The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed in 1994. Since then it has reduced the rate of domestic violence by 58%. This has saved countless lives. It is up for re-authorization now and has been revised to provide protection for Native America women, gays and lesbians (yes, the act actually protects men against domestic violence, too), mail order brides and illegal immigrants. The Republicans are refusing to approve re-authorization of the act. Apparently, the four groups of people mentioned above aren’t worth protecting.
The Republicans are also fighting any discussion of reasonable gun control. They, along with the NRA, are trying to make you believe that all guns will be removed from your possession. President Obama has outlined 24 proposals to reduce gun violence. None of them involve taking away your guns. Many people believe we need even more guns to prevent a tyrannical take-over by our military, pushed by our own government. There are 330 million Americans. There are approximately 310 firearms in this country. Do you really believe we don’t already have the firepower to stand-up and defend ourselves?
Yesterday we learned that a hero of last year’s London Olympics has been charged with premeditated murder in his hometown of Pretoria, South Africa. Oscar Pistorius, also known as “Blade Runner”, was the winner of a silver medal. Oscar shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steemkamp, four times. He claimed he believed she was an intruder. Police report that there had been a history of domestic violence between Oscar and Reeva. Statistics show that a victim of domestic violence is eight times more likely to die if there is a gun in the home. 64% of the women who are murdered each year, die at the hands of a family member or intimate partner. In most of these murders there is a history of police reports and trips to the ER, yet even then guns are not removed from the home. Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death and that of your spouse and children. If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owing neighbors and their families to die in a gun related accident, suicide or homicide.
In the two months since the Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over 1000 deaths by gunshot in America. When will we stop the madness?
With all the news media discussing gun control, violence and other issues that concern women (reproductive rights), I find little discussion locally. I work in the hospitality field and have the opportunity to talk to many people. The women I’ve spoken to are vocal in their support for reasonable gun control and reproductive rights, the need to reduce violence in this country and particularly violence against women. The men are strangely silent, other than to say they refuse to give up their guns. Do they not have mothers, wives, sisters or daughters? Do they not care that 1 of 3 American women will be the victim of a violent attack at some point in her life? Are the men in your life talking about these issues, or are they just “women’s issues?”