Author Topic: On Women And Guns  (Read 2285 times)

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Offline Lisa

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On Women And Guns
« on: December 26, 2007, 12:59:06 PM »
This essay was written by the excellent blogger Connie Du Toit, whose husband Kim Du Toit runs the site "A Nation of Riflemen."  Connie writes about she went from being for gun control to being pro 2nd Amendment.  Here is the essay in its entirety:

 Many women are afraid of guns. These fears are manifested in activism, such as the Million Mommies, and others. Some might argue that these anti-gun groups are not based on fear, but on some other deep-seated control issue. For some, that is likely the case, but their funding and their support comes from people who are deathly afraid of guns. How do I know this and am so certain it is all based on fear? Because I used to be one of them.

It probably won’t thrill people to know that the wife of the creator of National Ammo Day was once a gun-fearing, gun-grabber. It is not something I like to admit. I share this information and make this confession because I think my insight into this issue and these irrational fears can help.

I didn’t grow up around guns. I was raised in an urban area, where only cops and robbers had guns. I never knew anyone who hunted, engaged in gun sports, or had any positive role models for safe gun use. The only experience I had with guns was 1), being robbed at gunpoint, and 2), helping my sister recover from a near-fatal shooting.

My understanding of the Second Amendment was based on what I wanted it to mean, not what it actually meant. There were enough "experts" out there to side with my distorted view of the Second Amendment, so it wasn’t difficult to cast it aside, or interpret it my own way. I wasn’t anti-Second Amendment, per se. I simply interpreted the Second Amendment to mean that only certain people should have guns--and normal, law-abiding citizens weren’t among that group.

The transformation from gun-grabber to staunch gun rights supporter didn’t happen overnight. It happened over a process of many years, with the enduring patience of my husband. He didn’t lecture or belittle me. He spoke calmly and presented reasoned arguments that challenged my opinions.

First and foremost, I was frightened to have guns in the house, because I have children. I had been successfully brainwashed into believing that a gun in the house meant that my children were in danger. My husband alleviated those fears in two ways, first by showing me how irrational those fears were, and showing me that with the proper precautions, guns were no more dangerous than the power saw in our garage or butcher knife in the kitchen drawer (neither of which were ever kept under lock and key). The second way was to show me how the facts had been distorted -- that children do die of accidental causes with guns, but the accidents were so infrequent (given our huge population), that the fear of it happening in our home, with our proper precautions, simply was not a risk. Guns weren’t left around for children to play with or access.

Other facts helped too: Knowing how many times guns, in the hands of law-abiding citizens, were used to PREVENT crimes made a big difference. I should add at this point, that I’m a numbers person. I understand statistics and understand how they can be misused and used to distort the truth. When someone says something like, "every day a child is killed by gun violence" I understand that what they are really saying is that about 365 children are killed a year. It sounds much more alarming when it is said as "every day" rather than as a raw number, "365."

I don’t think anyone would argue that even one child dying accidentally is too many, but it must be taken in context. There are 275 million people in the U.S. Tens of thousands of people die in car accidents each year. More children die in bathtub and swimming pool accidents than with guns. When it really began to sink in was learning that 1.5 to 3 million crimes are prevented each year by private citizens with guns. If we compare the accidental and intentional shootings of children, with the number of times these actions are prevented, it’s not difficult to understand that guns actually save more people each year than are harmed by them -- and the ratio of prevention of crime versus risk of crime, is just too enormous to dismiss.

The statistics that showed that gun control actually increased crime was one of the final straws. Again, these weren’t minor changes in crime rates, the decrease in crime when concealed carry permits were allowed (for example), were too convincing to ignore.

I spent several years paying attention to the real statistics. It had taken a year or so before I was receptive to this information, but once I was, it didn’t take much to show me how many lies are out there. These lies aren’t harmless. These lies distort the truth and actually put people in danger.

I accepted the new information, I was comfortable with guns in the house, and I understood the original intent of the Second Amendment. All fine and good, right? No, not good. I hadn’t taken the final step, which is to handle a gun myself.

This last hurdle was a tough one and I don’t think it’s a hurdle everyone has to take. It is enough that someone stops being a harm to gun rights and a hindrance to gun advocates. That can be enough, but I want to talk about that last hurdle, because I think it is an important one.

 I was still afraid of guns. I understood that other people were not afraid of them, my husband for one, but I was perfectly comfortable being protected by him, and didn’t think it was important that I was able to protect myself. Then, one time when my husband was away on a business trip, I heard a noise in the house. There I was, a gun not two feet from my reach, but I had no idea how to use it. I knew enough about the issue to know that a gun in the hands of an untrained user was more dangerous, and so I sat there, helpless, worried about the noise. The best I could hope for was that I’d be able to get to the phone and call 9-1-1. I knew right at that moment that if someone intended to harm my children, or me, there was nothing I could do to stop it. What I realized on that night was that I was not able to protect myself. And more to the point, I was not able to protect my children. I was lucky that time. The noise turned out to be nothing, but goodness gracious, that was irresponsible! 9-1-1 would never be able to reach us in time to stop me or my children from being hurt, the best anyone could ever hope for is that the cops would be able to catch the guy, but AFTER he’d done whatever it was he came to do.

I expected other people to protect me. I expected my husband to do it when he was home and I expected a cop to be there to rescue me if something happened to my husband. Yet I was perfectly happy for a criminal to be shot, by someone else, if he threatened me or my kids. Shame on me.

It was the realization of that hypocrisy that finally pushed me over the edge. I should not expect others to do for me what I am not willing to do for myself. I was the one whose morals were all screwed-up. How dare I think that someone else should risk his or her life for me (be it my husband or a police officer) if I wasn’t willing to lift a finger for anyone else or even myself?

It was after this realization that the real meaning of the Second Amendment became crystal clear. Not only did I have the right to defend my country and myself, I had the RESPONSIBILITY to do so. I realized that all rights are reciprocal and that for every right (I was so fortunate to have as a U.S. citizen) was the reciprocal responsibility to be a good citizen. I had a duty to my family, my children, and my country to protect others and myself.

You can undo years of brainwashing and propaganda to make even hardheaded people like me understand the truth. It takes patience and perseverance, not shouting and screaming. Yes, people like me once posed a real threat to our rights and for anything I might have done to diminish our rights, I am truly sorry. I have promised myself that I will make amends. The good news is, that for every former gun-grabber who finally recognizes the error of their ways, you have a gun rights advocate who will work harder and more diligently than the people who never did any harm.

Thanks to my sweet husband who never gave up on me and everyone else who contributed to my awakening.