Nine (9) ladies met at the home of Carolyn Stieber to discuss Valerie Taylor-Crow’s choice of “Small Sacrifices” written by true crime author Ann Rule. This is the actual story of Diane Downs, the mother of three children who subsequently shot her three children, thereby killing one and seriously wounding the other surviving two. Diane was living in the Eugene-Springfield area and was a mail delivery postal clerk in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Diane insisted that a “bushy-haired” stranger had tried to carjack the family and had shot the children and Diane who also had a gunshot wound on her arm.
The group discussed the aspects of the book including the psychological and sociological make-up of Diane Downs who suffered alleged sexual abuse from her own father. Several of the ladies offered compelling facts regarding the differences in personality disorders and mental illness. This was shared from their own experiences from working in psychiatric and disability settings.
We also discussed the adjudication process of this case as much of the story revolves around the criminal justice aspects of a lengthy trial.
Other food for thought included the outcome of decreased services in the State of Oregon due to the failure of bond and levy issues which has been an ongoing theme in the state for over 30 years. This severely impacts much-needed treatment for both children and families as seen by those of us working with families and children as CASA representatives and the Citizens Review Board for foster children.
Although this book choice was far different from many other selections in past months, most of the ladies found the content to be a compelling read.