Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Guns and women
When I was in my early 20s, I lived in a very rural area in upstate New York.
The house was somewhat isolated and I was sometimes left alone with just the dog — a ferocious-sounding German Shepherd named Benson who was quite a bit more bark than bite.
So though I did not — and still do not — have much gun knowledge, I found it comforting to have access to a .22-caliber rifle when I found myself alone one cold, dark, winter night as Benson began barking at the door and no one was in sight.
The first of several problems with this scenario was that while I knew the .22 was loaded, I was not clear if the red button sticking out meant the safety was on and therefore would not fire, or if it meant the safety was off and would.
I decided the only way to find out was to “test” it, so I laid the gun on the floor and pulled the trigger.
The sound and the subsequent hole in the bottom of the bedroom door answered the question!
When it comes to this particular fire arm, red means “GO!”
And while the hole in the door was unfortunate, the dog did stop barking and whatever or whoever was out there was as terrified as I was, having heard the gun fire.
The remainder of the evening remained bark- and intruder-free.
I grew up in an area where opening day of hunting season constituted a school holiday — so it’s not like I was never around a gun-toting, deer-shooting population.
Following that incident, I realized I was probably more dangerous with a gun than without one, and have never found the need or desire to become a gun owner.
I don’t have a really strong opinion one way or the other on gun ownership, but have always leaned away from gun violence.
I am not picketing against the NRA, but I am not contributing to them either.
I understand the need and right to protect one’s home and property, but have never understood the need and right to own multiple assault weapons designed only to create the greatest amount of carnage in the shortest amount of time.
However, the increased frequency of mass shootings has me thinking about my right to bear arms.
I don’t mean to make light of the issue, but I have heard a few potential compromising solutions I could get behind.
The first is to allow everyone to carry a firearm, as is written in our Constitution — but in keeping with the understanding of what that would have meant in the era it was written, everyone would only be allowed to carry muskets.
Just the time it takes to load and reload would cut gun violence to shreds.
Ridiculous, you say? Maybe. Maybe not.
The second idea I could support is increasing the price of bullets to say, $3,000 each.
That would surely make one think twice before randomly shooting amok.
And the third idea, which was proposed to me recently, is that only women should be allowed to own guns.
When it comes to mass shootings, you can almost count on the shooter being male.
According to a 2014 article in Time, “Whenever there’s a mass shooting or massacre, there’s a 98 percent chance the perpetrator is a man.
“Defining a mass shooting as one with at least four deceased victims in one location, Mother Jones has compiled a list of 73 such incidents since 1982.
Of those listed, only two of the shooters were women. One in Goleta, Calif., in 2006, and, most recently, one of the two shooters in San Bernadino.
The reality is, women are less likely to use guns than men. It’s not conjecture, but fact.
There are several theories on why this is true — for starters, more men own guns then do women.
Another factor may be testosterone, as it has been associated with aggression.
According to an article at bustle.com, it may be as simple as the different way men and women look at violence.
“Women tend to use violence as a last resort, as a self-defense mechanism,” James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University, told CNN in July (2013). “Men tend to use violence as an offensive weapon.”
Again, I am not meaning to make light of such a serious subject.
I realize mental illness and other factors play a big part in this horrifying issue.
But the reality is that more than 80 percent of the time, men purchased guns used in these shootings legally.
So maybe it’s time to change the law and leave the guns to the ladies.
We will keep them locked up at home with the safety on.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is the business development manager at The Union. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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