When I was fifteen, I never thought I’d be a victim of a violent crime. Bad people were in the movies, not the real world. Shortly after my sixteenth birthday, this illusion of safety shattered forever.

That night, I was hanging out with my older sister and my cousin in their new apartment. They were college students who’d just moved out on their own, excited to get their first taste of independence. We ate, talked, watched TV, said goodnight and went to bed.

I awoke in the middle of the night. Someone was kicking me. I opened my eyes and saw my cousin being dragged away by a dark figure with a shiny object in his hand. Half asleep, it took me a minute to realize what was going on.

The dark figure held a knife to my cousin’s throat. She was whimpering. I will never forget the sound; it was the sound of utter distress. I sat up and looked more closely at the figure, gradually taking in the horror of what I was seeing.

He saw me sitting up with a confused look on my face. “You’re dreaming,” he said. “Go back to sleep.” I laid down and closed my eyes, pretending to sleep.

I don’t know how long it took him to drag my cousin out of our bedroom, into the room where he’d tied-up my sister. All I could do was listen to the whimpering, begging and pleading coming out of the mouths of women that I loved.

I can’t describe the feeling of pure fear that coursed through my body. It was paralyzing and overpowering. Time stood still. All my senses were heightened, to the point where my head felt like it was exploding. A whisper became a scream with an endless echo.

I remember the “conversations” in the adjacent bedroom as if it were yesterday. I remember my sister pleading for our lives. “Please leave my little sister alone. Please don’t kill us. Please just let us go.”

I couldn’t move. All I could do was wait for him to come and get me too. Then the whimpering and crying got louder, as if something worse was about to happen in the next room. “He’s killing them,” I thought to myself. “And I’m next.”

A voice inside said “Get up and RUN! Right NOW!”

I ran. My body was shaking. I had with so much adrenaline in my system I didn’t feel it when I fell over a balcony. All I could think: he’s right behind me! I ran as fast and as hard as I could. I frantically knocked on neighbors doors, trying to get help. Door after door. Finally, someone answered.

Once I heard the sirens, I stumbled my way back towards the apartment. I didn’t know if my sister and cousin were dead or alive. Thankfully, they were alive. The attacker left when I ran out of the apartment. But not before he raped my sister.

The man who attacked my family is serving two life sentences. The police said we’d been “lucky.” The last woman he’d raped he left for dead. He confessed that he’d intended to take his crime spree “to the next level” on the night of the assault.

Fear consumed me for years after the attack. I couldn’t feel safe. I had constant nightmares. I awoke several times a night, checking the windows and doors. I couldn’t be alone in the house. I developed PTSD. Nothing I could do, no therapy or counseling, could remove the dark cloud hanging over my life. I was at the end of my rope.

Guns saved my life.

My recovery began when I started hunting. Being in nature, away from everything and everyone, I found a peace I couldn’t find anywhere else. Having the power of life or death over one of God’s creatures, exercising that power ethically and responsibly, empowered me. It put me back in touch with something I’d forgotten: the preciousness of life. My life.

Not long after my first hunt I bought my first defensive firearm. For the first time in years I slept peacefully. Later, I got my Texas LTC and started carrying a handgun. I could leave my home without fear. I could hold my head up.

My love of firearms stems from my need to feel safe. To be safe. I know a gun isn’t a magic talisman. But carrying a gun is a way — an effective way — to protect my life, the lives of my loved ones and other innocent people. A life I wouldn’t have if not for guns.

72 Responses to Liberte Austin: Why I Love Guns

  1. So why do you take your trauma out on animals?

    Target shooting is a better option and you can still love guns just as much. But hunting is a spiritual experience that digs deep into our primitive DNA. To substitute the essence of hunting for psychological treatment is a dangerous dance. It changes the rules of fair hunt, and has no endgame but escalation and regret.

      • Hardly. I live in the sticks and hunt and fish year round. City folks just don’t understand. They learn to hunt from movies, youtube, and tactical magazines. Anyone that hunts to prove their manhood (cough, cough, Erik Trump) has a lot of growing up to do.

        • Lot of assumptions – mostly fantasy – about Liberte and Trump. Might want to check your biases at the door.

        • She did say ethically and responsibly, that probably means for food, not trophies, you’re over reacting.

          Also, it seems insensitive after having read someone’s traumatic history to jump straight to an accusatory nit-pick on one of their tools for recovery.

          Why can’t she both hunt for food and find peace and recovery in the practice of finding and harvesting that food?

        • You hunt and kill animals and fish. But you judge others for the same behaviour.

          A liberal for real.

    • “So why do you take your trauma out on animals?”

      Yep, you’re a Liberal, that’s for sure…

      *mutter*

        • “Hunting for food is a completely different thing from hunting just to kill creatures.”

          I’m fully aware of that. Miss Austin frequently mentions in her articles how tasty her harvest is.

          The liberal prepper’s snide crack was straight out of the Alinsky Leftist handbook, and typical of their tactics…

      • As a liberal, Liberal Prepper’s comment is still crappy. Obviously being a liberal that does not preclude one from being an ass.

    • Seems to me like she sought psychological treatment. If being out in nature and humanely and ethically harvesting game gives her solace, then so be it. In all of her posts I have yet to see any sort of bloodlust displayed.

      • True. That’s part of the spiritual healing. And, by the way, if this Liberal Prepper lives “out in the sticks”, how the hell does he have access to a computer or the internet? Liberal “Prepper’s” “out in the Sticks” = mom’s basement.

    • I am not a woman or a hunter, but telling someone that they have the wrong coping mechanism for narrowly escaping their own rape at the age of 15, whilst listening to her own sister being raped, seems impolite.

    • Your takeaway from that is “Why do you take out your trauma on animals”??

      buddy, i’m a hares breath from being a PETA member, i love animals so much, I haven’t had a steak since i was like 17, and even I think that comment is wildly inappropriate.

      Next time, maybe think about “time, place, and manner” before dropping a comment. Sometimes let the story speak for itself.

      • “Sometimes let the story speak for itself”

        Why is this story even here? Millenial attention-seekers have numerous other Internet outlets to choose to bare their souls.

      • I’m a proud PETA member myself. People Eating Tasty Animals. Remember that there is room for all of God’s creatures, right next to the mashed potatoes.

    • “But hunting is a spiritual experience that digs deep into our primitive DNA.”

      Not to nerd out about psychology here but this is exactly why this kind of therapy works for a lot of people. Every person on the planet has a capacity for extreme violence, I mean war crimes type shit. That capacity is juxtaposed against modern society where we’ve been raised and conditioned by society that such violence isn’t acceptable. Unfortunately it’s sometimes necessary because there are bad people out there.

      When you have a situation like this, and I’m not trying to speak for Ms. Austin or her specific situation here it’s just a general thing, it is common to have feelings of rage. Feelings of “What I’d do to that motherfucker if…”. That’s the human capacity for extreme violence showing itself and it causes dissonance in a lot of people specifically because they’ve spent their entire life thinking that such actions and thoughts are wrong and that they are a good person. Now, they’re having those bad thoughts. Great, now we’ve got a person who, consciously or not, has a war going on inside their mind between the side that effectively wants vengeance and the side that says they’re a bad person for feeling like they’d really enjoy Blood Eagleing some asshole. Or they don’t feel bad about having done something “terrible” and that causes basically the same dissonance.

      Few people ever really look at what you might call “the dark side” of their own being, but when something terrible happens to you or you’re forced to do something “bad”, you may have to look at that side of yourself and come to terms with with your own capacity to do awful things because part of you wants to do terrible things or you’ve done terrible things and the other part of you hates you for it.

      The way you get that kind of understanding is, often, by putting yourself in a situation where you have the ability to snuff out life and thinking about what you’re doing while you’re doing it so that you’re coming to accept your capacity for violence and control it. This is why lots of people say a prayer for the animal they’ve killed. It’s also, IMHO, why most of the people in the BJJ community are so chill. They put themselves in that situation, moments from taking a life, in this case that of another person, all the time and they allow other people to do the same thing to them.

      • ^^^This. Right there.
        Hunting, to me, means coming to terms with and indeed – embracing my primitive nature.
        I buy meat from a store, drive a car, surf the internet and love science, but I refuse to be ashamed of what I am inside : a clever primate, fiercely tribal in nature, omnivorous, adaptable, capable of great violence if provoked or threatened and possessing opposable thumbs.
        It is my fellow primates out there who try to pretend that they are something other than that who are trying to tell us that WE are living our lives wrong.
        Lets climb a tree, Liberte, and throw poop at them.

        • I do. Don’t always agree with him. But I do him the courtesy of reading before commenting.

        • The more appropriate question to ask is if I care if anyone reads them. (I don’t.) Also, I know people do read them because they often drop a thoughtful reply (unlike you).

          Realistically, what I would ask myself, were I you, is: “Why am I so opposed to reading and learning something useful that might be a touch complex for a single sentence or paragraph?”

          Is it a reading deficiency that requires professional help to bring you up to speed or are complex ideas that require a few paragraphs just too much for you to grasp, a situation that creates dissonance in your mind and leads you to angrily post snarky, insulting comments that add no value to a conversation because you realize you’re just not smart enough to say something useful?

      • As soon as I saw Blood Eagleing, I had to go set up my Blu Ray of Vikings on History Channel season 2 episode 7, where Ragnar Lothbrok performs the Blood Eagle execution on Jarl Borg. Great comment by the way!

    • I stopped reading at “Liberal.” Nothing any liberal has to say is worth the time to read it.

    • “It changes the rules of fair hunt, and has no endgame but escalation and regret.”

      And how in the hell do you know this? So finding your emotional foundation in an elemental act like hunting and gathering food is somehow invalid because it isn’t politically correct? Generations of hunters would happily argue that point. Such profundity about someone you don’t even know. Scheech.

    • ‘So why do you take your trauma out on animals?’

      Because they’re tasty. If God didn’t want us eating his animals he wouldn’t have made them so damn tasty.

      • Hunting is often a LOT cheaper than therapy.
        Some people only think about hunting in their own terms, and never in anyone else’s, just like a lot of people do about a lot of things. Thus, to them, hunting is to be done only for the same reason they hunt (if they do hunt).
        I can’t hunt, for physical reasons, but I find target shooting therapeutic, as I know many other do. Some shoot to see how many holes they can put close together at long distances, some for the therapy, some just because they get off on the power a gun can project. All are valid reasons to target shoot.
        Some people hunt for food, some to reduce a pest population (I’ve done that; it’s relatively easy), and some to ‘prove their manhood’ or “womanhood’, or ‘personhood,’ or whatever. Some do, indeed, hunt to resolve personal problems; as long as they do it legally, it’s none of our business.

        • Besides, everybody knows if you go for therapy to a psychologist or psychiatrist you NEVER get well….until their mortgage or car loan is paid off.

          As for me, I would advise the young lady that while hunting is good therapy and good eating, training with her hand gun and hand to hand self defense would make her better prepared to deal with the evil among men if they ever come calling again.

  2. Damn. That truly is a terrible event you and your family had to endure. I’m glad you found solace and safety with hunting and firearms.

    As an aside, That is not where I was expecting this article to go when I clicked on it.

  3. I applaud your resolution to learn from a horrible experience, and your willingness to share a very personal story.

  4. As a father and husband, I just knew what I was about to read. Still, I read every single word feeling that anxiety that comes with reading of such dreadful stories – facts, not fiction.

    With you and with all the people who have suffered violence – I have, too.
    Guns ARE talismans as well – whatever works for our minds to feel better – free – is a great tool for our mind health which is essential.

    Stay safe.
    And armed.

    • Same camp here. The #1 reason I carry is not for my own wellbeing, but that of my wife and daughter. Thankfully, I married a strong pioneer woman that also carries and could handle herself quite well in rough situations.

    • Agreed and well said. Guns equal empowerment and empowered people make poor victims. Y’all done real good, Liberte.

  5. A horror unimaginable to me. Yeah, I’d be seriously messed up after something like that.

    My prayers to your sister and you and your cousin’s recovery…

  6. This is why I gave my daughter a defensive pistol when she left the safety of a small college town and moved out on her own. For a number of years, she was afraid of it, although she was quite familiar with firearms, and kept it unloaded and locked in its case in the back of her closet. Then one night someone jiggled the door knob to her apartment. The locks came off and a loaded mag was kept with it at all times (well, it’s a start) under her bed. I am hoping one day that she will find the time to get her CCW.

    • Well done dad. That was a loving thing to do.

      Maybe you and your daughter could go shooting together some time, so she can get more comfortable with the pistol.

      • She is quite comfortable shooting, but wasn’t comfortable keeping a loaded gun in her apartment. I don’t really understand why not. She shoots more often than I do, and her current fav is the FNX 45 I gave her for Christmas a couple of years ago. She says she shoots it better than the compact 9 mm I gave her for graduation. And I’d love to go with her, but we live 2000 miles apart.

        • I don’t really like leaving loaded guns around when I am out of the house either. I prefer the loaded gun to be on my person, within arms reach, or locked up.

          It sounds like you did a good job raising your daughter. Any gal that likes .45s is pretty cool.

        • Bravo. Well done on your part.

          As for the fear of having it loaded… Well, some people worry about walking in on a burglary or a guest finding it and things going sideways.

          It took me forever to get my wife comfortable with carrying a gun with one in the pipe.

          You’ve already sent your daughter down the right (IMO) road. How fast she travels it is a personal thing for her.

    • Keep up the good work Mark N.

      I second the sentiment from Art out West … do your best to take your daughter target shooting. And if even remotely possible, make it a half-day affair and take her to a National Forest some place where you can take your time, take breaks, and talk without having to talk over other shooters. Bring a nice picnic lunch/dinner along as well to complete a quality experience.

    • Small college towns are not really safe places. A loaded gun UNDER the bed or between the mattresses isn’t really immediately accessible.

      Kids should learn from their earliest age to use weapons safely. It begins in the kitchen with a sharp knife. It goes to a playground where cops n robbers and cowboys and Indians are played with the rules of gun safety applied and practiced. Finger off the trigger and outside teh guard. Don’t point the “gun” whether it is a water pistol or BB gun at any part of your own body, the body and be absolutely sure that your gun play is gun play.

  7. Rather than promoting some meaningless and ineffective educational campaign which teaches men that rape is wrong, Ms. Austin has the capability to actually enforce that lesson. Bravo!

  8. Wow. That is an awful story and proof that evil does exist in the world. Of course, most people on this site know evil exists and most liberals would deny such a thing, but it is a heart wrenching story that more people need to hear.

    I’m glad hunting helped her. And I’m glad everyone in her family survived.

  9. She’s entirely correct in her actions and motivations. This is what works for her, so more power to her. If some liberal cries that they don’t want to own guns or whatever, that’s their business. They have to decide what their best course of action is.

    What I don’t get is why idiots want to deny people like Liberte Austin (and my wife, all 4’11, 104 pounds of her) the chance to defend themselves and tilt the odds more in their favor. I mean, isn’t that the mantra of the left? “Her body, her choice?” Hate to be a jerk (no, I don’t!) but that applies to conservative women, too. Their lives, their choices, and who the hell are you to tell them otherwise?

    • The leftists delude themselves into placing an imaginary “value” on the lives of predatory criminals who have zero regard for the law, nor the hard work, property, or indeed the very lives of others. These criminals enjoy *equivalent* standing, in their view, to the lives of any and all innocent, law-abiding people who have done no harm to anyone. To liberals, everyone involved in a crime – the victims AND those who prey upon them – are somehow the same. This is why they wring their collective hands over the presumed “humanity” of criminals – even those who have discarded any shred of their alleged humanity entirely by their own choice – and berate those who don’t share the warped notion that frankly, some lives *do* matter more than others; Not necessarily to be delineated by color, creed, or background, but by regard for the law and other people.

      The result is that left would prefer innocent people be robbed, brutalized, and even ruthlessly killed at the hands of the poor, pitiful, “oppressed” or “misguided” violent offenders, rather than allow anyone to protect themselves with the most effective means possible (a job the left would reserve exclusively for over-extended, largely ineffective governmental agencies they would have us believe are omnipotent and omnipresent).

      The liberals’ belief in the fiction they have written for themselves about human nature is THAT deeply out of touch with reality. And if you want proof, just wait for the flames that will likely follow in reply to this comment.

  10. Bravo Liberte. I was expecting a peon to hunting. I don’t hunt but I’m cool with it. Trauma changes our lives-sometimes positively but most for ill. I’m happy your OK…

  11. Terrible trauma to be inflicted on a teenage girl, but congratulations for rising above it and embracing the responsibility to protect yourself and those around you.

  12. Without this insight into your life, Liberte, none of us would have been the wiser to the traumatic experience that you have lived through. Not enough to have survived, you have made yourself stronger IMO since you overcame the adverse effect and enabled yourself so as to not be a a passive victim. There were no excuses that “burden society” like my dad beats me so I went on a shooting spree at a locale of my choosing. Strength and determination drove you to be prepared. Talisman is your tool. I too have learned that preparation without proper tools is insufficient sometime. I don’t just LOVE guns. I swear my AND my family’s life by it. YOU GO GGGUHHHRRLLL!!!
    I just wanted to pay you a compliment.

  13. I’m sorry that event happened, Mrs. Austin. It’s heartening to hear your story, and inspiring to see how far you’ve come. Great article, as always!

  14. I’m sorry for what happened to you and your family. Congratulations on working out the real common sense solution to this sort of violence. Your story is the red pill that Leftists desperately need (but will probably refuse take).

  15. I am glad Liberte survived this. I hope this event inspires her to take up self defense and gun training that deals with home invasions. I want her to develop the muscle memory she will need to deal with godless, evil events like the one she had to endure.

  16. Thank you for your article, very well written and to the point.
    The ability to defend yourself is empowering, and comforting.

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