For me personally, owning a gun was something I NEVER thought about; it didn’t even cross my mind for most of my life as a wife and mother. In fact, I was the mother that would not even allow her children to play with toy guns!
But, as so many of ours do, my life changed. Divorced with grown children, I suddenly began to realize my vulnerability and my inability to protect myself were the unthinkable to happen. My single lifestyle meant that I was going everywhere alone… to the store… to work…I was alone in my home every night…I drove 200 miles to visit my children, that was the story of my life. What would I do if my car broke down in a remote area? What would I do if…? So I began thinking seriously about my safety, and wondered about the possibility of acquiring a gun. Would I be able to use it? Could I shoot someone if I had to?
My First Shots
One day a friend took me to a shooting range so I could get the experience of holding and firing a gun. At first it was intimidating, but after the experience, I felt an exhilarating sense of confidence and empowerment. I knew that I was indeed capable of using a gun. From that day forward I never considered myself to be helpless again.
We Are the Prey of Violent Crime
The statistics are overwhelming and the disturbing stories we see in the news are bound to make us stop, think and worry. My guess is that violent crime has either touched your life personally, or the life of women you know. Although I hate to dwell on such unpleasant realities, it is important to realize just how much violent crime is unleashed on women every day and why it is so very important that we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
- There were 298,410 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2016, more than 800 per day, up from 248,000 in 2007. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2016 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.3 per 1,000 for males. National Crime Victimization Survey: Criminal Victimization, 2016. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. This means every 90 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
- The United States Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that 3.4 million persons said they were victims of stalking during a 12-month period report dated Sept. 2012. Women experience 22 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 and older, while men experience approximately eight stalking victimizations per 1,000 males age 18 and older. Stalking Victimization in the United States -Revised. U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Available at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/svus_rev.pdf
- According to the Bureau of Statistics, from 2015-2016 the rates of violent victimization increased slightly for females ages 18-24, and jumped significantly for females ages 25 to 34 (from 24.6 to 33.4 per 1,000). For females ages 50-64, violent victimization also slightly increased during the same time period.
- The estimated number of violent crime offenses in 2016 was 1,248,185, an increase of 4.1 percent from the 2015 estimate.
- The violent crime of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 8.6 percent in 2016 when compared with the 2015 estimate. Aggravated assault offenses increased 5.1 percent, and rape offenses increased 4.9 percent. The violent crime of robbery rose 1.2 percent when compared with the 2015 estimate.
- The murder rate was 5.3 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016, a 7.9 percent increase when compared with the estimated rate for the previous year.
Do You Need A Gun?
Do you need a gun? Once again, only you can answer that question. The fact that you are considering this very important option shows your desire to empower yourself with knowledge, and with that, you become a Well Armed Woman – with or without a gun. When you think about this question, think about my story and imagine that it is yours.
Begin reading the series here: Making the Decision Part 1: Do I Need a Gun?