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.