This woeful mea culpa is the illegitimate love child of feminism and fighting mentality. When LE Targets deigned to print images of weapon-wielding women, children, and old people on sheets of paper meant to draw pistol fire, global outrage erupted. Look here, femme fatales. I thought you wanted to be treated equally? Make up your mind.
I’m all about equal rights. Equal pay for equal work. Of course, men and women are different, and that would always factor into the calculus when gauging the imminence and severity of any potential threat. But if a woman commits herself to earning a defensive response, I wouldn’t dare deny her the self-same comeuppance I’d remit to any male.
But that might not come naturally to some — especially men; and even more especially good ol’ southern gentlemen. At last month’s Establishing a Dominance Paradigm, I had the pleasure of once again working as a role player in Southnarc’s (in)famous experiential learning lab. Below are a few stills of me imposing my irresistible charms. Since these shenanigans happened to unfold within the sovereign boundaries of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, someone (whose name may or may not be Craig Douglas) christened me with the shamefully parodic soubriquet, “Runs with Scissors.” Mother would be proud.
If someone suddenly charged towards you with a knife, what would you do? Right, so would I. What if it wasn’t a knife, but a slightly more obscure, multi-purpose tool that happened to have a sharp or pointy edge? And what if that someone wasn’t the hulk but a 5’2” chick with a gimpy leg? And what if she were screaming unintelligibly as she rushed you? What would you do then? We had ten students in the class, and we got ten different responses, ranging from chivalrous offers of assistance to well-placed rounds to the upper-center chest (ouch).
In the debrief, I posed the question to everyone: Did you hesitate because it was a woman coming at you? How many of you might have reacted differently had it been a man? While I did get about half the folks in the room to eventually raise their hands, you could cut the apprehension with a knife (or with scissors). Perhaps some of them were embarrassed or afraid that inability to exterminate a female would get their T-Rex card revoked. Others were all too quick to proudly brandish their cap-a-chick-with-the-quickness badge.
Here’s my thing. Whether you’re an equal opportunity pew-pew-pew dispenser is totally up to you. Self-defense is not about social science or decorous politics. It’s an extremely personal, individualized concept that manifests differently in different people, almost like spirituality (not to get too melodramatic). And that’s okay. But you owe it to yourself to be honest about who you are and what you’re willing to do. Whatever the answer is, don’t judge yourself. This is neutral data that you simply must plug into the big picture. Otherwise, you’re committing Second Amendment malpractice, possibly at the expense of those you hope to protect (including yourself).
For example, while I seriously doubt I’d treat an assailing woman any differently than her male counterpart, I’ve always fessed up to the fact that children might be another story entirely. Generally speaking, the ten-year-old standing in a puddle of shattered glass in my living room is legally presumed to be an imminent mortal threat. But I have to say, I’m not sure I’d push the go button in that instance. Obviously, it would depend on any number of factors and variables, but I know the doe eyes and baby face would be a game changer for me. That could very well prove to be a fatal personality flaw on my part. But it’s still me, and I probably can’t change that. It’s how I’m hard-wired — part of my “X-System,” as William Aprill might say. At least (I hope) I’ve done my due diligence to weigh that risk in advance without any pretense, wishful thinking, or disingenuity.
Either way, I think we all need to have this little chat with ourselves BEFORE the crap hits the fan, not afterward. This is one of the many reasons why the Southnarc variety of training is so uniquely indispensable to any serious student of the art of self-preservation. First of all, it’s humbling. You get to fail colossally and live to tell about it and learn from it. Second, you gain a ton of valuable intelligence on the most formidable challenger you’ll ever face…