Why Don’t Women Like Guns? Because They Don’t.

Yesterday one of the three or four emails I receive every day from the boys in Fairfax was an event invitation for any of the ladies who share my home. There happen to be two at the moment: Carolyn my wife and Phyllis the cat. The email was an invitation to join the NRA’s Women’s Wilderness Escape session being held in the New Hampshire wilderness on September 14 – 16, a new program aimed at (pardon the pun) a very important demographic for Gun-nut Nation otherwise known as women.

Over the years, the gun industry has failed every time it tries to get the female gender excited about guns. They have tried manufacturing guns which feel more comfortable in smaller, female hands; they have designed guns with finishes whose colors are something other than ugly, steel grey; they have trotted out Dana ‘home-school queen’ Loesch to warn women about arming up to protect themselves from all those street thugs. None of these stupid, huckstering appeals have worked worth a damn.

Why not? Because women, generally speaking, are much more adverse than men to any safety appeal which requires them to respond by using violence in any form. And like it or not, the purpose of a gun is to commit violence, which the World Health Organization defines as any attempt to injure yourself or someone else. So even if violence is used for self-protection, you are still behaving in a violent way, and most women are simply not going to buy the idea that some kinds of violence is bad, but other kinds are good.

What I love about this latest attempt of the boys in Fairfax to rescue the tattered remains of their once-great organization (which could easily become great again if they would just stop promoting this self-defense nonsense) is the degree to which the entire Women’s Wilderness Escape program is based on fantasy, nothing more than that.  The wilderness into which the women will be escaping is actually the shooting range where Sig tests its guns, located about 5 miles from U.S. Route 1, which has at least a Mobil mini-mart, McDonald’s, Dunks, Starbucks or Wal Mart every fifty feet. There isn’t a single stretch of real estate anywhere in the United States which is less wilderness than where these women will be ‘escaping’ for a couple of days. And by the way, in order to join this wilderness cavalcade you only need to fork over $895 bucks, which doesn’t include breakfast, dinner or sleeping out in your tent – yea right.

This program gives the gun maker Sig an opportunity to do some test-marketing of one of their new entrants into the assault-rifle category, a 9mm short-barreled rifle known as the MPX. I’ll spare you all the technical details except to say that the gun has less recoil than the usual .223 round, it’s smaller and lighter than the standard AR-15, all of which makes it ‘perfect for the beginner woman shooter’ to get into guns.

Maybe I’m too old or too dumb to figure it out, but I simply don’t understand why the gun industry continues to search for  messaging that will make women realize a gun isn’t just a man’s best friend. After all, most male gun owners happen to be married, which means that 20 to 30-million females are already living in homes that contain guns. How come it’s still always the male half of the domestic arrangement who goes out to buy another gun?

One of these days the NRA will wake up to the fact that even though a majority of Americans believe that a gun is a very useful way to defend yourself from harm, a majority of Americans also don’t happen to own guns. And the reason why gun makers just can’t find a way to expand their market is because the female gender is not only present in most households, but also determines how household money will be spent.

Want to sell products to women?  See how much LVMH wants for Sephora or Estee Lauder wants for Clinique.

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Women Do Need To Protect Themselves But Not With A Gun.

It figures that while the women were marching around the NRA headquarters, the boys in Fairfax would crank up the usual pro-gun noise to promote the idea that what women really need to do to make themselves safe is to own and carry a gun.  The march, incidentally, was in response to the NRA video narrated by home-schooling queen Dana Loesch which features the usual, racist crap America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ has been throwing out for years. Notice that I’m not providing a link to the video because I believe that it should be, and should have been ignored.

ccw             When it comes to women and guns, the real issue as far as I’m concerned is not whether an alt-right media personality can promote herself by pimping for the NRA, nor is it whether the NRA did or didn’t say anything after the police murder of Philando Castile (which, in fact, they did.) The real issue is the issue of women and guns. Because the latest data shows that men outnumber women as gun owners by a margin of two to one, which means that women still represent an untapped market for gun sales, a particularly important issue because gun sales continue to lag and sag during the Age of Trump.

Meanwhile, although the gun violence prevention (GVP) folks often find themselves on the defensive when it comes to new laws on guns, they have scored some notable successes in one area, namely, the push to keep guns out of the hands of (usually) men charged with domestic abuse, with new restrictions being passed in 23 states since 2014.  In this regard, it’s the NRA which has been on the defensive, even though they recently scored victories in Indiana and Tennessee, but what these laws do is allow domestic abuse victims quicker access to guns, they don’t make it easier for the abuser to keep or get his hands on a gun.

Gun-nut Nation’s legal strategy to sidestep the issue of guns which cause injuries to domestic abuse victims and concentrate instead on why guns are everyone’s essential tool for self-defense flows directly from the way the NRA has been talking about domestic abuse for years, namely, to not talk about it at all.  One of the most popular courses in the NRA training curriculum is something called ‘Refuse To Be A Victim,’ which the Fairfax boys claim has been taught to more than 100,000 people and is allegedly an ‘award-winning’ crime prevention program although it’s not clear which organization actually gave the NRA this award.

I am, in fact, a certified NRA trainer in this particular course, and I took the certification because I wanted to see what the course was all about. What’s it about is a mélange of half-baked, vague bits of paranoia which cobbles together all the usual crap about online security and identify theft, buying and installing a burglar alarm, making sure that nobody’s following you down that dark street or about to jack your car. The student manual says the course was designed by the ‘women of the NRA’ and presumes that everyone taking the course lives in a nice, split-level suburban home. The curriculum says absolutely nothing about guns.

It also says next to nothing about domestic abuse. The student manual contains one statement to the effect that people who want information about domestic abuse situations should contact a national, non-profit hotline, but that’s as far as it goes. In fact, you would think from the course content that online identity theft for women is a much bigger threat than the fact that women are assaulted domestically millions of times each year.

NRA’s effort to promote female gun ownership as a response to domestic abuse is an insult and a sham. And idiots like Dana Loesch who pretend to represent all those tough, gun-owning women just waiting to pull out their guns on some street ‘thug’ only dishonor themselves and the organization they claim to represent.

 

THANKS TO GAIL LEHMANN.

The Dumbest Writing About Guns In 2016.

Our good friends at The Trace have just published what they call the gun violence reporting which inspired them in 2016.  It’s a good, solid list and it contains some reportage that I hadn’t previously seen, so I recommend it highly for everyone in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community, as well as for everyone in Gun-nut Nation (I’m trying to be more compassionate and inclusive as we head into 2017.)

ccw             I’m going to steal a little thunder from the folks at The Trace and publish my own list of don’t-miss gun journalism, but in this case I’m going to nominate one article for my list known as The Dumbest Gun Article of the Year.  Now you might think that I would nominate something written by John Blowhard Lott, or maybe an editorial from NRA-ILA, or perhaps a prancing video produced by Colion Noir, but nothing from Gun-nut Nation comes even close to making my dumbest list for the simple reason that I expect gun messaging from the Gang That Can’t Think Straight to be dumb. Anyone who sincerely believes that owning a gun makes him ‘free’ is simply incapable of understanding any discussion about anything that uses language taught beyond the second grade. Consequently, I reserve my concerns about dumb gun journalism for writers who should know better because they are allegedly crafting their messaging for folks from our side; i.e., the population that is concerned enough about gun violence to think and talk about it in intelligent terms.

Okay, enough with the forshpayz and here we go. For dumbest writing about guns in 2016 I nominate an article just published in GQ, written by someone named Ashley Fetters, entitled “Why Women Own Guns.” I did a quick online search and I can’t find any other article that Ms. Fetters has ever written about guns; her reporting specialties appear to focus on pop culture, a smattering of political stuff and some articles about restaurants and food. Now maybe she knows how to hold a knife and fork, but she sure doesn’t know how to hold a gun. Just take a look at the pic which leads off the story and notice that the lady’s trigger finger is stuck behind the trigger which is one place your trigger finger should never be.  But that bit of stupidity pales with what comes next.

The article’s second sentence states that “a curiously large proportion of U.S. gun owners are women,” and then cites the standard NRA noise about women getting into shooting which has never been validated at all.  She further says that a Harvard-Northeastern study found that 50% of gun owners with one gun are women, but what she doesn’t say is that most male gun owners own more than one gun. She then gushes over the comments made by four women gun-toters, including a woman who hucksters a product called the Flashbang Bra Holster which both gives her more ‘lift’ and puts her on equal ground with anyone who might do her harm.

Now here’s where things get about as stupid as they might get.  The author wants you, the reader, to know why she’s writing this piece.  Because she believes that “a gun isn’t just a weapon – it’s also an unambiguous way to signal to someone that they should fuck off and leave you alone.”  Wow! How decisive!  How hip!  How cool! How…GQ! We are then treated to the requisite stories about the bad guy standing on the back porch and the stranger at the front door, both to convey the vulnerability of womenhood in the modern age.

Let me break the news to you gently Ashley.  Gun-nut Nation has been peddling guns based on fear for the past thirty years, and the idea that women constitute a special type of victim if they venture outside the home is really rather quaint.  Women are as capable today as men (if not moreso) of making informed decisions about everything in their lives. And grabbing a gun just isn’t all that informed.