Murder-Suicide, is it a new Social Norm?

By Dawn Cranfield

Murder-Suicide, is it a new Social Norm?

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — It was not very long ago when a murder-suicide occurred in our community, it would be a widely covered news story; we would likely hear about it on our local news, read about it in newspapers and even see it in on our national news.  The act of killing a loved one, a stranger, or multiple people, and then committing suicide used to be a foreign concept.

However, in the span of two days, two high-profile murder-suicides have occurred; by next week, we have all but forgotten about them.

The first one involved a Connecticut man who fatally stabbed his father’s live-in girlfriend, 42-year-old Heidi Arnold, leaving her in the gutter to bleed to death; he then went to the college where his father worked as an instructor.  James Krumm, 56, struggled with his son, allowing students time to leave the classroom; Christopher Krumm, 25 years old then shot him in the head with a bow and arrow.  The senior Krumm was also stabbed in the chest.

By the time police arrived, James Krumm was dead and Christopher Krumm was barely alive due to self-inflicted stab wounds.  He died shortly after their arrival.  Police still are unaware of a motive for the murder.

The second high-profile case happened this morning when NFL Kansas City Chief Linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend 22 year-old girlfriend in front of her mother, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium.  Once there, he was talking to Coach Romeo Crennel and General Manager Scott Pioli when he committed suicide in front of them.

According to Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp, “They said the player was actually thanking them for everything they’d done for him,” he said. “They were just talking to him and he was thanking them and everything.  (

So, what do these two cases have in common?  Both men murdered somebody in cold blood; they drove five miles before committing suicide; and, by next week most of us will likely have forgotten about their stories.  Instead, we will be thinking about the story du jour or great deal we

Jovan Belcher

will get on the Christmas gift for little Bobby or Suzie.

If you are shaking your head and thinking, oh no, not me; just Google “murder-suicide” and your mind will go numb as you see all of the pages of stories filling your screen.  You might come across the story from April, 2012, of William “Dave” O’Shell who murdered his wife, Tiffany; he was distraught over child abuse allegations.

Their 3-month-old daughter, Alyssa, was taken away for suspected abuse and placed in foster care weeks earlier.  The day of the murder-suicide, it was proven by a doctor she had not been abused but instead, she had a rare genetic disorder causing her bones to fracture.  Tragic, but I do not recall this story. (

Or, you might see the story of 37 year-old Jennifer Cale who was fatally stabbed by her husband, 41 year-old Amis Cale.  Amis then leapt to his death from an elevated train platform I cannot recall this story either, even though it only happened in August.

Casper Police at the site of the Krumm Murder

So, are we simply becoming accustomed to these outbursts of rage and violence and accepting them as part of societal normalcy?  What used to be worked out in marriage counseling sessions, churches, mediation, and divorce court now seems to end up as fodder for front page news; then forgotten just as quickly the next day.

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