by Shayna Lopez Rivas
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
I recently wrote an open invitation to all those who favor gun control to say the name of Carol Bowne every time they call for more gun control.
Carol Bowne, a beautiful woman with a huge, bubbly personality, lived in New Jersey and had a very violent, obsessive ex-boyfriend. Despite begging police daily to allow her to protect herself with a firearm, she was systematically denied her only chance to live by a bureaucratic state agency that proved they couldn’t protect Carol, while simultaneously refusing to allow her to protect herself. Unfortunately, Carol died just outside her home—violently stabbed to death by her ex who then cowardly hung himself rather then facing justice.
In my open invitation, I essentially stated that if you favor stricter laws that prevent women like Carol from choosing how to protect themselves, then you are responsible for what happens to them, up to and including murder.
Of course, calling people responsible for murder because of their ideological stance on firearms is going to put them on the defensive, so I faced my share of backlash.
One man, Mike, who later deleted his comments, stated,
First of all, she didn’t die because of me. She died because some nutjob killed her. People angry enough to kill find ways to do it. Remember the heavily armed and well-trained Dallas cops that died in an ambush? Their weapons and training were meaningless when they needed it most. Carol’s a very unfortunate, but isolated, incident. I feel strongly based on what you presented here, she didn’t stand a chance anyway. She would have had to live her entire life (sleeping, working, grocery shopping, whatever) locked and loaded, and he probably still could have gotten to her. Her death is a result of another person’s mental illness, and tragic as it is, should not be used to inhibit progress toward disarming more bad people. Why don’t you download a list of all the names from Vegas, Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, Columbine, etc. and SAY THEIR NAMES? Have a nice day.
Let’s start with some facts. Carol Bowne is dead. We can’t change that she was stabbed to death by a violent criminal, who was not a “nutjob”—let’s not confuse those who have mental illness with those who commit violence as very few mentally ill people actually commit acts of violence. Perhaps some domestic abusers are mentally ill, but domestic violence is not listed as its own mental illness in the DSM V or any previous edition.
Mike said it himself—people angry enough to kill will find ways to do it. It might be easy for a man such as Mike to not think continuously, subconsciously and consciously, of safety in all of the choices he makes day to day, but he neglects to think of the women in his life who do have to make safety a priority in their choices. Even if every single gun disappeared from this country, violence, including rape and murder, would still exist. As long as people can be angry enough to kill and will find ways to do it, women, like myself, are at risk of being victims. “God made man, Sam Colt made them equal.” Guns are the great equalizer, because no matter how much bigger, faster, or stronger a man is, a woman with a gun and the wherewithal to use it, is deadlier.
Comparing law-abiding civilians to the police is ridiculous. As a civilian and concealed carrier, I would not run INTO danger, I would use my gun to get OUT of it. The Dallas Police officers ran INTO danger to protect others because that is the nature of their job. Unlike those heroic officers, I never took an oath that said I have a duty to protect the public and I likely never will. My priority in a deadly situation is to protect myself and, if I see fit, I may also protect others who are located in close proximity to me.
Carol Bowne’s death is very unfortunate, but you are highly mistaken to think domestic violence is an isolated incident. A stranger with a knife, on my own “safe” university campus, raped me. Domestic violence and rape are not isolated incidents that you can brush under the rug.
Mike feels strongly Carol didn’t stand a chance—that she would’ve had to live her life locked and loaded and even then her ex may have gotten to her. Since he brings up feelings, I feel he is wrong. Carol is already dead. There is no other outcome but for the sake of all the other women who want the choice to protect themselves, say we can go back in time and give Carol a gun. Now let’s say the gun was taken from her and she died—the outcome wouldn’t have changed. Carol’s still dead but this way she went down fighting, the other, her reality, was being left helpless and defenseless.
Now let’s say Carol had even a 10% chance of survival with a gun, that’s still a 10% chance which is significantly better than the 0% chance she was given. As far as living her life locked and loaded, I’ll speak for Carol in saying I’m sure she would rather have lived her life locked and loaded than be dead but I suppose she may have had a different opinion. I would ask her but I can’t, thanks to gun control laws.
If any gun control activist could show me any bill or law I advocate for that would make it easier for women like Carol and me to use guns for protection, that would also loosen the laws we already have for bad people to not get their hands on guns, that would be great. You can’t, because I don’t advocate bad people get their hands on firearms.
That’s the difference between gun control activists who should say the names of the dead they leave in the wake of the laws they advocate for and gun rights activists who wish to take responsibility for our own protection rather then rely on the state.
Gun control activists want to make it harder for us to protect ourselves, therefore they bear the responsibility for ensuring the safety of those in which they would see stripped of their right to keep and bear arms, or severely restricted of their right to keep and bear arms. If something happens, and a gun control law they advocate for denied someone a chance to protect themselves from becoming a victim, that’s on the advocates for those laws.
As a gun rights activist, I don’t advocate for murder or to weaken laws that restrict violent criminals from getting their hands on weapons. The laws I advocate for are ones in which we give law abiding citizens a chance. A chance to protect themselves from the “people who are angry enough to find ways to kill.” I don’t bear responsibility for ensuring anyone’s safety because I don’t promise safety in the laws I advocate for—I realize that in the darkest hour, no one is going to come and help us, we are responsible for protecting ourselves.
I don’t need to say the names of those who died in violent acts, with or without guns, because I don’t bear the weight of having to ensure their safety as I don’t advocate for laws that would restrict them from their choice in protection. Gun control activists, on the other hand, need to say the names of those who died so long as they continue to deny individual personal responsibility, choice, and protection.
It’s that simple.
Her name was Carol Bowne. And if you are a gun control activist, I hope you say it every night so long as you continue to deny women like Carol a chance to live, even in the wake of her death.
Shayna Lopez-Rivas is a rape survivor and gun rights activist fighting for Second Amendment rights in Florida and across the nation. She does marketing for WVFT Freedom 93.3FM a local, conservative talk and sports radio station in Tallahassee, Florida where she also volunteers as a court appointed advocate for children in foste