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Leslie Morgan Steiner (courtesy

To further their civilian disarmament agenda, our good friends at The Trace are on something of a tear, guns-in-the-hands-of-domestic-abusers-wise. As part of this extended riff, they’ve published an article from domestic abuse survivor Leslie Morgan Steiner (above). The Harvard grad’s tale is horrific, but her attempt to connect the dots between her abuse and gun ownership is entirely specious.

Conor first attacked me five days before our wedding. In the little ranch house we’d bought to start married life together, he choked me and banged my head against a wall. His fingers left ten red-brown bruises on my neck. They faded just in time for me to put on my mother’s wedding dress and marry him, despite what he’d done . . .

After that first assault, I assumed he’d never hurt me again, because I knew that he loved me. I also knew Conor’s secret: that he’d been repeatedly abused by his stepfather as a child. But I didn’t know anything about the longterm impact of childhood trauma, or how difficult it would be for him to keep his abusive past out of our marriage.

It sounds to me that Ms. Steiner is making excuses for … her own ignorance? Her lack of will to leave the abusive relationship? Surely not her husband’s behavior. There is no excuse for domestic abuse. An explanation, maybe. An excuse…no.

This bit strikes another discordant note:

That Glock was not there to keep me safe, though it did make Conor feel strong in ways he’d never felt as a child. As a young boy, his mother had stood by helplessly as his stepfather broke Conor’s arm, his ribs, his collarbone. His stepfather also beat his mother in front of Conor. What I couldn’t see as his wife was that Conor’s power came at my expense. If he kept me insecure and afraid, I couldn’t leave him, couldn’t abandon him the way his mother had.

Just because something’s true doesn’t mean it’s important. The fact that Ms. Steiner’s husband used a gun to bolster his fragile ego and terrorize her — including pressing one to her head — doesn’t mean that gun ownership enabled her abuse. He could have, indeed may have used a hammer, a knife, a golf club, or his fists (yet again) to accomplish that.

Once again, correlation does not equal causation — unless you’re an anti-gun rights advocate trying to convince people that gun ownership per se is an unacceptable danger. There are a hundreds of thousands of gun owners who were abused as a children (including this author) who do not abuse their partners with their fists, a gun or anything else.

Conor insisted I clean his guns and join the National Rifle Association; on weekends, he pressured me to accompany him to the gun range. Conor acted as if he were teaching me a shared hobby, like fly fishing. To me, having guns in my house, my car, and my life was like drinking poison in our tap water every day. I couldn’t see, or measure, the danger. But bit by bit, living with Conor’s guns destroyed the trust I had in the man I loved. And in myself.

Really? It was the guns that destroyed Ms. Steiner’s trust? I would have thought being choked and punched in the face would be enough to accomplish that.

Were there other examples of non-firearms-related abuse that Ms. Steiner neglects to add to her account of her married life? I suspect there were. But the article is designed to make the case that guns enabled her abuse.

I understand full well that people can find themselves trapped in potentially deadly relationships. There are myriad reasons for this, from economic dependency to psychological issues to sheer terror. I don’t “blame” Ms. Steiner for her ongoing trauma in any way.

But an abused person’s imprisonment doesn’t change the fact that they are the target of abuse. No target, no abuse. Which is why there are shelters for battered women and their children. Also note: physical abuse is a crime punishable by imprisonment.

Equally and more to the point, guns are nothing more than a tool. They can be used to save lives. They can be used to murder. And they can be used to terrorize. In and of themselves, guns are benign.

When I think of Conor today, I have to wonder, and worry: Where are those guns now?

Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of domestic abuse from possessing firearms. Brandishing a firearm is a crime, and offers a prima facie case of domestic abuse. So, was Connor convicted of abuse? Did he serve time? If not, why not? Does his new wife know his history of abuse? If not, why not?

There’s the real story. Not to put too fine a point on it, Connor wouldn’t need a gun to abuse his new wife. But millions of men and women use firearms to defend themselves, their children, their partners and other innocent life from abusers and predators every year.

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  1. “Conor first attacked me five days before our wedding.”

    And you married him, anyway.
    Yep. That’s pretty much all I needed to read.

    • That is what I thought.

      “he choked me and banged my head against a wall. His fingers left ten red-brown bruises on my neck.”

      All that, and she marries him five days later.

      Then, she blames hand tools, rather than the violent man himself for the abuse.

      Maybe she should have had her own Glock.

      • Maybe she did. She was an NRA member and had learned to shoot…so why didn’t she shoot the SOB when he was beating her?

        • That shitbag of a man had to sleep; she should have done him then. With the glock or kitchen knife to the chest, or slit hit worthless throat.

          People that beat their children and spouses are human garbage and should be put down like rabid animals.

    • My thought also.

      I do not blame her for his actions; all of the abuse then and later is on him, not her.

      However, at that point in time most of the usually proffered reasons for not leaving an abusive situation (can’t leave the child with him, already married, etc.) likely didn’t exist. So why did she choose to continue to be a victim after the first time?

    • Its not our fault or our responsibly to give up our rights because of the following.

      1. You have bad taste in men

      2. You think you can change people

      3. You were a bad wife (notice how it always his fault, she never did anything to set him off, how odd, right? its everyone else`s fault)

      4.You chose to stay in this marriage

      5. You think we should suffer along side of you as to insure you do not feel like “a victim”

      6. Are a leftist sub human who seeks to drag others down to your lowly level

        • He was an abuser, he was not a man. My mother always said she wouldn’t be divorced but she would be a widow if he ever laid a hand on her.

    • Same take here. Should have left then. Also a lot of guns in the house, why didn’t she empower herself and shoot the a-hole. Too busy being a victim?

      • I could be wrong, but it seems like “victim-hood” is considered a viable career choice now-a-days, whether it is through misogyny or misanthropy, oppression or freedom, even democratic Republic or communism. Who could have forseen, besides marx, mao, and mohammed?

  2. Yep what a f##ked up gal. Didn’t get any ideas cleaning his GLOCK? You married him anyway? Pathetic IF you’re even telling the truth…women DO lie.

  3. Is this even a real story? Stories are manufactured daily to push agendas, this one sounds almost too ridiculous to be real.

    • Any police officer who has responded to domestic disturbances can attest that in fact, there are people this stupid.

      Don’t you ever watch “Cops”?

      • Isn’t the responding police’s biggest danger to themselves in a domestic violence call being attacked by the party *not* being arrested?

      • Which is why the government should stay the heck out of private affairs. Let them sort it out themselves, without dragging tax funded armies into the matter.

        • Yeah, if someone wants to molest their kid, the government should stay out of their private affairs and not bring their taxpayer funded army into it.

          Hurp derp.

        • I’m sure those who decry Christianity and its morality (like yawnz), will clamor for Government-sponsored morality, especially the theocratic one of the koran, and the army, until they are the objects.

  4. One would think, that when they wrote it down, it would be evident what a steamy pile was created.

  5. “In and of themselves, guns are benign.”

    Eh. I would have said inert, myself. Benign, just like malicious, implies the capability for intent. The hand that holds the gun is capable of intent; the gun itself, no.

  6. B.S. story. She allowed herself to be a victim , so in sympathy , we all should be helpless so we are ‘ Equal ‘ to her. —> OMG .. you can’t blame the ‘ victim ‘ … just did.

  7. I suppose someone who’s been the victim of constant violence might be adverse to using violence to end it. That’s about as much empathy as I can muster up for her, as to how she feels about guns. Personally having been a child who had a parent in abusive relationships, I can see and understand how helpless and powerless she might have felt while she was in that relationship. I also wonder if she and her ex husband had children together and whether that had any bearing on the dynamics of their relationship.

    But to now be out of that situation, and rather than blaming the perpetrator, blame the guns, for his behavior? Yeah, I’m done. I don’t see that as being any different than the spouse of an alcoholic, blaming booze for the person being a drunk driver. Lots of people drink alcohol, and do so responsibly.

  8. “Conor first attacked me five days before our wedding. In the little ranch house we’d bought to start married life together, he choked me and banged my head against a wall.”

    [Maybe this is just me being a cold-hearted bastard.] Say no more. I don’t care what else you have to say because in the opening lines you declared yourself to be retarded.

    You were attacked in this manner and still went through with the wedding. You’re a straight out idiot and have no sympathy for you. Sorry, in your case, my bag of fucks is empty. You bought a defective product and then, when you found out it was defective you kept it. Now you’re trying to use your own stupidity to advance an argument that I shouldn’t have a gun because I might beat my wife.

    I’ll just say this: the day I beat my wife is the last day I’ll post on TTAG because she will fucking kill me most likely with one of her guns!

      • My wife is an edged weapon aficionado too.

        Really, if I wasn’t a weapons nut she’d scare the shit out of me.

        • I have a temper. There, I said it. I tell every woman I date, “If I EVER raise my hand to you… FUCKING KILL THE EVER-LOVIN’ SHIT OUT OF ME!”

    • Since the woman is apparently a graduate of Harvard University, it is pretty unlikely that she is “retarded”. She did however display an incredible degree of folly when she chose to marry a man who had violently choked her and banged her head against the wall just a few days earlier.

      It is possible to be both incredibly intelligent, and incredibly foolish at the same time.

      • My dad is a Harvard alum. People like this lady are why he stopped giving the university money. Well that and the fact that they have an endowment so large they don’t need any more money.

      • Aside from in the of the hardest of STEM fields (math, physics, +-) an Ivy education no longer mean much at all, as far as “intelligent” goes. The main purpose those schools now serve, are as obfuscation and justification institutions for hereditary privilege.

        • You raise a valid point. My dad was a chemistry major who became a PhD Electron Spectroscopist and more generally an analytical chemist in the field of instrumentation. He ended up writing “the book” on that subject. Well, at least a very well received textbook.

          He called me one day a few years back to ask what “Gender Studies” is. When I told him he nearly lost his mind that Harvard would have such a program.

        • Actually, many Harvard engineering grads aren’t all that hot.

          My alma would get into engineering & comp sci competitions with Ivies – and we’d pretty well clean their clocks, as did several of the other small engineering/science colleges in NY State.

        • Yep – Most of the “Ivy League” school have always been 2nd rate in the engineering field. They just added “tech” stuff as “us too”. Most every school thinks they have to have a pretend dept of every/anything. As here in Iowa the Univ of Iowa has a pretend Enginering School. Obviously today they ALL must have multiple “______ Studies in BS” programs.

  9. Whose [hated and hateful empowering] “GLOCK” is she holding in the picture?

    To get a GLOCK that shiny she’d probably have to suck on it for a long time [?].

    It makes me more interested in hearing his side of the story.

  10. Assuming her story is true, I would seriously suspect her childhood was not that great. There may have been abuse in her family which drove her to someone abusive. After the first incident, she might even have accepted the abuse as “normal”.

    Her husband could just as easily have used a Stihl chainsaw rather than the Glock. The outcome would have been the same.

  11. The purpose of this article is to reinforce the internet anti-gun meme that guns are substitute phalluses for “inadequate” males, that men own guns to make them feel like “real men.” What I don’t understand is why they don’t seem to get how childish this makes them seem.

  12. Hmm, not to make light of her experiences, but a best-selling book and a Ted talk. Good for her, but perhaps she is now re-tooling with an anti-gun slant to take advantage of a timely topic? I don’t know. Anyway, they do not allow comments at the Trace. Surprise surprise.

  13. She’s a nut job who needs to get her act together. Harvard degree or not she has loads to learn .

  14. Clearly, the best way to get around this problem is to simply not date or marry the wrong kind of woman.

    Gentlemen, if she can’t give you a run for your money in a three-gun competition… she’s just not that into you! ?

  15. Guys have been tuning up women since caveman days. Back then, what was it, a club that enabled them to abuse women? Horse sh–! Women are gazillion more times abused with a mans natural weapons, fists, arms, legs etc than with man made weapons, knives, guns, hammers, a Shop Vac® etc.
    Gawd, can the Trace be any more pathetic?

  16. “But an abused person’s imprisonment doesn’t change the fact that they are the target of abuse.”

    Ms. Morgan was a prisoner of her own mind and stupidity, nothing else. She readily assumed her role; her decision to leave was also her own, a decision for a situation she forced upon herself.

  17. She wrote about her “battle” with anorexia, married an abuser who beat her up BEFORE the wedding, and went to Harvard to get really, really stupid.

    Her whole life has been one bad choice after another. This was just yet another in a long line.

  18. Yet another liberal that doesn’t want to bear the consequences of the decisions they made.

    The guy beat the snot out of you and you married him anyway – and this is all the gun’s fault?

    Neo-Liberalism really is a mental disorder.

    • Here her story delivered an intelligent and useful conclusion, to be independent. No sign of intelligence or conclusion of any sort in the Trace version, just conflation. She submitted to physical abuse and recovered. Now she’s abusing her own capacity to reason and morphed in to an antagonist of the need for independence previously understood. Before she hid her submission, now she promotes even more insidious submission for all.

  19. Where are you pointing that gun, you dumb broad?

    …right at the person who should have walked away from that abusive asshole from day one?

    But hey, can’t pass up a good opportunity to blame the gun, huh? It was HIS fault first. and your fault second. Own it.

  20. When I bought my wife a handgun a while back she eventually got around to asking me what I thought she’d need it for. Of course, I couldn’t resist deadpanning “Statistically, me.”

  21. Your husband being born also enabled his abusiveness. You saying “I do” during your wedding ceremony enabled his abusiveness. You staying with him throughout your life enabled his abusiveness. You accepting being a victim also enabled his abusiveness. Looks like a firearm was a really small part of this big picture illustrating your ignorance, naïveté, and stupidity.

    • … And while you blame gun owners, guns, and the NRA for your non-sequitur and anti-gun quest, my sympathies have completely evaporated having you shown everyone you learned nothing but your own wrong conclusion.

  22. I’ve heard this story time and time again. I’m almost certain she forgot something. Alcoholism. Probably both her first husband and herself.

  23. So this weak woman can’t help her self. What happened to “world hear me roar”, I’m wise, etc, etc.
    It was my gun nut wife who introduced me to gun ownership. She had two hand guns and a rifle before we got married.
    She is also very handy with knives.

  24. Fixed it…

    “My Husband used Many Things in Abusing Me, yet Only Threatened with the Guns”

    My husband, acquired after abusing me with his hands, continued this behavior, which I tolerated for years. In all that time, despite his instability, despite possession of what is sometimes called “an arsenal” he never injured, or (obviously) killed me using a gun. Somehow, his abuse, his need for control, stopped short of a definitive, fatal act, with his hands, or anything else. And there were many anything’s else.

    Of course he was responsible. Yet, he is more responsible than even it seems. Were he out of control I’d be dead, guns or no. He chose to harm me but not to kill me, for years.

    For years, my ex-husband chose to do what he could to diminish and control me, while ensuring that I remained around to be diminished and controlled. Something very difficult to explain to people who haven’t been the subjects of long-term abuse is the relentless calibration and precision of it. Everything they can get away with, short of driving you away, driving you to decisive action like a criminal complaint, driving you to definitive self-defense. Their attention and adjustment is encompassing. They have the sociopath’s exquisite reading of their marks, the child molester’s sensitivity in grooming, the actor’s virtuosity.

    Sadly, you heal from injuries, but you are never the same. So, while I am no longer exposed to this particular abuser, I am not who, or what I would have been. Even more, the experience marks you, and there are those who can see, and use, the marks to their own ends.

    Like the too-trusting child, what made me vulnerable to this abuser still makes me vulnerable. The marks he left make me more vulnerable, still, to being maniplulated other ways. Like into blaming inanimate objects – guns – for my ex-husband’s actions, and my own.

    It’s horrible, again. And they push me as far as they can get away with.

  25. This lady is full of excuses from the beginning. YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING ABOUT IT BEFORE AND DO IT THE CORRECT WAY. I do not feel bad for you!!!

  26. Once again I have to ask, Is there any reason at all to believe that this woman’s husband would not have been abussive in the absence of a gun?

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