all my bills. I could do the essentials, but anything but, like, my car got repossessed. Um, I had accrued a bunch of credit card debt because of him. He said that I'd taken out credit cards in orderto do upgrades in our new home and get furniture and things like that. And he said that he would help me pay it off. Well, that never happened. And so I was crushed with credit card debt that I also couldn't pay off. So, Mike, credit score went down. And I'm still, you know, all these years late 78 years later, affected by it, um, it takes a very long time, Thio, build yourself back up financially. Um, and on a single mom salary, it's not easy. So yeah, the employment and financial aspect that goes along with domestic violence is staggering. Really?

Candice Bennett:   26:06
So, Kate and it was obviously talked about some of these legal issues, but is there any you know, you've done a couple of interviews. Obviously, we know your story fairly well, but is there something that you feel that you don't get a chance to talk about a lot, that you would like people to have a better kind of understanding of what in your story, What's going on that you know people may not be aware of,

Kate Ranta:   26:29
Right? So, yes, I've done a few of of these interviews and we talk about the shooting like we kicked it off with an access to weapons. And that's always kind of the that the climax of it. But what I don't get to talk about a lot was the military's involvement slash lack of involvement in what happened to us. Um, I recently testified in front of the House Armed Service is committee. They did their 1st 1st of all, it was their first hearing in 15 years about domestic violence in the military. 15 hours? Yeah, so let's talk about they're not even talking about it in Congress. But, um, Jackie Spear called the meeting. She's definitely an ally, and she wanted to expose some of us, so I was able to, for the very first time sit in front of people that actually can have an impact and, you know, for change on this. And I was able to name names from the first time, his commanders that did not support us. And it was shocking to me. So when I first met him, he was a captain in the Air Force. And to me, it almost vetted him in a way, because I, you know, we all hold the military up to this standard, you know, and he's an officer. So he's educated, and he's got all these high clearance, you know, high security clearances. So he must be a good guy, right? It's

Michelle Woolley:   28:08
an officer and a gentleman, right? Like that. You assume right.

Kate Ranta:   28:11
My mother always says he's an officer, but not a gentleman third thing. But it's true. It is. And so when he for the first time, when he when he first Sorry the first time that he threatened to physically harm me, I reported it to his commander. Keep in mind, and it's all of the book. And so I'm not gonna go all into. It was I'm not gonna go all into it. But he was actually AWOL. from the military. When we were in Florida, his commander had no idea that he wasn't in Virginia. That we had moved from Fort Belvoir down to Florida. Um, he created false fake, Um Ah. Moving assignment. Like the quarter is right. But yeah, like his orders and gave it to the movers. And they came and moved our stuff, and his commander didn't even know it. So when he when he physically threatened me, I told us, commander and he knew his head was gonna roll because he didn't know where his soldier was then. A wall is very serious in the military, and they provided no help, no support at all. Apparently, there's a family assistance program, FAP in the military for families that are going through, like a domestic violence situation. Nobody told me about this program like they wanted to keep. They wanted to keep it hush because it wasn't just my ex that was going to be affected by this. So they moved. They actually moved him out from under the original commander and put him under another female commander, um, at Bolling Air Force Base while they did this investigation. Um, and like into the fraud and into spousal abuse. So at the end of the investigation, I was told that they found him guilty for both things and that they would be recommending court martial for him because fraud and spousal abuse is very serious. Right? So I'm like,

Michelle Woolley:   30:30
Okay, right, way go.

Kate Ranta:   30:33
It's like if the FBI finds somebody, it was like basically the military's FBI that found it guilty. So it's like, OK, let's do this. But then in the next breath, the guy the investigator said, Um, but just so you know, it's up to his command, Um, whether to hold him accountable or not. And I was like, What? What do you mean? Like, they could just let him go And he said Yes. And I was like, But he's found guilty by you guys like I don't understand how it he'll be able to get out of this. And he said, It's up to the command. And even then I was still naive enough to think that Okay, they're gonna they're going to do the right thing, right? Wrong. I got a call after they closed the case from the female commander Ah, bowling. And she was very just glib and dismissive and said, Yeah, we're just gonna retire him. And I was like, I begged her like, Please, please don't you've got He's dangerous now he's gonna be angry because I reported him and that could have, you know, that could mess with his precious pension and all of that. So he's going to be Look, I'm he's dangerous. I'm in fear for my life And she was like, Well, I'm sorry we handled it administratively. Basically, they gave him, like, a little slap him change shame, slap on the wrist and they retired him. And But what may be it was about a year about a year later is when he appeared us appeared and shot us. So after the shooting, I I was interviewed by, like, the local NBC Miami station, and I said a clip from that and his mugshot to both commanders and sarcastically like thanked them for, you know, protecting their soldier instead of, you know, instead of his family. And I never got a response. I've still never heard from them, ever. You'll know. I'm sure I'll never get what they're never gonna Yeah, and one works for the Pentagon. So it's just you. And when I testified recently, there were two other women who are actually currently in the middle of all of this with their abusive military act after duty, I think one is active duty of one. They retired the same as mine, but they're like they're still being affected by it. And the military won't do anything about their spouses either. Um, and apparently I I mean, it happens all the tonic all the time. And so that's why in situations like I described with the judge thanking him for his service just just great on me because it's like we hold, you know, they don't like our car servicemembers up on this pedestal just because they have served. But I mean, respect is earned. And if you're if you're abusing your family that you're not honorable. Just because you're in the arms, sir, is that Doesn't That doesn't automatically make you an honorable person. Um, so that's Yeah, that's ah, big part of my story that I just rarely get to tell. But it had such an impact because if you think about it, if they had actually done something about it and held him accountable and court martialed him. Maybe don't have this would have happened, you know, right?

Michelle Woolley:   34:16
Yeah. And I think one of they hadn't retired

Kate Ranta:   34:18
him and they put him in and they locked him out, the military, lock him up and took control over this. Maybe we would have been safe and not had to go through this at all.

Michelle Woolley:   34:27
And you kind of expect that right? From from military, do it like that's part of the thing that they're supposed todo policing their own right. And

Kate Ranta:   34:35
it was shocking to me. I had no idea that that's how it would go. So,

Candice Bennett:   34:42
like one let down

Kate Ranta:   34:43
after another.

Michelle Woolley:   34:44
I think it's also disappointing, too, because, like, we know that there's been this, like, systemic like issue with sexual assault in the military, too, right? And so they're supposed to be addressing that. And so you know, and and that's really gotten a lot more attention in recent years. And it sounds like has don't have all the issues like you say. There's women currently still going through the same situation that you went through at it, just retiring right

Kate Ranta:   35:08
now? Yes, right. Like I didn't literally no two women, right now who are fearing for their lives. Ed, who are being abused through the military system and not getting any help not being believed. Um, one woman that testified her son is 16 and he's also been emotionally abused, I believe, physically abused by his father, and he won't get there. They won't even believe the kid. Wow. So it's like they can't I don't know. It's It's like, how many chances do we have to give these men, you know? And then when that was something really bad happens Then it's like, Oh, what could we have done to avoid this?

Michelle Woolley:   35:55
There's all of these things along the way. Wait. And

Candice Bennett:   35:59
speaking to that, all these things were going What? What what's are called action? What do what kinds of things do we need to see changed? What do you you know, we wake up in January. Virginia's Blue What? What can we do?

Michelle Woolley:   36:12
HB One is gonna be about gun gun sense reform, right? Yeah,

Kate Ranta:   36:16
absolutely. And that's they. I know that there's a lobby day in January at the state Capitol in Richmond. Um, around guns. A lot of the gun violence prevention groups go down and They've been going down there for years, but I feel like the one coming. I don't have the date. Um, so maybe there's a recon. Is that out at some point. But, um, yeah, I think a big thing that we can do is meet with our representatives, especially the new ones, and actually gets, um, low hanging fruit like, let's take guns away from abusers in Virginia. How about that? You know, that's that's like, to me, one of the most obvious there.

Candice Bennett:   37:03
And actually, that's, you know, in your story you talked about that, you know, they did take away the guns. The problem was that he could still go back and get a gun the next day.

Kate Ranta:   37:11
Exactly. And so right to that point, um, in Florida, when he was served the temporary restraining order, the police said to us, um, we can take the guns that are in the home. They ask where they were. I told them where they were and how many. And there's I think, seven that he had. And then in the next breath, they said, Well, but so we'll take the guns. But he can still go out tomorrow and buy a new one, and I was just so I uphold and terrified. Really? Because he's going to be pissed that they're taking his guns and he waas he's being served a restraining order that's gonna piss him off, and then he could just go out of my God. Nothing is preventing him from buying another gun. That's in Florida, in Virginia when ah abuser served a temporary restraining order. The cops can't even take his guns. They don't even have that in place.

Candice Bennett:   38:17
Wow, way floor. That was

Kate Ranta:   38:22
worse in Florida on that?

Candice Bennett:   38:24
Yeah, this is so not okay.

Kate Ranta:   38:27
Right? But so I think in Virginia, obviously, this is Ah, this is just such a big one for me is getting the guns away. But there has to be something in place once they take the guns in a temporary restraining order. Because when when a woman leaves and makes that, you know, does that thing I'm getting a restraining order. I'm leaving you. That's literally the most dangerous time issues in way more danger when she does that. So there have to be protections by law in place that just aren't there. And it doesn't go far enough to say on a conviction, you can take their guns. People want to applaud that. I believe that happened in Virginia, but you know how hard it is to actually get a conviction. Mine

Candice Bennett:   39:15
was never convicted

Kate Ranta:   39:16
of domestic violence. It's so hard. Like I said, he kept. He was violating the restraining order and the judge just kept, you know, extending the temporary Well, that doesn't do any good. The temporary is basically useless. So we've got to do better. And we can do better in Virginia. I believe now, now that we've finally taken back the State House in the backyard,

Michelle Woolley:   39:44
thank you. Which makes it all the sweeter. Right? So,

Kate Ranta:   39:47
uh, does and I for, you know, every program person I hear that says, Well, we have domestic violence laws on the books because you could take the guns on the conviction. I they really have no idea what they're talking about that they don't understand the court system and uphill battle the victim's face. Um,

Michelle Woolley:   40:08
and they were just

Kate Ranta:   40:09
trying to stay bait.

Michelle Woolley:   40:10
Yeah, and I'd like to me like So, like, I come from a family of gun owners like I grew up with, like like it wasn't like a you know, like it was just like it was just there, you know, it wasn't a big deal to me. And it's, um, like, like to me, any responsible gun owner like I want. Like, I want this if that's me because, like, I want these people to not have that because they make the rest of us look bad the same way, Like in the military. I want the out like the people that are going like like that are, you know, abusing their spouse is or whatever I want that taken care of because it makes the rest of us look bad, right? Like right like that, I don't understand, like so it seems like that should be an easy one to get that a lot of people should be able to agree on moving forward with that one for sure,

Kate Ranta:   40:53
right. Well, then there's just the you know there's two massive stats around guns in the home, especially in domestic violence situations that the woman's 500% we're likely to die 5 500% more likely to die if a gun is present and then the other one is 57% of mass shootings in America are domestic violence. So it's not these giant mass shootings that get all the media coverage that that are happening constantly. It's men with guns going into their homes and wiping out their entire families and themselves. That's him out if it's four boards and now shooting. So, um, you know, these are things that just get overlooked and just aren't really talked about E. I mean, you don't see it in the media, right? Not that often.

Michelle Woolley:   41:53
No, it's not. It's not a big and don't point no,

Kate Ranta:   41:57
right. And they don't treat it like another type of mass shooting. And I could go into a whole rant about that, too, because it just goes back to its just victims. It goes back to victim, blaming, like, somehow she must have done something to piss him off, and he just snapped. And that's just

Michelle Woolley:   42:13
ignorant. And that would still make it okay. Yeah, right. No, that one's not exactly Yeah, I

Kate Ranta:   42:19
heard that. Um I heard of people saying that about me. Like Well, like, was she cheating on him? Which I wasn't? Um,

Candice Bennett:   42:29
you know, she was So what rate, huh? Even if I did write, that still does not excuse you from trying to kill. And one Tonto. Yeah.

Kate Ranta:   42:43
Somehow people try to normalize these killings like, Oh, he wasn't a

Candice Bennett:   42:51
bad guy. No. At no. Captured your anger be something that you think your response to your anger is to take a gun or any other weapon and harm another human being. Kill

Kate Ranta:   43:04
your wife. Until

Candice Bennett:   43:05
that, that is an anger issue. It's not a mental health issue. It is not the victim's issue. It is the person who cannot control themselves.

Kate Ranta:   43:13
Correct. And I appreciate you saying that about the mental health saying, too, because that gets thrown around and, um, you know Oh, he must have been mentally ill. Well, that's, like a stigma thing, right? Like, Oh, bipolar is a reason that somebody is gonna go kill somebody. No,

Candice Bennett:   43:31
no. There's plenty of

Kate Ranta:   43:33
people with bipolar schizophrenia and mental health issues that are going around killing people. No, it's an

Candice Bennett:   43:39
anger more likely to harm themselves absolutely arto from somebody else. But, you know, it is an anger issue.

Kate Ranta:   43:45
It iss control and power. It all goes back to

Michelle Woolley:   43:49
this. Yeah,

Kate Ranta:   43:50
So, yeah, that was a kind of long rant about what

Candice Bennett:   43:55
we could do

Kate Ranta:   43:55
politically, and yeah, I do that. I just I do think that we Virginia should be meeting with, um, with the representatives now and just talking about these things and especially survivors. Survivors should be going to meeting with the representatives and telling their stories because there's a lot of work to do.

Candice Bennett:   44:17
Yes, there is. There's a lot of work to do. Well, Kate, thank you so much for talking with us tonight. It's been again. It's always enlightening. Um, and yes, you're right. We have a lot of work to do and let's let's get to it. So thank you. And, uh, we also are looking forward to having Larissa accounts on on our our next episode.

Michelle Woolley:   44:40
Yes, should be exciting. And if you want to get Kate's book, it's killing Kate, and it's on Amazon or Barnes and noble dot com.