Terry DeVine Column: Erickson's anger is misdirected
Susan Erickson is angry, but her anger is misdirected. She is not angry with her husband, Todd, who was sentenced to three years in prison last month for threatening her with a gun back in January. Instead, the 30-year-old Erickson is lashing out...
Susan Erickson is angry, but her anger is misdirected.
She is not angry with her husband, Todd, who was sentenced to three years in prison last month for threatening her with a gun back in January.
Instead, the 30-year-old Erickson is lashing out at the Moorhead Police Department and the justice system for putting her husband -- the former Moorhead fire marshal -- behind bars. She says authorities were overzealous and went out of their way to make an example of him.
Sorry, Mrs. Erickson, but that's a whole lot of hogwash. The justice system did its job and your husband got what he deserved.
People I've spoken with who counsel victims of domestic abuse on a regular basis say the situation involving the Ericksons is far from unique.
They said the willingness of the justice system to do what they refer to as "victimless prosecution" is one of the only things that instigates change over time.
"Thank goodness the system is willing to prosecute," said one counselor, "because people who do these sorts of things must understand that there are going to be consequences for their actions."
Years ago, few cases ever made it into a courtroom, says one counselor. Even with more and more cases being tried, domestic abuse isn't something that's going away, not by a long shot. Just ask the folks at the Fargo-Moorhead Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. They keep track of the troubling statistics.
Erickson told police that her husband beat her and dragged her down the stairs on Jan. 26. In a conversation with her husband just hours later, which was recorded by police, she said her husband bashed her in the face with a phone book and refused to recant her story, even though asked to do so by her husband. But she later testified in Clay County District Court that she lied to police and that her husband didn't do those things -- that she slipped and fell down the stairs instead.
She claims her husband has alcohol and drug abuse problems and is mentally ill, and that their busy schedule affected their relationship.
Most people have to deal with busy schedules these days and alcohol and drug abuse often go hand in hand with domestic violence, say counselors.
The fact is domestic abuse situations are not about anger management, they're about power and control.
Todd Erickson is not only going to need treatment for his alcohol and drug abuse, but he is going to need counseling for physical violence.
I hope he is able to get the help he needs so he is able to return to his family.
Salary hikes are justified
The annual salaries of North Dakota State University President Joseph Chapman and University of North Dakota President Charles Kupchella were hiked to $170,900 this week.
Some ask how these salaries can be justified when Gov. John Hoeven makes only $87,216 annually.
The argument can be made, with justification, that their jobs are much more difficult than the governor's. And they are not overpaid when compared with college presidents in other states.
The choice is to pay them or lose them. In many states, presidential salaries are supplemented. A Chronicle of Higher Education survey shows that nearly one-third of the nation's 131 public university presidents receive extra compensation from private sources.
Chapman and Kupchella are a bargain for North Dakota.
Readers can reach Terry DeVine at
(701) 241-5515 or email@example.com