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I know pain, fear, loneliness, homelessness; I’ve been raped, and seen the darkness that consumes people when they voice epithets like “Retard!”

How can this be? I’m just a quiet, middle-aged citizen happily living in a small home high in the Colorado mountains with my partner of the last 10 years and a couple of cats and a cockatiel (who’s sitting on my shoulder as I type this). I see more elk and mule deer during the day than cars or people.

I survived the outside world long enough to make it here, to safety and the peace of solitude, and found the protection of my fierce Susan (a Black Belt in TaeKwonDo, and EMT, with a day job in the corporate world).

It wasn’t always so serene.

You see, I’m permanently disabled from and industrial accident that let me with a speech impairment and some motor skills deficits, and I’m a (rather recently) post-operative transsexual (I was born intersexed, and some 40 years ago, doctors tried to make me a boy… and failed).

Still with me?

The darkest sides of the outside world have tried to shame me, destroy me, and “put me in my place.”

Being TS and a lesbian has meant that I had no champion when I would be found beaten to a pulp, or cornered by raging, clean-cut white men and women because I had trouble walking and talking.

I had all but given up hope when Susan and I met. She is ferociously protective, and she helped me to believe that I had a value in life, to the degree that I now own, shoot (with my local IDPA club), and am licensed to carry a pistol. I spend a lot of time working with other women who’ve survived rape, or feel threatened, to reclaim that sense of self-worth in any degree that I am welcome or sought out – because no one before Susan ever told me that I had a natural right to live, and contribute to life.

Mid November of last year, while I was filling up my old 4WD at the local store, I was confronted by a younger white man who was 6’1’’ and easily 200lbs, shaved head, wearing camo pants and a muscle tee. His shiny newer 4WD had decals of the Flag, a branch of the military, and a national pro-2A organization along with a bumper sticker that said “America: Love it or leave it!” I was dressed in clean, ironed jeans, a long-sleeved tee, and a denim jacket. I wore no cosmetics, my long hair was just brushed and in a pony tail, and my only jewelry was a moonstone pendant and two rings that Susan had given me. (I apologize, but going into such detail, I hope to illustrate that I was hardly somehow appearing “flamboyant,” or some such) He did several double-takes and then stared for a moment, getting red in the face.

He walked the 20ft towards me, with his right arm cocked into a punch, and, some 6-8ft away, screamed “Faggots and retards like you don’t belong up here in God’s country!!!” and kept approaching.

I had no doubt but that in the next moment I was going to be violently assaulted. I knew that I couldn’t possibly outrun him, and I was a good 75ft from safety (?) of the inside of the gas station. I did the unexpected:

I smiled joyously at him, reached inside my coat and snapped the Galco SS2 shoulder rig, got a firm grip on my Glock 21 (loaded with Federal 230gr Hydra-Shoks), and turned to face him! HE froze- stock still, and turned ashen gray. I smiled sweetly, and said “I don’t mind, but I think you should go home, Honey.” Shaking visibly, he walked back to his shine 4WD and drove off, heading out of the mountains.

I believe my life has worth now, and I’ll never be afraid of knowing that I have no other option but to get beaten or raped again, because I’ll never be unarmed again.

Maybe you personally aren’t comfortable with Lesbians, Gays, or Transsexuals; or even people who might have trouble walking, talking; or people who somehow just seem too different.

In diversity, we have strength.

I am a 1st generation American, and my family is from North Finland. Otherwise, the Divide-and-Conquer mentality of the liberal Socialists will win the field.

If you have friends who identify with the LBGT community, ask to speak to their support groups on gun rights, and invite them to learn to shoot.

We don’t need “Hate Crimes” laws.

We need a Vermont-Style National Right-To-Carry, Shall-Issue law.

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"Let us contemplate our forefathers, and posterity, and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter. The necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance. Let us remember that `if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.' It is a very serious consideration...that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event." --Samuel Adams, speech in Boston, 1771

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