More Jackson County Opinions...

October 24, 2001

By Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 24, 2001

"Retribution" (the fifth week)
It began to puzzle me why the chief had not been convinced by Godomski's explanation that Doc was dead. The Polack was a second class pharmacist's mate. Surely he knew enough to tell if a guy's dead or not. He'd be a poor pill pusher if he didn't.
Maybe the chief knew Doc was dead, but wanted to go over there and look around and decide what to do next.
Although Sully was a chief petty officer, he kidded around with his men and had a good time with them. But when it came to serious duty, he went by the book. He didn't pull rank on us very often, but we had the idea that this was going to be one of the times.
I hadn't thought much about Minsky and Saur. They didn't like Doc, but were not as vocal with their disapproval as the rest of us. Nevertheless, either one of them could have gotten up last night, gone to the sick bay and killed Doc, and got back in their sacks without anyone knowing it. Sometimes the quiet ones are the guilty ones. The storm would have been perfect cover - for them, or for anyone of us.
I looked up and saw Sully standing in the door of the tent. That worried look was still on his face. I could tell that this was serious duty.
"Doc's dead all right, but if somebody killed him, it was a pretty clever guy who did it. There's not a scratch on him anywhere."
Then that was a door slam I heard after Kramer left the tent.
"I wish I knew what was in that glass," the chief said, half to himself and half to the rest of us.
"What glass?" I asked.
"The one on his bedside locker."
"I gave Doc a glass of water when I was over there last night to wake him for Ward," Kramer said. "He asked me for it, honest."
"Yeah? Well, there's something in it besides water now."
None of us asked the chief what he thought it was. We knew he wouldn't tell us, even if he knew.
"I telephoned the skipper about Doc," Sully said. "And you know who he'll call."
"The Shore Patrol," I answered.
"Right! The Navy cops will be here any minute now, and it'll look a lot better if we are around here, too."
Sully had no sooner got out the "too" when three jeeps, loaded with enough patrolmen to repulse an invasion, drove up. Captain Strong's automobile was right behind.
The broad-shouldered, gruff-voiced officer crawled out and ordered the SPs, "Keep those sailors in that tent, and don't let anyone enter the sick bay unless I tell you. Where's your ambulance, Chief?"
For once the chief wouldn't have to lie about the ambulance. I was trying to remember how many times sailors had been brought to us so seriously wounded that we were not equipped to treat them in our little sick bay.
I don't know why we ever lied for Dr. Jacobs, but we'd tell the guys' officers that Doc had just left with the ambulance for the Army hospital with a wounded man, or that he'd gone over there in it to check some X-rays. So the men that brought the injured sailor would load him on a jeep, and leaving a string of curse words behind, drive the nine rough miles around the lake to Ferryville.
The truth about the ambulance would have been that Doc had that nurse out in it, and there was no telling in what secluded spot you'd find it.
But Doc's use for the ambulance today was of a different nature, and Sully was able to answer truthfully, "It's out behind the sick bay, Sir."
"Good," the captain said. "You come with us, Chief. You can drive Dr. Jacobs over to the Army hospital for the autopsy."
Sully backed the ambulance up to the front door of the sick bay. The skipper ordered four SPs to follow him. They entered the sick bay. In five minutes they were back, putting Doc's body in the ambulance.
In the captain's hand, wrapped in a towel, was a glass.
Kramer put his hands over his eyes and buried his face between his knees. He knew that his fingerprints were on that glass.
Three patrolmen and the chief left with Doc's body in the ambulance. The skipper followed in his car. Enough Navy cops were left behind to see that six anxious hospital corpsmen stayed in the tent.
The minute hand on my watch began its slow, monotonous journey around the dial. It was 7:30. The sky was cloudy. It looked like more rain.
(To be continued.)
Virgil Adams is a former owner-editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

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By: Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
October 24, 2001

Artwork of survivors, memorial to loved ones
The clothesline stretched across the front lawn of the district attorney's office in Jefferson on Friday was decorated with T-shirts of different sizes and colors and with messages of hope, sorrow and love. Photographs, handprints, drawings and words of encouragement and remembrance patterned the shirt fronts. They created an art gallery of sorts portraying the survival of some domestic abuse sufferers and the memories of families who have lost loved ones to domestic violence.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As part of a campaign to make the public aware, Peace Place, a shelter for women and children, has been sponsoring the T-shirt clothesline and a candlelight vigil in Jackson, Banks and Barrow counties.
Peace Place board member Jean Bauerband led me from T-shirt to T-shirt Friday morning and also pointed out a display of facts and figures and children's artwork showing their perceptions of domestic violence - stick figures menacing with big fists, knives, guns, looming over other figures, for example.
I read the T-shirts, one by one. A tiny gray one with teardrops, "I miss my Daddy." Another, bright red, dotted with messages and a wedding picture of a couple inside a broken apart heart: "I'm a survivor...You can get out...For better or worse, til death do you part does not mean you have to let him kill you or permanently injure you." And as a testament to a lost one, "He loved her to death...literally. May you rest in peace now."
"These T-shirts are really telling," Bauerband commented. "(Domestic violence) used to be swept under the rug. It wasn't talked about. You can shrug it off, say you don't know someone, but I bet you do."
The facts are there. The statistics are there. It happens all the time, over and over. According to Peace Place "Did you know?" information, every nine seconds another woman is battered in the United States. Domestic violence is the leading cause of emergency room visits for women, more than muggings, rapes and car wrecks combined, and 42 percent of all female murder victims are slain by a husband or boyfriend.
In Jackson County alone, there are some 200 domestic violence calls made to 911 each month. Just take a look at the public safety pages, where we often have a separate story or category for domestic disputes because there are so many of them... "battery at a South Jackson residence"... "her ex-boyfriend stopped and grabbed her from behind and punched her"... "her boyfriend slapped her when she went to his residence" .... "her husband struck her in the face."
Sadly, these are common instances in the police and sheriff department reports. And these are the instances of physical abuse that are reported. There's also emotional, mental and sexual abuse. How many instances go unreported?
Peace Place offers shelter for those in need and is also organizing support groups in Winder and Jefferson for children and women who are victims of domestic violence. Child care is available in Jefferson. For more information on the shelter's free services, call (770) 307-3633. The shelter's 24-hour crisis line is (770) 586-0927.
"The crisis line is manned 24 hours a day, always," Bauerband said.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.
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