Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, February 7th, 2013.

Ladies, the NRA Is Not Your Friend


I found this on Facebook this morning. I commented on the size of the magazine, that nobody has that many crazy ex-husbands. The people (all men, it appears) liking the image didn’t get the joke.

Conservatives are stomping around calling the Violence Against Women Act a waste of money, and then in the next breath they argue that women have to be armed with AR-15s because they never know when four or five hardened criminals are going to break into her house and attack her simultaneously. Seriously

Women’s Forum’s Gayle Trotter said in her prepared testimony. An assault weapons ban, she said, would “harm women the most” because “guns are the great equalizer in a confrontation.” And that doesn’t just mean handguns. That means military-style rifles. When questioned, Trotter specifically singled out the AR-15 as an important weapon for women, essentially because it looks cool. Women like the AR-15 because “they’re light, they’re easy to hold, and most importantly, their appearance,” Trotter said. The rifle is intimidating, she said, and then appeared to riff on a hypothetical home invasion in which one would be necessary. “Three, four, five violent intruders in her home — with her children screaming in the background — the peace of mind that comes with a scary looking gun…gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened, violent criminals.” Trotter said. “I speak on behalf of millions of american women who urge you to defend our Second Amendment right to choose to defend ourselves.”

I infer from this that conservatives really hate it when multiple strangers break into women’s homes to assault them, but if your husband or boyfriend, current or ex, roughs you up from time to time, that’s his right. It’s probably your fault, anyway.

And note that the above-mentioned Ms. Trotter is opposed to allowing women to serve in combat.

Anyway — the scenario in which multiple criminal strangers burst into a woman’s home must be rare, as I could find no examples of such a thing happening. Women are far more likely to be attacked by men they know. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Satistics, in 2007 only 10 percent of female homicide victims in the U.S. were killed by strangers. Historically, women have had most to fear from current and former husbands or lovers. However, in recent years rates of “intimate” violence have gone down quite a bit, possibly because of the Violence Against Women Act that righties think is a waste of time.

See also

Writing in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Wiebe reported on a case-controlled study in which household were matched on a number of demographic factors, and then incidences of gun violence were compared. They found that people who keep a gun in their home are almost twice as likely to die in a gun-related homicide, and that the risk was especially greater for women: women living in a home where there is a gun are almost three times more likely to die in a gun-related homicide than men similarly situated. The risk of killing oneself using a gun was almost 17 times greater for persons who live in a home where there is a gun, compared to those in homes without guns. (Wiebe D. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2003; 41:771-82).

How often does a woman successfully defend herself with a gun? We get a hint here

In 2009, justifiable homicides involving women killing men with a firearm occurred in: Louisiana (1); Michigan (2); Mississippi (1); Oklahoma (2); Oregon (2); South Carolina (1); Tennessee (1); Texas (2); and, Virginia (1). Of these, handguns were used in: Louisiana (1); Michigan (2); Mississippi (1); Oklahoma (1); Oregon (2); South Carolina (1); Texas (1); and, Virginia (1).

I don’t have data for the number of women murdered by men in the U.S. in 2009, justified or otherwise, but I’m betting it’s a lot more than 23. Note that women get killed in gun-friendly Louisiana at higher rates than anywhere else in the U.S.

Now, I don’t blame a woman who has a crazy, angry ex out there somewhere for keeping a gun in her home. I might do the same thing, as well as installing alarms and adopting a very large dog. But what the data tell us clearly is that encouraging women to be armed is no replacement for the Violence Against Women Act, which really does seem to have made a difference.

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