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Santa Targets His Own Family

Dec 26, 2008 — Categories: ,

An ex-husband took advantage of the annual family gathering at his in-laws’ house to inflict his violence on his ex-wife and her family. He appeared at the door dressed as Santa, and one of the children let him in. He opened fire on the 25 people there and then set fire to the house.

An ex-husband took advantage of the annual family gathering at his in-laws’ house to inflict his violence on his ex-wife and her family. He appeared at the door dressed as Santa, and one of the children let him in. He opened fire on the 25 people there and then set fire to the house.

This is domestic terror. Even though one news report said Bruce Pardo had no “criminal record or history of violence,” I am certain we haven’t heard the whole story. He was reportedly angry because his wife had divorced him last week after a brief marriage. Makes one wonder why she divorced him so soon after marriage.

This is the tragedy of the holidays. For many, Christmas is a family time. And for many it is a joyous reunion of friends and relatives who travel to be together. But for others, it is a time of increased anxiety and fear whether they are living with an abusive partner, or have an ex-partner lurking, or are trying to hand off children for visitation by another parent.

In this case, the image of Santa going on a rampage with a semiautomatic handgun and an arson device designed to quickly set the whole house ablaze is just too bizarre to imagine. The count is eight people dead so far. The others escaped. Pardo ran, drove to his brother’s house, and shot and killed himself.

End of story? No. He destroyed his ex-wife’s extended family. Now Christmas will be a time of horror for the survivors and, for the children, Santa Claus will be a figure of evil. No doubt Pardo accomplished his goal. But he leaves so many people in grief and trauma. There is no peace and goodwill for this and other families this Christmas who know the suffering of domestic terror.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute

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