Domestic Violence, The Story of Reginald and Regina
“Reginald and Regina were in love. At least that’s what the marriage license said. They had been married for 12 years and had dated 2 years before that. They had a daughter together, little 7 year old Sissy, a child of boundless energy, a vivid imagination and an infectious grin.
Reginald and Regina shared a home and a bed. They ate the same food, paid the same bills and breathed the same air. They used the same stool and flushed the same toilet. They liked the same movies and the same music. They even began to favor each other, each wearing horned rim glasses, each experiencing middle age spread.
But theirs was anything but a loving relationship. Reginald was unemployed and was so embarrassed, so depressed by his inability to provide for his family that he stopped looking for work. In fact, Reginald did what far too many other black men have done. When the going got tough, he gave up. He started drinking and stopped helping around the house. Nor was he taking time with Sissy. Worse he was “keeping company” with Sandra Holmes, a welfare mother of three, who lived in the projects around the corner, down the street.
Regina was the sole breadwinner in the house, her salary as a clerk at the local supermarket barely enough to survive. Regina had long since lost respect for Reginald. Her contempt for him was such that she showed it whenever she could. She constantly nagged and criticized him. She belittled him before his family and friends; always attacking his manhood, his intelligence. Nothing he did was ever good enough. And as for sex, forget about it. She was always too tired, or at least that’s what she told Reginald. What Reginald didn’t know was that he was not the only one keeping secrets. Regina and her good friend Candy had recently entered the realm of “alternative lifestyles.”
One Saturday morning, Regina and Reginald had a terrible fight. It may have been caused by Reginald’s heavy drinking at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. Or perhaps Regina woke up with an attitude and started riding him. The fight could have been caused by a disagreement over who would use the skillet first to fry some eggs. However it started it was bad, with screaming and yelling loud enough to wake the dead. Physical violence naturally ensued.
Regina slapped Reginald and called him a punk. Reginald pushed Regina and called her a bitch. Sissy stood horrified, not knowing what to do or whose side to take. She loved them both. Since neither one of these so called “responsible adults” had an off-switch, the violence quickly escalated beyond the point of no return.
Regina made a mad dash to the bedroom closet where the loaded 45 was kept. Reginald sensing her intent, followed in hot pursuit. Regina reached the gun first but Reginald grabbed her from behind before she could point the weapon. They wrestled. Within seconds Reginald over powered Regina and took the gun away. Under the influence of alcohol and in the heat of the moment, Reginald pointed the gun at Regina, pulling the trigger once, twice, four times, sending a hail of hot lead into Regina’s body.
The force of the blast threw Regina backward, akin to a toy discarded by a petulant child. Sliding down the bedroom wall, blood spurting from holes in her face, neck and chest, Regina’s body resembled a puppet whose strings had just been cut.
Reginald stood frozen in time and place; the smell of fresh blood, the whiff of burnt gunpowder, the smoking gun still in his hand. Sissy’s wail of “Mommy, Mommy” pierced the air with the force of a siren, her face a river of tears. As the shock began to subside, Reginald was left with the stark reality of what had occurred. He had just murdered someone. Not just anyone, but the person he loved, his wife, the mother of his child. Moreover, he had permanently scarred Sissy.
How do you explain to a 7 year old why her father killed her mother? How do you repair the psychological and emotional damage done by the loss of both parents on the same day? There was no extended family, no grandparents, aunts or uncles to take care of her. Little Sissy would be a ward, read slave of the state; shuffled from one foster home to the next. If she was not messed up by living in a dysfunctional home or the sight of her father killing her mother, she would be by the time the Department of Children and Family Services got through with her. Making it more likely than not that someday Sissy would dance on a pole or wind up in prison; that the new slavery of a criminal conviction would pass from Reginald to his daughter and to her children and to their children; a permanent class of hereditary slaves just like in “the day.”
No matter how much she derided him, Reginald knew that Regina was not the enemy. The slaughter of African Americans by other African Americans, the unconscionable sundering of black families by the supposed leaders of these families, the symbolic castration of black men by unemployment and drug addiction, was just what “the man” wanted; an excuse if not permission to destroy anther black male, to put another “brother” in jail. Yet, he had forgotten everything he had ever learned from his parents, his church and his school. He had willingly played the fool and fallen into a trap so obvious that a flashing neon sign read, “this one’s for you.”
Oh how he wished he could take back the bullets, but he couldn’t. Maybe if he closed his eyes it would all go away, but he knew it wouldn’t. God, he had made such a mess of things. Why didn’t he try harder to get a job, to take care of his family, to be a man? Why did he have to start drinking the first thing in the morning?
And try as he might, he had no one to blame but himself. It wasn’t the white mans fault, that he destroyed his family. His father, mother, sister or brother didn’t make him do it. Hell, he couldn’t even blame it on alcohol. He consumed the bottle of Hennessey. The Hennessey did not consume him. Or maybe it had?
In an instant, one spit second of madness this African American family was forever broken. With the song “Oh How I Love Jesus” playing in the background, Reginald reached for Sissy. But she ran away, lost to him forever. All he could do was weep and wait for the police to come and take him away.” 
The scene depicted above comes not from some blood soaked headline. There is no actual Reginald, Regina or Sissy of which I am aware. The story of Reginald and Regina is an excerpt from the book, “The Cotton Chronicles, American Apartheid, Prisons and the 21st Century Cotton Gin. Still, this and similar acts of twisted love are all too prevalent, the pain and suffering endured by the victims of domestic violence all too real.
We must therefore take the issue of domestic violence with the urgent seriousness it deserves. Those who cannot protect themselves must be protected. Those who abuse must be prosecuted. We make no apologies for anyone who mal-treat their families.
Yet, the problem of domestic violence is anything but simple. Complicated by complex personal, societal, political and familial issues like privacy, parenting concerns, self defense, gender warfare and relationship politics not every instance of physical aggression constitutes domestic violence and not every allegation of domestic violence is true. Some victims are not protected some innocents are unfairly prosecuted while many, who are guilty as sin, are not.
Nor is the problem as straightforward as “men bad, women good”. As to race, age, gender, political affiliation, religion, creed or sexual preference, domestic violence has no preference. Men abuse their women and their male partners. Women violate their male and their female mates. Parents mistreat their children, who violate their siblings, who abuse their parents, who damage their grandparents, who sometimes harm their own children and grandchildren. Ours is indeed a violent society, a condition which shows no sign of abating.
And contrary to our most fervent desires, love is not enough. The crush of life can dim the brightest of flames. The challenges and uncertainties of living can chill the warmest of affections. After years of experiencing dirty underwear, stinky bathrooms and any number of other personal imperfections, we are lucky if we still like much less love those with whom we share our existence. Familiarity does indeed breed contempt.
So what then is the solution? Regrettably, Blackacre can offer none. We do suggest however, that when it comes to ending the scourge of domestic violence, it begins and ends with men.
Ours is a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of those we love, even if doing so conflicts with our own best interest. Rather than abuse them or see them abused, our responsibility is to lead, to protect, to support and to teach our families and communities. This duty is not waived because we had a bad day. This responsibility is not negated because those we love get on our last nerve. This obligation is not made null and void for any reason whatsoever.
So leave your family if you will. Defend yourself if you must. But a man must never, ever, ever abuse those to whom we are sworn to protect; those to whom we owe the highest of duties, whether they appreciate it or not. This is what separates being a man from being a mere male.
And if you’d like to see more of “The Cotton Chronicles, or any other books or products of the Cotton Series, you may order them from www.thenewcotton.com.
Leo Barron Hicks, Author, CEO and Founder of the Blackacre Policy Forum
 Leo Barron Hicks, “The Cotton Chronicles, American Apartheid, Prisons and the 21st Century Cotton Gin”, L. Barron Hicks Publishers, 2008, p. 125.