Bloomberg video proves need for equalizer
Imagine you’re a single mother of a small child. You’re 5’2”, 125 lbs. You and your young son are alone in your home one afternoon when your abusive ex-husband shows up at your door – 6’, 180 lbs – demanding that you give him the child. You have a restraining order against him, but he has chosen to ignore that and is violently pounding on your front door as he yells at you to open the door and turn over your son.
This is the scene played out in a new propaganda commercial from Mike Bloomberg’s anti-rights company, Everytown for Gun Safety. In the short ad we see the woman frantically telling a 911 operator what’s happening and begging for police assistance, but as usual in life-and-death situations, seconds count, and the police are still minutes away. Rather than running with her son out the back door to a neighbor’s, or sending the boy to his room to keep him from witnessing what is undoubtedly going to be an ugly confrontation, the panicking mother pleads with the 911 dispatcher as her frightened son sits quietly on the couch. Suddenly the man kicks open the front door and enters the room, grabbing the child and declaring his intention to take him. The mother cries and ineffectually pulls at the man’s arm, helpless against his greater size and strength.
It was at this point in the emotionally-charged piece that I thought of the old saying; “God created mankind, but Sam Colt made them equal.”
The scenario depicted in this graphic video is one which plays out all too often in this country. Of course there are exceptions, but the fact is, men are generally bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than women, and a man usually doesn’t need a weapon to physically dominate and seriously harm, or even kill, a woman. This anti-gun commercial inadvertently demonstrates just why guns are so important to self-defense. Unless she has some very specialized skills or tools to level the battlefield, a woman is at a significant disadvantage against a man. In the Bloomberg dramatization, the disadvantage grows exponentially when the man pulls a pistol from his jacket pocket and points it at the cowering mother – the scene fading to black as we hear a gunshot.
I would never suggest that a gun is the only, or best, option for a woman in a situation like this. Everyone is different, and every situation is unique, but relying on nothing more than a flimsy front door and a telephone is just foolish. Home security should always be a multi-layered plan that includes threat detection, physical barriers, escape routes, and contingency plans. But when it comes down to kill or be killed, an average, frightened, unarmed woman, senior, or even a healthy young man, is no match for an average, enraged, unhinged thug.
My own great-grandmother was placed in a situation like this when she was only 16-years old. She had been left to watch her younger brothers and sisters while her parents went into town from their remote farm. A crazed man entered their yard and Mama, as we always called her, bolted the front door and rounded up all of the other children, ordering them to lock themselves in the bathroom as the man pounded on the door, loudly declaring his intention to rape her and murder her siblings. Everything happened in a matter of moments. There were no close neighbors and there was nowhere to run, but there was a contingency plan. As the other children huddled in the big claw-foot bathtub, Mama stood alone in the front hall holding her father’s shotgun. She had cocked the hammers just as her father had taught her. She knew that her life, and the lives of her brothers and sisters depended on her, and she was not going to let this stranger win. As the heavy door gave way, Mama took aim and pulled the triggers. Badly injured, the man fled into the nearby swamp and was presumed dead, though his body was never found.
I have no doubt that this traumatic incident scarred my great-grandmother for life, but that scar was not nearly as bad as the alternative. She lived another seventy-some years, raising three children of her own and enjoying numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren before passing peacefully in her sleep. If she had lacked the will and the means to defend herself on that horrible night, Mama and her brothers and sisters would have died and an entire branch of our family – something like thirty people, including me – would never have existed.
It’s ironic that one of the objectives of the Bloomies' graphic commercial is to support calls for the disarmament of individuals placed under a Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO. Lawyers commonly use TROs in contentious divorces, and the first response when a TRO is filed is for the attorney for the other spouse to counter with their own TRO. In a case like the one in the ad, were their desired law in effect, cross-TROs would have probably made it illegal for both the man and the woman to possess firearms. Of course, the man demonstrated his willingness to break the law when he violated his restraining order, kicked in the front door, assaulted the woman, and attempted to kidnap the child. Does anyone think another law would have deterred him? But the good, law-abiding victim would have lost her right to a means of effective defense.
No one supports “wife-beaters” and thugs. Laws do have impacts, but often the most tragic results come in accordance with the law of unintended consequences.
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