BEN J. writes:
I live in Colorado, in the Denver metro area, so obviously the rampage in Aurora has been front and center in the news for a while now.
Regarding the discussion about the absence of any men in the theater who were armed, I grew up in Colorado, but sojourning in high crime areas of Houston and Dallas changed the way I viewed personal protection. I have carried a firearm (concealed) for years now. I sought out extensive training, the best weapons, and have made sure to keep my skills sharp and my gun ready ever since. For me, placing my gun in its holster and walking out the door to work and school (it is legal to carry weapons in public colleges in Colorado) is as routine as putting a cell phone and keys in my pockets. I carry my gun all the time, and in any place I can lawfully. I do not find it to be inconvenient in the least.
However, carrying a weapon has had an effect on my social life in some interesting ways that are related to the current discussion. Like any young single man (25), I would like to find a nice young single lady, start a family, and just have a normal life. I always hear women, even the ultra liberal leftist ones say they desire a man who can ‘protect them.’ I found Buck’s comment to be very interesting: “If one man in that theater was truly prepared to protect himself and his woman, he would have been carrying a weapon and he would have known well how to use it to end the threat. Placing himself in between the shooter and his loved one was the ultimate sacrifice, but seen in the larger context of fear, resignation and submission, is the weak cousin to self-defense.”
It seems to me these days that women desire the latter, the part I have italicized above. I have had a few ladies who don’t mind or even appreciate the fact that I always have a weapon, but the majority seems to reject that idea. “You have a gun? I’m afraid of guns!” “I don’t believe in guns” “Why does any normal person need a gun?”"Christians shouldn’t have guns!” — these are some the lines I’ve heard many times, upon the young woman finding out that I am armed. These aren’t the liberal college girls, they are the young women from our churches, most raised in the government school system, and many in Christian private schools. Do they want a man to protect them? Or merely a shield to absorb the stabs of a mugger, or the bullets of a lunatic? Is this what modern society has decided protection means? A man is reduced by rules and societal pressures to the role of a bullet proof vest?
From the 144th Psalm, a psalm of David, the first verse: “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.”
David didn’t feed himself to the lion, or the bear, to save the sheep, (1 Samuel 17:34-36). He fought back.
Several years ago the individual who is currently the Attorney General, Eric Holder, was on tape stating that we must “brainwash the young to hate guns.” I am quoting generally. The video is on YouTube somewhere.
I think that Eric Holder’s effort is succeeding in this nation, with the younger generation. The notable exception would be our veterans returning from war, most veterans I know understand violence is not confined to the screens of television, cinema, and video games. I don’t like guns in of themselves, but I do like what they protect: life, and civilization.
In response to your comment, Laura,
“How is it that with Colorado’s liberal gun laws and the history of at least one very deadly massacre there, so few men in the theater were prepared for something like this?”
In general the majority of armed citizens I know are at home, and long asleep by the time the clock strikes midnight. We are usually up before the sun, to earn our living and provide for ourselves or our families. Paying a large sum of money for a ticket and staying up until the wee hours of the morning to watch a violent film is something most of us aren’t interested in.
— Comments —-
I applaud Ben. I live in Vermont, which was the first state to allow concealed carry with no permit required. For some time, I lived in a small town I won’t name, but it’s full of “rural types.” Some are full-blown rednecks and others merely a tad rural. Almost all are armed. It is perfectly normal to go into a pizza parlor and have eight people around you carrying handguns beneath their coats. And everyone knows it.
I think it was Heinlein that said “an armed society is a polite society.” Believe it. When you know there are a half dozen armed woodchucks in the room, you are not likely to start a fuss.
No-gun areas are slaughterhouses. I’m not a gun owner, but my brother is a national competitor. He commonly outshoots SWAT members and once bested a Navy SEAL (I’m not kidding. My brother’s talented). And he’s as nice a young man as you could ever meet. He always said he’d rather go without a firearm in a place where packing heat is okay, but never in a no-gun area, like a college campus. The sign that says “No firearms allowed” might as well read “Kill us all. We are unable and unwilling to protect ourselves.”
You may get rid of the guns not before you rid society of evil lunatics. Good luck with that.
And as for women who hate guns, well, let them get what your commenter called a bullet-proof-vest boyfriend. That’s the difference between being a hero and being a martyr.
I want to add a couple of things to Ben J.’s great comment – firstly, to remind all of us that of course we should expect young people to say silly things like “I don’t believe in guns.” Many of them will grow out of it.
More than that, I want to reassure Ben, as he searches for a wife, that he need not be put off by those kinds of comments from young women. Something a lot of young men don’t realize is that women are very malleable, and as the helpmeets they were designed to be, they have a fantastic tendency to adopt the opinions and positions of the men that they love. So, with respect to guns, my point is that if a woman really loves you, her view on the issue will probably change over time. (A lot of women will protest this thesis, but that’s fine, because I’m right.) You don’t need to find a woman who is ardently as pro-gun as you, merely one that is open or ambivalent.
Finally, when you get into one of these discussions with a young woman, don’t try and have a rational argument with her. That will not work. Instead, offer to take her shooting. If she accepts, odds are good you’ll make a convert, since in spite of what they may, many or most women find the actual act of firing a gun to be exhilarating and thrilling.
Very good advice.
I think that it’s important for Ben to explain to a woman why exactly he carries a gun, but not to try and convince her that it is a good thing.
Chris Roach writes:
I’ve found some women object to packing a gun, but most of those objections are pro forma, and an equal number of women think it’s kind of cool to pack a gun. The first time you encounter a potentially dangerous situation after dating a while, it’s not uncommon to be asked “do you have your gun?” Men shouldn’t expect women to embrace as naturally the male need to harness violence. And this is particularly true among women in the safe suburbs. That said, packing a gun is a perfect opportunity to assert some masculine authority: I carry a gun, know how to use it, and there’s a reason for it. Far from hurting you with women, showing this kind of independent attitude is more attractive than backing down from her mildly delivered complaints. And if she really hates guns enough, she’s obviously not for you.
I think women with strong fathers don’t feel this way to the same degree. A good dad will teach his daughters to shoot. And many women express a desire to learn to shoot when you have a gun. It’s a “teachable moment” of the best kind and, like any high skill behavior, is a chance to demonstrate some excellence before her.
Anyway, I can honestly care less what women “think” of how I live, and it’s a mistake to spend too much time trying to placate the fads that they endorse. Women need leadership, and these small protests from the “girly girl” side of things are a good chance to stand your ground in the inevitable parade of critiques that are really a means of weeding out weak men from the strong.
That all makes perfect sense.
Jill Farris writes:
I grew up with a father who was an ardent hunter and card-carrying NRA member. Somehow, he failed to indoctrinate his daughters in the importance of the right to bear arms.
I’ve been married for 30 years to an outspoken man who is very vocal about the encroachment of the federal government into our personal lives. His father was a policeman and they both are very aware of the growing police state in the U.S. As a woman who likes everyone to think the best of everyone else, I used to think he was a bit paranoid. Then he applied for a carry-and-conceal permit and began carrying a gun. It was scary for me. He took most of our eight children out and taught them to shoot. Again, scary for me (but the kids loved it).
Then, we had the experience from hell with social services when we tried to adopt a child. We were lied to and our civil liberties were trampled upon. My eyes were opened to how bad things have become in our country. It was a painful lesson.
Now I realize that the right to bear arms is a precious right. It does not mean that we are creepy, paranoid, right wingers but that we walk in the footsteps of great men and women who were willing to lose it all for the freedoms we now enjoy.
I respect my husband but the weapon carrying thing was an adjustment.
I have adjusted.
Jane S. writes:
When a man finds himself dating a woman who objects to him carrying a gun, Samson writes:
“[O]ffer to take her shooting. If she accepts, odds are good you’ll make a convert, since in spite of what they may, many or most women find the actual act of firing a gun to be exhilarating and thrilling.”
Here’s a great article from Susan Orlean about how she became a shooting enthusiast (and we can be certain she is a liberal).
Sunshine Mary writes:
Women should definitely increase their own comfort with firearms. Here are two resources for women and girls:
The first ever National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day was held this past June. My husband took four of our five daughters (aged 6, 8, 11, and 12) to a participating range and it was a great deal of fun. Readers may wish to watch the website for next year’s event and the list of participating ranges across the country.
Additionally, the NRA sponsors an event called Women on Target. I have participated in this at a local Sportsmen’s league, where I had the opportunity to shoot rifles, shotguns, all kinds of pistols, and even an uzi. After participating in WOT, I felt comfortable training for my Concealed Carry License (CCL). I now carry a 9 mm pistol, unless I am going somewhere with my husband, who carries a .45 wherever it is legal to do so.
Regarding the movie theater where the murders occurred: it is my understanding that this theater did not permit weapons to be brought in. My CCL instructor suggested that we print up polite little note cards to leave at businesses that ban concealed-carry, letting them know that we would be taking our business elsewhere.
Thank you for the suggestions.
In light of the most recent gun conversation, I thought you might find this article about another shooting in Aurora interesting. In that case, the assailant was killed by an off-duty police officer who was armed.
Also, I have a question regarding the conversation on carrying concealed weapons. It is my understanding that the Aurora movie theater banned weapons. I’m curious, would your gun-carrying readers choose to abide by that ban, take a weapon anyway, or not go to that theater at all?
Drina writes about the typically quiet story of a legally armed citizen saving lives.
The first comment to the article was:
In many States it is a crime to carry on church property so you have no right to self defense in a church. This guy was a cop so the laws that apply to the rest of us do not apply.
Sort of ironic churches going along with taking God given rights from people.
I said to someone the other day that everyone, including law enforcement, is armed primarily for one reason; self-defense. The second reason is to project the threat of force. So it is not law enforcement personnel who are regularly targeted by criminals, it is the assumed-to-be-unarmed and non-threatening citizen who is the target. The insanity is that our modern liberal society refuses to acknowledge this blatantly obvious and simple truth. In the story, the off-duty cop was a non-threatening citizen who just happened to be legally armed; but, in a typically disarmed venue. He was not attending church as a cop and he was not threatening anyone, even the surprised, ignorant, murderous criminal. Hello? That needs to be continuously emphasized; he was carrying a concealed weapon as a non-threatening, law-abiding citizen, as every law abiding citizen has a natural right, and should have a legal right to do. Every criminal who is in the act of shooting should be shot immediately. What’s so hard to understand about that?
I can recall many years ago having lunch with my boss, a fellow lawyer (female), and I was astounded to discover she had not heard of the argument that the Second Amendment was meant to allow citizens to carry arms so as to prevent the government from becoming tyrannical. Such is the influence of liberalism.