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McFeely: Shooter's family should be counted among the victims

Mike McFeely

What will become of the other victims in the tragedy that happened in Fargo last week?

Has anybody set up a benefit account for them?

Would local media and businesses be willing to push for donations for the other family devastated in the shooting death of police officer Jason Moszer?

Does anybody care what happens to Marcus Schumacher's wife, three adult children and grandson?

Update: Response to Schumacher column helpful, but coordinate fundraising

We should. They live in our community, too. And Schumacher victimizing them is what apparently led to the tragic chain of events resulting in the unspeakable heartbreak Moszer's family, friends and co-workers are suffering.

It is an incredibly sensitive time, I understand that. All of the sympathy, prayers, goodwill and, yes, money we can muster should be directed toward Moszer's family. It is where our focus needs to be.

And no—God, no—I'm not seeking sympathy for Marcus Schumacher. He was not a good person. He wrought never-ending suffering on multiple families in our area, including his own. His alleged murder of a police officer called to assist others was an act of cowardice.

But what about those others?

Remember the reason Moszer and other officers were called to north Fargo was because Schumacher's son called 911. The son did so because Schumacher had threatened his wife, Michelle, and possibly shot at her.

There is at least one other incident of conflict recorded between Schumacher and his wife. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for pushing her in 2013.

Given Schumacher's violent history, there is a more than reasonable expectation there were other, unreported incidents. Perhaps many during 25-plus years of marriage.

This is called domestic violence.

It is not uncommon in our community. Many local families have to deal with it every day, so much so that the YWCA Cass Clay emergency shelter had its busiest year ever in 2015. Nearly 1,500 women and children sought refuge at the YWCA, which has provided emergency shelter for 40 years.

Fifty-five percent of the women and children who used YWCA services sought shelter from domestic violence. The number is believed to be much higher, but women are sometimes reluctant to admit to being abused for a number of reasons. Nearly 90 percent of the women and children served by the emergency shelter have been victims of some form of abuse.

I talked at length Saturday with a close friend of Michelle Schumacher. Michelle is essentially homeless (the family's home was heavily damaged in the standoff) and she needs all the help she can get. She had just started a new job. The couple's youngest son, the one who called police, has cystic fibrosis that has required numerous, expensive hospital stays. This is a family with no money.

There are a handful of people trying to organize a meeting early this week to set up a fundraiser and see what they can do to help the Schumachers. This is worthy of attention.

We need to walk a fine line here. We do not yet know the full story of what happened Wednesday night and Thursday morning, other than a police officer senselessly lost his life and the person believed responsible for it is also dead. We can be certain, however, there is another side to the tragedy not being talked about much.

Another local family is in need of a helping hand and there is no way it can publicly ask for it. Who is going to want to aid a family involved in a police officer's death? What politician, business or media outlet is going to advocate for Michelle Schumacher?

Doing so would not diminish the outpouring of support for Officer Moszer. It would simply show a more subtle – and much, much more difficult – level of sympathy.

Do we have it in us?

Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a WDAY (970 AM) radio host and a columnist for The Forum. You can respond to Mike's columns by listening to AM-970 from 8:30-11 a.m. weekdays.
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