May 9, 2018
Dear Michelle Manning Barish,
There were plenty of jaw-dropping facts alleged in the article that lead New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to resign three hours after it was published by The New Yorker on Monday. But it was your quote that haunted me the most. “Taking a strong woman and tearing her to pieces is his jam,” you said. That is an apt description of his disgusting alleged practice of inflicting physical, mental, and emotional abuse upon the strong, independent, beautiful women he pursued. It is terrifying to think of a man like that wielding the enormous power of the Office of Attorney General.
Schneiderman would have probably continued reigning and tearing women to pieces if you had stayed silent. You and Tanya Selvaratnam showed extraordinary courage in speaking out against a powerful man like him. Brava.
I write to you today because your story spoke to me, because I am concerned about your safety, and to offer you an invitation to come visit me in Missouri.
I am concerned for your safety because it appears to me, based on The New Yorker article and the “Bee Prepared” video on “Go Bags” you made with your daughter, that:
- You live alone and/or with your daughter;
- You do not own a gun;
- You have enraged an allegedly violent and unstable ex-boyfriend; and
- Many people, some of whom may be crazy, are reading about you and your daughter and are aware that you two have a lot of valuables and at least $300 in cash at home, and that you are unarmed.
This is not safe.
Your ex-boyfriend Eric Schneiderman reportedly has major drug and alcohol problems that are so bad he sometimes is in a “trance” and awakes covered in blood. He gets his kicks from hitting and choking women. He threatens to stalk and to kill women. He has threatened to kill you. He reportedly attacked you by hitting you so forcefully that your ear hurt for months (and bled), knocking you down, holding you down while you struggled against him, and choking you vigorously. And then, after that attack, he basically threatened to have you incarcerated by accusing you of scratching him, telling you “You know, hitting an officer of the law is a felony.” He likes to control women and allegedly controlled what you ate. He called your legs “chubby” when you were an emaciated 5’7” 103lb wisp of a girlfriend. (This allegation makes one wonder if he hasn’t already tried to kill you). According to the article, you were not the first nor the last woman that he abused physically, mentally, and emotionally. As you said, tearing women to pieces is his jam.
Women in general are safer today because you and others spoke out and took him down. But are you?
According to the article, when you made an “oblique” reference about him on social media less than six months ago, he called and threatened you in a “nasty” tone, “Don’t ever write about me. You don’t want to do that.”
If that was his reaction to you referring to him obliquely, I cannot imagine he enjoyed what was written about him in The New Yorker. You already know it’s possible to be physically beaten by this man. Are you prepared for what he may do now?
Because you and Tanya bravely went on the record about him to The New Yorker, he has lost everything he has worked to achieve over his entire life. At the beginning of the week, his prospects included residing in the New York Governor’s Mansion. Now his prospects include residing in prison after spending every penny he has on criminal defense attorneys. What, if anything, will prevent him from acting out his violent fantasies against women? He may think he has nothing left to lose.
I hope you are reading this from a safe, undisclosed location. But if you and/or your daughter are in your apartment, you should take your “Bug Out Bags” and go. And you should not return until you own and know how to use a handgun. God forbid you need to do so, but you have a responsibility to defend your life and your daughter’s too.
Come Visit Me in Missouri.
I invite you to visit me in Missouri and to come with me to the gun range. I would be happy to arrange private sessions with a highly qualified firearms instructor, and to attend them with you if you would like me to do so. You would be surprised how quickly one can learn how to handle firearms when receiving a private lesson from a pro.
We Actually Have a Lot in Common
Before you write me off as a nut-job, hear me out. We may have more in common than you think.
We are both white middle-aged moms who are passionate about politics. We both enjoy travel and shopping at the same (yes, the same) stores. And we’re both preppers.
I started my career as a public defender and I’ve won numerous awards for my pro bono work, particularly in actual innocence cases. And I’ve infuriated and have been hated by the top prosecutor in several jurisdictions, so that’s another thing we have in common.
We were not always at opposite ends of the political spectrum. In high school, I decided I was a Democrat. I remember feeling it was kismet when I learned I was born on Hillary Clinton’s 30th birthday. In full disclosure, though, my feelings for Hillary have dramatically changed since high school. Right before the 2016 election, I used my birthday wish to cancel Hillary’s birthday wish out.
I grew up believing that guns were bad. I believed that smart, civilized people had no use for them unless they were police officers. We did not even have toy guns growing up due to the concern that they may lead us to become desensitized to violence. Even as an adult, I remember guns being scary until I had hands-on experience firing them. And if I hadn’t been practicing criminal law, I may never have learned enough about them for it to have occurred to me to purchase one.
Your story spoke to me because it reminded me of how I reached my Second Amendment epiphany. I had a run-in with a bad guy with a badge, too. It was early in my career as a criminal defense attorney while defending an indigent client in a high-profile case. In retrospect, I don’t think I was ever actually in danger (especially in comparison to your situation). But the incident rattled me into realizing that my responsibility as a mother included taking measures to ensure my two boys grew up having a mother, and that their mother could defend their lives if necessary. I knew I could not rely on men with badges to always be there to protect me and my kids (who were babies at the time) should something happen when my husband was not at home. And that, if something happened while my husband was at home, it was my duty to help him defend our family, too.
So, I became a conscientious and responsible owner of numerous firearms. I took training courses to learn how to properly use them, received and retain my CCW permit, and go shooting a few times each year. I have firearms safely and securely concealed at home, at my law firm, and in my Tesla.
The Great Equalizer
According to the article, when Schneiderman viciously attacked you, choked you, and held you down, you said “In every fibre, I felt I was being beaten by a man.”
I never want to feel that way.
If I do not have a gun, over 90% of men would have no trouble beating me in a fight. A U.S. Census chart indicates that less than 7% of men are shorter than me and 0% of men weigh less than I do. But if I have my gun, I have a chance to beat 100% of men who try to attack me. Handguns are the great equalizer. They allow a woman to take down a male attacker even if he is much bigger, stronger, and taller than she.
You care about empowering and standing up for women. Your bravery, in this case, has proven that you mean it. Well, women need to be able to own firearms if women are truly going to be strong and independent.
I think if you go to the gun range with me and learn how to fire a gun, you will then buy one for your “Go Bag,” pronto. So please think about my invitation. You may have fun visiting a liberal college town that is in the very middle of the map, and going with me to the gun range. You could blog about it, too. Let me know if you’re interested!
It’s a Big Day for #MeToo
Today is a very big day for the #MeToo movement thanks to you. Today is the first day in almost 10 years that Eric Schneiderman is not the boss of over 650 New York Assistant Attorneys General. In fact, today he is quite the opposite. In light of Governor Cuomo appointing a special prosecutor to investigate him, I bet Schneiderman is busy becoming a criminal defense attorney’s client.
There is only one bitch that Schneiderman should blame for his fall from power: Karma. She was bound to catch him someday.
But, in case he blames you, please be prepared to defend yourself.
I really hope to hear from you.
Jennifer Bukowsky is a constitutional and criminal defense attorney in Columbia, Missouri. She is also a regular Missouri Times columnist and a weekly guest on the Gary Nolan Show. She serves on the Missouri Supreme Court’s Task Force on Criminal Justice, on the Board of Directors of the Show-Me Institute, and on the Steering Committee of the Federalist Society–Jefferson City Lawyers Chapter.
Jennifer defended a client who was found “not guilty” of murder – the only “not guilty” on a Boone County murder in over 50 years. She also won the release of a man who was wrongfully convicted and served over 20 years – since age 14 – for a murder he did not commit. Jennifer has received numerous awards for her skills as a trial and appellate attorney.
Jennifer was a Trump delegate at the RNC in 2016. She previously served as an adjunct professor of law for the University of Missouri, and as the youngest-ever President of the Boone County Bar Association.
Jennifer received a J.D. with highest honors from the University of Missouri School of Law. She is also a CPA.