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Women & Guns

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Nov. 4th, 2004 | 12:55 am

Some years ago I was at a green party event and listened to a talk by Sara Amir, an Iranian woman who "provoked the new regime by her refusal to wear the Muslim cover hejab, becoming a leader among her female coworkers."

She pointed out how if the fundamentalists rise to power, all of the rights that women have fought for have can be stripped away in a few years.

Combined with the "frailty myth", I'm wondering if we women should be able to defend our freedom with weapons. The frailty myth argued that rape, as a systematic tool of oppression intended to keep women weak and fearful is best countered by physically strong women who can fight back. (Stress based self defence training like Impact is also plus.)

It is unfortunate, but one way to limit abuses by the state is to be able to shoot back. The zapatista movement managed to gain concessions for indigenous people after 500 years of being oppressed once they went on the offensive with modern PR and weapons.

So am I crazy or does it make sense to be able to back up non-violent resistance with the credible ability to use violence?

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Comments {7}

[you'll find a light, find a friend, find a way]

(no subject)

from: artemii
date: Nov. 4th, 2004 01:20 am (UTC)
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in my experience, the "frailty myth" is simply another outlet for people to blame victims.

the zapatistas, by the way, disappeared for a couple of years after that, but appear to be back now with the belief that the government isn't delivering what was promised.

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her other side

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from: saltbox
date: Nov. 4th, 2004 04:50 am (UTC)
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The frailty myth argued that rape, as a systematic tool of oppression intended to keep women weak and fearful is best countered by physically strong women who can fight back.

While I believe that physical self-defense is important for everyone, it doesn't get you everywhere. I was raped when I was barely conscious---no amount of physical training would've stopped it. (In fact, that's what hurt me for a really long time, too---that I *knew* I was physically stronger than her, yet couldn't do anything.) When I was mugged, a gun wouldn't've helped. The guy already had a gun out when he came up to us. There would've been no time. Physical strength would've done nothing, either.

All I'm saying is that it's no panacea. I'm not even sure it's a positive thing in every situation. If I had a gun when I was mugged, it most likely would've been in my bag, which was taken in the mugging. Then there'd be yet another gun on the streets.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 4th, 2004 11:05 am (UTC)
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I'd agree, when the attacker has the element of surprise which is quite common in the case of crime, there's not much to be done except to make sure you have workable trustworthy police.

I'm actually suffering from a much deeper sense of paranoia. There are two potential scenarios that I am hopefully giving too much credence too.

One is that if the feds bankrupt themselves and/or peak oil weakens our economy, we will end up in something approximating one of those failed states. In that situtation it seems like people with weapons turn to banditry or to become warlords and try to take and hold territory. Considering the right-wing crazies have all the guns it seems like they'd be able to prey on whatever things the left might build up to work through those problems.

Additionally periodically when fanatics take control of a society, you occasionally end up with purges of intellectuals (russia, cambodia) or women (the inquisition, iran, afghanistan), or other scapegoated groups (jews).

I'm worried that the people behind this election the same who support things like operation rescue and that if given the chance they'd use physical force to try to restrict women or gays. I don't know how likely we are to end up like the warsaw jews, but my pessimistic paranoid side things it's better to be prepared.

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her other side

(no subject)

from: saltbox
date: Nov. 4th, 2004 09:12 pm (UTC)
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honestly, I think a gun in most instances we are likely to face would just give a false sense of security, which is even more dangerous. and this is coming from someone who knows what being subjected to violence is like. seems more efficient to focus on affirmative change than reacting anyway.

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Diane Trout

(no subject)

from: alienghic
date: Nov. 5th, 2004 10:48 am (UTC)
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I'm just worried that we're currently on a collision course for large scale environmental and economic collapse, and as that climate change military report put it "given the choice between going hungry and raiding, humans raid."

I'm not really sure how what affirmative change is possible since as far as I can tell there must be a die off in my expected lifetime.

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her other side

(no subject)

from: saltbox
date: Nov. 5th, 2004 11:54 am (UTC)
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How is that qualitatively different from someone who, though they may share environmental beliefs, nevertheless buy an SUV because they fear being killed on the road by existing SUV's? To me, the ony real difference is in scale, because you're working from a "can't beat 'em, join 'em" perspective.

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Vicky the Compost Queen

I made an idle jest last summer that I would

from: vixter
date: Nov. 4th, 2004 12:06 pm (UTC)
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buy a shotgun if w was reselected. Not a handgun. I just want to be able to protect my property if things get really grim. Plus it is a great potential barter item.

Don't forget even more recently, the people in Rwanda. Mostly hacked to death by machetes, swords and spears. A few more guns would have gone a long ways in self defense.

I've actually shot a shotgun and a rifle. That probably puts me in 99% percentile of women regarding gun awareness. But I've never loaded or cleaned a gun. Skeet shooting was kind of fun. Not something I'd want to do more than once a year, though.

I would hope my future gun would be only used for show. To force the brigands to move to an easier target. Of course, I really hope I would never have to use it at all.

I think owning a gun gives you more flexibility in certain situations. And the cost/benefit analysier shows that the cost of the gun and time spent learning how to use it is certainly negligible compared to potentially losing your life or freedom. In a way, it is just another insurance policy.


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