Chris Benoit case a real eye-opener

Benoit case a real eye-opener

One Person’s View

Matt Shurrie

Wednesday June 27, 2007

By all accounts, Chris Benoit was a fun-loving, dedicated family man.

A three-hour televised retrospective of the Canadian wrestler’s life on Monday night – featuring touching tributes from his fellow grapplers – painted a warm picture of a man committed to his sport and his family.

However, reports one day later seemed to refute all of that goodwill.

Law enforcement officials Tuesday confirmed what many thought to be a worse-case scenario – Benoit strangled his wife Nancy and smothered his son Daniel, seven, before hanging himself in his weight room. The events culminated into a double murder-suicide stemming from a failed marriage – and whatever other demons lurked far beneath the surface.

The case continues to take many twists and turns with some sources reporting that Benoit may have actually killed his wife Saturday – leaving he and his son alone together until Sunday.

No one seems to dispute that Benoit killed himself on Monday.

News of the popular wrestler’s demise caught many people by surprise. While it’s true that Benoit’s career truly peaked in 2004 when he captured the WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 20, his popularity among wrestling fans has never wavered.

That only compounded the shock when it was revealed that Benoit the wrestler had exhibited a disturbing history of intimidation towards his wife. In divorce papers filed in 2003, Nancy Benoit included a petition for protection from domestic abuse against Chris.

Quite simply she feared for her life.

However, three months later, Nancy Benoit filed to have the divorce papers and the restraining order dismissed.

It seems that was the end of the story until Monday, when law enforcement officials found the family dead.

With so many warning signs out there, it’s truly unfortunate that no one was able to step in and prevent the unthinkable from happening.

And while it’s not acceptable to lay blame in this case, it does speak volumes that such circumstances continue to unfold in our present day society.

Earlier this month the region was left reeling after a murder-suicide in London left two London police officers dead. Again, no one will know for certain what led to the bloody end – but it, too, likely could have been preventable.

There are plenty of organizations in our community that do incredible work to prevent such tragedies – even if they often fly below the radar. Groups such as Ingamo Family Homes and the Women’s Emergency Centre-Oxford are just two that come to mind.

However, it’s increasingly obvious that more support – both emotional and financial – is needed.

Anything and everything must be done to prevent such future tragedies from happening.

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