Josh Powell-power and control. They may now perhaps be synonymous. Two innocent little boys are dead. Their mother has been missing for over two years, and it is presumed their father murdered her and disposed of the body. The obsession to gain and retain power and control is the driving force behind domestic violence. What motivated Josh Powell? Why did he do this? When he executed the double-murder/suicide, his was the ultimate power and control. He had the final say. The two precious sons’ funeral was all over the news. It was heart-wrenching, to say the least.

Making final arrangements?The three died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Now reports are stating each of the two little boys had received “a chop injury” to the head/neck area, quite likely with a hatchet or ax that was lying near their bodies. Even more recently, findings are coming forth of “incestuous sex” material found on Josh Powell’s computer, and a comforter has been found with blood stains. One must wonder if the DNA will show it to be Susan Cox Powell’s blood? There is substantiated evidence that Josh Powell had been carefully planning and plotting well in advance. The case worker was rightfully concerned when she approached the front door for the supervised visitation. The questions of the 911 dispatcher are now being brought into question. Even so, handling things differently probably would not have saved the lives of the boys.

I have my own opinions as to whether or not Josh Powell was guilty of murdering his wife, but I have decided to forego the typical crucifixion process that takes place in the public against such an abuser. There seems to be no contradiction that he is responsible for murdering his two babies and taking his own life, and that is what I will address.

I consider a large part of what motivated Josh Powell to conduct such a heinous crime was a driving need for POWER & CONTROL. For those of us who have worked any length of time in the field of advocacy for victims of domestic violence and abuse, we are quite familiar with the Duluth Model Power & Control Wheel. We are taught very clearly that the driving force of domestic violence and spousal abuse is the need by the abuser to maintain power and control over their victim. That is probably what motivated Josh Powell. Much more than a matter of temper or anger management, it is power and control by one human being over another. Beat them down verbally, emotionally and if let go long enough, beat them down physically. One of the young sons is now being credited with commenting that Mommy was in the trunk, both parents took off during a camping trip, but only Daddy returned.

This is what raises my anger. An abuser is so intent on maintaining power and control over their victim that they are not only willing to commit murder, but then follow it with suicide, oftentimes taking the lives of the children in the process. This is their way of having the final say, the end-all power and control over those who are left behind, with nothing left to do but mourn, suffer and deal with the helplessness and void that are now there. I believe that is what motivated Josh Powell to strike such a lethal blow. It was a final attempt to wield devastation upon his sons’ maternal grandparents, their caregivers, the ones he may have felt took his boys away from him. Power and control are forceful avengers.

Was Josh Powell mentally ill? That is quite possible. But that is not the issue. I hope the Powell family does not see this as a sacrificial act on Josh Powell’s part. It was not. It was a man who wanted to quite literally go out in a blaze of glory, carrying with him all the power and control that could be contained within two 5-gallon buckets of gasoline—carrying his two young innocent sons with him. The typical, “If I can’t have you, then nobody will have you” mentality.

Power and Control Wheel

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