The Reverend Pat Robertson has been telling Americans about all kinds of things for nearly fifty years on his 700 Club television show, and recently he spoke his mind about the issue of gun violence. In response to a question from a young viewer who said that his father was “always” threatening his mother with a gun, Robertson said, “You ought to go to your Mom and say, ‘Mom, this thing is scaring me, and I ask you please to get my father to have some help.’” Robertson also advised the viewer not to report anything to the police. “You don’t want your father busted,” the good Reverend said.
This may strike you as a rather novel way to deal with potential gun violence – telling the potential victim not to report the possibility that she is going to get shot – but it’s right out of the playbook on gun violence published by – you guessed it – the NRA. Take a look at the brochure for the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program, for example, which allegedly has been read by 26 million children and tells kids that when they see a gun they should do the following: Stop – Don’t Touch – Leave The Area – Tell An Adult.
Now what happens if the gun the kid sees is in the hands of an adult who happens to be the kid’s father and is threatening the kid’s mother? Then you don’t have to do anything because an adult is already holding the gun. And what if the gun is lying there in the street? Either way, notice that it’s the same approach now endorsed by Reverend Robertson – Don’t Tell The Cops.
The NRA’s refusal to get law enforcement involved in stopping gun violence extends to the issue of domestic violence as well. Several years ago with great hoopla, the NRA rolled out a new version of their Refuse To be A Victim training program which was developed by the “ladies of the NRA.” The course, which I am certified to teach, covers security in the home, workplace, out of doors and online, but the 80+ page course workbook says nothing about how to protect yourself from domestic violence or what we now call Intimate Partner Violence or IPV.
One out of five homicide victims each year are women, but more than four out of five are killed in domestic disputes. To the extent that women commit murder, roughly 10% of all perpetrators, virtually every incident started as a spousal or domestic argument that got out of control. Either way, the idea that anyone, adult or child, who witnesses a potential gun assault should not report it to the cops is an idea that is both dangerous and absurd.
Robertson, you may recall, embarrassed even the most ardent religious conservatives when he joined with Jerry Falwell who said that the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center was God’s way of punishing America for being home to abortionists, lesbians, gays and liberal advocacy groups like People for the American Way. So nobody should be surprised when he comes up with a rather unique way of dealing with something like IPV. But if the NRA is trying to figure out new strategies to get more women into guns, they better tap Reverend Jerry on the shoulder and explain to him why he’s so wrong. On the other hand, what he’s saying really isn’t any different from what the NRA tells adults and kids to do and what not to do when there’s a gun in the wrong hands or a gun just lying around.