Letter writer makes light of murder-suicide | Redmond Reporter Letters

I found Ilse Burch’s Aug. 16 letter to the editor to be far more sensational, insensitive, and ignorant than the claims she is making against the police department.


I found Ilse Burch’s Aug. 16 letter to the editor to be far more sensational, insensitive, and ignorant than the claims she is making against the police department.

On one hand she seems appalled about the murder, and then on another vehemently defends the murderer’s modus operandi.

Ms. Burch implies that she knows how a killer thinks better than the police, including what tools they would use to harm someone and take their life. But she did not provide qualifications as to what makes her views more credible than theirs. I have an education and professional background in criminal justice, and I am also a domestic violence survivor who has lost a friend to a similar homicide.

First, fuzzy handcuffs are the most easily obtainable type of handcuffs. Joseph Batten was unlikely to arouse suspicion purchasing that type of restraint, as opposed to metal handcuffs. They may have also been readily available to him. It should be noted that you still need keys to get out of the “fuzzy” version—obviously their purpose is to control and restrain another person.

Second, some genres of hardcore porn are practically a how-to guide on how to restrain someone. While some people may find it harmless, such graphic images can be gasoline on the fire of an already deviant mind. Also, porn is frequently disrespectful towards women, so for Ms. Burch to defend hardcore porn while condemning domestic violence seems contradictory. Violence against women is never okay.

Downplaying the relevance of the tools a murderer had at his disposal demeans the victim and detracts from the seriousness of the crime. People can be harmed and killed with just about anything.

Please, do not make light of such a serious incident just because the killer’s thought processes are different than yours. Instead, there should be absolute outrage about this crime, and we should channel that righteous anger into preventing future acts of violence in our community.

“Crime of passion,” at face value, may imply a heat of the moment mentality. But given the weapons and materials Joseph Batten had in his possession when he committed the murder, it is clear that this was a premeditated crime.

I am appalled at Ms. Burch’s implication that a statement from the police department would appear to sanction homicide by “stupid people.” Some of the most successful and violent criminals are also the most intelligent.

I am certain that the police spokesperson did not intend to downplay or sensationalize any element of this crime.

I understand Ms. Burch’s concern about the choice of words, but I know from experience that all police employees have a tough job to do, and we don’t always have time to perfect our statements when the public is waiting for answers. That is one inescapable fact of working in criminal justice—you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, and can’t make everybody happy all the time.

I would encourage all readers to join the fight against domestic violence by supporting the domestic violence advocacy programs in our community.

Domestic violence is an epidemic that affects men, women, and children of all walks of life, and until we as a society condemn this sick, selfish, barbaric behavior, it will continue to erupt even in the most unexpected places.

Heidi Hiatt


On July 29, Melissa Batten was tragically gunned down in her Redmond apartment parking lot by her estranged husband who then took his own life. Eastside Domestic Violence Program (EDVP) is holding a vigil in memory of Melissa. We hope you will join us.

The vigil will be held Wednesday, Aug. 27 at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, 16600 NE 80th Street in Redmond, at 5 p.m. RSVP to Marsha at marshat@edvp.org or call (425) 562-8840, ext. 0

Melissa was 36 years old. She held a coveted position with Microsoft’s X-Box marketing division. Harvard educated, she was a practicing attorney in North Carolina in 2000 and 2001.

She left law to pursue her passion in the gaming industry within Microsoft. After being threatened by her husband she sought help from the criminal justice system, obtained a protection order, and moved into a friend’s apartment. Her abuser obtained a firearm and lay in wait for her as she left for work, shooting her eight times in the torso then taking his life.

Eastside Domestic Violence Program is invested in ending domestic violence in our community through life-saving and life-changing programs and services. Since 1982, EDVP has provided safety, support, and accessibility to more than 96,000 victims and their children.

On Wednesday, Aug. 27, we will come together as a community to honor Melissa’s life and take this opportunity to declare that domestic violence has no place in our community.

Please join us to honor Melissa’s life. Together we can make every home a safe home.

Barbara Langdon

Executive Director, Eastside Domestic Violence Program