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Women with guns

Guest Blogger

Paxton Quigley is on a mission: to get more guns in the hands of more women. And she’s already well on her way, having trained thousands of women to wield a weapon to protect themselves. “In Armed & Female: Taking Control,” Quigley describes the types of self-defense that work – yes, packing heat but also street awareness, good fighting techniques and a safe room in the home. She is unenthusiastic about pepper spray, stun guns, tasers and standard Karate. While Quigley would prefer a world without weapons, she argues there is a need for law-abiding citizens – especially women – to have access to guns. Here, she describes how she came to realize the importance of arming women against rapists and other attackers.

By Paxton Quigley

I have trained 7,000 women between the ages of 11 and 80 to shoot guns. Many of them were like me: scared or opposed to guns – and not wanting to deal with the idea of using one. But they had a wake-up call that made them persist.

Mine was a 2 a.m. phone call when I learned a close friend had been raped in her own home. I decided this would not happen to me. So I made an appointment at a gun range and then canceled because of fear. But I rescheduled it and learned the basics.

Feeling competent was another story. I spent more than 400 hours learning to handle a gun for self defense, and it transformed my life. I was a communications executive with a master’s degree in anthropology from University of Chicago. After my gun training, I graduated from an internationally recognized executive security and anti-terrorist school and became a security professional.

Knowing how to defend yourself gives you the grounding for basic survival any place in the world. Women on our frontier accepted that the world was a dangerous place and many knew how to use firearms to defend their families. But today we allow women to become victimized because as a society we are squeamish to acknowledge the dark underbelly of our culture. One in six women is raped, a crime that also sometimes ends in murder. Rapists are rarely caught and, when they are, it’s after an average of 15 crimes.

Why are we as a society, not up in arms -- calling for programs at work and school in self-defense training? Why not focus on the powerful idea of turning the tables on assailants? Stories of real-life “Nikitas” -- the TV tough who dispatches attackers -- are out there but they don’t get a lot of attention because these people don’t wind up as victims. They are people like the elderly couple in the retirement community who foiled burglars; the woman abducted in a trunk who found the gun she carried in her purse; the college girl who used her training in “model mugging” to stop a much-larger attacker; the roommates held hostage by the “pizza man” and who distracted him until they got their gun from a hollowed-out book.

People who fight back should be celebrated for their prowess – and many women are quietly learning to defend themselves. But in our culture it is considered unwomanly to pursue a self defense plan that gives you some peace of mind. That attitude only empowers men who commit crimes against women because the criminals recognize that women are easy targets.

When I visited San Quentin to learn about the men who do these crimes, they said that most women weren’t prepared for an attack and physically were no match. These men were in favor of women actually arming themselves!

They said if they knew women were armed, they would think twice. Consider what happened in Orlando when women began buying guns after a wave of violent assaults. The police gave training sessions which were publicized in the papers. Rapes plummeted in Orlando while increasing in the surrounding cities.

Today, it is legal in 40 states to carry a concealed weapon. That’s just one option in an arsenal of self-protection for women but sometimes it’s the best one. Some day I hope that while women can think the best of the world, they will be prepared for the worst. Victimization isn’t a prerequisite to discovering ways to achieve your own personal power.

It is difficult to admit that our free country is also prone to predatory violence. But when we leave the survival of women to chance, we sell them out. Perhaps this explains why many women enjoy seeing Nikita blast a bad guy with her AK 47. For once, a woman is celebrated for taking control.

By Steven E. Levingston  | October 15, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Guest Blogger  | Tags:  women guns; women self protection; women self defense;  
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Comments

The biggest myth of the "old west" was the bank robbers abounded...they did not. While the James/Younger gang robbed trains,etc, they did so in an area where theh people knew them...and were unlikely to hinder their deeds. When they tried to rob 2 banks in Northfield, MN on the other hand, most were shot and killed.

The lesson learned here is that an armed populace can defend itself from those who would take by force that which doesn't belong to them.

Back in the '80s a bank was robbed in Texas, and two people who happened to be "passing by" saw what was occuring and held the robbers at bay (with their firearms) until the police came...

When the people are able to defend themselves, statistics show that crime goes down. When people are unable to defend themselves the crime rate goes up (see Chicago/Washington DC who have the highest muder rates in the country and are only NOW just permitting their people to own firearms, a right that is mandated in the US Constitution.

Switzerland, where every household is issued a rifle has one of the lowest crime rates in the world...imagine that. But here, where we have a right to do so, many states and municipalities attempt to place so many hurdles in the way that it is virtually impossible to own firearms. Laws that interfere with that right only hinder law abiding citizens from owning guns. Criminals can get them easily...so baring ownership only keeps them out of the hands of honest people.

Everyone should be taught how to use a pistol and a rifle, if they choose NOT to won them, that is their choice, but by traing people in the responsible use of weapons, make them less likely to misuse them.

Posted by: ravail136 | October 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

After being raped, I decided to get a CCW permit. It is shocking to see how many people freak out when they find out that I carry a gun. I truly believe it is the only way to level the playing field between men and women physically.

Posted by: CJ15 | October 21, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Although I agree with most of what ravail136 says, the writer is not correct about the James gang primarily robbing banks in their own territory. Several local robberies were done by other gangs, but mis-attributed to Jesse James and his brother.

They robbed banks as far south as Texas and east to Huntington, WV. Their first train robbery was in Iowa. The famous robbery in Northfield, MN was 400 miles from home.

Posted by: curranj | October 21, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

It might be best to avoid cute phrases like "packing heat." Those who take concealed carry seriously call it "concealed carry." "Packing heat" makes one sound like someone who watches far too much TV.

Posted by: sauer38h | October 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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