Every time I learn of another abused, desperately scared woman who uses a firearm effectively to defend her life and her children’s lives, I cannot help but wonder how the so-called “gun safety advocates” would have wanted things to turn out. Of course, they almost never admit it publicly, but most of them want a world without guns. For these at-risk women, it means a world without protection.
It’s not about gun safety for these anti-gun advocates. That is the NRA’s domain. Gun-ban advocates refuse to accept or acknowledge the simple and unavoidable fact that if their dangerous dream were ever realized, it would leave the weak helpless to the desires of the strong. The rules of the Stone Age would dominate once again.
Significantly, this would leave the vast majority of women defenseless against male attackers. Once a fight becomes physical, a stronger male will nearly always dominate the weaker female. Yes, there are always the exceptions, like Ronda Rousey, who would break 99 percent of all males, including me, upon contact. But she is, indeed, an exception. And this is why the nature of a firearm as a defensive tool is so important. It allows physical distance to be maintained. Guns are, without question, the most efficient of defensive tools.
Gun-ban advocates refuse to accept or acknowledge the simple and unavoidable fact that if their dangerous dream were ever realized, it would leave the weak helpless to the desires of the strong.One of the common refrains from the gun-ban crowd is that guns should be confiscated and melted into sculptures in the public square because they are used in half of all domestic violence murders. What they seem to miss is that this necessarily means that half of these murders involve hands, feet, knives, ropes, hammers and other improvised contact weapons. Do they really believe that the other half of these rage-motivated murders wouldn’t happen if the guns were melted? I hope they aren’t that naïve. The truth is, operable firearms give at-risk women a fighting chance.
This past week, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office reported, “Individuals do have the right to protect themselves, and that is what Nicole Carney did.” The office announced that they would not prosecute Nicole for shooting and killing her estranged and abusive husband, Michael Carney, this past February. Thankfully, she chose to ignore the shrill voices that come from groups like Moms Demand Action and Violence Policy Center, and availed herself of what she knew was her one and only fighting chance.
Nicole and Michael had been married for seven years. She had finally decided to separate herself and her two children from the violence. He had thought she was living with her mother but, on the day of his demise, he had learned through an inadvertent disclosure from his internet service company that she had bought a new house and was living in a different town.
He became enraged that she was now clearly moving on with her life, and texted and called to demand that she meet with him. She refused. He told her that he would see her regardless of her wishes. She armed herself with her adult son’s rifle. He was not there with her, but she called to tell him that it was the only means of protection she had available.
She had never shot the rifle or one like it before, so had to resort to Google to determine how the gun’s safety functioned. She versed herself in its loading and operation, and kept it with her for the rest of the day because she was concerned that the police could not respond in a timely manner due to the snowstorm that was hammering the area. She was right to be worried about the response time.
As her fear became unbearable, she called the police three times over 40 minutes, with the last call reporting that she had shot Michael. Her mind raced when she finally heard his voice coming from within her new home. She knew all the doors and windows were locked. None of it made sense (it was later determined he had kicked in the door of an attached garage). These were the events she knew only in horror movies. There is no doubt she could once again hear the echoes of his past threats: “If I can’t have you, no one can. I will bash your head in. I will kill you.”
As her fear became unbearable, she called the police three times over 40 minutes, with the last call reporting that she had shot Michael.She wasn’t as worried about her own safety as she was about that of her 5-year-old daughter, who was upstairs with her. She knew that her daughter was “scared to death” of Michael. She knew that Michael’s own sister constantly feared that he would eventually kill both Nicole and her daughter. As he approached the staircase, she knew that she would be “powerless” against him if he made it to the top, where she had taken up a defensive position with the rifle. He was 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed more than 220 pounds.
Nicole warned him to leave many times, but instead he began to climb the stairs. He was irate. Nicole had already determined a line on the stairs he would not be allowed to cross. She shot him once and he yelled in pain. She imagined him becoming only angrier and being fueled by the adrenaline. She shot again, and his body slid down the stairs. As she ran to the bedroom where she had cell phone reception on the rural property, she did not know that he would never again be a threat to her or her daughter. The shots to the upper torso and head killed him.
Nicole had planned to get a restraining order the next day, but that would no longer be necessary. Nicole regrets having shot Michael, but the self-defense experts I know would all agree that she had no other viable option under the circumstances. Even without training, her chosen course of action was textbook. Like many abuse victims, she has probably convinced herself that things would have changed if he had just one more chance. It is doubtful that Michael’s own sister would agree, based upon the things she told the AG’s office during its investigation.
What would the gun control advocates, who are really advocates of total firearms prohibition, have wanted to happen in Nicole’s case? What do they think would have happened if Michael had reached the top of the stairs in the snowstorm, with no police on the way to save the day like in the movies? She and her daughter would have only been two more cold, detached numbers to add to the statistics, right?
It is truly disturbing to consider, but many firearms prohibitionists would argue that it would be okay if those “few,” like Nicole, who acted aggressively in self-defense were sacrificed if many others who are killed by abusers who use firearms were “saved.” In their fantasy land, the savage, deranged abusers would magically choose not to kill by all the other means available to them, if only civilian gun possession were permanently prohibited. This is disgusting and ignorant thinking, and it’s getting good women killed.
The so-called “few” who stop their abusers dead in their tracks might be the “many” if the likes of Shannon Watts would not try to convince every American woman that self-defense is an impossible myth and that firearms in the home do nothing but endanger. Abuse victims should be honestly told that their decision to arm themselves and seek good training is the only variable that can be absolutely controlled in this complex and volatile formula that is domestic violence.
This is the certain path to saving lives, and no one would have to advocate rendering good citizens completely helpless during their terrible time of need. Maybe more men, who would have otherwise chosen to stalk, torment and kill, would choose, out of self-preservation interest, to move on with their lives after a relationship is ended. For those who are completely beyond the reach of reason, maybe more will meet an end like Michael Carney’s. Either way, the world would be a much better place.
Darren LaSorte lobbied with NRA-ILA for 14 years and now lives and works in Dallas. His passions are shooting, hunting and self-defense training.