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Old November 13, 2009, 12:09 PM   #1
WarMare
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Wo/Men, Handguns and Self-Defense

I ended up here back in August, I think, after I wrote an essay called "Women, Handguns and Civilization." I'm pondering a follow-up essay called "Women, Handguns and Self-Defense" or maybe "Wo/men, Handguns and Self-Defense". A combination of the two is going to end up as a chapter of a book I'm writing called All the Sisters and All the Brothers: Real Feminism for Real Americans (working title).

One of the things that struck me when I was working towards that first essay was the sheer anger and vitriol I evoked in a largely "liberal", largely female forum. I suggested that women, especially feminist women, should encourage other women to bear arms in self-defense as part of the community to be defended, particularly women who probably know they are at risk, by exes and stalkers for example. A number of these women self-disclosed their own assaults and then went on to state that at least they hadn't been armed or they would have killed their perpetrator.

Self-defense for women is very different than self-defense for men. The profile of our assailtants and our relationship to them is very different, as are the crimes committed against us. I also know that more boys and men are sexually assaulted and raped, often by other men, but also by women, than many people realize. <snip as not relevant>
However, men are encouraged to seriously defend themselves in a way women simply are not.

So that's background.

Here's the question.

How has your experience with crime, particularly sexual crimes, to include gay-bashing, either directed at you or someone close to you, influenced your decision to buy or give and bear arms? This is true whether you or your dear ones are male, female, trans, gay, straight, cross-dresser, whatever. A particular question is: How ambivalent were you (they?) about arming yourself (themselves)? How much did the thought, "If only..." cost you (them)?

While I am a writer, I am not in the habit of embarassing or hurting people who respond honestly to me. I am collecting information to use, but no one will be named or quoted directly without permission, whether people choose to respond publicly or privately to me.

I would ask that those who respond to this in any way do so as gentlemen and -women. Don't further the perpetrators' crimes by sniping, snarking, or slurring the survivors.

Thank you,
Erin Solaro

The usual apologies for misspellings I've missed and Germanic sentences I haven't whacked down to size.

Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 14, 2009 at 11:20 AM. Reason: See my post
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Old November 13, 2009, 12:29 PM   #2
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PS:

Instructors welcome to chime in about what their students have gone through, male and female alike.

ETA: Glenn, this is a reference to one of your articles, in which you note that the decision to undergo firearms training often leads female students to disclose their assaults to their trainers.

Last edited by WarMare; November 14, 2009 at 12:40 PM.
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Old November 13, 2009, 12:30 PM   #3
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<not relevant - GM>

As far as your question about being the victim of a sex crime weighing into my decision to arm myself, it didn't.

As far as crime playing into my decision, yes, it did. I am a crime analyst, so I deal with crime on a daily basis. My views on crime are rooted in the actual data and statistics that I have access to and produce at work. This is in direct contrast to most, whose perception of crime is largely driven by the media's sensationalism of crime, particularly violent crime in urban areas, and anecdotal tales from their acquaintances.

That said if I had to attribute my decision to arm to a specific crime problem, I would say street robbery and road rage.

If you asked other people around here I would be willing to guess they would say things like violent home invasions, gang assaults, etc...

Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 14, 2009 at 11:19 AM. Reason: See my post
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Old November 13, 2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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I have told by NW region trainer that open carry has been increasing in some gay neighborhoods as deterrent to gay bashing crimes.

If true, that's an interesting unintended consequence but sensible.

I would caution all, that posting your personal view of gays, etc. in an offensive manner would lead you to difficulty here. I just had a discussion in L and CR get shut because someone couldn't be civil.

Back to the issue - have you talked to the Pink Pistol organizations?

The feminist issue is interesting as there are quite a few progun feminists (didn't we PM each other on this? Duh? ).

However, I was at a panel discussion of Oyster and Stange's book at the American Society of Criminology and a feminist lawyer and martial arts teacher made a common subsection of feminist point that adopting firearms is adopting a male pattern of violence and women can defend themselves with the MA alone. Ms. magazine once had an editorial about the the SW LS line for doing just that.

Female instructors have told me that many of their female students come to classes because of violence against them.
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Old November 13, 2009, 01:09 PM   #5
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While perhaps reasonable commentary of the socio-political issue, those are not relevant to the tactical issue of incidents and their causality leading to you respond in a certain manner and your motivation for such.
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Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 14, 2009 at 11:22 AM. Reason: See my post
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Old November 13, 2009, 01:18 PM   #6
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I'm going to close this one and have us look it.

Debating homophobia is not really our thing.

Discussing gun usage is. So for the time - closed.

Glenn
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Old November 14, 2009, 11:30 AM   #7
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We're back - after discussions and consultation - the issue can be tactically relevant.

The motivation for arming oneself and techniques used based on the type of crime is relevant. Sex crimes can be a significant motivator and sharing about that aspect can be useful.

However, there was some discussion of the motivations for various types of sexual based crimes in the OP and commentary. That is a complex issue and not relevant to T and T.

Thus, even if well thought out comments (as they were at first), they would lead us to not so well thought out rants and irrelevant diatribes (been there done that).

So let's give it a try to answer the OP question. Please re-read it.

Discussing your views of sexuality, arguing about feminism as a political force in a manner NOT explicitly relevant to the issue of arms or post of that ilk may do you in. In my post, I referenced a specific feminist view of self-defense techniques.

I've had to deal with someone who specifically decided to ignore a warning not to go off the deep end in another thread.

Thank you for your consideration.
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Old November 14, 2009, 12:35 PM   #8
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Thanks, Glenn

I am going to add two things here.

I am particularly interested in sexualized and gendered crimes because, regardless of the victim's race, religion, sex, orientation or identity (but in different ways and for some, very much more than others) they carry huge baggage that non-sexualized/gendered crimes don't. ETA: They are also extremely common and under-prosecuted. I'm interested in how or if the baggage that attends these crimes sometimes prevents people from making use of a tool that can, when properly used, eliminate a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

This is a matter of life and death (I have had a firearms instructor who lives in a very high-crime community ask me very urgently why so many people occupying at-risk demographics that could benefit most from gun ownership were so against it). So if you can't add anything constructive, if all you want to do is rant, please don't post.

And for those who respond seriously, thank you.

Erin Solaro

Last edited by WarMare; November 14, 2009 at 12:42 PM. Reason: Grammar and spelling, what else?
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Old November 14, 2009, 01:17 PM   #9
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Can you say a bit more about how you'd define "sexualized and gendered crimes?" It seems to me that a broad definition would include any crime of violence perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner; which, given the statistics on female victims of violence, is a very large percentage of crimes against women.

And would a really broad definition of gendered crime include any violent crime in which perpetrator and victim belong to different genders? This seems a bit problematic, especially if you want to include crimes such as gay-bashing...

Thanks for starting this thread -- I've been wondering for some time how we might address the ways that self-defense, and especially the decision to arm oneself, is complicated for most women by the fact that, statistically, women are most at risk from people they know, and especially from husbands, boyfriends, and exes.

I wonder, too, if that's the basis of the attitude you cited in your first post: "at least they hadn't been armed or they would have killed their perpetrator." Given the reluctance of many women even to press charges in cases of domestic violence, it's easy to imagine unwillingness to do physical harm to an intimate partner, even to stop an attack.

As pax wrote recently in another thread: "If she wasn't even willing or able to leave him to save herself, how in the world could she work up the courage to shoot him in order to defend herself against him?"
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Old November 14, 2009, 02:18 PM   #10
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Hey, Erin. I thought I'd speak up, although I'm not the typical demographic in here. :-) I was a near-pacifist in my teens and twenties, and although a few years too young to have been part of the 60s era I was influenced by it. I've also been a human rights activist since I was in high school. I now own a pistol, have a concealed carry permit, and go armed whenever I leave home, however. This is despite my never having personally been the victim of a violent crime as an adult.

So how did this happen? First, I'm not afraid of guns and don't view them as inherently *EEEVVILLLL*. <G> That is probably because I grew up in a house with a father who owned guns, loaded his own ammunition, and liked to shoot and hunt. I was helping him (for some versions of "help", anyway) to load ammo by the time I was six or seven. I also started shooting around then, and even won some marksmanship trophies in junior high. Shooting wasn't something I liked well enough that I kept it up as an adult; until recently I didn't own a gun and rarely went out shooting. But I never saw guns as a problem in themselves, although I saw *people* who misused them as a problem.

Some of what I've seen as a human rights activist over the past three decades played a large part in why I firmly support the right of any individual to defend themselves and to have access to existing methods and technologies of self defense that are most effective. I lived in Austria in the mid-1980s for a while, and spent quite a bit of time in the former Yugoslavia during this period. I also went back in the early 1990s, right about the time that Yugoslavia broke apart and the horrendous years-long civil wars there started. I knew some of the women who were raped during this war -- raped because of a deliberate policy of "genocide" via "pollution" of their ethnic identity. :/

This wasn't the first time that rape was used as a weapon against women in a setting that attracted the attention of human rights activists. In Iran in the early 1980s, female opponents of the regime were routinely "married" to their guards and then raped before they were executed because Iran's sick interpretation of Sharia law required it. (The Qur'an forbids execution of virgins.) Rape was also used as a weapon of terror against opponents of Mugabe in Zimbabwe over the last decade, although to a lesser extent. And then there's Darfur....

Some friends, most of them military veterans, and my now-husband had a great deal to do with my evolution from near-pacifist to supporting the arming of victims. To a man (and in one case woman), they all would rant about sending in trained special forces or SWAT teams, then realize that this approach was probably counterproductive. After they cooled off, they then *all* would start talking seriously about the prospects of arming the victims and teaching them how to defend themselves. This happened with friends who heard about the human rights stuff I was working on, but also with friends who were themselves dealing with domestic violence. (Police, in one case, and a military veteran two of whose friends were being stalked by former boyfriends or husbands.)

Leaving aside the international political issues that airlifting in arms and special forces trainers would cause, I couldn't think of anything else we could possibly do to help the women in Darfur that might work in time to save many of their lives. The Sudanese government, whose job it was to protect its citizens, was actively assisting the "militia" forces (called "Janjaweed") in their massive campaign of rape and murder. The political influence of countries that wanted to stop the murder and rape was obviously not sufficient to do the job; sanctions and political pressure did not work. And sending in any outside army would likely make the situation worse and result in more innocent people getting killed. :/

Closer to home, I also started thinking about domestic violence, which from my point of view is the same issue as rape and murder by gangs run by or protected by their governments, but writ small and without the government's active protection of the abusers. The fact is that some *individuals* in our society and any society feel entitled to commit acts of violence to get what they want. This appears to be a problem with human nature, not particular to any one society.

The thing is, when such individuals act on their feelings of entitlement, they don't do so where their victims can easily call for help, or have any hope of the help arriving in time to prevent the attack. This is equally true of simple domestic violence situations, of "gay bashing" fools, and of politically motivated terrorists. Police response times vary depending on where and how this is happening, and the quality of the protection a particular police force offers ranges from nonexistent to excellent. Even when a police force is top-notch, however, and there is no active collusion by the government in protecting the perpetrators, the police are usually at least a few minutes away when an attacker attacks. There's no way to escape that fact.

IMHO the best possible solution, short of a complete transformation of the minds and hearts of all human beings everywhere (which I hope and pray for, but don't realistically expect to happen any time soon), is to give victims the means and training to defend themselves against attackers. I see no other solution that doesn't require victims to either attain an incredible degree of spiritual and mental development (the Gandhi path) or simply take it and remain victims when an abuser wants to dish it out. :/ Reality is that requiring victims to remain unarmed is usually the same as requiring that they remain victims.

Earlier this year, I decided that the ongoing demonization of self defense and guns in much of America and (even worse) Europe had become a big enough problem that I needed to take action against it. I therefore took my concealed carry class, bought a pistol, and now go armed. Thirty years of activism has taught me that the first and *best* way to oppose widespread disdain for or indifference to basic liberties is to exercise that liberty. That's the main reason I go armed.

Have you read Naomi Wolf's "Give Me Liberty"? Most of the book is about civil liberties in general, not sex crimes and/or second amendment issues in specific, but she does mention both of these issues. As a long-time activist, I found it an excellent book although my political views are quite different from hers on many issues. I think it might have some material that you would find useful.
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Old November 14, 2009, 03:38 PM   #11
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Vanya...

I was hoping you'd chime in---I meant TO drop you a note, but got preoccupied by life.

To clarify for you.

In my writing here, sexualized: where sex of some sort is the motive for the attack. Doesn't have to meet the legal definition of rape or attempted rape. Can be incest. Can be DV or stalking. Can be what women often call "grey" or "not-rape" that the law does not view as rape but is a profound and serious threat to somone's physical integrity and safety. Regardless of the bodies of the people involved: this is not simply a heterosexual problem, it's also a problem for GLBT people, including in relationships with each other. To a far lesser but still significant (and I think more so than many people realize) extent, may be an issue for heterosexual boys and men, often from men who self-identify as heterosexual, as well as women.

Gendered: where roles and behavior thought inappropriate to one sex or another are at issue. Attacks based upon sexual orientation, real or perceived, or being trans, or cross-dressing. For example: being attacked, as a woman, for doing "men's work" or as a man for wearing "women's clothing" or doing "women's work." Being trans. The perpetrator's sexual gratification (and unlike many feminists, I insist on saying that rape and sexual assault are about sex, albeit sex as torture and humiliation and sometimes but perhaps not always terrorism, rather than sex as pleasure and affection, not simply power) is not an issue here. Attacks on GLBT people by straights (male and female) often but not always have elements of both. Assaults by women on men, especially young men and teenage boys, particularly statutory rape, have a lot to do with gendered roles and fantasies. As well as being obviously sexualized.

Good question about gendered including all-cross sex crimes and one I've pondered. I don't know that all non-sexual male-on-female crimes that are not about female compliance with sex roles are gendered. I do know that men are significantly less violent and agressive, and women significantly more, as biological facts, than our socialization leads us to believe. I do not know where each individual's raw, inherited temperament, then influenced by anabolic steroids (which estrogen, like T, is) fits on that spectrum. I also know that in some criminal subcultures, predation on women per se is strongly discouraged. But if they're business owners, they still have to pay protection money!

Those are simply my thoughts.

Thank you for the link to the other thread. What Pax said. This is an issue that haunts me and I struggle with. I do know that the refusal of mainstream feminist women to encourage other women to defend their lives by force of arms does not help. I don't know, given the situation, that there could have been a different outcome. Now, someone like Ms. Justin-Jinich who was murdered at Weslyan by a man she almost certainly knew was a serious threat to her---I suspect she declined to press charges for fear of provoking him---but was not AN intimate might well have lived had mainstream feminism taken a different attitude towards the RKBA. (Certainly the aggregate findings of Kleck and Lott strongly indicate that.)

One of the larger questions I have is, Is for women the decision to own and use and bear arms for self-protection---knowing that in the remote likelihood we have to use them, it will be against someone with whom we are at least on good social terms---protective in that it screens out men (and women, and intersex and transgenedered people) who think their lives and liberties are more important than those of their female intimates? Does this do the same for men (because I know men who've had DV situations that would curl your hair, but in their case, they usually take their manhood so seriously that they will not fight back against someone who often is physically weaker)?

I am sorry this is so wordy. I'm trying to ask the right questions, because the answer you get depends on the question you ask.

Last edited by WarMare; November 15, 2009 at 01:24 PM. Reason: changing "a current" to "AN" intimate
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Old November 14, 2009, 04:07 PM   #12
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Feh.

We expect that a productive member of society shoulder their fair share of the burden of a civilization. Be it feeding their children, scooping up after their dog, whatever.

I think that everyone on this forum believes that people, regardless of their gender, orientation, whatever, should shoulder the responsibility of defending themselves when/where/if possible. This means purchasing an appropriate weapon, training, ammo, etc.

The rest of this is merely hyperbole.
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Old November 14, 2009, 04:14 PM   #13
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Sakeneko

Thank you for posting: you are another person I was hoping would chime in becase I've been intrigued by some of your posts. (I'm a huge lurker.)

One of the things that strikes me about case law concerning the responsibility of the police to protect individual citizens (thanks to BillCA who publicly sent me a link on my PI blog, or I wouldn't call him out here) is that it is derived from really bad faith acts by police departments towards, almost universally, female citizens; the one male involved that I know of was a juvenile, which meant that according to many cultural conventions, not simply American, he could be viewed as female. We're not talking about tragedies involving LEOs and judges who encouraged victims to arm themselves and PDs who did everything right but simply couldn't get there fast enough.

It is striking how rarely arming women is regarded as as a partial solution to Darfur, or the Congo War, or the violence in Sierra Leone. I remember pondering the whole issue of the Congo War and thinking about how Executive Outcomes worked with the Sierra Leonans and what they might have been able to do in Rwanda. And part of my suggestion was, we have to reach the women: we have to reach half of society. And every time beign shot down. Sometimes by men (although it was striking that the more combat they had seen, the more supportive they were) but more often by women.

I don't want to add too much more to this at this point. I want to see how this develops.

Best,

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Old November 14, 2009, 04:20 PM   #14
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First you must defend yourself.

If you're a victim of abuse and violence from a spouse or even a former spouse you must comprehend the fact that first you are responsible for your safety.

In spite of all the hype on the news media the justice system is virtually useless in regards to your safety from a former spouse.

That is if the abuser is jobless and has no permanent address. Law enforcement in my area just won't track these worthless POS down if they can't get them on the job or at home.

I found out my sister was abused by her ex-husband when I had to pick her up at the emergency room. This wasn't her first time but it was the first time I knew anything about it. She had hidden it well. This time he had grabbed her from the sidewalk right near my Mom's home.

I got involved to discover this guy had 8 warrants in 5 counties. Cops 'couldn't find him'. I found him in 1 day but couldn't get them to serve/arrest him. Lots of technicalities according to them.. bottom line they were useless.

So I convinced my sister to take hold of this situation herself. ...

-Martial arts are great but were not for my sister. She has never been very athletic and is a very 'girly girl'. (This is a shame as I was an instructor in Kempo and Sanuces in my county rec dept for 7 years... but it just was not for her)

-I instructed her on how to use a pump shotgun at home. That went OK.

-The handgun thing not so much. I preferred her to have at least a .38 but .38's and bigger just had too much recoil. Even several 9mm's grips were just too big. We settled on a .32 acp. She is more confident she can put several smaller holes easier than trying to recover from recoil to fire a second time.... and I've instructed her to always fire at least twice to COM.

Anyway I guess my point is the cops and the big brother aren't going to be around when we need to be so baby Sis has taken ownership of her safety and I'm proud.

You know..... based on our experience it is very hard to find a handgun for someone with very small hands. We must have checked 20-30.

Has this been a problem for any other ladies?
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Old November 14, 2009, 04:51 PM   #15
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One of the things that led to my initial essay (and you can find the cite there) was a (if memory serves) a Harvard University finding that appx. 25% of women murdered by intimates have restraining orders against their murderers. This and case law tracks with your and your sister's experience.

Re handgun grips. I am a weightlifter (more or less) and significantly strong in the upper body with small hands: I know exactly how to lay 'em to get 4" across to measure a horse. Two handguns I like a lot for ergonomics are Stoeger's Cougar in 9mm and S&W's M&P in .45---they're both double stack but they feel very nice in my hands. And I think there are some other issues, like body image, that go into this.

ETA: I'm not sure how much is felt recoil and how much is, I'm pretty, I'm as woman, if I can do this, what does this mean for me as an attractive woman? I don't mean this as an attack, I mean this as, feminine attractiveness and weakness are significantly conflated and a lot of women who refuse weakness as central to their womanhood have to deal with this issue.


I hope this helps.

Last edited by WarMare; November 14, 2009 at 05:33 PM.
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Old November 14, 2009, 07:32 PM   #16
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Yikes -- there's so much to think about here, it's hard to know where to start.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WarMare
I do know that the refusal of mainstream feminist women to encourage other women to defend their lives by force of arms does not help. I don't know, given the situation, that there could have been a different outcome. Now, someone like Ms. Justin-Jinich who was murdered at Weslyan by a man she almost certainly knew was a serious threat to her---I suspect she declined to press charges for fear of provoking him---but was not a current intimate might well have lived had mainstream feminism taken a different attitude towards the RKBA. (Certainly the aggregate findings of Kleck and Lott strongly indicate that.)
"Mainstream feminism" (I'm not completely convinced that there is such a thing, but I assume you mean the likes of the National Organization for Women) has, historically, taken the position that violence against women stems largely from the fact that a norm of male violence, a definition of "manhood" that relies heavily on dominance and aggression, is central to American culture. For many feminists this translates to a belief that to engage in violence, including the use of force in self-defense, is "male-identified," and that the solution is to change the culture, not to become part of the problem by engaging in violent acts, even when justifiable as self-defense.

It's ironic that this belief on the part of feminists, of all people, reinforces the cultural (and self-) perception that, as you put it, "weakness [is] central to... womanhood."

It is, however, a position that's consistent with a core belief that it's possible to make society as a whole less violent, and that eschewing violence oneself is necessary in order to do so.

Another part of the problem with organizations like NOW is that they've turned into lobbying organizations, with an emphasis on pressuring government to pass hate crimes legislation, fund programs to support victims of domestic violence, etc., etc. In order to do this, they focus on raising money from as many people as possible, which means NOT taking positions they believe might offend anyone, such as suggesting that women ought to defend themselves.

I have, somewhere in the archives, a very fine non-mainstream feminist pamphlet, dating I think from the late 70's, that's a sort of do-it-yourself guide to acquiring and learning to use a handgun for self defense: badly illustrated, cheaply printed, and with some less-than-perfect information about handling guns, but the women (a collective, of course) who published it got the point: defend yourself, because you can't rely on authority, or anyone else, to do it for you. (It's exactly the sort of thing that the respectable women from NOW were afraid would convince people that all feminists were lesbians: "Eek! Guns! How male-identified..." )

I'll have to see if I can dig it out.
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Old November 14, 2009, 08:04 PM   #17
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Stoeger's Cougar in 9mm.........

I'm gonna talk to Walt down at my gunshop about looking at one of these ... maybe he might know where one is. Pictures are OK but not like holding it you understand.

S&W's M&P in .45-........

Looked at one of these in a .40... too thick for her

......what does this mean for me as an attractive woman?

I didn't mean to infer that Sis was a dainty precious flower or anything like that. She grew up with me and her other big brother as a tomboy. She's was once pretty tough she's just small in stature and stood little chance against a 6' 200 lb man.

Of course, me or my brother could never be so lucky as to ever run upon this scumbag. We'll likely never be so lucky.
I have absolutely no sympathy for the strong that prey on the weak. I just get so aggravated and frustrated trying to deal with these scoundrels through any kind of legal tactics. In practice legal tactics are about as helpful as a bullwhip in a gun fight.

WE are responsible for our safety. I would urge anyone in the state of Tennessee that has a job requiring be out and about a lot to CC... which can also mean a good knife in addition to a gun on your person. (At least in TN)
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Old November 14, 2009, 08:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
I think that everyone on this forum believes that people, regardless of their gender, orientation, whatever, should shoulder the responsibility of defending themselves when/where/if possible. This means purchasing an appropriate weapon, training, ammo, etc.

The rest of this is merely hyperbole.
Not "merely", but I would agree that most things that can be said beyond what you just said is extrapolation from that central responsibility. My quibble is with the idea that each individual whatsoever has this responsibility. IMHO some individuals don't because they are not capable, for various reasons, of learning to use a gun safely or of being safe around it.

A friend of mine with severe cyclical depression is a good example -- he knows how to shoot and most of the time would be fine with a gun, but when depression hits him it's deep and dark. He won't own a gun or live in a house where he has access to one because he can't trust himself with it when he's depressed. I think he's being a responsible adult by recognizing his limits.

That said, though, I agree with you that defense of yourself and innocent others isn't a "gay rights" or "gendered rights" issue, but the right *and* responsibility of every adult. A person's gender (however you define that term), race, and sexual orientation have nothing to do with it. Neither do any number of other personal characteristics that have nothing to do with an adult's intelligence, good sense, or physical and mental ability to use guns or other self-defense technologies safely.

Unfortunately there really are people out there who feel entitled to attack, harm and even kill other people whose behavior offends them for some reason. Common targets of this kind of attack are gay and transgendered men and women. I don't think Erin is wrong to concentrate on only part of the problem of predatory violence and how to deal with it, as long as she keeps in mind that violence against gays, lesbians, and transgendered people is just part of a larger problem and any solution to it is likely to be at least part of the solution to the larger problem. (And I'm pretty sure she knows this already.) :-)
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Old November 14, 2009, 08:25 PM   #19
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You know..... based on our experience it is very hard to find a handgun for someone with very small hands. We must have checked 20-30.

Has this been a problem for any other ladies?
It took a bit of looking around for me. My hands aren't so much small as squat and with short fingers. My husband has large hands, and his Springfield XD-M is so large that I cannot hold it properly to fire it. At the range I can still fire it and have done so repeatedly, but my hand gets beat up because I can't direct the recoil against the padded part of my thumb/hand joint instead of the first section of the thumb itself.

I tried out a number of firearms, and found that for revolvers, the Ruger SP101 and Smith & Wesson J-Frames both fit my hand like they were made for it. Several small Berettas, a Bersa, and a Keltec also fit my hand well, and would have been on my short list if I hadn't preferred a revolver.
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Old November 14, 2009, 08:39 PM   #20
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(I have had a firearms instructor who lives in a very high-crime community ask me very urgently why so many people occupying at-risk demographics that could benefit most from gun ownership were so against it).
To answer this posing: IMO, many folks that fall into that demographic are typically of a very liberal/democratic political persuasion. Their particular organization is not exactly gun friendly (from the main political leaders views), so They seem to hold views that guns are not something they should support. It is nice to see that some are realizing that self-defense IS a legit reason for positive gun ownership
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Old November 14, 2009, 11:47 PM   #21
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The only answer I can give is I believe everyone should have the means, ability and most importantly the right to self defense.
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Old November 15, 2009, 12:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by KellyTTE
I think that everyone on this forum believes that people, regardless of their gender, orientation, whatever, should shoulder the responsibility of defending themselves when/where/if possible. This means purchasing an appropriate weapon, training, ammo, etc.
Well... yes.

But consider the number of threads here asking some variant of "How do I get my wife/girlfriend to learn to shoot/carry a gun/care about defending herself?" The fact is that men and women are, in this and other cultures, trained up very differently when it comes to attitudes about self defense, and especially the use of weapons. Add to that the likelihood that a woman who has to defend herself will be doing so against someone she knows, very possibly someone she is or has been in an intimate relationship with, and the subject becomes even more fraught.

The value of a thread like this one is that it gets us thinking about how to change the belief of many women that it's somehow not OK to "shoulder the responsibility of defending themselves." And in order to work out how to change it, one also has to think about where it comes from, and what cultural messages reinforce it...

So, no, it's not "merely hyperbole," but an attempt at analysis.
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Old November 15, 2009, 10:13 AM   #23
Rich Keagy
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For those who feel they can 'almost' get their fingers wrapped around a 1911 pistol, be aware 'slip' grips are available.
Please visit http://www.esmeralda.cc/slender_series_grips.htm.
Esmeralda makes these grips herself. She makes them for all sorts of pistols.
By the way, it's a great site to just browse around. Great pictures of her products.
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Old November 15, 2009, 10:55 AM   #24
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That said, though, I agree with you that defense of yourself and innocent others isn't a "gay rights" or "gendered rights" issue, but the right *and* responsibility of every adult. A person's gender (however you define that term), race, and sexual orientation have nothing to do with it. Neither do any number of other personal characteristics that have nothing to do with an adult's intelligence, good sense, or physical and mental ability to use guns or other self-defense technologies safely.
This is the main point of what I was getting at. There isn't a pill or potion to instill mindset. The will to fight and prevail is an internal battle and if they haven't conquered their internal opponents they certainly won't be able to successfully defeat external opponents.

“Whether you believe you can or you can't, you're right.". - Henry Ford


Photo by RetreatHell during Magpul Dynamics Carbine 1 class

Quote:
The value of a thread like this one is that it gets us thinking about how to change the belief of many women that it's somehow not OK to "shoulder the responsibility of defending themselves." And in order to work out how to change it, one also has to think about where it comes from, and what cultural messages reinforce it...
Q: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change

We can't change anyone, all we can do is offer to help if they decide to change themselves.
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Old November 15, 2009, 11:25 AM   #25
Glenn E. Meyer
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Great discussion. IIRC, the data are clear that much violence against women occurs after the restraining order and the victim moves. They are not a pancea but do establish a clear legal trail if you need one.

A good point was brought up about cultural change vs. active self-defense. I just read a two issue series in the American Behavioral Scientist about school shootings. Kleck had a good article about how gun laws would be ineffective and it is delusional to think they would solve the problem.

However, many of the writers talked about changing our culture of violence so that we wouldn't produce such BGs. So that is a common thread. Change the culture and violence decreases.

In a sense, they are right about certain crimes and violence, esp. ones that flow from economic circumstances. But, the interpersonal ones probably aren't that easy to change even if you change what's on TV or limit guns.

The 'experts' don't talk about active self-defense. It is not in their mindset. They view it as fighting evil with evil and it is better for all evil to go away. But that won't work.
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