For some reason, these three can add up to equal “I could never have a gun”. Why is that? Is it genetics? Is it upbringing or social training? I am not trying to change anyone’s mind. We each have the right and privilege of making choices and decisions for ourselves. I am simply attempting to open some minds that are possibly walled-off by the common “brick and mortar” of the unknown and the unfamiliar. Let’s dissect this equation and see if we can make some sense of it. We need to begin to chip away at the wall of fear regarding firearms many women have.
Let’s start by talking about the FEMALE…
The pretty, dainty, gentle, and nurturing gender. Always taking care of others, always polite, and never aggressive. Most of us grew up in Sunday dresses, playing with Barbies, cooking pretend food, and nursing our sick stuffed animals back to health. These things aren’t bad, they are part of what makes us wonderful and part of the reason we grow up to be such amazing mothers and wives. However, it is what has contributed to the “bricks and mortar” we discussed at the start of this article. We were protected little girls then. Now we are independent and living in a world that requires us to be strong and capable of protecting ourselves. We must get more comfortable with some traits and skills that will need nurturing and practice. Perhaps we can look at it as learning to think and play like a boy!
Now, lets talk about FEAR…
Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. The key word here is perceived. Fear can be a very healthy and valid emotion that, when based on a known and real threat, can work to protect us. When is a fear valid for you? Knowledge builds confidence and gives a framework to sort valid perceptions from invalid ones. With knowledge, you may make a clear decision that a firearm is not for you. That decision will be based on information that has become known to you, therefore truly validating your decision as the right one for you. The unknown, however, is just that – not known. We need to make it known. So our task is to take the unknown of firearms and make it known. To come to the place of knowledge in what it means to own and fire a gun and under what circumstances would you be willing to use it. This does not mean going and getting a gun and shooting it today; it may simply means doing some research, reading articles and books, as well as talking with women that have come to be comfortable with firearms. The task is to take the unfamiliar and make it familiar.
Something else to consider is the very real fear, based on knowledge and facts that we see daily on and in the news, that as women, we are vulnerable to and at risk of violent attacks, rape, and home invasions. I encourage you to really consider what you fear the most and explore why. What would you do if assaulted violently? Do you think that you are not at risk of such horrific attacks? Should your fear of guns be greater than your fear of, heaven forbid, being attacked?
Finally, the FIREARM…
A firearm is a machine, a rather simple one that uses pressure from a burning powder or an explosive charge to force a projectile through and out of a metal tube. It is made up of parts, each serving a different function and put together in a specific manner. There is no motor. Specific actions must happen for the round to fire. It operates in only one way. One simple action that can only be activated by a human. I am being very simplistic here, I realize this, but the point is, a firearm does not fire spontaneously on its own. A series of actions must happen in order for a round to be fired. Just as a car cannot start itself or steer itself. A parked car is just that, a parked car. A firearm can’t aim itself and cannot fire itself. As we all have heard many times, guns don’t hurt people, people hurt people.
I think we can all see the reality in such a statement.
As women, we have our share of experience with machines, many way more complicated than a firearm! It’s probably fair to say that most of us have not, however, had much experience with such masculine machines. Things like car engines, power tools, or guns are not always common for women to handle. We can, no matter how limited our experiences have been, learn to operate these or any machines. We can do this simply through the process of learning and understanding them and how they work.
“Rube Goldberg machines/devices/inventions”…
So we know what a firearm is. It is a machine made of parts with no motor. It is a machine that must be manipulated by a human to fire and it is something we can choose to become familiar with and skilled in operating safely.
Where do we go from here?
We have looked at the three F’s in an attempt to understand why women so often hesitate to consider armed personal defense. We understand these three things:
- We have been raised to be compassionate, gentle women.
- We have fears that we need to understand and that only knowledge and experience can clarify.
- Guns are foreign to us.
I want women to feel empowered and to be responsible for their lives and their safety in a way that brings them confidence. There is more than one way to do this. In order to take responsibility for your safety in the way that is right for you, you must with an un-mortared mind, fully explore and understand your options. Then you can make decisions from a place of knowledge and understanding. That is where the feminine and firearms meet!