The Stigma of Women’s Self Defense

I came across a blog post that I felt was worth sharing:

Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly replied with:

I’ve seen this image going around again, often accompanied by comments on how expecting women to learn self-defense is unreasonable and ineffective anyway, because men are bigger and stronger than us.

I get the original post’s sentiment. We can’t put the entire onus of preventing sexual assault on the victims (or potential victims), and things will not get better without widespread social change that addresses perpetrators (and potential perpetrators), and the cultural attitudes that make this shit so much more widespread and easy to get away with.

But as we build a better world that is safer for all of us, we need to live in this one. We need to survive day-to-day, and deal with the threats that exist now, and not the reduced ones that may exist decades down the road. And right now, knowing how to defend yourself won’t prevent all rape, but it might prevent yours.

It’s not a zero-sum game. Keeping yourself safe doesn’t put another in danger, and learning self-defense isn’t some betrayal of the sisterhood because another woman may not have access to the same training. If we really want to keep all women safer, then we lobby for cultural, legislative, and legal change on the one hand, and we make sure as many women as possible have access to good self-defense training on the other. There’s no earthly reason to choose between the two.

It’s hard enough for many women to step into a self-defense class. There’s already stigma attached to women fighting, fear of being hurt or – worse – of hurting someone else, and uncertainty about how safe you’ll be in a given school or with a given instructor. I’ve had women show up to my classes that spent a year working up to coming in, because it was that fucking daunting. Let’s not make it even worse by suggesting that wanting to protect yourself undermines the social progress of your entire gender.

Adding onto this, Swimming in Deep Water posted:

Additional points raised from the resulting discussion:

  1. I don’t believe there are any statistics as to how many assaults are prevented by capable, willing women stepping in to other women’s aid. From anecdotal evidence, it happens. I’ve done it. I’ve seen other women do it. Learning self-defence skills is like learning first-aid in one respect: maybe you’ll need it for yourself or your loved ones, but maybe you’ll end up using it to save a perfect stranger.
  2. A self defense scenario doesn’t always end with a predator sneaking off to assault someone else. It can end with an arrest or investigation which can actively prevent another assault.
  3. It is considered not only acceptable but desirable for parents to educate their young children about “stranger danger”. No suggestion is made that this causes someone else’s kid to be molested or kidnapped. So at which age does this change? Is it for a 12 yr old girl to learn self-defense, but not for a 15 yr old? 16? Where is that line drawn, by whom, and based on what theory?
  4. While any individual learning to defend themselves doesn’t solve any social problems, a critical mass of women and others with the skills and willingness to defend against predators could shift the social balance as well.
  5. Do women’s  responsibility to others always overrides personal concerns, and if so, why?

Both of these are great responses, but leave out something.

Every time I hear the mantra, “Teach men not to rape” I like to point out that dead rapists don’t have to be taught again.  I have absolutely zero problems making a sexual assault as painful & debilitating as possible for the attacker.  If the lesson proves fatal to the aggressor,  oh fucking well.

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NY DA doesn’t want CCW reciprocity… because ISIS. For real?

CNN took a break from being complete garbage to allow  New York District Attorney Vance a chance at bat:

Manhattan DA: This bill could turn your city into the Wild West

Blood will RUN in the STREETS!!!!  Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, every single anti-gun argument since CCW reform began in the late 80s.

I’m proud to say that New York remains the safest big city in the nation, at least according to the Economist’s Safe Cities Index.

But this progress could come to a screeching halt if the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, known as CCRA, passes Congress. Every state has had the right to craft its own firearms licensing laws. In New York, we have crafted our laws to consider unique factors like our state’s population density, culture and history. The CCRA would override our state’s restrictive concealed-weapons permitting system and force New York to honor concealed-carry firearms privileges issued in other states, even though many other states have much looser standards.

Simply put, this means that the gun laws of Arkansas, for example, could be forced upon New York by federal mandate. I can only imagine how angry citizens of Arkansas would be if Washington politicians forced them to follow laws from New York.

Without a hint of irony, he manages to ignore how hated the NY SAFE Act is outside of NYC itself.  Hilarious!

Consider this: Eleven states grant concealed-carry privileges to individuals who have not undergone any safety training. Twenty states grant permits to people who have been convicted of violent crimes. And 12 states do not require any kind of permit or license to carry a concealed firearm. The CCRA would make it legal for someone to carry that concealed, loaded firearm into New York or anyplace else, regardless of local law.

How awful.  Why, the concealed carry holders of those states must be wanton criminals and those states are awash with violence committed by them, right? Strange that the DA couldn’t summon any information supporting that unspoken assumption, probably because as the Texas Department of Public Safety shows, CCW holders are much more law abiding than the general population.

So police officers are against this bill.

Uh, no, they aren’t.   Looking at that letter, it’s signed by the following organizations:

Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA)
National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Police Foundation (PF)

Missing from this is an endorsement of the largest police group, the Fraternal Order of Police, not to mention huge numbers of other organizations populated by rank & file officers.  In fact, I notice that this endorsement list is heavy on Command level endorsements, and scant on support from line officers.  This isn’t surprising, since police executives, administrators, and command staff are largely politically appointed & reflect the politics of their mayors.

In fact, when PoliceOne asked their members about their thoughts on armed citizens, the officers uniformly responded that they believed CCW was a good thing and helped reduce crime:

More than 91 percent of respondents support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable.

A full 86 percent feel that casualties would have been reduced or avoided in recent tragedies like Newtown and Aurora if a legally-armed citizen was present (casualties reduced: 80 percent; avoided altogether: 60 percent).

Now that the ‘cops support a ban on CCW reciprocity!’ nonsense is debunked, let’s return to Vance’s fearmongering:

Who would actually be for this bill? I can offer one answer: ISIS.

According to George Washington University’s Extremism Tracker, New York is the top ISIS terror target in America. Meanwhile, ISIS is increasingly recruiting radicalized attackers to murder as many people as possible, using any means available.

Let’s not kid ourselves: ISIS is following the gun debate. Look no further than Rumiyah, its official magazine and how-to guide for terror. In its May 2017 issue, under a section titled “Just Terror Tactics,” ISIS specifically told aspiring terrorists how to exploit America’s lax gun laws to commit mass shootings on our soil:

“In most US states, anything from a single-shot shotgun all the way up to a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle can be purchased at showrooms or through online sales — by way of private dealers — with no background checks, and without requiring an ID or a gun license.”

The CCRA is a gift to these terrorists.

What.

Let’s break down how mindbogglingly stupid this argument is.

Right now, Europe is in the midst of a terror crisis, with automobiles being used to murder & wound dozens at a time.  After the latest attack in Barcelona, responding officers shot 5 terrorists who reportedly were wearing suicide vests.  A single van killed 13 and injured at least 120 people.  No word yet if NY DA Vance is going to call for banning motor vehicles within city limits, or banning driver’s licenses from other states.

Despite New York’s draconian firearms laws, somehow crimes are still being committed there.  There’s no magic barrier at the city or state line that prevents a firearm from coming in, so pretending that a ban on CCW reciprocity will prevent ISIS from smuggling in firearms is absurd, especially when a group of jihadists can use credit cards and rent a few moving vans from Budget or U-Haul and plow them through pedestrians.

Or using them as VBIEDs.

Thanks for the laugh, Vance.  I hope you do better prep work on criminals because this was weak.

Louisville’s Tim Faulkner Gallery shooting and a complete lack of outrage.

If a “mass shooting” occurs, and no talking heads are angry about it, will people make a sound?  The answer is: no.

This weekend, there was a concert event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery, located in Louisville’s West End – specifically in Portland.  For those who aren’t familiar with the venue, Tim Faulkner’s is a 26,000 square foot mixed-use facility near the Ohio River, that is home to both artist space, McQuixote Books & Coffee, and a 10,000 square foot performance area that hosts various events.  It is surrounded by warehouses, manufacturing, and a lower income homes that are slowly being gentrified by hipsters, trendy restaurants & businesses encroaching into the area.  Kentucky Kustom Cycles is across the street, Louisville & Indiana Railroad is two buildings east, and Habitat for Humanity’s Louisville office is two streets south.

When 5 people are shot at 1AM, you’d think that people would be upset by this.  One woman, a student at University of Louisville, died. 5 were wounded and expected to recover.  After the outrage of the Orlando Nightclub shooting, all of the usual suspects were up in arms.  They quickly blamed everyone from the NRA, to the firearms industry, to the GOP for enabling the killer to murder all of those innocent people.

Imagine my surprise when I saw absolutely zero mention of this weekend’s horror in my social media feeds.  The same people who would wail and rend their clothes in a morbid kabuki display of virtue signaling; the social justice warriors who proudly declare that anyone who opposes gun control is a psychopath, and that the NRA is evil… why, they were silent.

24 hours later, there are no calls for gun control.  No screaming about the easy availability of firearms.   No talk about innocent lives lost or the societal cost of gun ownership, or how Something. Must. Be. Done.

Why on earth would that be?  Simple.  Here’s the event where the shooting occured:

xihvtot

The victims? No elementary school children.  No casualties from the LGBTQ community. A distinct lack of media friendly corpses to be used as macabre props, because this is the wrong demographic. No possible hate crime, and if the shooter is caught, he will probably already have a long criminal record.   It’s not as easy for the gun control movement to dance in the blood of the victims when this sort of thing happens.

It’s difficult to manufacture outrage when it’s a people being shot at a rap concert. Because of this, the personalities that generate talking points have nothing to say because their audience is just going to shrug their shoulders and go “what did you expect” when they see the event & the victims.

You see, this type of “mass shooting” doesn’t fit the narrative.  Louisville’s West End is known as the bad part of town, with the city’s poverty, crime rates, shootings & drug issues all congregate to become that area middle-class mothers warn their kids to avoid.

No Facebook profile pictures will be changed to say “We stand with Portland.” The people shot will only be mentioned again as a statistic: they will be lumped in with other similar “mass shootings” to paint firearms ownership as a stain upon society.

Thus, the truth is laid bare: those who scream the loudest about gun control aren’t really invested in it.  It’s not a cause they actually care about, because if it was they would be marching for the victims of Saturday’s shooting.  No, gun control is merely a tool in the arsenal; a facet of tribal politics & a way for them to lash out against their political opponents.  It’s something that is only mentioned when they can puff themselves up in righteous anger, and preen in their cloaks of moral righteousness; because their opinions are right and those who disagree are clearly evil.  If something cannot be used as a weapon against your enemies, it is ignored.

Their silence makes it all too obvious how this is not a battle for what’s right, or to reduce “gun violence” whatsoever, but to score points off their opponents.  Because, let’s face it: If these people were truly passionate about their beliefs, if they truly felt that Black Lives Matter, or that every life is precious, then they would be screaming about this sort of thing happening. Instead, we hear crickets.

The political winds do not favor gun control, thus the faithful do not need to be rallied.  Better to save their outrage for whatever other convenient controversy can be manipulated.

4th Circuit ruled that Assault Weapons & “Large Capacity Magazines” can be banned… what nonsense.

Freed up by the Supreme Court’s ongoing reluctance to engage in depth with the Second Amendment, the Fourth Circuit has taken it upon itself to rewrite Heller en banc. In a 10–4 decision, issued yesterday afternoon, the court upheld Maryland’s ban on both “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines.” By so doing, it deprived the people of Maryland, the Carolinas, and the Virginias of the core protections to which the Constitution entitles them.

As Judge Traxler’s dissent pointedly establishes, the majority achieved this transformation by contriving “a heretofore unknown ‘test,’ which is whether the firearm in question is ‘most useful in military service.’” In effect, this “test” is designed to permit judges to determine that any weapon they might dislike is unprotected by the Second Amendment and can therefore be prohibited with impunity. Forget that Heller contains its own explicit tests. Forget the “common use” standard. Forget “dangerous and unusual.” There’s a new kid in town, and he’s coming for your rifles.

What counts as “most useful in military service” under this rubric? Well . . . everything, theoretically. “Under the majority’s analysis,” the dissenters contend, “a settler’s musket, the only weapon he would likely own and bring to militia service, would be most useful in military service — undoubtedly a weapon of war — and therefore not protected by the Second Amendment.” Indeed, “the ‘most useful in military service’ rubric would remove nearly all firearms from Second Amendment protection as nearly all firearms can be useful in military service.” A standard semi-automatic handgun is plausibly “most useful in military service.” So, too, is a hunting rifle. So is a sword. Perhaps the Fourth Circuit would like to strip the constitutional protection from those weapons, too?

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445145/fourth-circuit-decision-maryland-assault-weapons-ban-constitutional-travesty

Ted Cruz shows how ridiculous this test is here:

http://fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=politics/2017/02/23/ted-cruz-cpac-2nd-amendment-guns-feather-duster.cnn&customer=cnn&edition=domestic&env=prod

As usual, the slippery slope exists & they really do want to take your guns.

Old, but good: If the First Amendment was treated like the Second

If the first amendment was treated like the second amendment…

Any speech using 10 or more foreign words would be a felony.
(Firearm law 922(r) restricting 10 or more foreign gun parts from the 1989 import ban)

Anyone convicted of a felony or convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse or assault is not allowed freedom of speech or religion and must rely on the government to provide speech and religion for them.
(1968 gun control act)

Any speech or religions that are done in a scary tone or feel are banned.  Any assembly that looks scary is banned.
(1994 Federal Assault Weapon Ban that went after mostly cosmetic features)

Before engaging in new free speech you must pass an instant background check by a government authorized free speech dealer.  Sorry, if your name is like someone else prohibited from speech and religion, it is up to you to prove you’re not that person.
(NICS instant background check and Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993)

Any speech or work with more than 10 sentences per page is forbidden, any peaceable assembly with more than 10 people is also banned.
(Hi-Capacity Magazine bans in the Assault Weapon Ban and in many states to this day)

‘Freedom of Speech’ was only meant to be applicable to movable type presses.  The founding fathers didn’t foresee television, radio, photographs, telephones, film, or the internet.
(The idea that the 2nd amendment only applies to muskets)

You cannot exercise free speech or religion on federal property or at a school.
(Section 930. Title 18, United States Code and the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990)

Any religions, peaceable assemblies, camera, computer, telephone or free speech enabling device made before 1986 is available to use by the general public.  Any made after 1986 is only available to law enforcement.
(Closing of the NFA machine gun registry in 1986 by Regan with the Firearms Owner’s Protection Act)

A legal Polaroid camera from 1972 is now worth over $10,000 because you can’t get any new ones after 1986.  Sure you can get an illegal one, but you risk a 10-20 year felony conviction if caught.
(Market effects of the 1986 registry closure)

You can follow any religion, read any book, talk about whatever you like AFTER you pay a $200 tax to the government and pass a background check.  If you decide to buy more books, try another religion, or talk about something else, you must pay another $200 and go through another lengthy background check.
(National Firearm Act of 1934)

You CANNOT have free speech no matter what in Washington DC, it has been this way since 1977.
(Washington DC handgun ban)

Concealing free speech/religion is only permissible in some states and only after you have spent $100 and attended a state mandated course on how to speak/worship properly.  Though in some states you can’t conceal or display your speech or religion at all outside of your home.
(Conceal Carry Legislation and open carry laws)

You cannot have free speech if you are under 18 and you can’t worship anything until you are 21.
(Age restrictions on buying long guns and handguns)

If you wish to exchange free speech with a citizen in another state you must involve a government sanctioned free speech dealer to ensure they are allowed that type of free speech in their state.
(1968 Gun Control Act which mandates a FFL be needed for interstate gun purchases and transfers)

http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/2009/11/24/if-the-first-amendment-was-treated-like-the-second/

Pro-click: “The Political Philosophy Of Guns – Would America Really Be A Better Society Without Them?”

Came across this last night:

America’s decades long national argument about gun control is not a normal political debate about addressing policy to problems but about what kind of politics to have. It is fundamentally about how citizens should relate to each other and the state, and that makes it a matter of political philosophy, Politics with a capital P. That in turn explains why the debate has gone on so long without resolution and the division and frustration it inspires.

Of course it is up to Americans to decide what kind of society they should have, not philosophers, and certainly not foreign ones like me. Indeed, part of my argument is that even this most fundamental question must be decided politically, by the people, and not by appeal to the special authority of sacred constitutional principles or social science or even philosophy. Philosophers’ pronouncements of truth and rightness have no special authority over politics, nor should they. What philosophical analysis can do is offer new perspective and argumentative resources by which a political debate such as this one might be improved from its toxic stalemate.

I know what you are thinking.  This is going to be a long winded argument about how guns are bad.  WRONG!

So what does my philosophical perspective come down to? First a diagnosis. Both sides of the gun control debate know they are right. But only one side recognises it as a fundamentally philosophical dispute. The other has systematically evaded the real debate about values in favour of the faux objectivity of a statistical public health argument [See Hunt for a discussion of what the gun control debate is actually about]. Second some positive advice. The advocates of gun control need to take the political philosophy of the gun rights movement seriously and show that a society without guns is a better society not that it is a safer one.

It only gets better from there:

I’m going to have to be blunt. Gun control advocates rely excessively on a public health case that is not only much weaker than they believe it to be but also crowds out the kind of arguments that might actually win over their opponents. Their confidence that they are on the right side of history has blinded them to the fact that they have chosen to fight on the wrong ground. They keep harping on about guns killing people. As if guns were like cigarettes, and as if the numbers were big enough to matter

Guns are an excellent killing technology. They are extremely good at transforming an intention to kill into its achievement. However, that doesn’t mean that they are a particularly significant cause of death; only a particularly exciting one.The idea that forcibly removing guns from citizens would reduce death rates in any appreciable degree is a triumph of moral indignation over statistics. America is not 43rd in the world for life-expectancy because it kills so many people with guns, but, principally, because of the social gradient in health that follows from its shameful levels of socio-economic inequality [1].

Let’s go into this a little more.

We hear a lot about the large number of deaths caused by guns in America, around 33,000 per year. This sounds like a big number. But understanding whether a number is big enough to matter requires considering it in context. 2.6 million Americans die every year [CDC] [2]. Gun deaths represent just over 1% of deaths, and two thirds of those are suicides. From a public health perspective, many other causes of death seem much more deserving of our worry, and also more likely to yield to government intervention.

So happy to see someone else making the same arguments I’ve been using for years.  This one addresses a plethora of typical arguments: Guns vs Cars, Suicide, Mass Shootings, etc.  I have to disagree with the author’s “Your gun isn’t going to stop the military” argument for reasons outlined in previous posts, but you can’t have everything.