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



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Another Year- In Memory of Donald W. Gore 


Donald GoreAs I reflect on another “life without Dad” anniversary… 33 years, certain thoughts pervade. He was a man struck down in the fourth decade of his life…so young relatively speaking. One way to look at it would be “by the numbers.”  

August  26, 1933- His birthdate, an only child.,. number one child;

11 days separated husband and wife in birthdate and year- August 15th for my Mom

Wedding Date- August 21st…Such a busy month! 

The number three- for three children

Of the three, I was the first born and born I was “by surprise on December 24th” rather than Lincoln’s birthday…

Double three makes 33, the number of surgeries Don’s Gore’s little girl had “pertaining  just to her vocal cords”

Throw in the number 17 or so orthopedic surgeries that  same little girl had for cerebral palsy  and even more later on…. 

Number 17 was also the “death anniversary day” 

Number 47 was very significant as…. 

It was my father’s assigned  motorcycle racing number as a New England Motocross Scrambles- Hill climb Champion for many years running. 

Number 47 was also the age at which he was murdered.

Miscellaneous Memories

I remember…  His photos emblazoned on the cover of Cycle Sport Magazine in the early 1960’s; 

The many, many gleaming trophies won and displayed in his special trophy case;

I recall the spike and penny  nails he skillfully and quickly drove, pieces of wood precisely measured  as a Master carpenter. 

I remember the worn leather tool belt around his waist and  the endless hours I would spend watching him work as he built strong and sturdy  works of art in the garage…  

I remember the many efforts he made to come and visit me at the hospital… even for a few minutes… The effort was always made… 

My adult memories are not as plentiful… for I was on my collegiate and beginning career path.. and he on his multiple businesses path with a workaholic nature. 

 BUT… if he could visit for only a day, I hope he would be pleased with what he saw… for the endeavors of family members are like jewels on the crown of life. 

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice,Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, Shattered Lives

“LadyJustice” and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins

He would have been proud last year, as we “fought the good fight” and were victorious in changing several  State of Connecticut Victim’s Rights policies with the Board of Pardons and Parole, in addition to influencing the outcome such that the perpetrator is incarcerated for five more years!

In 2014, I have had my share of shining moments as well.  I am truly blessed and guided well by friends and colleagues who embrace what is  “just over the hill for me and on my horizon” … wherever it may take me… 

Although murder taketh away and a vital piece of you goes with it, the life that can be  re-formulated if given the chance, is as strong, as resilient, and more passionate than one could imagine!                           

In that manner,  I am doing exactly what my Dad would have wanted.   

With Love,





Another Year- In Memory of Donald W. Gore