April 25, 2000
By Linda Gorman
An animal rapes another woman, and the powers that be hold another community meeting at which they dole out the same old advice about not walking alone at night. No matter that the most recent victim was driving a paper route. The advocationally concerned write Letters-to-the-Editor gushing about the rewards of volunteering for the Boulder Rape Crisis Team. According to one mans testimonial in The Daily Camera, men who volunteer make a decision to help a community in crisis and gain experience offering information and assistance to survivors of sexual assault as a part of a wonderfully diverse and compassionate team that can demonstrate that men are a necessary part of the healing process.
When ghouls like this have finished making themselves feel better by telling everyone how much they benefit from their interactions with those who have been raped, perhaps we can dispense with the canned compassion and the silly advice and move on to discussing what can be done to put rapists permanently out of business.
In the seventies, rape avoidance programs encouraged victims to play along with their attacker. Sympathize with him, women were told, get him to relax and lower his guard so you can escape. Do not fight back. That will make him more likely to beat or kill you. Rape is not as bad as being dead.
Of course time marches on, dead bodies accumulate, and the politically correct advice changes form. Today women are advised to take immediate action against their attackers. They should drop everything, make noise, fight back, and try to run.
What they really should do is carry a gun. With a gun, a 100 pound woman is more than a match for an attacker twice her size and has a real possibility of convincing him that the cost of raping her is far too high. Without a gun she can fight back, and, unless she is extremely lucky, get raped anyway.
Let others argue about the preventative effects of consciousness raising and educational programs. Let the lawyers and the victim advocates argue over the nuances of whether no means no and the what evidence will be allowable should a rape victim survive to see her day in court. A woman facing a rapist needs effective self-defense. A gun is the most effective form of self-defense ever devised. It follows that those interested in preventing rape would support laws giving women the right to buy and carry a gun should they feel it necessary.
According to John Lott and David Mustards landmark 1997 study Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns, if all states had adopted right-to-carry laws in 1992 roughly 4,000 rapes a year could have been prevented.
Results from the Department of Justices National Crime Victimization Survey support Lott and Mustards conclusion. They show that women who offer no resistance are 2.5 times more likely to be seriously injured than women who resist their attackers with a gun.
Groups like SAFE, Handgun Control, and the Bell Campaign say that this is nonsense. They point to the paper by Arthur Kellerman et al. that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993 and use its results to claim that owning a gun increases ones risk of being murdered. Using a methodology designed for medical research, Kellerman matched a case sample of 444 homicides with 388 controls who lived nearby and were the same sex, race, and approximate age. But gun ownership is not random. Kellerman et al. ignored the possibility that people who thought they were more likely to be killed might also be more likely to have a gun in the house. They also failed to report that in only 8 of the 444 homicides was it established that the house gun was the one used in the homicide.
Because real data show that guns do more good than harm, gun phobics typically rely on emotional half-truths. One SAFE representative suggested that those in favor of concealed carry visualize Mile High Stadium filled with 70,000 drunken fans. Imagine the carnage! She must consider Bronco fans particularly murderous. Buccaneer and Dolphin fans, many of whom tipple at least a bit on game days, manage to avoid shooting one another despite the fact that Florida has relatively liberal shall issue concealed-carry law.
It is possible that liberalizing gun laws would increase accidental firearms deaths. At present the United States has about 1,000 accidental firearms deaths each year, 300 with handguns. In contrast, there were almost 96,000 forcible rapes, an estimated 4,000 of which would have been prevented by liberalizing gun laws.
Public policy is about tradeoffs. Whats yours?
 Thomas, A Boulder County Rape Crisis Team Volunteer. 19 April 2000. Sex Assault, The Daily Camera, online edition, www.TheDailyCamera.com as of 21 April 2000. http://www.bouldernews.com/opinion/letters/19elett.html.
 Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1998. Department of Commerce, table 148
Linda Gorman is a Senior Fellow with the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Golden, Colorado, http:/IndependenceInstitute.net. This article originally appeared in the Colorado Daily (Boulder), for which Linda Gorman is a regular columnist.
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