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“Last summer I was targeted with online harassment after an essay of mine was published,” dogsledder and author Blair Braverman (above) writes at theguardian.com “For weeks afterward, I was afraid to be home alone. My liberal friends reassured me that I’d be safe. That I was brave, tough. That I was loved. My neighbors? They taught me how to shoot guns.”

And there you have it. A card-carrying liberal — a Jewess in rural Wisconsin with a transgender wife — butts heads with reality, sees the gun rights light, and writes a pro-gun mea culpa (published in a resolutely pro-disarmament mainstream media news org, no less). Well, not exactly . . .

I am extremely liberal, and very much in favor of strict gun control. And yet, when I was scared and my neighbors helped me in the best way they knew how – by showing up, distracting me, encouraging me to explore a limit of my own power – I was moved beyond speech.

Hang on. TTAG gives its Gun Hero of the Day Award to someone who is “very much in favor of strict gun control”?

Yes. It takes an enormous amount of courage and self-awareness to move away from a publicly professed anti-gun position — especially if you’re a writer for the liberal press.

Ms. Braverman’s evolution is the result of rational thinking inspired by a cultural shift — which is where the battle for Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms is really fought.

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of words about gun owners, generally, which is to say the kind of people in the place where I live. Ignorant. Backwards. Selfish. So many arguments for gun control seem to take at their core classist assumptions about who is capable of being responsible, whose needs and fears are worth hearing out; whose home town or weight or education level or dialect (’Murica, anyone?) makes them worthy of ridicule.

Instead of mocking rural Americans for owning twice as many guns as their urban counterparts, ask why they’re afraid.

Instead of mocking rural Americans for owning twice as many guns as their urban counterparts, for thinking guns make them safer, ask why they’re really afraid. Because people like my neighbors sense the derision from those who have learned how to debate with a different vocabulary.

Because they don’t have a school, or even a grocery store, and the best things around are the things they’ve made for themselves, the things they’ve built and protected. Because without the opportunity to hunt for food – and yes, assault rifles are used for hunting – they would be hard-pressed to access affordable organic meat for their families. And yes, they care about feeding their families organic meat.

Because in three years of living here, I’ve never seen a police car within 20 miles of my home, and when I called the sheriff last fall over a threatening trespasser, it took him three hours to show up. Because wanting the ability to physically defend yourself feels pretty darn visceral when you live out of screaming range from your nearest neighbor.

Ms. Braverman’s editorial fails in the final furlong, as you will see.

No number of mass shootings will convince my neighbors that guns should be banned, because the greater the tragedy, the greater their desire for the means to protect themselves. Theirs is an argument of values, not statistics. But listening to them, taking their concerns seriously, understanding the needs that guns meet for them and prioritizing those needs in policy? Now we’re talking.

Deep empathy with gun owners isn’t a distraction from gun control. It’s a prerequisite for implementing it successfully.

Ms. Braverman hasn’t quite connected the dots between firearms freedom and individual liberty. But she’s getting there and, perhaps, taking some like-minded liberals with her. For that we salute her.

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64 Responses to Gun Hero of the Day: Blair Braverman

  1. “Theirs is an argument of values, not statistics.”

    Actually it’s both. If the author was half as smart as she seems to think she is then she’d know the statistical argument is not in favor of gun control. I mean, unless of course your only concern is crime committed with a gun and not violence in general.

    If taking away someone’s gun but allowing them to get beaten to death with a brick or hacked to death on the street with little or no chance of successful self defense makes the world a better place in your eyes… well, you just might be stupid.

    • They also seem to put a disproportionate value on mass shootings. If you talk to gun control advocates, they keep going back to the fact that sometimes, on very rare occasions, people charge into schools and murder the children.

      I think, and this is just a theory, which people can give their thoughts on if they want, that it’s partially because humans are more programmed to think in terms of small local communities than large nations. Think, for the majority of human existence, they all lived in very small, close communities. Communication over large distances was difficult and the average person didn’t see much beyond their small community.

      So, when people in the modern age hear about things like school shootings happening in the country of over 320 million, their minds don’t really recognize the grand scale of the country that these mass shootings are happening in. Just try to imagine 320 million people. A lot of people probably couldn’t wrap their mind around how many people that is.

      They treat it as if this is all happening in a small community, and so mass shootings are just everywhere. If 13 mass shootings happened in one small community it would be terrible, tragic, unacceptable, something would HAVE to be done.

      But if you zoom out and realize that this is happening in an almost inconceivable population of 320 million, you realize just how small the problem really is. That’s where a lot of people get hung up. The media gives you very detailed accounts of every mass shooting to make it feel as if it is happening in your community every time.

      • This is exactly it. I was having a gun control debate over and we agreed on 16 being about the number of actual mass shootings we have a year. In a nation of 320 million, this is statistically insignificant and, honestly, acceptable. He asked, “would it be acceptable if my car didn’t start 16 times a year?” I asked him, “do you start your car 320 million times a year?” It’s all about the scale.

  2. F*** her. The way she talks down about her neighbors and gun owners in general is incredibly derogatory toward people who tried to help her. Remind me again who the ignorant, selfish one is?

  3. I have some insight to being harassed on line. Not to the same level as this lady. But bullies are a fact of life. That’s why we reserve the right to arm ourselves. Just in case a bully crosses the line and becomes a real psycho. What this lady has to realize is that she has to accept the ultimate responsibility to be her own first responder.

    Until she does that she remains a second class citizen of her own choice.

    • Notice her statement in the source article:

      “Because wanting the ability to physically defend yourself feels pretty darn visceral when you live out of screaming range from your nearest neighbor.”

      Did you catch that? Mrs. Braverman expects her neighbors to HEAR her scream and RESCUE her.

      In her final analysis, feelings are supreme. Notice her comments in the source article:
      “… feels darn visceral …”
      “Not because I felt safer.”
      “… that night … I felt seen.”

      It does not feel good to admit that she is truly vulnerable.

      It does not feel good to have the means to defend herself.

      What to do? Take comfort in feeling “seen” … whatever the Hell that means.

      She will not take responsibility for her actual security. She will take responsibility for feeling good — even if that requires that she divorce herself from reality.

      • I’ve only got bullied a couple times online both times for my terrible spelling and grammar.

        In regard to this article you would think people part of the transgender community would understand individual freedom better then most.

        • Better “than” not better “then”. “Then” is for temporal ordering. “Than” is a comparator. Oh and you’re ugly and smelly and your father was a snowblower. Now, laugh or I will taunt you a second time.

  4. This is the good and the bad of having a wider range of people accept guns as part of society. She finally gets why gun ownership is important, which is awesome — but unfortunately, being a modern liberal (which means she’s not actually liberal), she still wants the state to actively and intrusively manage it.

    We’re going to see a lot more of this in the near future: people who are finally willing to come out of the leftist/progressive closet and publicly agree with us on the necessity of gun ownership, but who still think in terms of collective control rather than individual rights.

  5. “Deep empathy with gun owners isn’t a distraction from gun control. It’s a prerequisite for implementing it successfully.

    Ms. Braverman hasn’t quite connected the dots between firearms freedom and individual liberty. But she’s getting there and, perhaps, taking some like-minded liberals with her. For that we salute her.”

    Bravo Sierra, Mr. Farago
    She’ll never come around if she hasn’t already. You have just cheapened the brand “Gun Hero of the Day” beyond repair. Like the Noble Prize Committee did giving Obama the Peace Prize after which he started his war on police.

    • I agree with the BS call. FTA: “Because in three years of living here, I’ve never seen a police car within 20 miles of my home, and when I called the sheriff last fall over a threatening trespasser, it took him three hours to show up.”

      Did she meet the sheriff 20 miles from her house?

      • Maybe the unspoken assumption here is that sheriff != police. I live in a similar area, and that’s the way it works here. The “police” belong to the incorported town next door and don’t come out here. The sheriff works for the county, and does.

  6. Has her life threatened online (presumably), and so buys a gun for protection. Seems smart, as nearly every person reading this blog would agree that owning a gun increases your chances of surviving a violent attack. But then, even after enjoying the benefits of owning a gun, she still calls for more governmental oversight which would make it much more difficult (if not impossible) for her to acquire a firearm in a timely fashion should she need one (like she did). The mind boggles at the mental gymnastics she must be doing to hold these views…

  7. “Ms. Braverman’s evolution is the result of rational thinking”

    “transgender wife”

    Are you sure that a person who indulges in mental illness is capable of rational thought? I’m inclined to believe this is a case of a broken clock.

    This piece isn’t going to go over well TTAG.

      • “Male” DNA = MALE,

        “Female” DNA = FEMALE

        You can change your physical appearance by surgically altering your body but not your DNA, anyone who ascribes to the notion that a “male” can be “female” is either “mentally ill” or ignorant to the laws of biology thus should be stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights and institutionalized before they have the chance to engage in more serious antisocial behavior.

        • Ignorance is now a reason to be stripped of 2A rights and institutionalized? Damn, there goes most of our country.

          I’m not exactly a fan of the whole “gender fluidity” crock, but a person’s basic human rights apply whether you like their opinions or not, unless they commit a crime that warrants suspension of said rights.

      • Waldo:

        “Yes” Waldo (Darla’s still waiting to be rescued) “ignorant” people ie. imbeciles, morons, idiots should be stripped of their 2nd Amendment rights especially if they don’t know from which end of a firearm a bullet exits or if they are incapable of comprehending the fact that projectiles travel great distances thus the need to be sure of what’s behind the target.

        Better start paddling, Alfalfa is closing in on your stalled motorboat and about to pluck Darla from your ride and save her from going over the dam on Toluca Lake.

        • Sorry, but ignorant != incompetent. Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge, not an inability to learn. It can readily be remedied by studying the subject in which you’ve been found lacking.

        • Sorry pal, the humor in your comment didn’t completely hide the, well, ignorance in it. Firstly, Andy T summed it up perfectly. Ignorance =/= incompetence. Secondly, how would you enforce this breach of the rights of the ignorant? Mandatory IQ tests before gun purchases? Like I said, a human being’s rights are not based upon their intelligence, they’re guaranteed until that person infringes on the rights of another and therefore forfeits their own.

          Whether you like gays or “transgendered” people or not, whether acceptance of such lifestyles is ignorant or not, the fact of the matter is that they are guaranteed the same rights as you or I, regardless of how we may feel. Personally, I couldn’t care less if I tried, but I make it a rule to not keep track of what strangers do with their genitals.

  8. The irony here is palpable.

    I presume the online essay of Ms. Braverman which generated such a hostile response was one espousing her ultraliberal ideology, and the harassments and threats were, presumably, from a fringe element of the right wing.

    Yet it was right wing liberty lovers who came to her aid, taught her to shoot, and gave her the means to protect herself.

    It wasn’t the guns that caused her change of heart, but people of the gun reaching across the cultural divide (transgender fiance’?) to show the left what we’re really made of, that we value all human life.

    Maybe we could all learn from this?

    • Why would you presume Curtis in IL, that she was threatened by “fringe elements of the right”?

      I read her article at the link, and there is no reference or link to this essay she was threatened over. From googling her name, the only reference is about her autobiography about her life in Alaska and Norway learning to dog sled.

      I can’t find the essay that caused the threats, but I have found more about her experiences to admire, than not. Transgender friend or not. I have found that the leftists are the ones to have violent tendencies of threatening those they dislike, especially on line.

      • Presumptions, by definition, are not always correct.

        She’s is “extremely liberal” by her own assertion, with a transgender fiance’, living in a very conservative area. Connect the dots. She wasn’t threatened because of her prefernce for smooth peanut butter vs. crunchy.

        • Perhaps. But just like the left is always going on about their fears of the conservative gun owner shooting people for cutting them off in traffic; but then it’s pretty much the lefties and the Muslims that are in the news for mass murders. The left have turned savagely on one of their own for not toeing the line, so until I can see what the essay was about, I’ll reserve judgement as to who these on line bullies are that were threatening her.

  9. Give her another year. You may very well be surprised what the result is. People don’t make tectonic shifts in the way they think over night. The message is getting through, it just takes time though.

  10. Hero is someone drafted off a factory floor rising above what is expected. In that sense, an anti gunner transitioning from hope to a belief, then squaring with reality is remarkable. Writing about it is courageous, contemplating lawful self protection…she will be a hero when she defends herself.

  11. Heroine? Nope…plenty of “guns for me but none for thee” types floating in the flotsom and jetsam…I can’t relate how many black folks told me they love me some obama-but are “pro gun”. Yeah hero gets thrown around far too casually…👎

  12. The next step is to question why the violent crime rate is so low in rural Wisconsin where there’s very little gun control and everyone is armed, and so high in nearby Chicago where there’s very strict gun control and almost no law abiding citizens have guns. There’s where she’ll find her epiphany.

    • Watch Stefan Molyneux and The Truth About Crime. Honestly, neither gun control, nor lack thereof, impacts crime. It’s all about people being inclined to commit crimes, and that is centered around IQ, genetics, and upbringing.

      Europe, with high gun control, has low crime.

      America, outside of the predominately black urban centers, has a nearly identical crime rate despite the availability of guns.

  13. I dont’t think she’s a hero. And even though she hasn’t connected all the dots, she has come to accept that guns provide the best means of self defense from those that would do you harm. And that the gov’t can’t protect you in most places, pretty much all the time. Good for her.

  14. She’s wrong, of course. She doesn’t have a transgendered wife because such things don’t exist. But those who threaten her are more wrong. And it’s not close. As for what she thinks: baby steps. We should take wins where we find them.

  15. The gun hero of the day should be the little Asian lady whose house was broken into at 4 am by three black criminals armed with guns. She opened fire and killed one of them while also taking a grazing wound to the head. And when she made her 911 call she cool as a cucumber, and patient with the dispatcher beyond belief.

  16. Well I don’t care who she sleeps with. I don’t care who she does not sleep with. It does not matter to me. I will never split sheets with her.

    Her voice is a useful one and she has access to people most of us do not. This piece will come up when people search her name. When people search her stories. Yeah this gets our forum in front of some fresh eyes. Damn what a bunch of dicks at TTAG to write things in hope of generating traffic so that we can read our free shit and get free shit yet still complain about it.

    Gents I believe the right to own firearms is too plainly stated. Yet it seems that you must choose between your constitutional rights or your lifestyle here in the land of the free. Please spare the flames about morality and conservatism. I was raised in a southern baptist home. By now I have been well informed of the whoa cast upon thee. Long live the republic.

  17. Sorry. My BS meter is pegged-out.

    My take is that she is now in the guns-for-me crowd and will happily remove them from everyone else.

    The gun hero’s are her neighbors.

  18. “Instead of mocking rural Americans for owning twice as many guns as their urban counterparts, ask why they’re afraid.”

    No. Instead, ask if fear is necessary or even the driving force at all.

    She is still being extremely condescending even with her new understanding. But, I suppose it’s still a step.

    • That’s one thing that pisses me off about liberals in general, they don’t seen to understand the idea of theory of mind. They can’t comprehend that someone has an entirely different mindset or worldview, our totally different understanding of a subject. They assume that opposition to abortion is motivated by control because they see the issue as being about control. They assume gun ownership is driven by fear because fear is the only thing that can drive them to own guns. It never occurs to them that not everyone shares the same basic understanding or assumptions their own views are based on.

  19. A liberal is a conservative who has not yet had their eyes opened to the real world. Usually it takes a single event like becoming the victim of a violent crime or losing your job due to downsizing. For me it took 50 years to see the light. But the left wasn’t so left way back then as they are now.

  20. This looks like more “big tent” bullshit. You let ten Liberals in the front door and you run 100 conservatives out the back. They need to assimilate first. Diversity to me is diversity of race, color, religion, sex, national origin and yes..even sexual orientation. But diversity in political ideology and Constitutional adherence is not what I will tolerate. I’m out.

  21. Fear is not the driver of gun rights proponents. That assumption is a snide, condescending view that many anti-gun people have. If anything, it is more themselves who are afraid as they are terrified of their fellow citizens being armed. If a person is “The Gun Guy” (or Gal) on their street and the neighbors come asking about getting a firearm, they’ll have the whole neighborhood armed if they can. That is not the mindset of a person who is fearful.

    I have always wondered what the reaction would be if a psychologist published an article on the mind of the gun control advocate, and talked in a snide condescending tone about what is it that makes such people so afraid, etc….

  22. The subconscious is a wonderful thing. Seems she can’t get away from the gun control agenda. Hunters now with assault rifles. Slipped that one in there she did.

  23. Well this is certainly a controversial piece.

    I’d like to see what she thinks good gun control looks like now. Since she acknowledges that concerns with gun control are legitimate. How does gun control look that takes such things into account?

    I wonder if she’ll ever see that guns in the city are the same way.

  24. Thanks for TTAG for printing this. What an eye opener. The logic of the hard core liberal–or should I say the lack of logic–is laid out in her own words. I had to read that last section a couple times before I could believe I wasn’t just reading it wrong. Then, I had to go back to the top and read again. This article should be required reading for everyone who thinks that gun owning Democrats are not a threat to our rights. This woman belittles the very people who helped her. She would get her gun and then have Hillary take away her neighbors’ guns. Because she now “understands” them, she is as eager to disarm them as ever.

    I wonder how she would feel about Hillary’s “Australian style” gun control, when the confiscators come to her door. “Sorry, you cannot have a gun in your home. You may have a .22 rifle, but it must be kept at a government licensed gun club and may only be used there.”

  25. “I am extremely liberal, and very much in favor of strict gun control.”

    The word she is looking for is leftist, not liberal. Liberal from latin liber meaning freedom. Gun control is not “liberal”. I don’t care how much of a crazed leftist this lady is, she can’t change the meaning of a word.

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