Sunday, August 9, 2015

Social Worker Killed In The Line Of Duty

On Friday afternoon, a child welfare worker in Vermont ended her day and was going home.  She never made it.

On her way to her car, she was shot and killed in cold blood:
A mom who lost custody of her 9-year-old girl less than a month ago used a high-caliber hunting rifle to kill the social worker involved in her case as the state employee left the office for the day, authorities said.

Witnesses tackled Jody Herring at about 4:45 p.m. ET Friday outside of a downtown office building that houses a Vermont Department for Children and Families office, Barre police Chief Tim Bombardier said late Friday. They had seen her take two shots at close range at Lara Sobel, who had worked for the agency more than 15 years.

Sobel died at the scene.

Herring, who is now in state custody, lost custody of her daughter July 10, Bombardier said. The child remains in state care; Herring will be arraigned Monday.

"We're doing the best we can to support our staff," agency Commissioner Ken Schatz said. "Any sort of death is a tragedy. In this situation we lost one of our own."
This woman's husband and little daughter will never get to see her again, never feel her touch again, never hear her voice again.

This hits close to home for a couple of reasons.

One, I did child welfare work for Milwaukee County for six and a half years. During that time, I have been verbally abused, threatened and even assaulted once.

Secondly, on Wednesday, the building I work at had to be evacuated due to a bomb scare. This was the third time in the past few years that we had to leave due to safety concerns.

Despite the dangers of the job, there are a lot of people - way too many people - that see public sector workers as the enemy.

People who cheer on Scott Walker as he falsely brags of "taking on the special interests" of public sector unions.  The people he attacked are your neighbors, your relatives, your friends.  People like me.

Instead of giving us the support and the respect we need to do our jobs to the best of our abilities, we get pilloried, we have our pay cut, we have our rights taken away and our safety further imperiled.   We see our budgets cut annually, leaving us to trying to do more with less until something tragic happens.  Even then, instead of giving us what we need, we get attacked some more.

Fortunately, not all people or politicians are as myopic and hateful as Walker and his supporters.  From the article:
"I am beside myself," said state Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, a Democrat from Windsor, Vt. "These men and women put their lives on the line each day, and we don't understand the serious nature of these cases.

"This could happen in any state office or court," said Campbell, who is also a state prosecutor. "We do not pay them enough and respect them enough."
Hopefully, these politicians are doing more than just lip service and will actually do something about it. It is a shame that something like this has to happen to wake people up.

We've got all we can do to keep the public safe and make sure we get home to our families that we don't need to worry about being attacked by greedy, hate-filled politicians on top of it.

The right wing's war on the public sector serves no one and harms everyone.  It must stop now.


  1. Seriously, Crapper?? Your going to use the death of this person to further your hate ?? I knew you were a pos scumbag, but this is low, even for a hate filled Ahole, like yourself. WHAT A PATHETIC SCUMBAG your are, Crapper.

    1. The good news, for you, is that only about 30 people read your hate filled rants. They fully aware of just what a loser pos that you are.

    2. You when you have to resort to calling people name, you've lost the battle.

  2. Mr Franklin - if that is your name - I'm going to answer you straight up, which given your infantile language is more respect than you deserve.

    I'm a member of my county's Human Services Board. The security of our employees is a serious concern, and the continued demonization of public employees adds fuel to the fire.

    In this incident that Capper discusses, the worker was shot and killed in the parking lot of her workplace - a public building.

    Is that your world - one where public employees shot coming out of work generates no outrage? No sympathy? Have you no shame?

  3. My spouse and I spent our careers in honorable government service. The vast majority of our fellow employees gave of their time (when our dept's had no funds for O.T.) gave of our their selves, in patience and effort to lift members of the public, who were in need, through a rough time, and looked for ways to defend the dignity of victims in crisis. If someone wants to spit on government employees, remember All citizens constitute the government, and those that condemn government workers have no vision of a decent society.