Jane Velez Mitchell calls it the war against women. Nancy Grace spotlights the missing, and presumed murdered, woman or girl du jour.
All violence is condemnable, but is there anything comparable to the sheer quantity of women killed in domestic violence situations?
The latest macabre example began as a lady-stuffed-in-suitcase whodunit this weekend in my hometown of eight years, Buena Park, California. An old fellow collecting cans for recycling came across a two foot by three foot carry-on style suitcase in a dumpster that contained the well preserved body of an "extremely small" female.
The woman, quickly identified by all the news media as "former swimsuit model" 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore, was folded into the bag and left like yesterday's trash in an alley. Police estimated she had been strangled just hours before being found.
Buena Park is not your typical dumping site. It is located along the Santa Ana Freeway (5 Freeway) adjacent to Anaheim, home to Disneyland and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I could watch the fireworks from the Mouse Park every night.
Buena Park has its own "E-Zone" entertainment district along Beach Boulevard, comprised primarily of Knott's Berry Farm and the Medieval Times dinner show, with past attractions like Ripley's Odditorium and Movieland Wax Museum.
The "person of interest," often the line before suspect, is Jasmine's former husband of a few months, reality TV contestant Ryan Alexander Jenkins, from Alberta, Canada. He appeared as one of the millionaire suitors on the hastily canceled, lowest-brow VH1 show, "Megan Wants a Millionaire."
I caught one episode of MWAM just long enough to see the smarmy Jenkins purr to Megan Hauserman that she would love Canadian bacon. Megan seemed charmed by the carnivore-pusher. She described Jenkins as a "really nice guy" who is "very charming, very educated and mature" with a "really positive attitude."
He's now missing and presumed fled.
Fiore and Jenkins had married in March and annulled their marriage in May. At some point before their Las Vegas nuptials, Jenkins did the taping for VH1. The couple apparently reconciled after the break-up. They were last seen together Friday night at a poker game in San Diego. Traveling north along the 5 Freeway, POI Jenkins may have randomly chosen Buena Park as a place to unload his baggage.
This particular story will linger in the news biz. It has all the "violtainment" elements like swimsuit model, reality TV, nude blonde in suitcase that pull in eyeballs, including my sensationalism-soaked peepers.
Kevin Roderick of LA Observed makes a good point that it's easy to turn Fiore's murder into pulp nonfiction: http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2009/08/murder_just_another_chanc.php
But this isn't just a Nielsen-pumping murder story.
The enduring landscape issue is violence against women. In 2004 Amnesty International added a global Stop Violence Against Women Campaign to its human rights agenda. http://www.amnestyusa.org/violence-against-women/stop-violence-against-women-svaw/page.do?id=1108417
Jasmine Fiore is now a pearl on a strand of broken and bruised bodies that stretches just like the 5 freeway from Los Angeles to Darfur. We women often judge our men by how they treat their mothers. We judge our culture by how it treats its women. Why isn't that newsworthy?