Yesterday Shannon Watts got into a Twitter kerfuffle with home-school queen Dana Loesch and gun-toting enthusiast Kimberly Corban about whether guns could be carried into the NRA’s annual meeting in Nashville. What set off the argument was Shannon’s tweet that guns weren’t allowed into the hall where Wayne-o gave his pep talk to the crowd: “@NRA fails to mention that its annual meeting was a ‘safe space’; no guns while their chief lobbyist spoke,” a comment that was branded a lie by the Gun-nut Nation noise machine, a judgement then seconded by Loesch who accused Shannon of ‘blocking and obsessing’ rather than telling the truth.
The truth is that what Shannon said about the NRA show was absolutely true. If you were licensed to carry a gun in Nashville, you could bring your gun into the main exhibition hall. But guns weren’t allowed into the auditorium where Wayne-o rallied the troops, ditto during the appearance of Trump. Which is exactly what Shannon said; i.e., no guns when Wayne-o gave his speech.
What caught my eye, however, was not that Ms. Watts was criticized for saying something she didn’t say. If Shannon had a nickel for every time she’s been accused of saying something that wasn’t true when what she said happened to be true, she could pay off the mortgage on her house. So that kind of attack is hardly new news.
What I found interesting about this exchange was the statement by Kimberly Corban that carrying a gun around creates a ‘safe space.’ What space is she talking about? I guess she’s referring to the space that was between her and the guy who came through a window into her apartment in 2006, held her against her will and then raped her; an attack that she immediately reported to the police and then followed through by testifying at the trial in which the creep was convicted of sexual assault. According to Kimberly, the situation would have been different if she had been able to grab a gun even though by the time she woke up the attacker was already standing next to her bed.
I’m not trying in any way to downplay the terrifying ordeal and subsequent emotional trauma suffered by Kimberly Corban or any other woman who is the victim of rape. But a year after the attack she was training rape counselors at a local center, and now she’s morphed into a national celebrity, complete with the requisite appearances on Fox, as well as challenging President Obama during his CNN town hall gun debate.
So the woman who claims that she wants to “educate the public on sexual assault” now basically spends her time promoting 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ Which makes her a perfect pitchman for the NRA’s continuing effort to get a gun into every American home, because who’s going to argue with a woman who knows how it feels to be unable to defend herself from a rape?
There’s only one little problem. Granted, Kimberly’s experience makes her testimony about rape a compelling and deeply-troubling description of this traumatic event. But that terrible moment doesn’t make her an expert on how to defend herself or her kids. And it certainly doesn’t give her any expertise at all when it comes to defending herself or others with a gun.
Want to consult an expert on using a gun for self-defense? Let’s start with Gary Kleck, the famed criminologist who invented the idea that Americans used guns to protect themselves from crimes more than two million times each year. And while Kleck doesn’t believe his own numbers any longer, leave it to ‘experts’ like Kimberly Corban to continue promoting the myth. Contrary to that nonsense, Kleck published an article in 2004 which showed that resisting sexual assault with a gun was no more effective than using other self-defense measures, like yelling for help.
Hey Shannon, keep telling it like it is. Keep pushing back on self-promoters like Kimberly Corban and Dana Loesch. The worst result from your efforts is that people will learn the truth.