Restraining Orders: A Phony Refuge from an Abuser
By Gerard Valentino
A recent story in Indiana should strike home in the self-defense community and should resonate with advocates for battered women in America.
In Brownsburg, just north of Indianapolis, the Associated Press is reporting that a woman was stabbed to death while her daughters, aged 8 and 12, hid in a closet.
Later, the 12 year old girl called the police and reported that "daddy stabbed mommy." Such a horrific outcome in this case is indicative of the false hope of protective orders. In this case, the victim had just extended an existing order of protection that was designed to keep the murderer from having any contact with his wife and daughters.
As it turned out, the piece of paper had no effect in keeping a deranged man from killing his wife.
While restraining orders are an important part of an overall security plan that terrorized women should create, they aren't the enforcement tool that many women are led to believe.
That piece of paper is as valuable as the silly "no guns" signs that businesses post to keep legal concealed carry permit holders from brining a gun into the store. Instead of having the intended effect on guns in the business, however, the signs are simply an invitation to criminals who now know that nobody inside the store can fight back with a gun.
A restraining order is somewhat more useful than the "no guns" signs when it comes to keeping stalkers and wife beating thugs away from their victims, but they still won't stop someone intent on doing harm to their targeted victim. Pay attention to the news and you will begin to notice a staggering number of women killed by men despite the order of protection. Most police administrations recommend an order of protection without anything other than calling 911 as a way for a woman to enforce it. Most women won't make it to the phone, as was the case in Brownsburg where the victim was found in her bed. Without the means to call the police, the restraining order is useless.
When it comes to a deranged wife-beater, however, the amount of time for the police to respond is enough to kill his former wife or girlfriend, and they usually don't care about being caught.
In Ohio, as an example, the concealed carry law allows for the issuance of a temporary emergency license to people who have a legitimate reason to fear for their life. They still have to go through the formal process and background check, but get to have a gun for protection in the meantime.
Self-defense advocates in Ohio have tried to get the government to automatically notify a woman who gets a restraining order the information about how to get the emergency license. Unfortunately, the movement is without success at this point and all pro-concealed carry groups in Ohio are left to get the word out through other means.
Often, the media reports falsely that a person with a gun in the house is likely to shoot a friend or relative instead of an attacker, and the misinformation keeps women from utilizing the very best tool for self-defense – a firearm. Had the victim in Brownsburg chose to arm herself with a gun, the outcome still might have been the same. But, without it, she was completely defenseless and lacked the means to fight off her attacker.
The problem is that many women see the restraining order a silver bullet that will keep them safe from their former abuser or stalker. Many times what the victim needs isn't a proverbial silver bullet, but instead a real bullet fired from a gun she bought for self-defense. Ultimately, many victims never even investigate using the one tool that will keep them alive.
They choose not to buy a gun because of the false information put out by the establishment media and by some self-defense experts who claim the gun will be taken away and used by the stalker or wife-beater. In a world where women demand equal treatment under the law, it is ironic that some accept being told they can't properly handle a firearms. Even worse is the fact that cases where law abiding citizens are disarmed and have their own gun used against them are incredibly rare.
Oddly, a police officer has a better chance of being disarmed, because they openly wear their badge of authority and gun. That makes it easier for a thug to ambush a cop and take their gun.
Private citizens, however, usually have to carry their gun concealed and have the advantage of usually getting some warning they are under attack, whether that is a window breaking, a dog barking or some other overt sign.
While a gun isn't a perfect solution when women are victimized by a domestic abuser or stalker, it is one of the best solutions. When combined with a restraining order, good home protection strategies and common sense safety oriented behavior by the victim, it become the very best last line of defense.
Implementing a firearm as part of a self-defense strategy is just that - the last line of defense. Rightfully, in most states it is only permissible to use deadly force when in fear of severe bodily harm or being killed. An imminent rape is proper cause for using deadly force in self-defense in every state, and so is having your home invaded. Unlike when you are the victim of a home invasion by a stranger, if your door is kicked in by someone who used to beat you, or has stalked you for years there is every chance they don't want to play backgammon.
In the moment, when your life is in jeopardy, when your children are screaming and your dog is barking, wouldn't you rather have more than a piece of paper and a phone to turn to?
The simple fact is a restraining order is only useful for lining a bird cage when your tormentor kicks down your door. Violating the order will be the first charge plea-bargained away in pre-trial jockeying between attorneys, so it won’' even add to the jail time the offender receives.
In contrast, when that door gets kicked in, a .357 caliber slug will be extremely useful and is likely to make the wife-beater reconsider his choice to attack. A second slug, is likely to definitively change his mind. If it doesn't change his mind, the third slug will likely make up his mind for him.
Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Treasurer and writes for the ValentinoChronicle.com.