Today we are pleased to present a blog post from author Gerry Souter. This is an excerpt from his book “American Shooter: A Personal History of Gun Culture in the United States”. You can find the book from most national retailers including Amazon.
From the publisher:
This hardcover volume, presents a liberal gun owner’s perspective from the outside peering into the heated debate over gun control. “More like Bill Bryson than Massad Ayoob,” said one reviewer.
In the book, he combines a history of our gun culture in the United States interwoven with a humorous account of his memories growing up on Chicago’s South Side. Always the kid who got picked last in games, at age 12 I found his lifetime skill in marksmanship and shooting sports.
“Humorous…historical and personal,” wrote Gordon Morris Bakken, Ph.D, JD, professor of history (University of California) in the book’s foreword.
But more important, in today’s atmosphere of NRA extremists battling gun-control extremists, American Shooter offers not only a balanced position on the gun issue, but shows how marksmanship can become the next great American sport.
The following excerpt can also be found on the author’s personal blog: http://souterauthors.blogspot.com/
Women and Guns – Fear to Promote Sales
An excerpt from American Shooter
The 1980s became the decade for peddling handguns, long guns, shot guns, and anything that would go “Bang!” to women. Collaborating with the NRA, gun manufacturers’ designers, advertising agencies and media shills set out that women must be armed.
The high ticket sell point on the prefrontal lobe of the male-dominated firearms market was “rape.” All women feared rape. Fear of “radicals” and “troublemakers” had fueled gun sales in the South during the height of civil rights confrontations. Fear of having the Second Amendment carjacked by skulking liberal socialists fired up millions of people who had a gun moldering away in a dresser drawer, night stand, or basement closet. Sportsmen, target punchers and militia members fired up their typewriters with letters to legislators and Op Ed columns in the media. Fear of that loss blazed from the pages of the American Rifleman Magazine’s editorial pages. Now, the Big Gun turret swung in the direction of women as they were targeted by the testosterone bubbling gun world.
To allay any concerns that male NRA members would soon be attending Tupperware™ parties or carrying man purses, the NRA Personal Protection Program Director, Tracey Martin said in 1988: “Millions of intelligent, self-reliant women have chosen to defend themselves.” And if the female members of NRA were looked upon as beer-swilling, tattooed, ball-busting rednecks in biker drag, that was also a misconception. In articles and advertising women were portrayed as competent, pleasant, no-nonsense folks who, besides being a businesswoman, high power shooting champion, or former Dallas Cowboys Cheer Leader could also defend themselves. That was the key comment from all the quoted female shooters: “I can defend myself.” Believe that, because in an NRA sales instruction pamphlet titled, “ A Question of Self-Defense” the NRA text against a blood-spattered background warns,
“You’re a woman. Someone’s going to rape you. You’d better buy a handgun. People buy handguns out of fear, and rape is perceived as what women fear most.
‘Tell them what rape is,” the pamphlet shrieks, “Be graphic. Be disgusting. Be obscene. Make them sick. If they throw up, then they have the tiniest idea of what rape is!”
Another NRA pamphlet titled “It Can Happen to You” shows the picture of an elderly woman and the text oozes:
“In nature, the predator preys on the weak, the sick, the aged. It stalks. It waits patiently for the precise moment when the victim appears defenseless. Then, it strikes…There is no way of telling a criminal predator by the way he looks. He might be a potential suitor.”
A 1987 self-defense advertisement shows a man in a stocking mask beneath the headline, ”Should You Shoot a Rapist Before He Cuts Your Throat?”
And a further warning and admonition sums up the potential dangers:
“The days when you thought you’d never be the victim of a rape–that it ‘can’t happen to me’ – are over. We all know of friends or family who have been raped, beaten, robbed or burglarized by thugs who don’t think twice about hurting someone. You might be the next victim.”[i]
Now, shut your eyes and imagine an ad that reads, “It’s a beautiful day to work out. What will it be: the golf course, the tennis court or the rifle range?”
[i] Pamphlet texts quoted from: Josh Sugarman, National Rifle Association – Money, Firepower and Fear, Violence Policy Center, 1992.