Our View | There’s a lot to gain from one tragic death

April 3, 2014 

TraciTree03

A flowering pear tree has been planted outside of the Chester Hill Borough Building in memory of Traci Raymond Miscavish. Ribbons of her favorite color, purple, are tied to the tree and a stone reads, “We loved you with all our heart, and we always will.”

ABBY DREY — CDT photo Buy Photo

Traci Miscavish died a year ago, shot at her workplace.

The 49-year-old Philipsburg resident tried her best to escape domestic violence. She was divorcing her husband, a former state trooper. She had been granted a protection from abuse order.

The PFA didn’t stop him from surprising Miscavish at a Decatur Township, Clearfield County, grocery store, then committing suicide on the spot.

Her death, however, could prevent others — if state legislators can rouse themselves to do their part.

State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, proposed a bill last July that calls for GPS monitors to track the movements of people with PFA orders against them.

The bill advocates a two-part unit consisting of an ankle bracelet for the offender and a key fob-type device for the victim.

“Essentially, if the two GPS units came in close proximity, the victim’s unit would alert her to seek safety,” said Gina Raymond, Miscavish’s sister.

“If this were an option for Traci last year, it may have spared her life, or at least given her more time.”

Such a system would not guarantee safety for domestic violence victims.

But legislators could improve their odds of protection by acting more swiftly.

Conklin’s bill, which has bipartisan support that includes state Rep. Tommy Sankey, R-Osceola Mills, remains stuck in the House Judiciary Committee.

It needs to get out of committee and on to the floor for a vote.

Then it should be passed.

Tragedies can raise awareness and spark change — as was the case after the murders of two local women.

Amy Homan McGhee, a battered wife, was shot in 2001 by her husband in their home as she tried to leave him with their two young sons. In tribute to her, the documentary “Telling Amy’s Story” cast a national spotlight on domestic violence and court reforms.

In 2007, Jodi Barone’s estranged husband shot her at a gas station during a custody exchange with their daughter.

She, too, had been issued a PFA order.

Her fate inspired the creation of the Centre County Child Exchange Center, where children can go from one parent to another in a safe and controlled environment.

Out of loss came gain.

McGhee and Barone wanted better lives, not legacies. But the memories of both have helped other women.

Legislators should take note.

Miscavish deserves the same honor.

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