In a thinly veiled smear piece on the host of Cam & Company, Timothy Johnson of Media Matters twists Cam Edwards’ comments on who is ultimately responsible for stopping a sexual assault in progress. The article NRA News Host Lectures College Students: “Burden of Stopping Sexual Assaults “Is On The Victim” is a scathing response to the common sense statements Edwards made on his March 27, 2015 show while discussing an editorial in the student newspaper The Daily Tar Heel on the campus concealed carry debate. The editorial, published on March 22, criticized the national group Students for Concealed Carry for their efforts in raising the issue of campus sexual assault in their push to allow students to conceal carry on public campuses in North Carolina.

In part, the editorial reads: “Concealed weapons would not significantly reduce sexual assault and would create inadvertent risks within other forms of interpersonal violence,” and added that proponents of guns on campus “could reinforce rape culture because the burden of stopping assault would be further placed upon women.” After linking a Media Matters article proclaiming guns increase the risk of homicide in domestic violence situations, the Tar Heel ultimately concludes with:”[t]o reduce sexual assault, focus should be maintained on preventative programs that challenge rigid gender roles and promote healthy relationships as well as intervention trainings that teach peers to be active bystanders rather than on measures that will not solve the problem.”

Edwards said the editorial “could only be written by somebody on that college campus without a lot of thought and experience in the real world” and that he was “dumber [for] having read” it.  Rightfully so, Edwards tore into the Tar Heel’s assertion that telling women they should carry guns to protect themselves in the event of a sexual assault places the burden of preventing such attacks on those women. As any adult with an ounce of common sense or a dash of real world experience would tell you, Edwards states ‘the burden of stopping violent crimes, including sexual assault, is ultimately left to the victim’. Incidentally, throughout his Media Matters article, Johnson picks at Edwards’ use of the word “burden” as if it is his word, when it is actually from the editorial on the Tar Heel seen here:

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Continuing to call out their nonsensical assertions, Edwards further stated, “I hate to tell the editors here of The Daily Tar Heel, but the burden of stopping that assault is not going to be on the person committing that assault, not at that moment in time, the burden of stopping that assault is on the victim, it is on the victim.”. Also adding “I don’t say this as a microaggression, I don’t mean this as a — to come with a trigger warning, but it is the truth that if you are the victim of violent crime or the victim of an attempted violent crime, it is not the patriarchy that puts the burden on you to defend yourself, it is not rigid gender roles, it is — it’s a fact of life.”

And he’s right.

Consider this: If you are in a situation where a violent attack can and does occur against you, where do you think the burden of stopping that attack lies in that moment? With the aggressor? With a police officer 7-12 minutes away? No, ultimately it is up to you to stop that attack in that moment. Which is exactly why Students for Concealed Carry, Cam Edwards, and yours truly work so hard to ensure every citizen is able to carry a gun for their personal protection should they choose to do so.

As a mother, I teach my children to always have situational awareness. I teach them simple actions to keep them safe like keeping their finger on their car key’s panic button when walking to their car alone and to always stay with a friend when walking through town after dark. I even teach them about “Stranger, Danger!” and give them tools to protect themselves, not just to scream, kick and thrash if a stranger grabs them, but also to pull a button from their clothing and shove it into the ignition or kick out a tail light if they are ever kidnapped. They also know how to work the fire extinguisher under our sink, where to take cover if and when a tornado hits, and what to do when the smoke detectors go off in our home; these are common sense, preventative measures for real world problems and because I know these things can happen, I make sure my children have the tools to ensure they won’t become victims to any of them.

It is common sense to not only encourage people to fight for themselves, but to also allow them access to the necessary tools to effectively defend and protect themselves. Instead, gun grabbers continue to perpetuate the ignorant belief that anything other than the victim is going to be able to stop a violent attacker in the process of acting out his depraved fantasies. Sadly, it’s obvious neither the writers nor editors at The Daily Heel or Media Matters were blessed with such common sense.

I think the most insightful statement Cam Edwards made was “the person who is being subjected to this crime, is not just allowed to, is not just entitled to defend themselves, I think again they have a responsibility to themselves, and to the people that they love, to protect themselves as best they can.” Yes, thank you. Victims do have a responsibility to protect themselves as best they can and I can guarantee you that if I was being assaulted, I would be thinking ‘I cannot become a statistic! I’m too young to die, I have a family, dammit: I want to live!’ and fighting with every ounce of my being to stop that attack.

Whether you call it a burden or a responsibility, you own your personal safety. Like it or not, the reality is that in any given moment: it’s up to you to protect yourself. By any means necessary.