murder trial recently concluded in Texas wherein a woman who
killed her husband was defended by the husband's own mother,
brother and father, who explained that, aside from what might be
described as some unpleasantness on a bad day, the woman is
really a good, law-abiding person.
press on both the left and the right has poured derision upon
the murder victim, referring to David Harris as a "creep," a
"rat," a "a lying, cheating scumbag" and Clara Harris'
"unfaithful dog of a husband." Feminist Susan Estrich
asked "Who could blame [Clara] for getting into her Mercedes and
running him over?" and seemed a little sad that the jury did.
She fantasized a Cochranesque defense for her, noting:
day across America, women crowd into the offices of plastic
surgeons and beauticians and aestheticians, spending money we
don't have on painful procedures we don't really need, trying to
hang on to men who don't deserve us...with their votes, the
Harris jury could have sent a shot across the bow to all those
cheating men. If you cheat on your wife, she can kill you and
get away with it. If he deserved to get hit, you must acquit."
Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily,
penned a column entitled "Free Clara Harris!" in which he wrote
"I'd give her a medal....she did the right thing. That creep
deserved what he got" and urged readers to "live like her." John
Kasich, guest host on The O'Reilly Factor, also expressed
sympathy for Clara who, he claimed, had been "mentally tortured"
by her husband.
radio and the Internet many observers expressed similar
sentiments, such as: "If at first you don't succeed, run over
him again"; "I feel much compassion for Clara but absolutely
none for her husband the victim..[heís] not worth killing"; and,
of course, "You play, you pay."
the prosecutor, Mia Magness, apparently quibbles with the killer
only over her choice of methods, expressing a preference that,
instead of killing David by her own hand, she should have driven
him to suicide by divorcing him and "[doing] like every other
woman...get his house, car, kids -- make him wish he were dead."
Shakespeareís tragedy King Lear, Lear is abandoned by his family
with the exception of one loyal daughter, Cordelia. In the Texas
tragedy David Harris has been abandoned by his family except for
his loyal daughter Lindsey, who loved her father and begged her
stepmother not to kill him. The murder of her father and the
betrayals of her grandmother, grandfather and uncle have exacted
a high toll on her, driving her to four suicide attempts in the
past six months.
did David Harris do to deserve this cruel fate? He had an
affair. As Shakespeareís Marc Antony said of the fallen Caesarís
"ambition," Davidís infidelity was "a grievous fault--and
grievously hath he answered it."
without saying that were the genders reversed few would be
talking about infidelity as a justification for murder. Imagine
a woman trapped in a loveless marriage with a jealous,
potentially violent husband whom she believes may be cheating on
her. She stays in the marriage because she fears she could be
separated from her children should they divorce, and finds
understanding, companionship and passion in a relationship with
a coworker. Her husband finds out about the affair and goes on a
violent, jealous rampage, slaughtering her in front of her
daughter as the daughter begs him not to kill her mother.
would be no tears or excuses proffered for the killer, and he
would be just one more murderer sitting on Texasí death row. The
public would view the womanís affair as a sad, desperate attempt
to gain some comfort in the hellish life her brute of a husband
had imposed on her. The mere mention of the fact that his wife
had been cheating on him as an excuse for murder would be
correctly denounced by feminists, who would also express outrage
at the murdererís "blame the victim" defense.
Listening to the public and media reaction to the Harris case
one would imagine that infidelity were a vice owned exclusively
by the male of the human species. In reality, research estimates
that for every five unfaithful husbands, there are four
her husband, Clara is alive to spin her version of the events
and naturally portrays herself as the loyal, devoted wife of a
man who betrayed her. However, upon closer examination the
evidence is overwhelming that the bad spouse in this marriage
was Clara, not David.
daughter, Lindsey, says that her father had the affair in part
because of the way Clara mistreated and neglected him. According
to her testimony, David told his daughter on many occasions how
lonely he felt. Lindsey also testified that her stepmother Clara
made her feel unimportant and as if she were not part of the
family, and that the only place where pictures of her were
allowed in the home were in her fatherís bathroom. By contrast,
pictures of the twins (the children Clara and David had
together) dominated the house. Lindsey also testified that Clara
had physically assaulted David on at least one prior occasion.
According to testimony by a detective at Blue Moon
Investigations, the private detective agency which Clara had
hired to spy on David, when Clara first came to the agency for
help she described her husband as a "good man" who had fallen
into the "trap" set by his coworker Gail Bridges, a "deceitful
woman." Clara told the detective that her own neglect of David
was the cause of his affair.
president for Blue Moon Investigations told the court in November
that she had conducted an investigation of Clara and presented
several audio tapes on which, according to the news department
of a Houston television station, "witnesses claim that Clara
Harris was also having an affair before her husband died"
also lies, as evidenced by her preposterous courtroom claim that
she didn't know she was running over her husband, despite a
video which shows her repeatedly circling and running him down
with her Mercedes.
importantly, David Harris was married to a person capable of
killing an unarmed man as the man's daughter begged her not to
kill her father. While we'll never know exactly what happened
between David and Clara behind closed doors, can there be any
doubt that a person capable of such a heinous crime was not
exactly the perfect spouse? That David probably had good reason
to distrust or dislike her and seek the affections of another?
That somewhere along the line it might have been Clara's
um......personality that might have created the problem?
the main clubs used against David Harris is the conversation he
had with Clara at an airport hotel bar on July 18 in which he
allegedly listed the reasons he preferred Bridges over Clara.
According to Clara, these reasons included the fact that Clara
made negative, pessimistic comments, was loud and dominated
conversations, and that David found Bridges more physically
attractive than Clara. Many have cited this as evidence of what
a cad and a creep David was. Yet few husbands would have the
courage to speak to their wives about their wivesí physical
appearance in the way Clara claims, particularly to a jealous,
violent wife like her. It is extremely likely that David
broached these subjects with Clara only under direct pressure
from her. I imagine the barroom conversation/interrogation went
something like this:
Tell me how she is better than me. Tell me why you prefer her.
I donít want to talk about it.
Tell me. Thatís the least you can do.
I said I donít want to talk about it. You two are two different
How are we different, I want to know. Tell me why she is better
than me (pounds fist on table). Tell me.
(Sighs) Well, she is less.....vocal. She listens more. Sheís not
(Ignoring Davidís comments) Itís her looks, isn't it? Itís got
to be her looks. Tell me about her looks.
I donít want to talk about it. Itís got nothing to do with her
looks. I like her because sheís nice to me...
I demand to know about her looks.
Itís not her looks...
Tell me about her looks. I deserve to know.
(Sighs) Well, she is (quivers)......well, she is...(quivers
again)...thinner than you, just a little bit honey, just a
(Still quivering) Nothing. Thatís all.
No it isnít. What about her breasts? Is it her breasts? What are
her breasts like?
(Head swivels, looks around in every direction for a waiter)
What are her breasts like?
(Sighs) Her breasts are... (quivers)....are.... nice
Nice! Nice! How nice? What are they like? Describe them to
the appearance-obsessed former beauty queen, was probably
capable of seeing her and David's problems only in terms of her
looks and focused on this instead of Davidís real message, which
was that Claraís neglect and personality were the cause of the
problem. Many have used the conversation as an excuse to speak
of David's affair as if he were carrying on with a 19 year-old
cheerleader. In reality, Bridges is only a few years younger
than Clara and is the mother of three children. Since she was
also a coworker, odds are that David looked to her at least as
much for companionship as for sex.
David stay? Probably because of his young twin boys. He probably
knew that in a divorce he had little chance of winning even
shared custody of his children and that it is common for
custodial mothers to block noncustodial fathers' access and
visitation to their children. He almost certainly knew that
Clara was just the type of vengeful person who would do such a
Clara's attempt to save herself from justice by maligning her
dead husband, there is no evidence that David Harris was
anything worse than a fallible human being who was caught in a
difficult situation. By all estimations he was a good father, a
good provider and a good husband for the vast majority of his
and Clara's 10 year marriage. The fact that this flawed but
decent man could be slaughtered and then vilified for his one
comparatively minor transgression speaks volumes about our
societyís noxious mix of anti-male feminism and anti-male male
chivalry. The product of this witches' brew is a sick cultural
norm where, in any conflict between a man and a woman, the man
is always wrong.
column first appeared on LewRockwell.com (3/4/03)
Sacks' columns on men's and fathers' issues have appeared in dozens of America's
largest newspapers. Glenn can be reached via his website at
via email at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.