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The Silence Can be Deafening- No Apologies for Being an Advocate 

Don Gore

Don Gore, my father

After 36 years of surviving the most life-changing event in one’s life, you gain perspective, but you also lose friends along the way.

My father’s murder occurred in Hartford Connecticut on April 17, 1981, and it made the law books for a particular legal maneuver. It was a case whose trial was prolonged for 6 1/2 years, caught in the morass of determinate and indeterminate sentencing laws. It was a case that coincided with the infancy of victim rights. My father’s case began as a missing person and ended as a homicide.

It was a case characterized by unthinkable events such as our family learning the news via a newspaper article and taking it upon ourselves to call the police, as no notification had come our way. There were promises were made such as, “This career criminal will never get out.” In fact, a very skilled attorney/victim advocate was puzzled as to why the perpetrator ever became eligible for parole in 2013.

My father’s murder case changed the State of Connecticut policy regarding the anonymity of victims during a parole hearing although the parole board failed to even acknowledge such a milestone.

That’s when I decided not to be silent. Don Gore needed a voice and I became that person in every way imaginable.

It is not a role I consciously chose, it evolved as my intellectual curiosity and need for justice grew.

Times have changed, with an entirely new generation appearing since 1981.  The landscape in victim services has expanded to include a plethora of agencies, governmental to non-profit. In addition, in 2017, violence, public perception, tolerance of what once was unacceptable, and the ever-changing social mores, has also escalated with the immediacy of social media.

In situations such as violent crime, I believe complacency breeds indifference. If you are not part of the solution, you could be part of the problem. It’s not that you have to go the whole hog, just make a meaningful contribution in your own way.

But then, there are the constants that don’t seem to change the work against positive change and hope for the future. These elements are equal to the silence that pervades if you chose not to be a voice for change, or, at the very least, acknowledge what others are doing and give moral support. The silences can be deafening causing me to work with increased fervor.  Some examples:

  • The murderer having no cognizance of who he killed or who was related to him in addition to showing no remorse;
  • The vulnerabilities that still surface, even after 36 years;
  • The tendency of the public to stay in denial mode, shaking their collective heads unless homicide or other crimes have touched them personally;
  • The lack of connection or involvement in many homicides and missing person families;
  • The refusal to see beyond the obvious that homicide and missing persons isn’t uplifting and that there is nothing positive that can come forth by educating and creating awareness. How wrong these people are, they will never get it! When you look beyond the surface, as advocates, we have been the force for so much positive change. As a byproduct, you gain surrogate families who can be very nurturing. Out of tragedy, inspiring events occur.
  • The lack of resources and assistance for so many families, even in this enlightened era forcing us to be ever more creative to get the job done.

The Future

Although I do not look forward to the five-year mark looming in the background for another appearance at a parole hearing in 2018, I embrace the right and duty to continually try to be the voice of my father, Donald W. Gore, whose life was snuffed out so abruptly and unfairly.

I hope he will be observing with pride from his place in heaven.  Dad, you are missed by many!

DRG- 4-16-2017


DonnaGore-2

 

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6 thoughts on “The Silence Can be Deafening- No Apologies for Being an Advocate 

  1. Hello Donna,

    Having seen your articles about your Dad, I feel compelled to write to you. As a teenager I spent many week-ends cheering for your Dad at various racetracks. Watching him duel with Charlie Vincent and others at the scrambles track in Carver, MA; go wheel-to-wheel with factory-sponsored professionals at the 100 mile national championship road race in Laconia, NH; and win all 6 races of an East-West Challenge event at Perley Bell’s farm in Grafton, VT are among my favorite memories of a fascinating man who was a gifted and ferocious competitor. Photographs my parents and I took at these events keep the memories fresh.

    That the life of such a rugged, talented athlete would end by an act of senseless violence is unfathomable. Your positive response to the challenges you’ve faced suggests that you have inherited your Dad’s keen mind and competitive spirit. Nothing could hold him back! Reading your articles shows that you, too, are a force to be reckoned with.

    You Dad might very well see you as a chip off the old block. I’m sure he’d be very proud of the person you’ve become. I wish you continued success.

    Carl Boutilier

    P. S. All forms of racing can place extra demands on families. Please thank your Mom for sharing the “#47” aspect of your Dad with the rest of us.

  2. Mr. Boutilier- Your words are beyong touching! Thank you so much for this honor! I did just share it with my Mom over the phone and she was very impressed but did say she unfortunately did not know you personally if you were a teenager. She intends to share it with two people of that era (including Charlie Vincent) who will enjoy your tribute! I am so glad that your childhood years were made better by the skills of my Dad . Sometimes I feel discouraged if I perceive no one is paying attention. I certainly know that with caring people like you, this journey will continue to serve me well. Thank you for making my day! I hope you will continue to follow me! Sincerely, Donna “Ladyjustice”

    • Hello again, Donna,

      What a pleasant surprise to hear back from you so soon – thank you! Thinking about your Dad prompted me to rummage through my 35 mm slides this morning. Among them was a box labelled: “Grafton – Gore wins 6”. A lot of the photos in that one show your Dad in the process of astounding the motorcycling world. There are also pictures from the Capeway Rovers track in Carver, MA featuring your Dad, Charlie Vincent (racing and demonstrating “wheelies”), Dick Bettencourt, Smiley Hulbert and others in the various classes. There is one of your Dad, before the start of a race, leaning on the handlebars of his Matchless and looking somewhat quizzically at me taking his picture.

      My late parents were also Don Gore fans. Their collection of slides includes many taken at Carver, Grafton and Laconia. I remember one that shows your Dad and a mechanic puzzling over his machine at Laconia.

      It is wonderful that your Mom and Charlie Vincent have kept in touch. Theirs must be a very special friendship

      Would pictures of your Dad in his racing mode be of interest to you and your Mom? If so, I’d be happy to locate the best ones and find out how to put them in a form that can be emailed so you can share them as you see fit. Please let me know.

      I will certainly continue to follow you. Be kind to yourself and be well!

      Carl Boutilier

  3. Carl- My apologies for the delay in responding! This is truly wonderful! I shared briefly again with my Mom that you had replied gto me. She is touched and indicated thast she would like to pay for any photos. She is not particularly tech savvy and pends little time online, so whatever form you can share in view of this fact would be appreciated. Perhaps you can share some contact info with me privately and we can make this happen for her. Thanks so much! Donna

  4. Hi Donna,

    Thanks very much for your reply. I think we can provide some worthwhile images for your Mom.

    I am in the process of finding pictures of your Dad among my parents’ slide collection. My “Geek Rating” is not significant compared with that of the average 8 year old, but it does seem that whatever can be imagined can done. I’ll find out what will work best to convert the slides into a usable form.

    In the meantime please persuade your Mom to regard any photos as long overdue tokens of appreciation from one of your Dad’s many fans. Hopefully, the pictures we took will give her a perspective on how others saw him.

    Being able to communicate directly would be helpful. Presumably my email address is visible to you. If so, please send an email and I will give you more contact information. If not, let me know how you’d like to proceed.

    The old photos are bringing back pleasant memories for me – hopefully they will do the same for you and your Mom!

    Carl

  5. Hi Carl- Thanks again for your thoughtfulnes. We so appreciate your kind words and the effort you want to put forth. I will share my primary email here and then give you her contact info directly once I hear from you. She has given permission and is touched by your kindness. Maybe I can get one photo as a momento as well. You can reach me at ladyjustice16738@sbcglobal.net. Thanks again.

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