The truth of the matter is, I feel strongly about women protecting themselves. We live in a day where 16% of women report being raped or having had an attempt made.
It's appalling. Anyone okay with those numbers must seriously be delusional.
We should not be subjected to a culture where more than 1 in 6 women not only feel unsafe, but in fact are unsafe. I'd be devastated if my daughters ever experienced the pain and anguish that accompanies such a brutal exploitation.
FBI reports that for 2013 (the most recent stats available), there were 1,163,146 violent crimes reported in the U.S. That's down from 2009, but it's still enough to cause concern. All too often, we hear of women being the target of malicious intentions.
The question, though, is what to do about it? Legislating an answer does not protect me and mine here and now.
I take my role as a mom seriously, which to me, includes protecting my family if and when the need arises.
I'm a mama bear and I will defend my children with every last breath in my body. For that reason, I own a gun. And I carry it. And I practice with it. And I have old men look at me funny when I'm buying bullets in Walmart.
Buy you know what? My kids are worth it.
Now, many of you might wonder why I would do this. After all, aren't guns dangerous? Would you actually use it on someone? Shouldn't you keep guns away from children? The answer to all of these are, simply, "Yes."
Yes, guns can be dangerous, if not used properly and if you don't practice regularly and know what you are doing.
Yes, I would actually use it on someone if I felt my or my children's lives were in danger.
And yes, you should keep guns away from children, which I am diligent to do. I also talk to my kids about firearms. Knowledge is power and I think that only through removing the mystery and opening dialogue can we teach our children safety while also teaching them to respect firearms.
So, why do I carry a gun? I carry it because it is my responsibility to protect my family. Too often, we hear where someone has terrorized those around them or taken advantage of the weak, simply because they could. I refuse to be weak.
Why not simply wait for the police?
While the police are a wonderful part of our society and I absolutely respect the sacrifice they make for our communities every day, they simply cannot be everywhere at all times. In my small community, often there is not an officer on patrol during the wee hours of the morning. Response time during those hours can be anywhere from 20-45 minutes.
If I have someone beating down my door to cause harm to myself or my children, then I don't have time to wait for an officer.
If someone approaches me down a dark street and tries to take one of my little girls, I don't have time to wait.
I wouldn't have time to wait if a dog was attacking my son and trying to kill him.
I'm not paranoid. I'm not looking for danger around every corner. I don't think that every person I meet is out to harm my family. All I have to do is turn on the news to hear of little girls being kidnapped and sold into slavery.
It happens. Not just in third world countries, but here. In America - the 'Land of the Free'.
If a police officer was on hand, ready and able to protect my family, I would absolutely defer to them. That's what they are there for and quite frankly, I would prefer to leave it to the professionals. While I am prepared to use it, I would be absolutely horrified if ever I had to shoot someone. I carry it as a precaution. I have never had to draw my gun to date and I truly hope to continue in that lucky streak.
I absolutely believe in gun safety.
I keep my gun where children cannot come into contact with it. I keep the safety on. I have taken classes to learn the laws and to gain my permit to carry a concealed weapon. I continue to practice using my weapon, improving both my accuracy and my familiarity with guns.
Do you or have you thought about carrying your own defensive weapon?