Gun Laws Won't Stop Misogyny. Gun Rights Can Stop Misogynists, Though.

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

We've talked about the mass stabbing in Sydney already, especially the claims that "hundreds would have been killed" without Australia's gun control laws.

But we've been seeing more about the killer, as we normally do following any kind of mass murder. Most are motivated by something, though we often have to guess to some degree or another.


While the killer is dead and can't defend himself--and, honestly, I don't care that he can't--there appears to be a one-word answer to the motive in this case: Misogyny.

Now, I get a little twitchy when people start throwing around types of bigotry as the motive for an attack, but the truth is that sometimes, the reason for an attack is some kind of bigotry. We've seen too many clear examples to argue otherwise.

In this case, there is evidence supporting the theory.

An Australian reporter who is based in the UK wrote a piece for CNN that I think is worth a look for a second.

The motive was not Islamist but an everyday threat for women: gendered violence.

It was “obvious” said the New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb, that now-deceased attacker [killer's name redacted], a diagnosed schizophrenic according to his family, had a specific kind of victim in mind when he entered the beach suburb of Bondi’s busy Westfield shopping center on Saturday.

“The videos (of the attack) speak for themselves don’t they?” Webb told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“It’s obvious to me, it’s obvious to detectives, that that seems to be an area of interest, that the offender had focussed on women and avoided the men.

“Five of the (six) deceased are women and the majority of victims in hospital are also women,” she said.

Webb added that police didn’t know what was in the mind of [the killer] when he launched his attack.

Detectives will certainly be trawling through his online activity to see if he belonged to any hate groups that operate in the darkest corners of the web. 


Rarely does it occur in their backyard. When it did in 1996 after the Port Arthur Massacre when a lone gunman killed 35 people, then-prime minister John Howard, a Conservative leader, acted - with bipartisan support that has remained rock solid ever since.

He enacted strict gun control laws and initiated a massive buyback scheme. He had to stare down political opposition from his own supporters at the time, but his tough stance has been vindicated by the lack of mass shootings ever since.

But restricting public access to weapons with the capability of mass lethality cannot stop hateful ideologies mixing with other noxious ingredients including radicalization and mental health issues.

This includes misogyny.


The author is absolutely correct. Legislation restricting firearms cannot stop hateful ideologies from becoming violent. That includes misogyny.

Of course, she clearly supports gun control. She makes no bones about the issues that she thinks could have arisen had the killers been interested in guns, but she's missing something important.

She's missing how things might have been different had the victims been able to have guns.

See, you can't legislate away something like misogyny. If we could, I'm pretty sure we would have by now at least somewhere in the world. It hasn't happened, and it hasn't because it's not possible to outlaw something that exists in the mind.

One can outlaw speech, but driving it underground doesn't stop it from spreading. Instead, it gets tagged with "this is the truth they don't want you to know about" and suddenly seems far more important.

And while most misogynists are pathetic losers, they're often sill bigger and stronger than those they might seek to hurt.

I know it's taboo to acknowledge reality these days, but the average man is bigger and stronger than the average woman. They have a definite advantage in any physical comparison. That includes something like a knife attack.


But if a woman has a gun, it doesn't matter how much bigger and stronger her misogynistic attacker is. All that will do for him is give him a bit more center mass for her to aim at.

Gun rights are often touted as evil, as if the only people who could ever use a gun are the bad guys.

The truth is that guns are equalizers. While bad people use them, those bad people get stopped by good people with firearms of their own. They equalize the encounter so that the small, dainty woman can protect herself from the giant male attacker who wants nothing more than to hurt her.

It doesn't matter why he wants to hurt her, he just did.

Did. Past tense.

Gun laws won't stop misogyny. Gun rights, however, can stop violent misogynists when nothing else can.

After all, how did the Sydney attack stop? A woman with a gun shot the violent misogynist. She was a cop, which is how she was able to be armed, but that's still what happened. If only it had happened far sooner.

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