by Mike Straw
2000 in Las Vegas Nevada, Marina Cannon, forty-nine, was
murdered by her husband, Vitaly Zakouto, fifty-four. Case
closed? Not hardly. Marina was subjected to seven months
of terror and domestic violence at Zakouto's hands so bad
that Cannon repeatedly predicted he would kill her.
November 2000, frustrated Family Court judge Arthur Ritchie
Junior had already thrown Zakouto in jail at least twice
for contempt. During the appearance, Cannon told the judge
that Zakouto was going to kill her. "You have to stop
him. If you don't stop him, the outcome of this is preordained.
He can't stop himself. ... he's angry," she said.
told Cannon that unfortunately, the allegations of contempt
that were before him weren’t based on documented, independent
evidence. The Family Court system can only do so much when
an individual like Zakouto is intent on ignoring judicial
warnings to stay away from his victim. "No court will
protect you. That's the bottom line. The court will issue
orders that attempt and try to protect you, but if someone
is engaging in criminal conduct with disregard for the court's
orders, there's nothing I can do for you. You have to protect
yourself in any way you can. I've entered every order that
I can prohibiting him from contact," Ritchie said.
convicted of first-degree murder. During the sentencing
hearing Marina 's will was read: "If I have died under
suspicious circumstances, Vitaly did it. In the event I
am murdered... Tell the world what happened to me.” At the
time of Cannon's murder, a criminal stalking charge was
pending against Zakouto. Clark County prosecutor Ed Kane
acknowledged in Zakouto's case that "the system that
I'm a part of let her down."
didn’t return a phone call left on the answering machine
of a judicial assistant in his office. So what’s the answer?
Take judge Ritchie’s advice: be responsible for your own
safety. First, read Lieutenant Colonel “Jeff” Cooper’s “The
Principles of Personal Defense,” then “Jim
Smarts,” to point you in the right direction.
Read “The Truth About Self-Protection,” and “In
The Gravest Extreme,” by Massad Ayoob.
Take the “Refuse
to Be a Victim” course to open your eyes that you have options,
the take the “Basics of Personal Protection in the Home”
course to learn the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Listen
to the advice of experts:
are no victims, only volunteers.” - Eleanor
declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection
of man, but must be taught to protect herself.”
- Susan B. Anthony
in the best and most peacefully civilized countries many
occasions arise when a woman versed in the knowledge and
use of firearms may find that information and skill of great
importance.” - Annie Oakley
The only way
to live is in that state of awareness and training that
allow us to move through life with the confidence to know
that any threat is, in the words of Lieutenant Colonel “Jeff”
Cooper, “…in more in danger from you than you are from him.”
is to be another Marina Cannon.