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You can stop pretending that guns protect women now.

New York Times:

Early last year, after a series of frightening encounters with her former husband, Stephanie Holten went to court in Spokane, Wash., to obtain a temporary order for protection.

Her former husband, Corey Holten, threatened to put a gun in her mouth and pull the trigger, she wrote in her petition. He also said he would “put a cap” in her if her new boyfriend “gets near my kids.” In neat block letters she wrote, “ He owns guns, I am scared.”

The judge’s order prohibited Mr. Holten from going within two blocks of his former wife’s home and imposed a number of other restrictions. What it did not require him to do was surrender his guns.

About 12 hours after he was served with the order, Mr. Holten was lying in wait when his former wife returned home from a date with their two children in tow. Armed with a small semiautomatic rifle bought several months before, he stepped out of his car and thrust the muzzle into her chest. He directed her inside the house, yelling that he was going to kill her.

What saved Holten was not another gun, but a phone. She dial 911, then hid the phone. “The dispatcher heard Ms. Holten begging for her life and quickly directed officers to the scene,” the report tells us.

“For all its rage and terror, the episode might well have been prevented,” NYT goes on. “Had Mr. Holten lived in one of a handful of states, the protection order would have forced him to relinquish his firearms. But that is not the case in Washington and most of the country, in large part because of the influence of the National Rifle Association and its allies.”

I know that the insane and the NRA (I realize I’m being redundant) would argue that Stephanie Holten would’ve been better off had she been armed too. But exchanging gunfire with a lunatic does not guarantee success. And since her kids were present, tragedy would be all that more likely. Gun fanatics live in a fantasy world, informed by action movies, where the “good guy” always comes out on top. But in the real world, criminals aren’t automatically incompetent. Justice is a human construct, not a law of physics. In a gun v. gun confrontation, either party can lose. This is why people with guns are more likely to be shot — if I’m a criminal and someone pulls a gun on me, they’re my primary target. And of course, belief in the “good guys always win” theory promoted by the NRA causes people to take stupid risks.

The fact is that there are people who should not have guns. More guns is not the answer here, fewer guns obviously are. There are situations — and this is one — where meeting the NRA’s definition of “pro-gun” is in reality just pro-crime. Cory Holton is obviously scum. He can live without his guns.

And his ex-wife and kids would stand a better chance of living as well. A woman’s chance of being killed by an abuser increases by 700% if he has access to a firearm. That’s just a fact. And it’s a fact the NRA doesn’t want you to know, because they want to be able to sell guns and ammo to criminals like Stephanie Holton’s stalking, abusive ex-husband.

I am a mother of three girls, ages 2, 6, and 8. Two of them are Sandy Hook School students – one in first grade, one in third grade. I would like to share with you our experience with Dec 14th and my feelings on gun control.

My third grader has gone thru some deep grief over the loss of her siblings’ friends. She was devastated by the loss of the teachers, especially her principal, Dawn Hocksprung, whom we all loved. She is angry that this has happened, that lives were lost so tragically and that she can no longer go to her school. When she was evacuated that day to the fire house, she did not know if her little sister had survived. She struggles with the concept that there is evil in the world, that something this horrific could happen to this town, to her, to her sisters, to her friends. She is 8.

In addition to the tragic loss of her playmates, friends, and teachers, my first grader suffers from PTSD. She was in the first room by the entrance to the school. Her teacher was able to gather the children into the tiny bathroom inside the classroom. There she stood, with 14 of her classmates and her teacher, all of them crying. You see, she heard what was happening on the other side of the wall. She heard everything. Shooting. Screaming. Pleading. She was sure she was going to die that day and did not want to die for Christmas. Imagine what this must have been like.

With PTSD comes fear – all kinds of fear. Each time she hears a loud or unfamiliar noise, she experiences the fear she had in that bathroom. She is not alone. All of her classmates have PTSD. She struggles nightly with nightmares, difficulty falling asleep, and being afraid to go anywhere in her own home. At school she becomes withdrawn, crying daily, covering her ears when it gets too loud and waiting for this to happen again. She is 6.

Imagine being this age and living like this. My children face their fears every day by getting on the bus and going to school. Would you be able to do the same? How would you feel if these were your children?

Although we are getting help and trying to heal, this will affect us for the rest of our lives. We are thankful that by the grace of god, our children came home to us on Dec. 14. As a family and a community, we are deeply saddened and heartbroken at the loss of so many innocent children and beloved teachers.

We are also furious.

Furious that 26 families must suffer with grief so deep and so wide that it is unimaginable.

Furious that the innocence and safety of my children’s lives has been taken.

Furious that someone had access to the type of weapon used in this massacre.

Furious that this type of weapon is even legal.

Furious that gun makers make ammunition with such high rounds and our government does nothing to stop them.

Furious that the ban on assault weapons was carelessly left to expire.

Furious that lawmakers let the gun lobbyists have so much control.

Furious that somehow, someone’s right to own a gun is more important than my children’s rights to life.

Furious that common sense has gone out the window.

Furious that lawmakers are too scared to take a stand.

The “what if’s” never stop going through my mind. What if this weapon were still banned? What if there weren’t high capacity rounds? What if the shooter had different bullets? I think the carnage would have been a lot less. Yes, there would have been losses. But there would have been time. Time to react and possibly make a difference.

Those children and teachers had NO CHANCE. They did not just get shot. They got blown apart.

It’s time to stop catering to the gun owners and lobbyists and start caring about our children, our families, our teachers, our friends and our neighbors. The NRA does not care about people, they care about money.

I don’t believe that anyone, other than the military, has a right to own the type of weapon or ammo used at Sandy Hook.

The second amendment is not limitless.

Weapons like the AR15 have no place in society. This is simply common sense.

Veronique Pozner, mother of Noah Pozner, killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, gave this statement which I believe whole-heartedly:
“The equation is terrifyingly simple: Faster weapons equal more fatalities. This is not about the right to bear arms. It is about the right to bear weapons with the capacity for mass destruction.”

We are trying to move forward, but there must be change. If our lawmakers cannot make this change, then we, as a people will elect those who will.

— 

Excerpt from a letter by CARRIE LENDROTH BATTAGLIA, the mother of two children who survived the Sandy Hook school massacre.

I dare the Republican members of Congress to take a meeting with her, or any other parent of the victim of gun violence.