"The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them." — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
This statement, though made by a fictional character in a book, nonetheless echoes a modern-day reality. As more and more women are becoming aware of increasing levels of danger in their environments, they are empowering themselves to fill the role of protector. This is evidenced by the consistently growing number of women applying for concealed-carry permits, frequenting gun ranges and attending self-defense training courses. To reconcile this contradiction, we need to look inside ourselves for the element that gives us permission to be violent when necessary.
While these actions demonstrate a commitment to prepare physically for protecting themselves and their families, the importance of also preparing mentally and emotionally for the possibility of having to use violence against another human being cannot be overemphasized.
Since childhood, we are taught to condemn violence as contrary to the tenets of a civilized society, and to associate it with criminals and the morally degenerate. As a result of this education, a good person may shy away from deliberately harming another human being, but reluctance to violence can be fatal if it causes us to hesitate when our lives are in danger. To reconcile this contradiction, we need to look inside ourselves for the element that gives us permission to be violent when necessary.
At the very core of our natural instincts is the will to survive despite adversity, and the determination to protect the ones we love, no matter the cost. There is a powerful motivator linking these instincts together that is greater than the fear, despair or anger commonly felt as a response to external violence and criminal behavior. This, the greatest motivator of all, is Love.
Love is why Chelsey Russell, a 33-year-old Colorado mother on a family trip to Lake Powell in August, drowned while holding her two-year-old baby above water until he could be rescued after falling out of their boat.
Love is why Victoria Soto, the 27-year-old first-grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, lost her life using her own body to shield her students from a deranged gunman.
Love, the fifth natural element, gives us the ultimate motivation to access the inner spark that fuels our determination to defend ourselves and our loved ones—something far more powerful than fear, despair or anger. That something is Fury. If Love is the why, then Fury is the how.
Fury is different than anger. Anger is an impotent emotion, power without direction, feeling without form, like a feral animal that is just as likely to injure itself as its opponent. Fury is the product of harnessing our anger, fear and despair, and directing those feelings with a determined purpose. Fury is the product of harnessing our anger, fear and despair, and directing those feelings with a determined purpose.
On New Year’s Eve, 2012, 18-year-old Sarah McKinley, home alone with her three-month-old son, shot and killed a man who broke into her home armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. Afterward she told police, “It was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn't going to be my son.” Motivated by intense love for her son, Sarah’s fury and determination enabled her, just months after giving life, to take a life.
Acknowledgement and acceptance of our natural ability to be violent will strengthen our inner resolve to do what must be done—especially when it is the thing we never wanted to have to do.
A woman who has found in herself a place for controlled Fury to exist is indeed a force of nature to be reckoned with. She can stand in front of her enemies with confidence and say, “My life is worth defending. The lives of my loved ones are worth defending. If you try to take me from them, or them from me, you will regret it.”
Frequent A1F Daily contributor Corinne Mosher is a Kansas State Rifle Association Training Committee member and professional shooter.