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hile doing a TV debate recently with Handgun Control Stinks (oops, I mean "lnc."), the host demanded of me: "what good can concealed carry do? How will the criminal know you've got a gun if it's concealed?" Resisting the urge to blurt out, "Two to the chest, one to the head," I marvelled at the sincerity of a society gone soft. As founder of the women's profirearms group called SWARM (Safety for Women and Responsible Motherhood), I often hear this type of inane rhetoric. My involvement in this issue has shown me that one thing is certain: er a defense-literatepeoproud nation of sitting ducks. May God bless America, indeed. One of SWARM'S goals is to protect the rights of decent citizens to the defense of self, family and community. SWARM began with a handful of women and grew in seven months to 1,700 female members in Colorado alone. Due to requests from across the US., SWARM is now becoming a national organization with our sights set on achieving legalized concealed carry in all 50 states. We seek "reciprocity," that each state will recognize the right to carry of the peaceable citizens of the other 49
Rebecca John Wyatt is the founder of Safety for Women and Responsible Motherhood, a national selfdefense advocacy group.
states. SWARM places special emphasis on the importance of firearms training. While SWARM welcomes male membership, our positions tend to focus on women for one very important reason: "civil disability." Women are physically disadvantaged to men and are most often attacked by men. When citizens are told that they can't carry guns, it logically follows that it is women who are hurt the most. I founded SWARM as a result of having been attacked. The advice on selfdefense that I received after the assault was, "Don't get a gun. It will only add to
the violence." Never having been exposed to guns before, this seemed to make sense ...until I was attacked again. At that dreadful moment, it became painfully clear to me that if I ever hoped to possess that ability to protect myself from criminal violation, I would require nothing short of an equalizer. In trying to decide exactly what the best "equalizer" might be, I examined a great deal of research. This quest led me ultimately to the work of two diametrically opposed researchers of guns and violence: Dr. Arthur Kellermann, an emergency-room doctor, and Dr. Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology at Florida State University. As far apart on the gun-control continuum as these two researchers are, they both agree on one thing: that the firearm is the single most effective tool for selfdefense-especially for women. Dr. Kellermann was quoted in the March 1994 issue of Health Magazine: '"If you've got to resist, your chances of being hurt are less the more lethal your weapon,' says Kellermann, the noguns-in-the-home man. 'If that were my wife, would I want her to have a .38 Special in her hand?' he asks. 'Yeah.'" Dr. Kleck concurs. "...other forms of forceful self-protection are far more risky than resisting with a gun." Kleck also maintains that women who carry guns are far less likely to be raped. The reason becomes clear when we examine the three essential requirements women need in a defense tool: It must be reliable in a majority of conditions. This is why pepper sprays
GUNS & AMMO/SEPTEMBER 1995
are dangerous as a final defense; they don't work in many weather conditions or if the criminal is on drugs or alcohol. It must be highly effective at a distance. Weapons that require physical contact with the criminal violate the number-one rule of safety for women: Keep out of reach of the criminal. Weapons that require physical contact for effectiveness are the ones that can be taken away from women and used against them. It should be the tool least dependent upon the physical strength of the user. I challenge anyone to find a defense tool besides the gun that meets all three of these special needs for women. Oddly enough, when I sought to carry the best known tool for defense outside my home-where 87 percent of crime occurs-my government wanted to label me a criminal. That set my pinball machine on "tilt." Prohibiting concealed carry is, in effect, a deeply violent form of discrimination against women. At a time when three out of four women will become victims of violent crime in their lifetime, our government should not be in the business of limiting our options for personal defense. This becomes crucial in light of the fact that the government has held itself completely unable to defend us individually. Several court cases have held that the police are merely liable to protect the community as a whole. As a practical matter, despite their best ef-
"...the firearm is the single most effective tool for self-defenseespecially for women. "
forts, the police can never be psychic. With only one officer for every 3,200 citizens, they can't possibly bodyguard us all 24 hours a day. Who does that leave to be solely responsible for my defense? Suffering at the mercy of criminals ingrained in me a universal truth: Weakness is a provocation; vulnerability invites attack. Criminals are cowards. They will choose only the easiest of prey. What we unfortunately never read about are the many women who don't become victims, many of whom train with a gun, becoming familiar and comfortable with its use. The type of woman who goes to these lengths to take care of herself exudes a self-con-
fidence that sends thugs running in the opposite direction. These are the vast majority of pro-gun statistics that we will never get to see. Self-defense is a serious charge. It is necessarily the first of our personal responsibilities, far ahead of bathing, feeding and providing ourselves with shelter. Yet pacifists seek to construe our taking this responsibility seriously as "paranoia." If one follows this logic through, we are also paranoid if we buy fire insurance or wear seat belts. When we provide food for ourselves, we are gluttonous. When we practice good hygiene, we are vain. Our government cannot give us any . rights that it hasn't already taken from us. Self-defense is so basic a right that it is an instinct. SWARM holds that those who want to deny decent citizens this most basic of rights should carry the burden of proof. They should have to prove that allowing peaceable citizens to carry guns is a public danger, which can never be done. Florida's statistics show that .007 percent of its gun-carry permit carriers-that's seven one-thousandths of one percent-wind up with some type of criminal record. This figure includes inadvertent crimes such as walking unknowingly into a restricted area while carrying a gun. Out of all the hundreds of thousands of permit holders in the U.S., not one has ever been convicted of murder. Decent citizens merely seeking to protect themselves have never been the problem. In any case, don't tell me I should "arm" myself with mere awareness. I am thoroughly qualified to pooh-pooh that solution as a sole means of defense. I did use lights, and locks and awareness, and guess what? The second criminal to attack me didn't care. Though awareness and safety precautions should be a matter of habit for us, we are naive if we make them our last line of defense. It can be fatal when women are given pie-in-the-sky solutions for real, life-and-death problems. Concerning fears that concealed carry will "only add to the violence," SWARM views it, at worst, as a zerosum game. To wit, the carrying of guns by decent citizens never adds to the violence. Dr. Kleck has more recently asseoed that 99 times out of 100, when a gun is used in self-defense, no one is shot. Statistically, we know that those 100 potential victims cut their chances of being injured or killed by a third when they use a gun to defend themselves. This is a drastic reduction of violence.
It also shifts the minimal risk of injury onto the criminal-where it belongsinstead of the victim. Gun carry is the quintessential victimless crime. The requirement to prove "need" to carry concealed is another sore subject. Could any of the murder victims about which we read on a daily basis have proven "need" to carry a gun right up until five minutes before they were slaughtered? Ninety percent of all women murdered are murdered by men; most of the time this is accomplished with the criminal's bare hands. With his superior strength, bare hands
"Prohibiting concealed carry is, in effect, a deeply violent form of discrimination against women. "
are all most male criminals need to finish off a defenseless female. Let me tell you what a truly "barbaric society" is: a nation that gives the balance of power-the ability to criminally violate-to whomever happens to be the biggest brute. We've come full circle back to the morals of the caveman. Ironically, it is the very ones who fancy themselves as enlightened and compassionate who are inured to this trapping of our women into victimhood. The state has thus become the accomplice of vicious criminals. It has engineered crime into a viable career opportunity: flexible hours, tax-free income, little risk ...even governmentpaid vacations. With the special protections afforded them by liberal criminal "justice" systems, criminals don't even need a union. We the people are given no choice but to subsidize the proliferating scumbags with our property, taxes and lives. While speaking at a press conference in California on its gun-carry bill, I had the distinct pleasure of awarding SWARM'S Golden Do-Do Award (pronounced "doo-doo") to Senator Diane Feinstein. We piled an award plaque high with gold-plated doggy doo, and congratulated her through the media for her "do as I say, not as I do" behavior concerning guns. It was a touching moment. I wish you all could've been there. Of course, Feinstein does have company in high places. Referring to the disturbing fact that violence against women is growing a great deal faster than the other rates of crime, President (continued on page 105)
AMENDMENT 2ND AMENDMENT
(continued from page 35) Clinton recently acknowledged, "It's a bigger threat [to women] than cancer or car accidents." Whoa! Do you think genuine concern about gross human suffering finally got through to Clinton's bulletproof heart? Did he break from the usual tax-and-spend mode to choose the crime-control "program" that wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime? Will a bear stop making Diane Feinstein awards in the woods? Instead, Clinton announced the creation of yet another government office: the Violence Against Women program. Not only does the name fit perfectly, but it gives new meaning to the word "demagoguery." This little addition to our leviathan state will
"It can be fatal when women are given pie-inthe-sky solutions for real, life-and-death problems. "
have $26 million in grants "to protect women." Excuse my partisan heart, but t h i s i s so t y p i c a l of liberal ideas-it sounds good at first, but on second glance is really, really stupid. Outside of the federal government, SWARM faces two major adversaries of our rights to self-preservation. First in line is the Anti-Self-Defense Lobby, which includes organizations like Handgun Control Inc., The League of Women Voters and The National Organization of Women. Our friend Jeffrey Snyder describes them best. He says, "The truth be known, most of these groups that supposedly represent the interests of women would have us throw out all of the men and let the state take care of women." Pah-lease! I don't want to hear anymore about "choice" and "empowerment." I want the right to defend my life, even if my physical disadvantages necessitate having a gun to do so. The Big Lie that the Anti-SelfDefense Lobby is trying to sell the American public goes like this: The more crimes vicious criminals commit, the more rights we should take away from decent citizens to defend themselves. They seek to predicate the rights of the peaceable on the behavior of criminals. Go figure.
I cannot make this observation without pointing the ugly finger back to gun Next comes the alliance of ~ o l i c e owners. This is our US. of A. We oet and district attorney officials. w e at the government we allow. We get the SWARM fondly refer to them as "The Handgun Control Inc. we deserve. If Flat Earth Society." This is because we sit on our duffs and don't become they demand that we ignore all modern activists, voters and educators of both science and the success stories of the media and public concerning the truth 20-plus states that allow concealed about guns, who do we have to blame but ourselves? carry. They demand that they-often When forming social policy, it is cruthe strongest and most dominant of humankind-be the only ones allowed cial that we examine both the pros and to carry guns. cons of each issue, based on known argument. We These officials in one way represent science and l o g ~ c a l the opinions of the average line officer. can't afford to restrict the rights of We have a number of police in peaceable citizens as a knee-jerk reSWARM'S membership, and we receive action to emotional stories and unletters from officers regularly, privately founded fears. This would seem an elgivlng their support. Nevertheless, ementary principle, and it's usually they've been intimidated by their bosses embraced. But bring up the subject of into sllence before our legislatures. They, guns and public debate instantly betoo, are frustrated that the "top brass" will comes a rat race of irrational fantasy. How will our message concerning show up in uniform at our gun-carry the life-saving side of guns ever reach the misguided? Consider their stereo"I don't want to hear type of the "typical" gun owner (which I certainly won't give credence to by reitany more lip about erating here). That's why women are 'choice' and the perfect conveyors of the pro-gun, pro-self-defense message. The media 'empowerment. locks on to well-dressed, soft-spoken women with guns-and never seems I want the right to to let go. In its first seven months, defend my life.. SWARM has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, The Chicahearings-n the taxpayer's dollar-and testify against our rights to self-defense. go Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, These are the people we've entrusted "to Fox Cable TV; NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw...even The Australian and protect and to serve" us. In many states, these officials have The London Telegraph. The same is true from a legislative managed to create two classes of people: the police class and the lower standpoint. When Alaska's governor class. Because of their physical disad- recently signed the state's bill allowing vantages, women wind up at the bot- gun carry, he said, "I'm doing this for the women:' After SWARM hosted a tom of the heap. Here's what Martin Luther King rally of 200 women at Colorado's state wrote about this very subject from the capitol last March, the Rocky Mountain Birmingham jail: "An unjust law is a News reported "At day's end, (Reprecode that a numerical or power majori- sentative) Chlouber said the move by ty group compels a minority group to SWARM 'was the most impressive and obey, but does not make binding on it- compelling lobbying effort I've ever self. This is difference made legal." Mr. seen down here."' Can you see why we must pool reKing goes on to say that in this circumstance, we have a moral obligation to sources to facilitate women carrying civil disobedience. For all their political this pivotal message? SWARM is correctness, the liberals stand dis- poised to provide that vehicle, while the old saying rings true: "Never undergraced by their own demigod. After we muddle through the estimate the power of a small group of sundry pretenses, we come to the people to change the world. In fact, it loathsome realization that there are is the only thing that has ever changed fa those in authority who crave absolute the world." power, even to the exclusion of allowing decent citizens to provide for their own safety. It is not a free society where only a chosen few-including field %204,Wheat Ridge, CO 80033, . . . criminals-carry guns.
106 GUNS & AMMO/SEPTEMBER 1995
judge-made law. He now enters ~or bail because that is a court r u the i worst part of the system, namely, the judiciary. ur system of law is based today has nothing to do with truth or When our suspect enters this phase, upon the separation of pow- justice. Our trials today are about de- he is at his best. The jury cannot learn ers: The legislative branch lay, confusion and lying, all in the inter- of his past record, see explicit photos of makes law that the execu- est of maklng money. The modern-day your dead loved one, listen to members tive branch enforces along with the ju- defense counsel has as their main goal of your family tell what a fine person dicial branch, which is supposed to the defeat of justice and freedom for your dearly departed was and a whole see that it all works. This was brilliantly their guilty clients at any cost. They host of other rules designed to confuse explained in our Constitution and Bill of then receive a fee (most of the time juries and cloud the truth. Everyone will Rights. Using this document and the paid by you) for this service or, more be on trial except the suspect. The deEuropean common law, many of - fense will blame the police, society, v \ our proceedings worked very ef- A H o ~ D ~ f s n , ~ the suspect's upbringing, ethnic fectively for about 200 years. m you often read in various articles and hem televh rage O anything else-including r About 30 O 40 years ago, elitist sion that owning a gun for self-defense [s a foolish visitations from Martians-to get r members of the judicial branch course of gction. you hear horror stories exclaiming their guilty client freed. started to pervert and twist the that you are more likely to klll a loved one by mistake When and if you finally get to the meaning of the words these than to kill an armed intruder. Once a statistic is out in jury stage, assuming you have scholars placed on paper cen- the media, all other media feed off of it and it suddenly survived the minefield of court becomes fact, even though it may be the farthest thing rules for trial, then your case is turies ago. The age of judicial activism was launched. Now in- from the truth. presented for deliberation. Care In my 27 Yeam at the Trenton Police Depertment, I must be afforded even at this late stead of waitino for our elected legislators to make the law, the can tell You that owning a gun for self-defense is One of date for we mustn't influence the judiciary simply makes its own the best reasonsfor having'a firearm* You have all read jury by a prejudicial charge by the by applying convoluted reason- the Inflated figures that are wed by the media describ. judge or some other contrived Of innocent people by In ing to our existing law. Thus you jng the silliness. NOW, contrary to most my I have never seen an innocent killed other aspects of a democracy end up with judge-made law, an must also aberration that was never intend- by a homeowner in where majority rules, a jury has to that the figures you are reading and hearing concerned by our Founding Fathers. be unanimous in saying that the ing the amount of defensive incidents involving When a serious crime is com- firearns are only a hct,on of what is really occurring. suspect is guilty or not guilty. If. mitted, a great deal of money Just as crimes such as rape, flimflam, property crimes this does not occur, we get what and effort is devoted to identify- and a whole host of others go under.reported or are is called a hung jury and we can ing and arresting the not reported at all, the same is true of defensive do it all over again. Unfortunately, following the ar- gun urns% In the unlikely event that the rest, the effort and money exM& people simply brandish a gun toward off a crimb suspect receives the death penalpended to protect the rights of rial or announce that they have a gun in w&r to end an ty, it will take 10 to 15 years to be the accused suspect dwarfs that attack. They then don't report it due to all kinds of rea- carried out. Remember, there are spent leading to the arrest. It is sons. I can assure you that this goes on constantly and about 18,000 murders committed at this point that the victim is for- that these weapons are protecting many citizens who each year and only about 300 gotten and the criminal begins would otherwise become victims. Check your local law death sentences are handed out. receiving treatment as though so that You will know when you can brandish a firearm Why? Because of all the asinine or use deadly force in selfdefense. court rules and judge-mac'e law he were the victim. - that are designed to help the deWhat is occurring in our courts today is really a travesty of jus- accurately, disservice. I don't know fense and to make mocey for defense lawyers. Guilt or innocence is not a tice. I would hope that by the time you how they sleep nights. This month I want you to imagine factor; victory is all that matters. read this the circus that is known as It is time that the American public the O.J. Simpson trial will be over. I am one of your family members bang a glad that this trial received the publicity victim of a violent murder. The police demands that we stop this charade of that was generated because it gave arrest the mutant that killed your loved justice and return to a system that in the American public a clear view of one and have h ~ m custody. Now the once again can become the model for what is wrong with criminal justice to- entire weight of the criminal-justice the rest of the world. We were once day. Our courts were designed to find system will be brought to bear upon close to excellence. We pay for excelthe truth and to administer justice. Un- this animal, right? Wrong! The real lence, we were once accustomed to it fortunately, what occurs in our courts horror of our system will now rear its and we should demand no less. R
America's Justice System Astray
The Hard, Straight Facts On Why Our Legal System Isn't Working
GUNS 8 AMMO/SEPTEMBER 1995
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