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Rhetoric or Action.  The Choice May Save Your Life.
by Alicia Wadas
Founder & President, MothersArms

“Nobody needs a gun.”  “You can’t stop violence with violence.”  “What’s wrong with registering handguns and owners?”  “The 2nd Amendment was for the 1800s.”

These phrases have been ringing in my ears since I attended the ABC Good Morning America special, Moms & Guns, a Town Hall with President Clinton.  Of the women invited, a handful were ready to discuss how gun laws restrict our right to self-defense… and triple our number uttering the cry to enact more laws.  All wanted to stop crimes against women and children.  For two hours, moderators Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson ignored my raised hand and chose not to select me to speak.  I had plenty of time to ponder these incredible comments.  And grow increasingly outraged.

First I must tell you that some of the women who made these remarks are in terrible, gut-wrenching pain.  They have lost a child to violence.  It’s not the natural course of events.  Children are not supposed to die before parents.  But women for self-defense have also lost children loved ones to violence.  Why the difference in views?

Recently, I lost my father in a tragic event.  An irresponsible driver crossed the median and hit my father’s car nearly head-on.  My father swerved to avoid her but it was too late. 

The driver that killed my father broke many laws.  In fact, she had sideswiped another car and kept on going.  Witnesses to her erratic driving called 911 before she hit my father’s car.  The killer driver was responsible for her actions.  Did you hear what I just said?  She was breaking laws and 911 had been called.  And my Dad is dead.  Why?  Don’t laws protect us?  Doesn’t 911 keep us safe?

A vehicle can be a deadly instrument.  And yet, a vehicle raced my fatally injured father to the hospital. 

A gun can be a deadly instrument.  And yet, a gun can save my life or the lives of my children.

When I hear women say, “Nobody needs a gun,” I am dismayed by their naiveté. There was a day when nobody had a gun.  It was called the Dark Ages.  It was a violent time for the weak— women, children and the elderly.  The fittest survived.  But the voices say, “We are more civilized now.” Gentlewomen, you may be civilized. But if our society is so civilized why are our prisons full of predators?  Wake up women of America!

It is nonsense to think that violence will go away because we disarm law-abiding citizens.

Whenever I think of laws limiting my G-d given right to self-defense I am angered that the government is willing to sacrifice my life or the life of my child.  I am not the threat.  If you don’t believe that my right to self-defense is restricted, check out the laws across the states.  You will find many places where carrying a gun is illegal and yet, only inadequate measures exist to protect the innocent.  Think about Central Park or your child’s school.  Both are labeled “gun-free” zones.  But what safety measures ensure that those laws are followed?  We can only deduce that laws punish and not protect.  The irony is that victims are the first to be punished.

Look even closer into the laws. You will find cities where citizens are forced to retreat from threats in their own homes.  Now think.  Who will follow the laws?  The predator, or you and I?

Think about how you would feel if you had no right, and no means, to defend yourself and your children. Imagine that it’s the middle of the night and an unfamiliar voice awakens you.  You hear strange noises from your daughter’s bedroom.  You rush down the hall, heart pounding.  You fling open the door and see the glint of a knife held over your daughter.  Her pajamas are ripped.  Now, you choose the ending…

  1. You rush the attacker and defend yourself with your bare hands.  Remember, he has a knife.  I’ll let your imagination finish the story. 

  2. You run to the phone and dial 911, screaming until help arrives.  If this is your choice, look at your watch and sit for three minutes.  Imagine what is happening during that time to you, to your daughter.  During a stabbing, three minutes is a very, very long time.  Oh, and the help you have called will bring a gun.  I guarantee it. 

  3. You have your firearm aimed at the attacker.  My choice.  If he’s smart, three lives will be spared.  If not, I’m willing to sacrifice him over my daughter. 

“You can’t stop violence with violence.”  Really?  Then what will stop this vicious scene? Shall I spout rhetoric to the attacker and plead for his understanding?  Or will I use the threat of violence, a show of force, to stop the assault.  Although I don’t want to shoot, I will if it is required.  I am her mother.  I brought her into this world and I will defend her to the best of my ability. 

Oh, I can hear the voices of the women ringing in my ears now.  “Well!” they say indignantly.  “What are the chances of that happening?”  I pray slim to none.  What was the chance my Dad would be killed?  But he is dead.  And I have been robbed of his presence.  At the time, if there was a survival tool and I had the ability to use it to save him, don’t you think I would?  And if I did not, what kind of daughter would I be?  I ask… are you a mother or a daughter willing and prepared to defend yourself or family?

I train my children to defend themselves.  We talk and we plan.  For us, there is no difference between self-defense and learning how to drive defensively.  We discuss awareness, the use of various safety tools and how to respond to threatening situations.  The concept of self-defense simply means knowing how to react until the professionals arrive to help.  In our family, we prepare for unlikely events that can and do happen. 

Women, if you choose not to own a firearm, I respect your decision.  I trust that you have taken the training to learn to defend yourself and your children through other methods.  If you have not, I beg you to get yourself and your children to a basic firearm safety class.  Just because your household will never have a gun, your children may come across one at a friend’s house or have one pointed in their faces anywhere at any time.  Knowing the operation of a gun might save their lives.  Yes, I do know you are afraid of a gun’s awesome power.  At one time, I was too.  At sixteen, I also was afraid the first time I sat in the driver’s seat of our family car.  Empower yourself with knowledge.

To those who continue to press forward to limit my choice of self-defense, I am puzzled by your desire to sacrifice my life and the lives of my children.  I ask you to think through your statements and their consequences.  And not rush to deliver a speedy solution.  The solution to protecting our children will take time and work – by us and not the government. 

Again, the voices, “But why would you be against registration?”  Stop right there and think.  How does gun registration stop violence?  Again.  Registration does not stop violence.  What is the purpose and value of gun registration when the issue is protecting our children?  Put your energy into solving the problem of criminal use of guns.  Criminals will always find ways to get guns.

Indeed, most women at the Town Hall meeting had their own stories of violence and loss to share.  Most expressed their fervent desire to pass more laws, with the steadfast belief that those laws will keep them safe.  Sadly, they don’t understand that in their rush to stop violence, they are relinquishing responsibility to protect their families.  I want desperately to reach out to millions of moms, moms like these, who blindly accept rhetoric and feel-good legislation without the benefit of a rational voice. 

First, we must teach mothers about self-defense and protection through education and training.  And they will teach the children.  I know they will.  They just need a support system to help them.  That’s why I created Mothers Arms.  To help women be self-reliant.  To help them consider their first line of defense before the laws and 911.

Mothers Arms is dedicated to helping women learn how to protect themselves and their children through awareness, common sense and the use of safety rescue tools.  Mothers Arms needs your financial support to reach millions of women, quickly.  Visit and become a member.  Please…show your support for the women of America, today.  Thank you.