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Pre-2008 Posts

How Dare Mary Winkler Sit at the Bar, Drink a Beer, and of All Things, Smile!

This video shows Mary Winkler, who was battered and sexually abused by her pastor husband over many years, and whom I blogged about here after she confessed to shooting him,  sitting at a local bar, apparently having a beer.

I mean, the very idea.  How could she.

Some citizens are up-in-arms over these photos, which were taken by townsperson Luis Correa on his cell phone.   They are angry because some of the townspeople actually feel supportive of Mary Winkler.   Mr. Correa was shocked to see her sitting with her friends at the bar, having a brew, on, of all things,  New Year’s Eve night.  He sold the photos to a local news program who aired them, outraging some of the people who undoubtedly believe themselves to be McMinville, Tennessee’s finest.   Said Correa, “They should know what they are supporting…We walked in there and there she was sitting down at the table…They [Winkler and her friends] were giggling, drinking, smoking…All this catastrophe has happened and now she’s just walking down, like nothing ever happened.”  Correa finished, “A woman who is raised in the church, how can she turn around and shot her husband on the back, and she’s out on the streets.” 

Following are some other responses culled from newspaper reports:

Well, I’m a pastor’s daughter and I can’t imagine my mother doing that–it’s shocking,” said Claire Plunk.

“I definitely don’t think she’s a poor, innocent victim,” said another lady.

“Because she confesses to be a Christian–so she ain’t got no business being in there whether she killed her husband or not,” said June Wood.

“I would be too upset about being separated from my children–that sort of thing–to be able to go out and celebrate in such a fashion,” said Libby St. John, who adds the encounter has given her second thoughts about the woman she once pitied.

However, one resident, Tom Howell, said,  “I wouldn’t condemn her if she stayed drunk all the time–going through a psychological thing like shooting your husband.”

Mary Winkler is out on bail pending her trial, which is in the distant future.  She works at a dry cleaners during the day.  Her in-laws have custody of her three children. I guess according to Mr. Correa, she should be sitting at home in silence every single night, having donned sackcloth and ashes.  She should be making sure she is miserable and devastated all of the time.  She should go to bed early and cry herself to sleep and remind herself of all the negotiating underway about whether or not the state will seek the death penalty and how she is going to feel if she is found guilty and sentenced to death.  By no means does she deserve a moment’s rest, or a beer, or to smile,  despite the fact that for the first time since she married this man and all hell broke loose, she has a brief opportunity to be at peace.




27 thoughts on “How Dare Mary Winkler Sit at the Bar, Drink a Beer, and of All Things, Smile!

  1. Yeah, she should be out golfing with OJ instead. WTF?! I’m not comparing her actions with OJ’s (she was justified), but the fact that he doesn’t get that reaction speaks volumes about male privilege.

    We all know what’s going on here. She transgressed. She broke the rules and many men and women will want to make her pay for that, whether it’s overt (scheming bitch) or subliminal (she’s just not acting like a Christian lady). I hope she has supportive allies and a lot of inner strength. Cheers Mary—my next toast will be in your honor.

    Posted by roamaround | February 6, 2007, 2:45 am
  2. New Year’s Eve? Drinks? How terribly unusual !

    The poor woman will never be ‘allowed’ to live a normal life. It’s a bit like the grief thread (was it here?! I’m so tired!).


    Posted by stormy | February 6, 2007, 11:37 am
  3. Yet what is Correa doing in the bar?

    Posted by chasingmoksha | February 6, 2007, 4:40 pm
  4. It’s the old post hoc ergo propter hoc argument (after which therefore before which). All you have to do is believe that a woman drinking in a bar is evil, which is apparently very easy for many people to believe. From that it follows that she must have killed her husband because clearly we can see from how evilly she is acting after his death how evilly she must have acted before his death, including the evil act of committing murder itself. It reminds me of proving a woman’s innocence of the charge of witchcraft by dunking. If she dies she’s innocent, of course she’s dead, but what price a woman’s reputation? Although I suspect that Mary has no easy out like death, which if it happened, would only be considered just punishment and further evidence of her guilt.

    Posted by jfr | February 6, 2007, 5:10 pm
  5. Stormy, yeah, this is kind of like the grief thread over at Twisty’s. That was a great thread, I laughed myself SICK. I owe Twisty money for all the times she’s made me laugh therapeutically, better than any shrink. 🙂

    The difference here is, Mary Winkler did actually kill her husband for sure. She shot him. She admitted it and never denied it in any way. She was in jail for some time and is now out pending trial because the judge and everybody else knows she isn’t a danger to anyone. As the truth comes out, turns out this charming, charismatic preacher man, man of the cloth, so loved by everybody in the church, was a horrific abuser of his wife, which isn’t unusual at all.

    Which doesn’t change anything about what you said, jfr, so TRUE.

    The judge said she can go to restaurants and can drink alcohol, she just can’t go to straight up bars that aren’t also restaurants, which this wasn’t. What gets my attention about this is, one of the first things I did after my long sojourn as a conservative Christian/fundie woman, after I’d divorced my ex, been excommunicated, was, I went to a bar, bellied right up to it, and ordered a drink, something I’d never done in my life. I’d been to bars in my 20s, of course, I was pretty wild then in a lot of ways, but sitting at the bar and drinking wasn’t something I would have done back in the 70s. I thought that was something men did. Women were supposed to sit demurely at the table.

    Anyway. Goodbye to all THAT. That was a quite a moment for me, strolling right in and ordering a drink from the bartender. I can only imagine how Winkler, the quiet, smiling pastor’s wife, must have felt the first time she did it.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 7:32 pm
  6. Really cm. Correa probably was following her around town. Yeesh.

    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 7:33 pm
  7. So what! She went to a bar, how does anyone know she got drunk. She can’t go out have a nice time? Why should she be confined to the house? Way not have a night on the town with your girlfriends!

    Posted by abritt5004 | February 6, 2007, 8:36 pm
  8. Yeah abritt5004– actually, there are comments from people in the articles about this that nobody has ever seen her drink to excess.

    Why not have a night on the town with your girlfriends indeed, especially given what she’s been through and what lies ahead for her.


    Posted by womensspace | February 6, 2007, 9:00 pm
  9. The amazing thing is the emphasis placed upon the fact that she was participating in, evil of all evils . . . SMOKING! That is ALWAYS mentioned as if it somehow adds to her guilt and makes her all the more murderous.

    Posted by EdW | February 6, 2007, 9:51 pm
  10. What the hell is it with people getting all up in arms at the idea of women having, gasp, fun? First there was the mother who got railroaded on the Today show because she occasionally has a glass of wine in her children’s presence, and now this. Oh, and then there was the rape victim who was prosecuted for making false accusations because she apparently didn’t act as upset as some white men thought she should. But then, if women don’t have fun we’re accused at best of making ourselves into martyrs or playing the victim, or called uptight bitches, or worse. Which is it, society? *throws computer across room*

    Posted by mekhit | February 6, 2007, 11:28 pm
  11. Believe me years of mental and physical abuse while enduring it supresses all of your feelings. You are living, not your life, but exactly like the abuser wants you to be. When you are finally free of them you dont know how to be what the world thinks is normal. Only God knows Mary’s heart and what she went through. Only he can judge her, not the media or any of you have any right to judge her.

    Think of Jesus when the men brought the prostitute to him to condemn her…what did he do? He bent and wrote in the dirst…probably their names who had been with her. When he rose his head the men were all gone and only the woman was standing there. He said..woman where are your accusers? She said they have gone and Jesus said go woman and sin no more…neither do I condemn you.

    Good lesson but people in the church and out tend to forget Jesus’ lessons when Satan rages in the world. Satan is going about to steal and destroy especially the family. He wants the families because this is our last hope to live for God in this world we live in today. Pray for families.

    America used to be thought of as the country most blessed by God. We need to get on our knees or pray in our cars, at work, at store, in church, at baseball games…pray for people you come in contact with each day..I do and I keep Satan at abay. I know someone will respond to me about they are sick of hearing about God, scriptures, christians, etc. But know this even before you do I am praying for you and I love you with God love. To understand this you have to have the word of God in you. We are not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities of darkness.

    Posted by beverly | February 7, 2007, 4:10 pm
  12. beverly, you know among those who work with battered women, it is said that a woman requires three years of [insert whatever it is that helps her to get over her experience, i.e., counseling, therapy, support groups, etc.] for every year she was abused. I have found that to be a pretty accurate generalization. I was in abusive relationships for 24 years, and it did take me about eight years to begin to regain my bearings and to be able to move forward without feeling anxious, fearful, guilty, nervous, watching my back all the time, the way women who have been abused by men feel after they leave. Abuse is torture. It is terrorism. To survive it, women do all sorts of things that take their toll, you are so right about that. Of course, once I had regained my bearings, I got really really angry! For some years, actually. And rightfully so. What a waste, dear god. What a WASTE of my life to have lived it that way.

    I hope you haven’t misunderstood us here– none of us judges Mary Winkler in any way, I know I don’t. My heart goes out to her.

    I pray for the whole world, too, all of the time, and for individuals, people I love, people I don’t love, ;), just not in the way I used to pray when I was a conservative Christian. How do we survive in this world amidst such atrocities without prayer? I guess lots of people can, but I can’t.

    I do believe we are fighting, not flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness. These latter I don’t envision as beings of some kind, human or angelic (or demonic) but as destructive, violent, terrorizing ideologies and beliefs which have caused or made opportunity for some human beings, those who have had the power to do so, to lay waste to the earth, to destroy people, creatures, the heavens, the oceans, the entire earth and all that is in the earth. When I see it that way, I can get beyond viewing individual human beings as the enemy– even when they are behaving in ways which make them enemies to me and to all that I value.


    Posted by womensspace | February 7, 2007, 5:56 pm
  13. Hi, Heart et al —

    Oh this makes me crazy.

    Has anyone else noticed that women out in public, in bars, without men, are coming under more attack in general in the media lately?

    What’s with all the hand-wringing about Britney, Paris, Lindsay, Tara, etc. going out drinking and dancing with their friends? Why is this seen as such an outrageous thing to do? When I was that age, my friends and I went out all the time. It was simply what you did as a 20something, and as long as you worked out a safe route home (ie desinated driver) there was no problem. Even my prudish mother didn’t have a hard time with it, and would babysit my son while I went out (I was a single mother–which was just losing it’s severe stigma at that time–the 80’s.) I worked 40+ hours a week, plus single parented, so I needed the down time.

    ANYHOW–what the heck is up with this “tsk,tsk”ing as though going to a bar –with friends!–involves moral depravity–for women only, of course. I want to know what the young male stars are doing while Lindsay and Britney are making headlines–are they home playing bingo? Remember Leo DeCaprio and his barhopping “p***y posse”? This stuff can make you crazy.

    Posted by Gaias Muse | February 8, 2007, 4:20 pm
  14. So TRUE, everything you say there, Gaia’s Muse (and btw, good to read you!) From the time I was 21 until I got religion, which was 1978, so I would have been 26, I too often went to the bars, after work or on the weekends, dancing, whooping it up, all of us did. We’re living under the rule and reign of the Religious Right right now and we are all affected by it: women are supposed to be home, keeping the slippers warm for the men in their lives or whatever, jeezus.


    Posted by Heart | February 8, 2007, 5:03 pm
  15. Dumb question to start off: Is this ‘woman having fun=moral depravity’ a wholly US phenomenon, or at least one tied in with the strength of the fundamentalist and conservative movements?: certainly, it’s not something that tends to be prevalent here (in NZ) at least not on a broadly societal level, although I am sure there are pockets where it is believed that a woman’s place is home cooking the children and washing the dinner…

    Over and above the abhorrent notion of abuse and the woman’s probably (as I don’t know the whole entire story so can’t make an unbiased, fully-informed determination) justified actions…(I would have used a woodchipper) I have a couple of questons…

    [1] Are people simply horrified/ condemnatory because she was out having fun?

    [2] Are people, knowing, in hindsight, that she’d topped her husband horrified/ condemnatory because she was out having fun?

    Now, to my mind, the former, while obviously belonging to the tin-foil-hat mode of logic can be understood with repsect to some social groups social/ behavioural prohibitions (doesn’t make it any less stupid – or right – but it’s fair enough as long as you subscribe to that mode of thought: people have to be true to their prejudices, I guess).

    The second, however, makes a degree more sense insofar as it would appear that the idea that if you commit a horrific act you should act…strangely enough, horrified is still widely prevalent. To be fair, it’s not a wholly invalid thesis insofar as common experience doesn’t extend to suffering years of abuse before putting a bullet into the back of the abuser and, by extension, therefore, the history preceding the act and the subsequent behaviour makes it almost impossible for the people condeming the woman’s actions to put themselves in her position or even understand it; so of course they assert their own moral imperative.

    Thus, are they questioning the fact she was drinking?
    Are they questioning the fact she was drinking after having gunned down her bastard (sorry, husband)…or would that be ex-husband? 🙂

    To my mind, a lot of this comes down to your specific mindset re: the act itself. A lot of people (male/female/other) would completely support and understand this woman’s actions in shooting her abuser and her actions following such (Personally, I would have helped load the gun); however, that does’t mean those who don’t understand/ agree with her actions are immediately bad/evil/wrong less empathic than you they simply have a different viewpoint – from what I’ve read (and I don’t claim to have read everything pertaining to people’s responses), I didn’t see any of these people speaking up in support of abuse…

    …at least I hope not.

    Posted by John | February 10, 2007, 10:18 pm
  16. “‘woman having fun=moral depravity’ a wholly US phenomenon,”

    I’m sure stuff like this makes it easy for various sorts outside the US to feel nationalistic and thump their own male chests (and a lot of American’s who make big bucks in the porn industry fueling the myth of American Puritanism are happy to oblige such thinking), but I believe that this particular phenomenon is sufficiently complex that you might not notice it even if it were going on down the street from you. Which is why the work this blog does is so important.

    Posted by Rich | February 10, 2007, 11:28 pm
  17. Hi, Heart–nice to read you too. Amazing the difference the RR has made in this country since the 1980’s. Culturally, the CLinton years didn’t seem to make a lasting dent.

    I was watching Candice Bergen on the horrid, misogynistic “Boston Legal” the other night. THis show is jaw-dropping– the male lawyers vulgarly proposition everyone from their assistants, to colleagues to the judges (in court!)–who respond to this is prosecutable level of sexual harrassment by falling down in a compliant sexual heap.

    I remember Candice Bergen doing “Murphy Brown” and I try to imagine *any* network green-lighting such a show today. How the mighty have fallen.

    (Back to the tread–didn’t mean to derail.)

    Posted by Gaias Muse | February 11, 2007, 10:53 pm
  18. I didn’t see any of these people speaking up in support of abuse…

    John–You don’t have to “speak up in support of abuse” (who does that?) to be unfair to this woman. Just by going out and having a beer she was villified. For going out. And having a beer. And smiling. (Lightbulb–Cultural non-sequitor: The burka and head scarf hide the smile!! Seriously, that must have saved some lives over the years. Men don’t like being mocked.)

    they simply have a different viewpoint

    Hmm. Their viewpoint is about her life, and they make serious, damning observations about her *legal case* based on the facts that she 1. had a beer. 2. went out in public 3. smiled. How would you as a man like to be judged on these conditions?

    however, that does’t mean those who don’t understand/ agree with her actions are immediately bad/evil/wrong less empathic than you

    “Bad/evil/wrong” I will ignore as hyperbolic. “Less empathetic”? Ding ding ding, gentleman, we have a winner. They show NO empathy, in fact the opposite of empathy by insisting she live up to their standards, and that if she does not she is “shocking”
    Let’s look at the quotes more closely:

    “Well, I’m a pastor’s daughter and I can’t imagine my mother doing that–it’s shocking,” said Claire Plunk.

    The opposite of empathy; insisting someone live up to your standards, or those of your saintly christian-sanctified mother.

    “I definitely don’t think she’s a poor, innocent victim,” said another lady.

    ???She isn’t innocent because she is capable of enjoying a beer?
    She wasnt’ beaten and abused because she went to a bar? This is particularly worrying as innocence has legal implications.

    Because she confesses to be a Christian–so she ain’t got no business being in there…

    Ignoring the assault on English and connection between bigotry and lack of education, **why was the accuser in a bar herself with such high CHristian standards?** Also, here is another example of anti-empathy, by defining someone else christianity for them–definitely unChristlike. PS– Jesus drank wine. With his homeboys. And the Upper Room, site of the Last Supper, was a paid establishment.

    “I would be too upset about being separated from my children–that sort of thing–to be able to go out and celebrate in such a fashion,” said Libby St. John, who adds the encounter has given her second thoughts about the woman she once pitied.

    More anti-empathy–Libby has NO IDEA what she would do in this circumstance, whether she would sit around catatonic or parade down main street like a circus elephant. She has never been through it and she should give her fellow woman and sister every benefit of the doubt. Also note that the choice of reactions from LIbby are to pity the victim or suspect her. I doubt she has much middle ground. (Therein lies the subtext for many of these observations I’m sure; we need to either pity women or fear them.)

    Posted by Gaias Muse | February 11, 2007, 11:19 pm
  19. I support Mary Winkler 100%. Do any of you actually know what went on behind closed doors? No, none of us do accept Mary and her kids. She obviously wasn’t just a cold-hearted person, there was something that made her go to the extreme that she did. Who really cares if she is out drinking. Does being a christian mean you can’t drink? If so, then there are a lot of hypocrites out there. I am a christian, but I still drink. Mary was obviously protecting herself and her children. She doesn’t deserve to be tortured any further. She has to live in her own personal hell right now, so if she wants to have a drink then so be it. I think everyone needs to mind their own business and worry about their own lives rather than stick their noses where they don’t belong. My thoughts and prayers go out daily to Mary and her beautiful girls. I hope Mary gets the minimal punishment and that her daughters and her can be together again soon. Please everyone pray for them. Just remember there are two sides to every story and that just because he was a “preacher” doesn’t mean that he was a man of god. Just look at the Catholic Priests and what they have done and they are supposedly the holiest of the holy. Mary, I am behind all the way, come to my town and I will personally buy you all the drinks you want. You deserve them girl. I wish you the very best.

    Posted by Ashley | April 13, 2007, 12:34 am
  20. I think people are making to big of a deal about this. It doesn’t changed my views on the case, (which are mixed), but I do think she used VERY poor judgment by going out in public and possibly drinking and certainly smoking so soon before her trial is coming up. Not becuse it’s a terrible, awful thing to do, but just for the simple fact that it will change the way so many people view her. I think she was simply trying to visit with a friend and celebrate what I’m sure she hopes will be a much better year for her and her children, but she should have done so in private, at a friend’s home, or elsewhere where someone would not be tempted to take such photos. And everyone knows the photos were taken for personal gain on with NO REGARD to how it may affect an already troubled Mary Winkler. And this man is a minister himself I’ve heard??? Very judgemental if you ask me. No one knows the real reasons she shot her husband, but I am certain she didn’t do it just because she had nothing better to do on March 22, 2006. There are two sides to every story, and now it’s for the jury to decide. Let’s just hope they don’t become biased because Mary Winkler decided to live a little bit of normalcy on New Years Eve.

    Posted by JENNIFER | April 13, 2007, 3:53 pm
  21. judge not lest you be judged because with the same judgement you give you will thus receive…..

    Posted by susie | April 16, 2007, 2:31 pm
  22. She was smoking a friggin cigarette, not CRACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get a life!!! She never had that chance before .

    Posted by Sundy | April 19, 2007, 7:08 pm
  23. These are the actions of a woman who feels free from her captor. She is mostlikely heartbroken that she is away from her babies, but happy that the husband can no longer abuse them, or her. I say BRAVA smoke a cigarette drink a brew, live your life as “normal” people, read those who dont live worrying that their husband will rape them tonight, often do. She deserves to have a life… she probably isnt sorry she shot and killed the man who was a threat to her life, and those of her children. Good for her!!! And to HELL with those who assume that a person who suffered violent abuse should live their lives crying over it! I read an article about this woman who was in an abusive relationship and was relieved when her husband died. Many people didnt understand that.

    Posted by Divine Purpose | April 19, 2007, 8:41 pm
  24. For God sakes the woman is only human. Geeez her “minister” husband was an abuser, freak behind closed doors but i guess thats not a big deal. I think everyone needs to leave the woman alone. She’s my hero. God bless her! FREE MARY!

    Posted by Gina | April 19, 2007, 10:31 pm
  25. Hat’sf off!

    Celebrate! Drink some more for me! It’s not easy being married and really “giving all you’ve got” to your husband, only to have him trample, degrade(porn), disrespect, dishonour, disregard, abuse you, etc. …..and just think, they confess to be christians, Ha! While no one is perfect, except Christ, we are to at least attempt to thrive and be an example for others, especially if we hold a position(the head of the family or household). Ha…. it only makes me constantly wonder why they are “in charge”, and it appears they simply can’t handle it( and I hold my own, highly educated and pay my ownnnnnnnnnn bills, what’s the excuse? mmmmmmhhhhh!

    Posted by tee | June 8, 2007, 10:36 pm
  26. Mary’s husband got what he deserved! I’m a christian woman and know all too well what sex abuse is like! People say to me that they can’t believe I didn’t shoot my husband. He had me so beat down and depressed that I wasn’t in my right mind for years! May God Bless Mary and finally let her and her children have the peace that they deserve for the rest of their lives.

    Posted by Linda Jackson | September 12, 2007, 11:12 pm
  27. I think Mary drank to ease the horrible pain her husband put her through!

    Posted by Linda Jackson | September 12, 2007, 11:13 pm

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