In my view, the case of 18-yo Sarah McKinley is a perfect example of why we have the second amendment. The media coverage has likewise exemplified the typical out-of-touch attitudes that demonstrate little knowledge of the culture, while pontificating endlessly about it. 24-year-old Justin Shane Martin, armed with a twelve-inch hunting knife, was killed on New Year’s Eve as he tried to break into McKinley’s Oklahoma home along with an accomplice. His accomplice, Dustin Stewart, fled, calling 9-1-1 to report the shooting. While some in media thought this story was another example of the horrors of firearms, on Thursday, Sarah Palin made mention of the case, making plain the cultural divide, telling the National Review:
“I’m all in favor of girls with guns who know their purpose.”
She went on to say:
“She fulfilled a purpose of the Second Amendment. I’d advise my own daughters to do the same. This mom protected an innocent life. Kudos to the 911 dispatcher, too.”
You and I are apt to nod in grim agreement with that sentiment, surviving out here in fly-over country where the intelligentsia cares not to tread, but where they have no problem spewing their disdain for us while taking ad revenues based on our reading and viewing. In this case, Suzi Parker, writing for the Washington Post, seems less than comfortable with the whole notion. Writes Ms. Parker:
“There’s something a bit frightening about teenaged girls running around packing heat. Where I live, it is very common for girls to go hunting with their fathers as a rite of passage. As my colleague Lori Stahl wrote earlier this week, it’s not even uncommon in the South for suburban moms to carry a gun.”
Note to dingbats everywhere: Women living in the suburbs are not immune from attack by violent felons. More, to suggest that there’s anything wrong with the fact that women are arming-up with greater frequency merely speaks to Ms. Parker’s woeful ignorance. This young woman wasn’t “running around packing heat.” She was home alone, a recent widow, with her infant child. Parker seems most upset by the fact that this woman was a teenager, and she worries very much about the maturity of young people who might have guns:
“But I know more than a few teenagers of both genders, and they should never be near a gun. In Teen Land, everything is traumatic. You try to dye your hair blue, it turns green: “I’ll never leave the house again!” the teenager screams.
“Imagine one of these drama kings or queens post-break-up, grabbing his or her rifle.”
Does Sarah McKinley have green or blue hair, Ms. Parker? Even if she did, would it mean she is somehow inherently incapable of taking seriously the possession of firearms or their use in the defense of herself, her home, and her child? After all, do we really want to call her a “teenager,” lumping her in with the 13-yo who is more prone to such moments of exaggerated trauma? This young woman is a widow and a mother, meaning she has more practical life experience than some women twice or even three times her age. Losing her husband to cancer on Christmas day, Sarah McKinley has every reason to be considerably more mature than some of her contemporaries.
Of course, this may be part of the problem for Ms. Parker, since she seems to scorn the whole idea of guns as a means to self-defense, but I wonder if it’s cultural. After all, Parker is from a different world than McKinley, as I’m betting that young Sarah McKinley was never a writer for such wellsprings of erudition as Penthouse, like the wise Suzi Parker, but I suppose that’s okay so long as you only write the articles. (To get a better sense of Ms. Parker, you can read an interview with her here.)
The point is that Ms. Parker has a thinly veiled contempt for a culture with which she seems only vaguely familiar. She seems to sneer at the notion that a young woman would defend herself, as she writes:
“In Oklahoma, McKinley has become a hero. A fund has been created to help out the “pistol-packing mama” as she’s been dubbed. Some women’s groups are heralding McKinley as a woman who refused to become a victim in her own home.
“I understand where they’re coming from, but not everyone is as cool and collected as Sarah McKinley. It’s natural to celebrate the successful defense of hearth and home. But for every gun-brandishing hero or heroine who blows away the intruder, there are many more that get shot with their own guns during a struggle.”
That not every person successfully defends themselves from an intruder doesn’t imply the intruder wouldn’t have harmed them even without the presence of the gun. I suspect Ms. Parker has never faced a felonious attacker armed with a twelve-inch hunting knife while unarmed. It’s as though Ms. Parker seems to think that everything would have gone just fine if only Ms. McKinley hadn’t been armed with a shotgun and pistol. Then we get to the real point of the article, which is a an attack on gun ownership:
“Hopefully, McKinley won’t inspire thousands of young mothers, fathers, or any teenagers who want guns – to buy firearms for their homes without, as Palin said accurately, knowing their purpose.”
She seems to suggest that there might be a real danger posed by young parents seeking to defend themselves and their families, but she should also know that teenagers younger than 18-yo cannot purchase long-guns, and in most jurisdictions, a person cannot purchase a handgun until attaining 21 years of age. I suppose it would be a worthwhile exercise for Parker to acquaint herself with the laws in question, but why bother when you have a story to write? What frightens me more than a teen-aged mother with a gun is one who is without, because some do-gooder(?) like Parker agitates against it. How many young mothers will be brutalized and murdered for lack of a gun, unarmed because such allegedly thoughtful persons as Parker have cautioned against it?
In my view, the infinitely more dangerous concept is another liberal with a keyboard, because the damage they do in the world is nearly always more offensive. Being something of an expert on “Sex in the South,” one would think she’d more easily grasp the concept of guns as a prophylactic. For journalists, of course, the backspace key works well too.