ifeminists.com: A central gathering place and information center for individualist feminists.   -- explore the new feminism --
introduction | interaction | information

ifeminists.com > introduction > editorials

Why I Picked Up a Gun
May 13, 2003
by Tiffany Hyatt

In the fall of 2001 I remember driving home and passing a beautiful little house surrounded by crime scene tape. I wondered what happened, but didn't worry too much because nothing "really bad" ever happened in that part of town. Little did I know then, but the Baton Rouge Serial Killer had just left his first calling card.

Since that day, it has been almost two years and our city has been plagued by more violent murders of women than I have ever seen. There have been abductions, attempted abductions, women's bodies being dumped in Whiskey Bay, female college students stalked and brutally murdered, men dressed up as police officers attacking women in their homes, and worst of all, one woman was raped and beaten by men who actually are commissioned police officers. I was that woman.

This is my hometown, this is my life.

I am a 31 yr. old single mother of four and I wake up every day afraid, and I fall asleep every night wondering if it is safe to close my eyes. Being a victim of an assault, combined with the mysterious killings, made me realize that my only recourse was to carry a gun and be prepared at all times. I was raised using guns for sport, but until now I had never learned how to use a gun for self defense. I am now educated, trained and ready to defend myself and my family with deadly force.

Unfortunately it often takes a traumatic event to make most women even consider carrying a handgun, whether the traumatic event was experienced personally or to someone we know. As a survivor, I now encourage and promote women to train and educate themselves as armed members of the community in the hope of preventing more stories like my own. My motto is "it is better to have a gun and never need it, than to need a gun and not have it."

Before my life became centered around promoting female gun use for self defense, I worked in the Emergency Room at two local hospitals. I have seen gun shot wounds up close and what damage a bullet can do to the human body, but far worse is seeing the woman or child who has been raped and beaten without a chance to defend themselves. I am grateful for those experiences, because I think that is what gave me the strength to survive when I was raped and beaten myself. I vow I will never let that happen again!

I am now speaking out as loud as I can and to whom ever will listen. I tell women who are afraid of guns, who have never used or sometimes even held a gun - "if you follow the rules of gun safety, become trained so you can properly handle the weapon, and know the carry laws in your state, owning a gun can give you an advantage over an assailant that most women would not have without it." But I also tell them that the gun should not be their only line of self defense. Some of those suggestions are; carry a can of Mace, learn physical self defense skills, always be aware of your surroundings, other everyday items can be used as weapons, and having a plan of self defense in your home (similar to the type of plan you prepare if your house catches on fire). These are all things I tell women when they come into the gun store and firing range where I volunteer my time.

I firmly believe that girls should be taught as they are growing up, when, where and how to use a gun for self defense. We as women are often taught that there will always be someone there to protect us, but that is far from reality. If I could make just one significant change to benefit the future women of America, I would make sure that little girls were taught self defense before sex education in school, and the history of the Second Amendment would be taught along with lessons on gun safety. Knowledge is power. We have strayed too far from the origins that made this country great! Back then women were just as accustomed to defending the homestead as the men, where did we lose that pioneering drive of self reliance? It is not lost, it is only asleep. I say WAKE UP LADIES! Arming yourself is your constitutional right, firearm education and training is your choice (I highly recommend it), but defending your life and the life of your children is your DUTY!

Who can argue with that?

ifeminists.com > home | introduction | interaction | information | about

ifeminists.com is edited by Wendy McElroy; it is made possible by support from The Independent Institute and members like you.