Tuesday, September 19, 2006
U.S. statistics (Canadian statistics unavailable, but probably similar): one in 600 rapists will be caught and convicted. The average for rapists is that an accused rapist has assaulted 17 women before being convicted.
Women want to feel safe, respected, and if necessary, feared! No woman wants to be the next victim!
Some women who have been victimized will talk openly with other women, whether they know one another personally or not. They will often not talk openly to police officers. Some are afraid to be witnesses in court, some are embarrassed to bare personal dramas, there are many reasons for that refusal to cooperate. It is quite common among women who are victims.
This is a true story, detailed in Armed and Female by Paxton Quigley:
Margo Feldman was the eldest of her father's three daughters, and sort of stood in for the son he didn't have. She liked the fact that her father always made her feel as though she was responsible and important.
She wasn't a big fan of guns. She didn't even know that her father owned a gun until the night before her father died--when he asked her to go to his top dresser drawer to bring him a wooden box. He took out a revolver, checked to see that it was unloaded, then handed it to her. He said, "It's yours. going to show you how to use it right now. Always keep it in your dresser drawer. And don't forget what I teach you--it may someday save your life, your mother's or sisters' lives, or your future child's life."
It was many months after Margo's father's death that the assailant broke into her basement apartment. Margo was in the shower at the time, so she didn't hear him break in. It wasn't until she flung open the shower curtain that she saw him. He was a huge guy and he was standing at her bathroom door! And there she was, stark naked, frightened, and trapped!
He tossed a towel to her, and flashed his big knife at her with his other hand. Grinning, he told her to dry herself very slowly. When she was dry, he ordered her to put some perfume on, and shoved her into her bedroom. Once in the bedroom, he sat down on her bed. Flashing his knife at her again, he ordered her to put her sexiest underwear on, to get sexy for him.
Absolutely, there was no question as to what Margo was going to do! Reaching into the drawer, Margo turned to face the man she later described as her would-be rapist, or worse, murderer. She was holding her revolver in her right hand, and a pair of red bikini panties in her left hand.
The sight of her handgun startled him so much that he launched himself backward on the bed, dropped his knife on the floor, and banged his head on the light over the pillows. Controlling her handgun, and now the situation, Margo told the now wimpish coward to keep his right hand on top of his head, reach across his body with his left hand, pick up the phone, and dial 911. And then she ordered him to tell the police the predicament that he was in.
Once the police were on the way, she ordered him to wriggle around, hands on top of his head, until he could lie face down with his face in the pillow. When he complained of not being able to breathe, she told him it would be more difficult breathing through the holes in his back if he tried to get up.
He was still in that position when the police arrived.
Like so many women, Margo was alone at the time of the attack--confined in her apartment and confronted by an unknown violent criminal. No one else was there to help her, nor could there have been.
This man broke into Margo's home. His flashing of his knife at her was a threat and a positive indication that he was definitely capable of vicious violence. His intentions were very clear--he was about to rape her, and God knows how much else he intended to do. He was smug in his certainty that he could dominate and terrify this young woman, and unaware that his next demand would turn the tables in favour of Margo. The turnaround came as a shocking and unpleasant surprise. Once Margo had her gun in her hand, she was not only able to protect her life from criminal violence, she was also able to arrest the would-be rapist and control him from a safe distance until the police arrived.
I invite you to think about what would have happened if she had not had her father's handgun to hold that criminal away from her and at that safe distance. Through it all Margo had the ability to remain level-headed under extreme pressure! And she disproved the old lie that a criminal will take a gun away from a woman and use it on her. Criminals just aren't that brave. This one was scared spitless.
Margo is one of many American women who are alive and unharmed today because American state governments allowed them to possess and even carry a loaded handgun for the purpose of protecting human life from criminal violence.
It is sad but very true that police usually can't get to the scene of a rape until after the crime has been completed and the criminal has left. That's not a swipe at the police; I like and admire police officers. They do the very best they can, but they can't get there any earlier. A woman cannot call the police until her attacker leaves--and then only if she is still alive! So we have a very real need to be able to protect ourselves!
Violent crime used to be something that Canadians talked about. It happened in other countries, particularly the United States. Sadly, that is no longer the situation. Our violent crime rates have topped those of the U.S.--in almost every category. Women are no longer automatically safe just because they live in Canada!
The United States went through their empirical tests of stringent gun control laws between the years 1964 and 1990. The methods of evaluating whether or not laws work as intended are uncertain, especially in the beginning because changes can have surprising effects that are difficult to predict. Analyzing the effects of such trial-and-error efforts could and (and obviously did) take quite a few years. But by the beginning of 1990, when their crime rates continued to skyrocket out of control, many American states had begun to believe that severe gun control laws were not the answer they were seeking.
One of the first states to realize that was influenced by the result of something that happened long before 1990. In Orlando, Florida, in 1966, the rape rate was very high. The police there realized that something more had to be done in the way of protecting women from criminal violence.
It wasn't an intentional test. The frequent rape stories in the media had resulted in private purchases of 200 to 300 guns per week. Editors of the Orlando Sentinel Star went to the chief of police, asking him to stop gun sales to women before the women hurt someone.
The chief replied this what they were doing was legal, but he also was concerned. He asked the paper to tell the women about a free police-taught firearm safety course to be held on the police range the next Sunday. The paper printed the story, and over 2500 women applied by showing up at the police range, carrying every type of firearm--loaded and unloaded--imaginable. No one expected that!
So the police regrouped and scheduled the women into reasonable-sized classes. It worked! The rape rates immediately crashed to near zero, and all violent crime rates fell quickly and steadily, and continued to stay down permanently! No one expected such immediate and positive effects!
Why did it work?
It was not because the women shot anyone. They didn't, and they didn't commit any crimes, either. It worked for the same reason that possession of a handgun works for the police. The women served notice that they could protect themselves, and that scared the criminals off. Handguns are by far the easiest, safest, and most effective tool to use when protecting life from criminal violence.
It worked because normal people, whether police or private law-abiding citizens, have the same set of values, principles, and reasons for actions--they do not shoot others simply because a firearm is available. Also, everyone knows that protecting life from criminal violence has to be provably justifiable in a court of law. That makes good citizens with handgun permits very cautious and careful.
Violent criminals think they are beyond all the rules. Laws mean little to violent criminals. Some criminals are psychopaths, people without a conscience, who don't respect anyone's the right to live in peace. Many of those-- and other criminals--do not fear the police or the justice system. They are dangerous, particularly to women.
Margo did what she had to do. Her only alternative was to submit and suffer through the horrific violation of rape, accept the consequences and aftereffects of rape, and accept the probability of death at the hands of a violent criminal. I am glad she did not have to accept that fate. I am glad he didn't get to give her AIDS, or syphilis, or make her pregnant. glad he didn't kill her.
If ever in Margo's situation, I want a chance. My government protects the criminal, not me.
Even under her frightening circumstances, Margo did not shoot or even harm the violent intruder. She used a practical and effective tool to equalize the disparity of force that initially seemed to be all on his side. Through it all, she remained level-headed under extreme pressure! Margo stopped her criminal, arrested him, and delivered him to the police when they arrived. She saved all of his future victims. Who knows? If he had been successful, and then moved north, I might have become one of his victims! Thanks, Margo!!
But Canadian women are not so lucky, and many of us want to know why. Especially in today's society! Storing a loaded handgun where it is easily accessible--even in a private place inside the home of a single woman--is illegal. Our government's laws would have delivered Margo to him, utterly helpless, because the government told her that her firearm and ammunition would have had to be separated and locked up. Why? To protect the criminal? What about protecting Margo? Isn't she important?
Did you know that you can take your handgun out of storage when you come home, load it, and keep it ready--legally? Yes, that is legal--as long as you put it back into legal storage when you go out again.
Most Canadian women choose to stay quiet about the fact that they own firearms, except while in the company of other legal firearm owners who share the same common interest. Few of us will admit that we will use a firearm to protect human life from criminal violence. And that is a pity--we need to tell the criminal that attacking a woman can ruin his whole day. Canada needs more Margos!
Canadian women are not strangers to firearms. On the contrary, we have many women who legally own and use non-restricted guns for hunting and trapshooting. Many have "restricted handguns" and "prohibited handguns" for target shooting, and there are even some women who are firearms collectors. A few of us even own the even more restricted "prohibited firearms." These are just a few basic examples; there is a lot more going on in the women's firearms community in Canada. The variations are too numerous for me to mention all of them here.
Not one Type 3 Authorization To Carry, (ATC) has been issued to a woman for protection of life from criminal violence since the Liberal Party of Canada took power in the early 1990s. Then the Liberals imposed the defective and evil-smelling C- 68 firearms control system on the people of Canada in 1998!
The Liberal Party of Canada told us that more severe gun control laws would reduce the amount of crime in our country. They lied to us. Even a minimum amount of research would have proved that to be wrong, but they found it easier to lie to us than figure out the right answer to soaring violent crime rates.
Never underestimate the spirit or strength of a woman. Given a fighting chance, women can stand up for justice, and we will fight for what we believe in!
Are you a woman? Do you want to be as powerful as a rapist, able to protect yourself? Then write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, House of Commons, OTTAWA ON, K1A 0A6 (no stamp required). Tell him you want his bureaucrats to stop refusing to issue the Type 3 ATC you need in order to be able to carry a handgun legally. Your personal letter will be read as the voice of 500 women voters!
Just one woman with a Type 3 ATC can spread a shield of protection over all women--because the criminal does not know which woman has it--and that makes him fear all women.
THINK about it. We should not have to live with fear. Severe gun control laws do not protect us, but they do protect the criminals who prey on women!
I am not a dangerous radical. I believe in the NFA's requirement: to get a Type 3 ATC, a woman should have to demonstrate proficiency with a handgun and knowledge of relevant law equal to that required of a female RCMP constable. No, that's not an impossible requirement. RCMP women meet those tests annually, and pass them easily. So can you!