Jewish World Review Feb. 1, 2013/ 21 Shevat, 5773
Guns and Ammo . . . and Gender
By Roger Simon
I am not sure biology was supposed to be the point, but an odd witness, who is not an expert on gun violence, let it rear its ugly head.
Gayle Trotter is a senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum, a self-described conservative group that believes in "limited government, personal liberty and free markets."
Trotter also believes in guns and ammo. Lots of ammo.
She testified that women must be able to arm themselves with military-style semi-automatic rifles that contain large ammo magazines because women are smaller than men and need an equalizer.
A large ammo magazine allows a shooter to fire the weapon many, many times before reloading. At Newtown, the shooter was able not only to murder 20 children, but shoot each of them a sickening three to 11 times because he had a large ammo magazine.
Last year in Tucson, Ariz., the shooter who killed six people and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords used a 33-round magazine.
At Aurora, Colo., James Holmes used a 100-round drum magazine in his Smith & Wesson semiautomatic rifle, according to police, to kill 12 people and wound 58.
Police have testified that their greatest opportunity to rush shooters is when the shooter must stop firing to reload. If the shooter doesn't have to reload for a long time, that opportunity is diminished.
None of which in convincing to Gayle Trotter.
"You are a large man, tall man, a tall man," Trotter said to one senator who questioned the need for large ammo magazines. "You are not a young mother who has a young child with her. You cannot understand.
"You are not a woman stuck in her house, not able to defend her children, not able to leave her child, not able to go seek safety on the phone with 911."
This might be understandable if Trotter lived in Syria and needed to defend her family on a daily basis. But she lives in the United States. There is certainly violent crime in the United States, but little of it comes from criminals who kick down the doors of homes and come after women and children with guns blazing.
If that does happen, the safest thing to do is to call 911. The most dangerous thing to do is to keep loaded weapons around the house where children can find them and accidentally kill themselves or others. (And the Newtown shooter killed his mother in her sleep with one of the many guns she kept around the house for self-defense.)
As Slate recently pointed out: "The Harvard Injury Control Research Center has found that states with more guns have more female violent deaths. ... The Violence Policy Center's research showed that in 1998, the year they studied, 83 women were killed by an intimate partner for every woman who used a gun in self-defense."
But Trotter testified: "Guns make women safer. In a violent confrontation, guns reverse the balance of power. Armed with a gun, a woman may even have the advantage over a violent attacker."
This is a position upon which reasonable people can differ.
Personally, I believe a 100-round gun magazine is far more likely to be used by a criminal to kill innocent civilians and police than by a homeowner protecting herself.
Hunters do not need large-capacity magazines. If you need 100 rounds to shoot a deer, you need another sport.
But Trotter believes that guns even the biological score. Big men can be killed by small women. Which is only fair.
"If we ban these types of assault weapons, you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so than men, because they do not have the same type of physical strength and opportunity to defend themselves in a hand-to-hand struggle," Trotter told the senators.
OK. But there is one place women can go, arm themselves and legally shoot large, dangerous men: the military.
The U.S. military recently announced that women will officially be allowed in combat — they have unofficially been in combat for years — and you would think Trotter would be in favor of this.
Here is a chance for small women to arm themselves with large weapons and kill all the big, male attackers that they want. And Afghanistan is one good place they can do it.
But Trotter is opposed to this.
"There are real reasons to avoid putting women in combat," Trotter wrote on her blog last June. "When you mix young women with fit young men, pregnancies are to be expected."
But we have the finest fighting forces in the world. They are capable of both killing the enemy and fooling around. Quite possibly at the same time.
And we owe it to America and biology to give them the chance to prove it.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
© 2009, Creators Syndicate