The New York Times isn’t exactly a right-leaning publication. On its pages through the years, the official line seems to have been that guns are bad and have no place in our society.
Granted, they can’t do much beyond pontificate about how they know better than the rest of us, but they do that in spades.
So imagine my surprise when I saw a headline, written by the New York Times opinion editor, about why she wants a gun.
I lived in New York for a decade without fearing for my personal safety. But in recent months, I have been terrified. In May, I filed for and received a temporary order of protection against a former partner.
More than five million American women alive today have reported being threatened with a gun, shot or shot at by an intimate partner, and more than half of the perpetrators of mass shootings in the past decade shot a family member, intimate partner or former intimate partner as part of their rampage. Every month, 70 women on average are shot and killed by an intimate partner. But states like mine make it legally cumbersome to defend yourself with a legally purchased handgun.
If my life is ever in danger, I want to be able to protect myself with a gun. And now, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, I am one step closer to carrying one.
It is exhausting to live in fear of someone who knows your habits showing up at your door. My former partner refused to accept the end of our relationship. As I detailed in my petition for an order of protection, for the better part of the past year, he has sent alarming and frequent messages to me, my family and friends through a number of platforms. Even after I asked him not to contact me and my loved ones, he reached out to my family and friends and asked them to persuade me to speak with him. This sort of controlling and obsessive behavior is alarming enough on its own, but also has made me fear what else he is capable of.
In April, he printed out dozens of photos of me and friends, and recorded a YouTube video of himself slowly flipping through them while reciting a poem he’d written. I broke down sobbing; it felt like there was no escape. For the next several weeks, fearful that he would show up at my home, I slept with a sheathed hiking knife under my pillow. My friends made fun of me for doing so, and with good reason: Even if my harasser had managed to enter my apartment and threaten my life, what was I going to do? Go Rambo on a man practically twice my size?
Laura E. Adkins, the opinion editor for the New York Times, sounds like a lot of other women out there.
The truth is, she was right to be concerned about whether the hunting knife would be enough. Also in truth, it probably wouldn’t have unless she happened to surprise him with it.
And that’s the reality for countless women.
Meanwhile, the most effective tool for them to use to defend themselves? It’s a firearm, the very same thing many such women are told explicitly not to get. “He’ll just take it from you and use it on you,” they might say.
However, I’ve always found that reasoning suspect.
For one thing, if he intends to harm her, she’s already at a huge disadvantage and is already likely to be killed. Yet having a gun may dissuade her attacker or, at least, allow her to stop him from injuring or killing her. That should be a win in anyone’s book.
Plus, the main way he’d be likely to take the gun from her is if she refuses to pull the trigger. If he’s a threat, she shouldn’t have any such refusal.
Now, Adkins isn’t really “one of us.” She goes on to applaud the bipartisan gun control deal, for example, but she’s also one of a growing number of liberals who are finding their way toward gun ownership. It’s especially interesting because, as I can’t mention enough, she’s the opinion editor for the New York Times.
That’s not the kind of person I expected to write what is, for the most part, a fairly pro-gun op-ed. I find it kind of refreshing, in that regard, I only wish she wasn’t dealing with such a horror in the first place.