I wrote an essay for Scary Mommy last week, titled It’s Easier To Buy a Gun Than Get a Restraining Order, and That’s The Problem. They have incredible reach due to their 3.5 million Facebook followers so I fully expected the dregs of society to crawl outta their momma’s basements and cheeto-pound their keyboards in fits of rage because women aren’t supposed to do things like speak. But that’s not what happened. Instead, I had to read– over and over– this same stupid sentence:
“A restraining order is just a piece of paper.”
Where did this broken record of victim-blaming garbage even come from? It’s one of those Actually Not True ideas that’s seeped its way into our collective consciousness, like the belief that Napoleon was short (false) or you can’t touch a baby bird or its mom will reject it (also false).
And that wasn’t even the point of my article. It was saying yes, previous domestic violence convictions often signal an increased likelihood of committing a large act of violence (like a public shooting) but the number of men who actually abuse women is mammoth compared to the number who are convicted for it, which means we should make it harder for people to get ahold of guns, because just screening (often without success) for previous domestic violations is clearly not enough to identify people with a propensity for going into a public place and killing as many people as possible.
Yet somehow everyone decided this was a great time to go YEEHAW get yerself a gun cuz the gubment ain’t gon protect you with a piece of paper.
Humans: Please, go on the internet. It is called the World Wide Web for a reason, and with it you can clue yourself into what appears to be a little known fact: the United States does not exist in a vacuum. This isn’t Planet ‘Murica where everything beyond our borders is a mysterious wasteland. There are dozens of other developed countries you can compare statistics with. Statistics are part of maths, and the maths don’t lie– they let us do things like walk around on the moon.
But here I am complaining about broken records, and I’m becoming one: because there isn’t a single person who will read this who hasn’t heard the exact same arguments before. So clearly there’s a reason you don’t want to believe it. Maybe you should just skip the next part and go to my FAQ, I wrote them for people just like you.
Here’s the thing. I get that if someone decides to hurt you, “damn the consequences,” it won’t matter whether you have a restraining order against them. THAT IS LITERALLY WHY I BOUGHT A GUN, HUMANS. But please, for the love of God, don’t tell a woman who is being abused that it isn’t worth her trouble to seek legal protection. I shouldn’t have to strap up like I’m living in a war zone just because our country is full of fragile ego’d people who are terrified of facing their own insignificance by not being able to carry their very own “but I could kill you if I wanted” trump card.
And don’t try to to tell me, someone who benefited from getting a restraining order, that it wasn’t worth it. Here’s why it’s more than just a piece of paper: [Read more…]
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