Post our country’s national election and as the year winds down I have become increasingly reflective. Although I am the Executive Director of Women Against Gun Violence, I consider many of you my friends so I am seizing the opportunity to use this WAGV vehicle to share with you my personal concerns and experiences.

I’m afraid.

As the mother of two sons who are Mexican, there is always some fear involved with them leaving the house. I make sure they carry their passports in the glove compartments of their cars. I always have “the talk” with them about what to do and what not to do if pulled over driving while brown. But now, my fear is worse.

As the mother of two sons who are Jewish and as the daughter of a holocaust survivor there is always some fear around antisemitism. But now, with increased in-your-face white nationalism and what’s going on in White Fish, Montana where the Nazi party is threatening Jews and is planning a march down the streets holding assault weapons, my fear is worse.

As the aunt of two nieces with daughters of their own, the fact that many in our country have decided that sexual assault is not an issue to be weighed heavily when determining a leader, makes me afraid … and my fear grows worse.

As the friend of people who are members of many communities — Muslim, Black, disabled, female, gay, infirmed, young, old, impoverished – I fear for their safety and my fear grows worse.

And now for my confession.

Because of my fear, I recently considered purchasing a gun.

Thankfully, I had a moment of lasting clarity. It is the NRA that offers this SIMPLISTIC and INEFFECTIVE solution to counter fear.

I was reminded by One Pulse For America, a gun violence prevention group founded by actor and activist George Takei, that contrary to popular opinion, a gun does not make you safer. Instead, it puts you and those around you at significantly higher risk of violent death.

  • Research has shown that firearms are a dangerous and ineffective method of self-defense.
  • Studies have shown that access to firearms is associated with higher risk for completed suicide and being the victim of homicide.
  • A gun in the home doubles the risk of homicide and triples the risk of suicide.
  • Each year, more than 33,000 Americans die from gun violence (the majority from gun suicide), and 84,000 more are injured by firearms.

There are other ways for me — and you — to counter our fear. Push back by looking out for vulnerable members of your community. Challenge abuses of their rights whenever and wherever you see them.

Speak Up.
Engage.
Reach Out.
Stand Together.

I and Women Against Gun Violence wish you a healthy and safe New Year celebration. You are the reason we do the work we do to prevent gun violence. Remember …

IT STARTS HERE!
IT STARTS WITH YOU!

About the Author

Margot Bennett
Margot BennettExecutive Director,
Women Against Gun Violence