Van E. Harl


Whether we like to admitted it or not, women have always been and always will be the victims of violence, in most cases at the hands of males.

The sad history of warfare is the destruction of the enemy and the subjugation of their women. Size has a lot to do with it. Men are larger than women and even smaller men tend to be stronger than women. There is an old western saying, “God did not make all men equal, Colonel Colt did,” – Colonel Colt as in Colt handguns. The smallest person can stop the largest person with a well placed shot from a firearm, male or female.

I received a book entitled “Staying Alive – Armed and Female in an Unsafe World” written by Paxton Quigley. Miss Quigley, by her own admittance, was a liberal thinking woman with a Masters Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (an anti-gun university in an anti-gun city). But, her attitude changed after a friend was viciously raped.

This change of attitude towards gun ownership after experiencing personal violence is not uncommon in both sexes. Prior to my military career I worked in a large gun shop forty miles north of down town Chicago. As far back as the early 1970’s the State of Illinois had strict gun laws that included a waiting period from time of gun purchase, to the time you could actually take the gun home. People would come charging into the gun shop right after a robbery, assault, or rape and want a gun that very minute. They did not want to learn to shoot the firearm on our range; “just sell me the gun now” was what we heard. It amazed me how many people did not want to even buy a complete box of ammunition. If the revolver held six rounds of ammo why did they need to buy an entire box of 50 shells? These are not the people, in that state of mind, who should be walking out of a gun store with a new purchase.

Miss Quigley’s book is about being prepared to meet and properly react to the dangers a woman faces in this unsafe world. Nothing says “no” to an assailant more forcefully than a loaded firearm in the hands of a well trained female shooter, who is prepared physically and psychologically to escalate the violence, in the defense of herself or her family. Remember that “momma-bear defending baby-bear” thing in nature.

Let me state up front, from both Miss Quigley’s position in her book and my position from years in law enforcement, do nothing illegal with a firearm. If you plan to own one, buy it legally, transport and shoot it legally, and defend yourself and family in a legally prescribed manner.

Proper training is the key to a woman correctly and effectively learning how to shoot and carry a firearm for protection. Your second cousin who was Army twenty years ago is not the most likely person to train you, neither are husbands and boyfriends. From my experience in firearms training, women tend to be easier to teach how to shoot. They don’t come to this new activity in their life with the pre-conceived ideas about firearms that men tend to. Every male knows if you have seen a John Wayne movie, then by-thunder you know how to use a manly firearm. Praise the Load women do not approach first time exposure to firearms the same way men do.

Find a firearms range with a qualified instructor and take a class. Shooting is not a cheap activity, but then your life comes at a very high value to you and your loved ones. If you are lucky, you live in a state that allows law abiding citizens to qualify to carry a concealed firearm (there are 36 states the do). For women this is empowerment and helps you control your own safety.

According to Miss Quigley’s book approximately 26,000 homicides occur in the US yearly with 90% of them committed by men. Also she writes that each year 4000 American women are murdered, mostly by men. Women taking a proactive stance about there personal safety is a must. Even if you are currently married and are relying on the man-of-the- house to protect you, fifty percent of US marriages end in divorce. Never rely on someone else (loved one or otherwise) to provide your safety. Just look at what is happening in New Orleans. Aim high, aim correctly.