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Women Must Take the Lead in Ending Gun Violence
December 16, 2012
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Women Must Take the Lead in Ending Gun Violence.


Because we are so often on the receiving end of that violence.

Because mass slayings with semi-automatic weapons are occurring in places that we and our families frequent - schools, shopping malls, movie theaters - and random drive-by attacks take place on our local roads and in our residential neighborhoods.

Because our "protection" is so often cited as justification for one or more family members to arm themselves and bring weapons into the home.

Because every shooter has a mother. Because most shooters end up dead, and too often their mothers or the mothers of their children do too.

Because "building a strong economy that supports working families" gets trotted out whenever an industry senses that new regulations are coming. Gun violence destroys families immediately and irrevocably. Implementing tougher rules for buying and selling firearms is not going to leave bodies littered in the aisles either at the moment or in the future - we had a Federal Assault Weapons Ban for ten years (1994-2004) and it did not bring down the economy. Why was it allowed to expire?

Women Must Take the Lead in Ending Gun Violence.


How did the NRA gain so much clout? With money, by funding the campaigns of lawmakers who would do their bidding or at least be "sympathetic" to their interests (read "spineless").

Women have economic clout as well. contains a wealth of information about the wealth of U.S. women and their buying power. It states that more than 80 percent of all consumer purchasing decisions are made by women. Now that we are in the season of heightened shopping and buying, women can immediately start showing their displeasure with gun culture by avoiding general retailers that sell military-grade weapons and ammunition alongside the groceries, clothing and toys, and by rejecting TV shows, movies and games (and their paraphernalia) that glorify violence. Anyone would be devastated if there was a shoot-out in their home - so why do we willingly allow such scenes to blast out of our recreational media?

(If you have trouble finding anything on TV that isn't full of shooting, screaming, smashing and explosions or - even more troubling in some ways - merely peppered with graphic ads for same, may I suggest Animal Planet's "Too Cute Kittens!" and "Too Cute Puppies!")

Are you mailing out season's greetings actually or electronically? Add your state and national congressional delegations to the list and let them know that you are wishing for tougher gun control and fewer gun maimings and deaths in 2013.

Women Must Take the Lead in Ending Gun Violence.

But it's not our fault!

Exactly. We cannot expect the grown-up boys with their deadly toys to end this game of their own volition. The disproportionate number of men in top level executive and creative positions in the entertainment industry correlates to the disproportionate amount of gun violence in our media, which in turn has a correlation to the acceptance, even glamor, of guns in our culture. Women must seek equal representation in all positions of influence over government and society so that our perspectives are given equal weight and consideration. Of course I welcome men of peace and reason to this cause, but my message here is that U.S. women have not been heard on the issue of gun violence.

I'm not suggesting that women are powerless. We have been admitted to most of the halls of power and influence - in small numbers and provided we play by the rules previously established by the male elite. We have a foot in the door, but we're still spending way too much energy trying to push through, when we have so much more to offer.

I'm not saying that women are better by nature than men. We are different biologically and we are different by virtue of the gender roles permitted or imposed on us by society. I can't imagine how anyone who has a sympathetic heart and a moral conscience can look at a world in which innocents are killed by a crazed gunman - or by suicide bomber, or a drone attack, or preventable disease or starvation or exposure - and not wish it were different. So maybe it's time to approach things differently. Women can provide different perspectives.

A gun does not have rights. All guns are not equal. Guns are destructive by design, and they have their uses. They should come under at least as much regulation as vehicles, alcohol and narcotics. Speaking of which, it was women who stepped forward to lead the campaign against drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed in 1980; according to their statistics, alcohol-related driving fatalities had dropped from 30,000 annually to under 17,000 by 2005. Take a look at the M.A.D.D. website and see how they did it. Notice that they haven't put an end to either the alcoholic beverage industry or the auto industry. They made our streets safer. We need to have sane gun control policy to make our streets, our homes, our schools and our public spaces safer. We won't get it until we change the culture. To do that we will have to face down propaganda and fear-mongering from those who are deadly serious as well as the "all in fun" or "just in it for the bucks" desensitization and glamorization by entertainment moguls.

Macho gun culture has had its day (century, millennium...). It's time for women to stop feeling embarrassed or befuddled or bullied into going along with it. Men who kill with guns also die by them. Women must stop enabling, take responsibility for our own power, and step up to the task of undoing the supremacy of the gun.

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Copyright © 2012 Zelda Gatuskin

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