The macho guy who beats up his domestic partner doesn't have just the one problem, it turns out; he hates a lot of things and doesn't care what laws he breaks along the way.
That's the substance of a report Attorney General Rob McKenna discussed in the Tri-Cities just before Christmas.
If it came as a surprise to anyone, it certainly wasn't the victims.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of homicides against women in Benton and Franklin counties, he said. Some years it is the only cause.
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Not just for statistical reasons but for common decency, McKenna and his allies in the Legislature -- including state Sen. Jerome Delvin, are proposing some new laws this session to impose tougher penalties on repeat offenders in domestic violence cases.
The record of abuse here "is astounding," McKenna told Herald reporter Michelle Dupler as he toured the Tri-City domestic violence women's shelter.
McKenna and Delvin toured the shelter with Kelly Abken, director of Domestic Violence Services for Benton and Franklin Counties.
Abken is worried the state will cut funding for the shelter because of the state's budget deficit, although no direct cuts have been announced.
However, proposed cuts to other social service programs could have direct and lasting impacts on victims of domestic violence.
Sometimes when politicians vow to get tough on crime, it's just empty talk or pandering.
Domestic violence is another matter. There's always a victim there. And too often, a second, third or fourth because it spills over to the children in a family.
So we're 100 percent behind McKenna on this one.
That said, we acknowledge domestic violence is a complex issue. Tougher laws should help but won't solve the problem.
McKenna said he will ask the Legislature to impose tougher penalties on offenders with repeat domestic violence convictions.
And he wants prior domestic violence misdemeanors to be factored into sentencing for felonies committed by repeat offenders.
A main driver of the need for the new legislation is a recent study that he says shows domestic violence is a factor in repeat offenses for other types of crimes.
"It turns out repeat domestic violence offenders are the likeliest to re-offend across all categories," McKenna told Dupler. "They have impulse control issues. This prevents all kinds of crime, not just domestic violence."
But for the state, the budget looms over all.
"Obviously, it's going to be a tough budget," McKenna said. "The amount the state spends on domestic violence funding is not very big, but it can be the glue that holds other funding together."
And it will be better to put repeat offenders behind bars while society tries to figure out how else to deal with cruel people who get their kicks out of kicking others who can't fight back.