Left: Photo of Mary Winkler leaving the Orange Beach jail courtesy of Mobile Register.
(Selmer, TN) Few stories in recent memory have gripped the nation in the way that the murder of Matthew Winkler has. Every network yesterday led with the story of Mary Winkler's sudden confession of shooting her husband in the back at their home on Wednesday, and CNN and FOX have devoted many hours of near-continuous coverage since news broke of the discovery of Mary and the three girls.
Living a seemingly ideal life in a small Tennessee town, the Winklers by outward appearances were a happy family. Perhaps it is the shattering of an idyllic image that disturbs us so. If such a near-perfect family can become embroiled in a world violence, goes the theory, than so too can any American home.
The investigators in Alabama and Tennessee agree that Mary Winkler shared with them a motive for the killing, but they are not yet communicating her reasons for shooting Matthew Winkler. In press conferences, though, they have consistently denied that infidelity on the part of either spouse was a factor.
Police officials, however, cagily evade the question of some form of abuse that might have occurred in the Winkler home as a precipitating factor. On another thread on this site, a visitor from Jackson, TN said that Matthew Winkler may have been moved from other pastoral assignments - youth ministries - for certain "irregular" behaviors involving children.
This would explain the mental state of Mary Winkler, although most people would not agree with her method of response. God have mercy on anyone who would abuse my children, for I surely would not. In all honesty, were I to find myself alone with someone who hurt my children, I cannot guarantee that I would to allow the legal system to work.
I might instead choose the path of swift, Louisville Slugger justice, or find my vengeance in a double-barreled, 12-gauge response. My prayers thus must include a plea to God to keep me from ever having to make such a decision.