Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make that choice

Experts agree the single most important factor in surviving a criminal attack is to have an overall safety strategy before you need it, that is why I strongly support the Second Amendment and the right for law abiding citizens to own guns for sport and self defense, with their choice of gun type.

Man, his other traits notwithstanding, biologically considered, is simply the most formidable of all the beasts of prey, and, indeed, the only one that preys systematically on its own species. A thug or a professional criminal has disassociated himself from humanity and views us simply as a hawk views a sparrow. We are prey. A woman, with her smaller size and perceived timidity, is considered easy prey.

Birds can see from the side to help protect themselves, women can not. There must be a way to level the playing field and for me that is carrying concealed. The hawk does not know I have a 38 special in my holster, but he does sense the confidence in my stride, the firmness of my hand. I do not walk timidly, I walk with strength, even if it is of the hollowpoint variety.

I know women who say "I've had a self defense course (non weapon)" or "I know karate". I can tell you this, as someone with some basic training in tactical fighting and martial arts, I'm smart enough to know that in a case of extreme danger involving a person with a weapon, be it flat edged, a garrote or another gun, that's no guarantee I can protect myself. The young woman who was kidnapped from a Eastern National Park last year and later found murdered in the woods? Black Belt. Look, even with my training, most guys could mop the floor with me simply due to the disparity in size and upper body strength strength. Even size and strength may not help you if you are up against someone armed with a knife. But though women are often targets, they are not the only ones. Predators, when wounded, stoned or hungry will try and take anything. In numbers, or singularly, using whatever advantage they have, be it blindsiding or extreme aggression. Though women are considered easier, they are not alone in being prey.

Indiana Jones was no fool. Neither are my friends who carry.

Ladies, operating a gun doesn’t require upper body strength or special fighting agility, and you can learn to safely use one in a relatively short period of time.I recommend getting an instructor if you are brand new to shooting Many ranges have certified instructors available at a very reasonable cost, for one on one or group lessons and that might be more comfortable for you than having a family member or spouse teach you. Though a couple of very competent shooters I know had their husbands teach them and it was what worked best for them both. Your choice here again. Training is key though, and not just learning how to shoot. We fight with our minds first, and you need to be proficient on not just how to fight, but when. When you look for a trainer, find out as much as you can about where he/she got their training and if their area of expertise is compatible with what you want to learn. There are a number of courses and avenues for getting basic firearm safety, the principals of which I can't stress enough.

Frankly, many women have a real aptitude for target shooting, and it's the one physical activity where men and women can be truly equal. Remember, despite my saying above, "armed and safe", a gun is not a charm that will magically keep the criminals away, and you can't bluff your way out of a dangerous situation with a gun you are hesitant to use, either technically or morally. Criminals can sense fear and hesitation like any wild animal can. A gun will only protect you if you are honestly and demonstrably prepared to use it. That requires a mindset of confidence in it, in yourself, and regular practice. .

It's a choice of being proficient or being prey. Easy choice for me.


  1. Excellent post - very well said, and precisely the point that the anti-gun crowd wishes us to ignore (since they do).

  2. My guns and knives are only tools. I am the weapon. BTW: The embedded video of Jones shooting the swordsman tells a great truth about superior firepower.


  3. Great post,

    Could I have permission to forward this via email to my wife, daughter and other female friends?

    I'll put the link to your blog and give proper credit of course.

    It is a very well written explanation I've tried to tell the women who are important to me. Thanks for writing it.

  4. My stepdaughter is firmly convinced her martial arts training will keep her safe. She doesn't like guns and refuses to have anything to do with them saying she can take on any male and defeat him and she's no black belt either. Can't convince her otherwise. She's totally anti-gun and hasn't had anything serious happen to her yet. I'm afraid she'll end up like that other girl but I don't see any way to convince her otherwise.
    Good Post, Lady Brigid.

  5. The ironic part about that scene is that Ford and the actor with the sword were just cutting up---rehearsing between takes and Spielberg liked it better that the scripted version.

    Improvisation works again.

  6. Very thought provoking article, C and I have discussed this over and over and unfortunately her feminist teachings that women are "Equal" to men, and the fact that she is only ever around men who would not harm her, have given her the false sense that physically she is a match for any man. Short of actually putting on a demonstration of real strength with her as the subject, I doubt I'll ever convince her that she would be better off armed. I point her to your writings often but she rarely reads, because she already knows everything she needs to know about being a woman in the world. All I can do is try to protect her as best I can.

  7. Oh by the way, the Indiana Jones Sword/Gun scene was awesomely hilarious.
    I loved it of course.

  8. Martial arts is a fun exercise, but as they are a structured art it only works when your opponent is playing by the same rules. I used to take karate classes, because they were fun not because I was under any delusion that it would some day help me defend my life. And your statement about the size and strength disparity is spot on. There were women in my class who were green, blue, or brown belts who could not win a sparring match against me simply because they could not really hurt me unless they hit me in the face or the groin. I'm a big guy but there's no way I'm getting into a tussle with assailants unknown unless I absolutely must, that's why I carry. Not just for my safety, but for the safety of those around me who have not taken upon themselves the burden to defend themselves and others.

    "God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal." still holds true to this day :)

    By the way I made that Chocolate Guinness cake for a birthday at work, and it's unbelievable.

  9. Which is why I have the big black boomstick under my bed. Yes, it's loaded. Yes, I will kill you with it. As my uncle told me, shoot first and throw up later. Now if I could just find a way to fit it in my waistband ...

  10. Very well said, Brigid. An important message that all women need to hear from another woman.

    One would think true feminists might embrace concealed carry as a great equalizing factoir of the genders. No man, no matter how big or powerful can subdue an armed woman. It's what I intend to teach my young daughters.


  11. Excellent post Brigid, and that actually goes for everyone, male and female alike.

  12. I had lunch today with three smart strong women and each one of them knows how to take care of themselves and pack accordingly. I felt pretty darn safe at the local burrito joint!

  13. "the only one that preys systematically on its own species"

    While I appreciate the excellent writing that is endemic to this blog, the pedant in me forces an objection.

    Chimpanzees, it seems, are a match for man in cruelty.

  14. I might have written this one a little different, but I doubt I could have done it better. Fighting skills, karate, firearms, they're all tools - why settle for less than the most effective, if you've decided you're willing to use them?


  15. Even though we can't carry concealed out here in the PRK, I always try my best to be in "Condition Yellow" as soon as I open the door to go out. Just being alert, looking around as you walk confidently, will go a long way to NOT marking you as a potential victim.

  16. Hi Brigid. First found your blog on a link from Tim Schmidt's concealed carry newsletter. Your blog has a haunting attractiveness which brings me back to it occasionally. At first I thought that it was unusual to have cooking side by side with firearms, but you manage it well.

    Have not tried your recipes yet, but I share your philosophy on independence and self defense. Before I forget, your blog is very high quality. Good lay out and colors. Excellent photos. You are an artist in many ways.
    Keep up the good work.

    John in Alabama

  17. I'm home, long day on airplanes and work tomorrow. I'll read through all the comments tomorrow. Thanks so much for your thoughts while I was away.

  18. "The young woman who was kidnapped from a Eastern National Park last year and later found murdered in the woods? Black Belt."

    Her name was Meredith Emerson, and she was 24 years old. Her attacker, kidnapper, rapist and murderer was named Gary Michael Hilton. He was 61 years old at the time.

    From the linked article....

    "He told investigators he targeted the 24-year-old University of Georgia graduate because she was a woman."

    She fought like hell, and yelled like a banshee for help. Didn't work.

    "That's the one thing that broke my heart in this case," said GBI agent Clay Bridges, who interviewed Hilton. "She was doing everything she was supposed to do to stay alive, and we didn't get there in time."

    A reader left a comment on one of my own posts where I was discussing how women have a huge disadvantage when going toe-to-toe with a male. "There is a name for places where women go after they try to take men on in a fistfight. They are called Battered Women Shelters."

    Good post, Brigid.


  19. My English is very bad, but I can say, that this text was wery accurate (strict?). Super!

  20. Well said ma'am. I have a 7 year old daughter who will be taught how to use a firearm to defend herself. If she likes to hunt, I'd be glad to take her out, but if she doesn't - okay by me too, I'm not going to impose that choice of purposely taking lives on her. But DEFENDING herself - yes, she will have that option. I love her too much to deny her that - there is only so much I can do.

    Hand to hand fighting skills are good - no GREAT to know, but nothing equalizes a woman's abilities to a man's like a firearm. Even an arthritic older person who knows how to defend themselves and has the will has a good chance of coming out alive against a gang of hoods.

  21. All the training, all the hardware in the world won't help you if you get blindsided because you weren't paying attention to the world around you. Keep your head up, keep looking around you.

    Great post.

  22. Good stuff as usual Red, but it's my opinion that, in general, women become better shots quicker due to the fact that females have better hand to eye coordination and better manual dexterity than do us guys.

    Plus they aren't burdened by all the John Wayne-I-can-shoot-'cause-I-saw-it-the-movies-stuff. In general.

    But I agree, there is no reason why women cannot shoot a firearm accurately and operate them safely and proficiently.

    Here's hoping more of them learn those skills.

    PS Welcome back!

  23. Good post. Here at my university there is an annual "Rape Awareness Week" that is supposed to educate the public about rape, and always a "Take Back the Night" march which is accompanied by at least one armed university police officer. Not once in the week is there a self-defense class for women. But, as one participant told me, "It empowers women." Some of them will, I hope, feel empowered enough to learn how to defend themselves.


  24. Yes! The Marine Corps taught me to fight with bayonets, knives, fists and feet - In case I didn't have a functioning rifle in reach!

    I just picked-up the latest "Dies the Fire" book by Stirling. The world was a much nastier place when fights were decided purely on physical strength.

    Mobs and gangs were next to impossible to stop.

  25. Allow me to add my voice to those women who have had years of martial arts training and now carry for protection. It was precisely that training that made me realize I cannot take on a full-grown male head-to-head.

    My husband is a smallish man, very strong from a physically demanding job, but we both know our limitations. We met in kung-fu class, and we went to the concealed-carry class together. We still go to kung fu class together, the only difference is now we both go armed. Class is in a nasty part of town, and there have been plenty of incidents where the local thugs bust into a martial arts school to "test" out the students.

    I think the gun training and the fighting training go hand-in-hand. From my kung-fu teacher I have learned to be calm while under attack, respond with maximum force, and get the hell away from there before the police come.

  26. Weapons will always be secondary to the will and skill to use them on demand.

    "So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave".


  28. Very well put and an important issue that more people would do well to remember.


  29. Hi Brigid,
    Excellent post, as usual. Well reasoned, and well written. I agree with you 100%, but have to express my frustration, with concealed carry, even though I too carry concealed.

    I am not an imposing figure, and do not present myself with the self assuredness I once did, because of back problems, and as of about a month ago my right knee has started giving me a lot of trouble because of the loss of most of the cartilage. So unfortunately I look, and move like a target. I do try to stay in condition yellow, and walk, and behave with as much confidence as I can muster. The conundrum is that there are far too many places where you may not carry concealed. You can not carry in school zones, Federal buildings, Courthouses, Government buildings, places which are posted, and any establishment that sells liquor, to include restaurants that serve liquor. All levels of government prohibit their employees from keeping a weapon in their car, if the car is parked in a government owned parking lot. Although, there are two bills pending before the State Legislature that seek to address two of those prohibitions. One will permit concealed carry in a restaurant that serves liquor, as long as the person carrying is not drinking. This one is facing stiff opposition, and the media conveniently omits the requirement that the person carrying must not drink. All of the articles end with the "axiom" that "guns and alcohol don't mix". The other bill would permit people to keep a firearm in their vehicles, as long as the weapon is "out of sight".

    The way I see it, the only way to carry concealed, and not have to be leaving your weapon in the vehicle, which I never consider the weapon secured, is to plan your outings carefully to avoid any of these prohibited places, or to violate the law. I am curious. Do you all, leave home carrying, shed your weapon, leaving it the vehicle, every time you hit one of these places, and then re-acquire it, if it is still there when you return to the vehicle? Am I the only one that sees this as a monumental problem? I would really like to know.

    Glad you are back home safely. Pleasant dreams.

  30. Hi Brigid,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. Very gracious of you, but I expected no less from Lady Brigid. Your response helps me put things into perspective. I suppose I wouldn't feel so hamstrung, if there wasn't a prohibition against carrying in any establishment where liquor is sold for consumption on the premises. I have written my State Legislators, and am keeping my fingers crossed that the pending bills pass.

    Do you mean to say that you can carry, while on duty, but off duty you are relegated to complying with your State's CCW requirements? If you can, or are required to carry on duty, seems to me that you should be able to carry off duty without restriction, but then, what do I know?

    A pat for Barkley, please, and tell him that the last time I checked, the dog biscuit, and bacon supplies are safe.

  31. Late to the party...nothing unusual about that...but I wanted to share my side, if I may.

    I do not carry and neither will I ever. I have my reasons, though I support others right to choose differently than I have--on this and all else. However, both of my children--son and daughter--will learn gun safety, will know how to handle guns and will be allowed to make their own choices when the time comes. They will also know how to be aware of their surroundings and to not be stupid. Oddly enough, I'm a 37-year-old woman and have lived in some of the most dangerous cities and situations in the world and I have yet to be accosted in any way--at least not in any way that a gun would have saved me. In fact, it would have most likely gotten me killed. I might have a thing or two to teach them as well.

  32. Well made points Bridgid, as any martial artist will tell you if the fight actually happens out in the real world you have already made some big mistakes! The most important thing my martials arts training has taught me is the art of not being there. In the dojo an inch or two from where the blow lands is plenty, in real life situations make that a few tens of yards at least!
    Playing by the rules, yep a fast way into trouble, at least my martials arts school made sure we knew a load of dirty tricks in case we ended up in scraps that don't follow the rules


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