This may be a Madison Avenue-sourced, audience-broadening approach, as the gun manufacturers increasingly find their front organisations on the defensive, as the 'their sending the black helicopters for your guns!' war cry finds less and less resonance. But it's out there.
One commentator took to the Fox News bear pit after she'd writen that encouraging women to buy guns is hardly a best-practice rape-prevention strategy.
Zerlina Maxwell made the same point that women, all sorts of women, have been making for a looong time now:
I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.She pointed out that there is plenty of evidence that rape prevention is a-real-thing:
Men can stop rape and men can stop violence, they train young men to not rape.This exasperated the Fox host: "You think you can tell a rapist to stop doing what he’s doing?"
Then all hell broke lose.
The wingnuts thought that she had argued for "forcing all men to go through ‘do not rape’ classes". This was a typical headline: Democratic Strategist’s Shocking Claim: Women Don’t Need Guns for Self-Defense, Just Tell Men ‘Not to Rape Women’ (she never said the former and WTF is the latter idea 'shocking?).
What was especially telling about the reaction is that one of the ideas advanced by gun nuts post Sandy Hook was - don't look there, look over here! - that America has a cultural problem with violence (video games, Hollywood) and fails to deal with mental health problems. Yet when someone who isn't from their camp advances a solution to a gun violence problem they get:
Bombared by conservatives on Facebook and Twitter purposefully misquoting and misunderstanding my point in order to call me dumb, bitch, idiot, and at worst threaten to gang rape common sense into me.On blog chicksontheright.com the 'ridicule' of Maxwell was defended through believing that:
Her entire argument was about why women SHOULDN'T DEFEND THEMSELVES WITH GUNS.
Men can stop rape and men can stop violence, they train young men to not rapeLike they do through prevention campaigns like one called 'Don’t be that guy' in Canada which led to a ten percent drop in sexual assault rates. Or the efforts of anti-rape campaigners in South Africa. Or these Americans saying that Men Can Stop Rape.
Part of the immediate context for this peculiar, American insanity is that - post Sandy Hook - milquetoast gun control is actually winning in some places. In Colorado for example, and underneath that 'Shocking Claim' headline was a link to one of that conservative news website's related articles: Colorado Dem to Rape Survivor: A Gun Wouldn’t Have Helped You Against Rapist Because ‘Statistics Are Not on Your Side’).
More 'shock' ensues as someone dares repeats the facts that guns get turned on their owners, shoot innocents and result in increased suicides. Another fact: The gun manufacturer lobby really doesn't want those realities known so one of their targets has been scientists surveying the carnage and producing statistics.
When we (that is Brits, Australians and actually many Americans) know that mass ownership of guns produces carnage the senselessness of American gun fetishism - 'founding fathers!' 'liberty!' 'cold, dead hands! - reaches its all-pervasive zenith, a low perhaps only seen for what it is from afar, as Maxwell herself writes:
If a woman chooses to go out and buy a legal gun for self-defense, that’s fine.Update: BBC investigative programme Panorama has 'America's Gun Addiction' tonight. Here is a clip from the show of them going undercover at a Texas gun show: