I have to admit that, at first, I was disappointed to read that Elliott Rodger’s YouTube video and subsequent killing spree launched the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen and a national conversation on misogyny.
While there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that this conversation was sorely needed and way overdue, I didn’t like the fact that the rant of a deranged misogynist was becoming the main focus of the tragedy in Santa Barbara. For me, the main focus was and is the fact that another mentally unstable individual was able to legally purchase guns.
What was so special about #YesAllWomen? I wanted to see another type of hashtag, stuff like #GunControlNow, #WhyCanCrazyPeopleBuyGuns, #StopTheNRA, #GunsKillLovedOnes, and I wanted a new national conversation on guns. A conversation inspired and fueled by the sadness, anger, and truth spoken by Richard Martinez, whose 20-year old son Christopher, was a fatal victim of Rodger’s insanity and gun ownership.
But, honestly, what’s the use? We’ve had so many of these conversations yet the NRA is still winning. I’m waiting to hear what the NRA leaders will say this time, but I am willing to bet that they will use the fact that Rodger killed three people with a knife to re-affirm their “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” stance, totally obscuring the fact that the three human beings who died because Rodger had guns would be alive today if he had not had them.
But, hey, what’s three more dead people to the NRA? When 20 children younger than seven and 6 adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, the NRA called for more guns in schools and armed teachers, because “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” according to Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice-president at the time.
So, no we don’t need another conversation. What we need is a movement and who better to start this movement than women whose physique, anatomy, and social norms often put us in vulnerable situations at best, and dangerous, even fatal ones, at worst?
#YesAllWomen, although inspired by the desire to fight misogyny and violence against women, could be used as an umbrella term to unite those women (and men) interested in promoting safety, preserving life, and fighting violence (not only against women, but against everyone). At first, I had dismissed it, but then I realized its potential.
So, I tweeted this, which got a few favorites and retweets:
How about all of us women standing up to the NRA #YesAllWomen
Then, I tweeted this, tongue-in-cheek:
Have gun? NO sex! How we women can contribute to gun control: Sex strike until strict gun controls laws are enacted. #YesAllWomen
Which had the following responses:
From a male NRA fan: you can piss off because my #guns are sexier than you anyways
From a user whose profile claims “I block the obnoxious and get blocked by the clueless”: My wife loves going to the range, so that’s at least 1 woman who won’t help your ridiculous cause. #sorrynotsorry #bangbang
From an “army wife, mom to 3 boys, Christian, gun owner…”: are you serious? Why the hell would I withhold sex??? Bitches like you is what is wrong with this world!!!! Smdh. I certainly do not want to cross paths with this good Christian gal with a gun, me being a gunless bad bitch and all. Although it seems that she was more upset about not having sex than having gun controls. Ah, those horny Christians!
Finally, I tweeted this more serious text:
.@UniteBlue We women are ready to stand up to the NRA. Help us spread the word #YesAllWomen
Which had the following reply:
From a “30-something gay professional”: Nope both you and @UniteBlue are totally ok with your Trayvons having guns http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/23/justice/florida-zimmerman-defense/.
We are not facing an uphill battle, we are facing many uphill battles in a long war that, ironically, will be fought without guns by those of us who believe in commonsensical gun control, who do not accept the NRA’s illogic, and who believe that a person’s right to life is more important than another person’s right to own a gun, especially when that other person is crazy.
If #YesAllWomen can spark something in our national psyche that will help us win even one battle, then this one woman welcomes it.