Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hitting (relatively) close to home

Although my wife and I did not know the young woman who was murdered in the story below, we did know her mother and last visited with her some years back in her home. As a father, I can only imagine the grief this horrid tragedy must be inflicting upon her family. (The photo to the right is of victim and murderer.)


Gendernalik killed by gunshot wound to head
by Trevor Hughes
May 30, 2008

Valerie Gendernalik was shot on the left side of her head by a gun held close by, Larimer County Coroner's officials announced this afternoon.

Gendernalik's death was ruled a homicide, with the cause listed as "loose contact gunshot wound to left side of face."

Gendernalik's body was found by police Sunday at the apartment she shared with her live-in boyfriend, Justin Moore, at 1610 Westbridge Drive #A10, in Fort Collins. Moore is being held at the Larimer County Detention center on murder charges.

The announcement puts to rest speculation among friends of Moore and Gendernalik that her death was an accident, although they have acknowledged that the two had an at-times tempestuous relationship that sometimes became physically violent.

According to friends and family, Gendernalik and Moore had been dating for at least a year and living together for approximately six months.

Moore had an extensive criminal background, something Valerie Gendernalik thought she could help him overcome. Gendernalik was herself serving a sentence for an Oct. 31, 2007 drunken-driving arrest.

“I know she really wanted to get him up on his feet,” her brother, Alex Gendernalik, said earlier this week. “She wanted him to get in school.”

But friends and family were worried about the troubled relationship.

“Some of us had told her we weren’t so sure about him, hanging out with people he had gotten in trouble with in the past,” Alex Gendernalik said. “But I wanted to like her boyfriend. I wanted her to be happy.”


Such a waste.

I know what you are probably thinking. That the victim shared some responsibility for the events that transpired, and you are, of course, correct, at least according to this version of the story. I'm not sure what it is about losers that attracts intelligent young women, but this story is not unique. Sometimes they eventually get a clue that just loving a person is not enough and move on with their lives; sometimes they never wise up and waste their lives on unworthy scum. Then there are stories with tragic endings like this where the woman never gets a second chance to see the light.

If I could give one bit of advice to the young women of the world, it is this: Don't be so egotistical as to think that you have the power to change anyone. Influence, possibly, especially when dealing with a child. But change an adult, never. Change comes from within a person, not from without. That old maxim that "A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still" will be true as long as humans exist. Trying to change a loser into a winner is tantamount to changing lead into gold. In other words, it can't be done. If you want to accomplish something worthwhile, go climb a mountain, get an education, learn a new skill. But don't take on the impossible task of changing a reprobate; he will only abuse you for your efforts and leave you disillusioned and bitter. Or worse.

Take care.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Dal, but nowhere in that article does it say anything about Valerie trying to "change" Justin. She was opening doors for him - not pushing him through them. You can't read an article, especially one from a defamatory news agency such as the Coloradoan, and decide you know how this all happened. She was not so foolish as you've made her same, not foolish at all.

Anonymous said...


DAL357 said...

You are correct that the article does not explicitly use any semblence of the phrase, "She was trying to change him." Rather, that idea is implicit in the article.

For anyone who knows much about women in general, they almost always either accept a man as he is, and are usually the happier for it, or they look at him as a work in progress and try to change aspects of his personality to fit their ideal of the perfect man. When he doesn't respond in the wanted fashion, too many women blame the man and not their Cinderella-like fantasy of life and how it should be versus how it actually is.

Just think of it, Anonymous: Why would an apparently intelligent, college-educated young woman hook up, and move in with, a troubled, apparent n'er-do-well? Was it because she wanted to lower herself and live at his base level of life? Or was it because she hoped that she could influence him to overcome his low behavior and make something of himself? Of those two choices, which do you think the more likely?

BTW, if I came across as putting her down, it was not entirely intentional. I feel sorry for her and the life she'll now never get to enjoy. I just wish women could understand that scum is a dangerous element and not to be dealt with lightly. Any attempt to change it into anything else is only bound to fail as surely as any other form of alchemy.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DAL357 said...

Anonymous, I have removed your comment not because of your disagreement with my position, but due to your language. Should you care to repost your comment sans the street talk, I would be glad to let it stay.

Anonymous said...

Being a woman, you never try to change the man but yet you try to help show them a healthier, better way to live. I was an ex-girlfriend of Justin Moore and was in the same position as Val and he should have been in jail for what he did to me. Things got confused and he walked. If he wouldnt have, she would probably still be alive. I feel in some part that I am responsible for her passing. His second chance through justice with me failed, and now she lost her life. This is just totally tragic and should have NEVER happened.....

Jan said...

I am so tired of you people who think you know a person and you really dont know your self.All of you need to take a HONEST Look at YOUR SELF &see your own fault's,clean you're own door step's.JUSTIN DID NOT KILL VAL.KNOW WHAT YOU"RE TALKING ABOUT

Justin's MOM said...

wow,it is unbelivable how many people make judgements on others with out knowing all the facts!!Its even more unbelivable how quickly people who we thought were our friends, will throw us under the bus!I quess its true,that when Tragedy happens,we find out who our friends really are.I want you all to know,how much pain,gut wretching pain,our entire family ,Vals family and our true friends are in.You can say and think what you need to.You can sit in judgment if you care to! GOD is ultimately in charge here Let us all find him now! God bless you and keep you.....

Matthew J. Rodriguez said...

Sadly, I don't know much about this tragedy--only what the papers tell me. I've served poorly as a friend to Jay these last several years, but I still think of him fondly. My heart goes out to both families, and I'm keeping you in my prayers (I love you both Jan and Sue). I agree with Dal about change coming, if at all,from within. It must also be pointed out, however, that being born on third base should not be confused with hitting a triple. In other words, we are not to judge others because we do not know if we would have reacted differently (or dare I say much worse?) if placed in the same exact circumstances. I know the culture that Justin grew up in. Sadly, it's the same environment from which come far too many young men--one with the entirely wrong male role model. We grew up with the false belief that it was "cool" to do the things that his "extensive criminal background" speaks of. Please, my friends, Justin does not need anything right now except for compassion and mercy--no matter if he is innocent or guilty of the alleged crime. Remember, if not for the grace of God, there go I.
Again my heart goes out to the family of Valerie, and if anyone has contact with Jay, please let him know that I love him and care about him very much.


Matthew J. Rodriguez

Victoria Rodriguez said...

I don't know very much about this tragedy either. I am absolutely stunned. Justin dated my best friend during and after highschool. We were all really good friends. His brothers were friends with my brothers. He actually took me to prom! The Justin that I knew was struggling to find a decent man within - and ultimately was a truly good guy. I am devastated for his family and the family of his girlfriend. You are all in my prayers.


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