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Who Will Tuck Them In Tonight?

Who Will Tuck Them In Tonight?

by Barbara Renner
Director, Operation Self Defense
Ranch Chief, Cody Express
May 22, 2002


Cody Express -- Another Free Press in WyomingIf you compared the actions taken by Ronyale White to the advice dispensed by the Violence Policy Center and other similar organizations, you might think she took exactly the right steps to protect herself.

Ronyale was a victim of domestic violence who had been hit and threatened by her husband, Louis Drexel. Drexel had also made threats against her three young children. In July 2001 and again in April of this year, Ronyale did the “right” thing.  She took the step victims of domestic violence are repeatedly encouraged to take. She obtained a protective order against Drexel. He was served with the second restraining order on April 22, 2002 and the two had been scheduled to appear in court on May 13.

As is often the case, the court’s protective order did not serve as a deterrent to an individual determined to commit an act of violence against another and it wasn’t long before Drexel showed up at Ronyale’s home.  Once again, Ronyale took the “right” steps -- the correct procedures according to the anti-self-defense groups -- and dialed 9-1-1.

Ronyale reported that her husband was in the house, was violating a protective order and said she wanted him out. Her call was given a Priority 1A ranking, which requires the 9-1-1 operator to dispatch the information “as fast as possible,” but within 10 minutes after the call is received.  After asking follow-up questions about whether weapons, alcohol or children were involved, a car was dispatched to Ronyale’s home. (Fortunately, the three young children were with other family members that night.)

Five minutes later, Ronyale made a second 9-1-1 call and reported that Drexel was outside puncturing the tires of her car and again requested help.

Ten minutes after her first call, Ronyale made a third call and, in a voice that was almost a whisper, advised that Drexel was threatening her with a gun.

Seventeen minutes after her first call for assistance, officers arrived to find Ronyale dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Drexel was later apprehended at his mother’s home and has been charged with first-degree murder.

Anti-rights, gun control proponents would be quick to point out that Ronyale might have survived if we had more restrictive gun laws or even an outright ban on guns.  There are, however, a few problems with that argument. One, this murder took place in Chicago where gun laws are among the most restrictive in the nation. Second, restraining orders, particularly in cases of domestic violence, typically forbid the subject of the order to possess a firearm. Restrictive gun laws do not deter individuals from violent acts or from obtaining firearms to commit those acts.  Furthermore, it isn’t the gun that is at fault, but the murderous intent of the attacker. Many items commonly found in the average home would suffice to commit murder and mayhem and often are used to those ends: hammers, axes, knives, baseball bats, bottles, fireplace pokers, even cars. Ronyale’s husband was already in violation of the law. It seems unlikely that even more restrictive laws would have changed the outcome of this tragic story.

The greatest tragedy here, however, was Ronyale’s reliance on others to protect her.

Women are repeatedly advised to obtain court orders to protect them from potentially violent former partners and others who may do them harm.  But protective orders do not stop bullets, or knives, or clubs, or any other implement that can inflict bodily harm.  Protective orders do not barricade windows and doors, nor do they prevent violent individuals from entering a home.  They don’t shield women (or men) from physical attack. They are what they are -- pieces of paper.

Likewise, women are told to dial 9-1-1 when danger is lurking.  They are led to believe that authorities will arrive, take charge and diffuse the situation before any substantial harm is inflicted. It is shameful propaganda that costs innocent lives. Waiting on a response to a call for help can literally take the rest of your life - as it did for Ronyale.

News accounts of deaths like Ronyale’s are heart wrenching because they are, in many cases, preventable. All it takes is good advice or instruction on how to protect one’s self under such circumstances -- whether that protection be with a gun or by any of a large number of self-defense tools and techniques. The disservice that is done by encouraging women, and men for that matter, to rely on pieces of paper and telephone lines as legitimate forms of protection from predators, known and unknown, is reprehensible.

Once again, one has to wonder whether the Violence Policy Center and other anti-self-defense, pro-gun control groups are truly concerned about the safety of people who have, or will, become potential targets of murderous predators.  One has to wonder if saving lives is really their foremost priority. Perhaps if these groups were as diligent in dispensing advice on effective self-defense -- and that includes armed self-defense - as they are in promoting a false sense of security through dependence on others to come to the rescue, three young Chicago children would still have a mother to tuck them in tonight.

Barbara Renner is the Director of Operation Self Defense, an organized effort to locate and report on legitimate cases of armed self defense. She also runs, where she writes under the penname "Annie" from her ranch in Wyoming.