Marriage, Temptations, and Boundaries

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately and then read this fantastic post at Her Bad Mother.  In it, she talks about how important her marriage is and explains some of the efforts she makes to protect it.  I agree with her completely.  A strong marriage is no reason to become complacent.

Particularly now with so many distractions so easily accessible.  Not that prior generations had it easy.  Far from it.  Many of my peers grew up in broken homes.  My own parents are still together after 32 (almost 33) years, but that relationship is a second marriage for each of them.  My husband and I got married in 1998.  Many of our friends got married the same year, and our relationship is the only one in the circle that lasted.  We don’t have some special secret.  We just made it a point to always work to strengthen and protect our relationship in every way we can.

In each of the failed relationships, they failed to set up and stick to solid boundaries.  And in this world where 140 characters of the fight you are currently having can be broadcast to a worldwide network, those boundaries take on even greater importance.  Or when a few clicks on Facebook can tell you that your old high school crush is single.  But those things are obvious, right?  What about meeting that forum friend for coffee?  This forum where you found some like minded people that may not include your spouse.  It’s certainly acceptable for spouses to have differing interests, but you must use caution with those connections.  It’s far too easy to build a fantasy around that person with whom you believe you have so much in common.

Especially if you become complacent.  “It could never happen to me,” is the most dangerous thought you could have.  “I love him so much, I could never be tempted by someone else.”  You’re wrong.  If you let yourself believe this, you are setting yourself up for trouble.  My husband is my best friend, my partner, my lover, etc.  I think he’s handsome and charming and all the wonderful things a wife should think of her husband.  I still don’t go out to lunch one-on-one with male coworkers (even when I want Indian food that my husband doesn’t eat).  I only chat on Facebook when he’s in the room.  If the idea of not sharing something with Michael even crosses my mind, the very next thing I do is tell him about it.  And he does the same with me.

My marriage defense plan is not so different from my home defense plan.  Just because I am confident in my skills with my shotgun, does not mean I leave the front door open when I go to bed.  I have multiple layers of defense.  Locking the deadbolt does not mean I cannot defend myself, and keeping appropriate distance in outside relationships does not mean my marriage is not strong.  No one puts a security gate at their bedroom door.  You put it outside your home, at the end of the walk or drive.  It’s only the first layer of defense.  There is nothing sacred in so much grass and concrete.  It only serves as a buffer should your first defense be breached.  It serves as a warning that a threat is coming.  We should defend our marriages at least as aggressively.  Our boundaries shouldn’t start at our bedrooms.  There should be enough distance to have a buffer before the threat is to what is sacred.  Alarm bells should go off when you laugh too easily at someone’s jokes.  When you feel too excited to see someone other than your spouse.  They should go off long before some ‘moment of weakness.’  Those moments are a lie.  They have built up in steps because the boundaries weren’t there.  No alarms were tripped before the danger was imminent.  Those moments are preventable.

It’s important to remember that their are multiple avenues where threats can creep in.  The internet is an all too convenient vulnerability.  Why would we believe that eHarmony could bring someone together with a soul-mate but would not also have the power to tear a relationship apart?

I don’t share fights on the internet.  If my husband and I have a disagreement, it is between us.  And honestly, those disagreements are few.  If something is bothering me in our relationship, I go to him and not my readers even though I really do have awesome readers.  And I believe that is one of the reasons our disagreements are few and easily forgotten.  Not so easy when it’s been transmitted through so much bandwidth.  Google never forgets.  I don’t gripe about petty to my real life friends either.  Our relationship is sacred and worth protecting.

Many of my readers have made the decision to arm themselves because threats to our lives can come at any moment from any direction.  We don’t expect them, but we do prepare for them.  Divorce is far more common than murder.  Shouldn’t we be just as diligent in protecting our marriages?  Perhaps even more so.  Protecting your marriage doesn’t mean you expect infidelity or lack trust anymore than slipping that snubby in your pocket means you expect trouble.  Indeed, we all say that if we expected trouble at a given time and place, we wouldn’t go there at that time.    Don’t go looking for trouble, either in that dark alley or in your marriage.  If you do, you’re likely to find it.

Mama Bear

I’ve said before, you don’t mess with Mama Bear.  And really, it doesn’t matter whether or not she is armed.

She said she drew a line in her head and when the man crossed over that line, she attacked him to protect her three children.

She drew a line in her head.  I would wager that she drew that line a long time ago.  She just didn’t know it until she was challenged.  She did not back down.  She did not comply hoping that he would leave them alone.  She followed her instincts and because of that, she and her family are safe.

“I kind of figured he didn’t, for the simple fact that he didn’t have a flashlight,” she said. “He couldn’t see what he was doing, so that was my first instinct. I was like, you’re not prepared.”

He certainly wasn’t prepared for her.  But you can also bet that a man the breaks into a home does not have good intentions.  If your lucky, he’s just after stuff, but he broke in while she was home.  She would not have had time to wait for authorities; she had to act.  She attacked with enough resolve that she didn’t even know she’d been stabbed until after the encounter.

Where is your line?  At what point does your switch flip to attack to protect yourself and those you love?  Would your children have the confidence to remain calm because you are ferocious enough to protect them?

If you can answer the last one with ‘yes,’ then you know the answers to the first two questions.

Everyone should know there are monsters among us.  Monsters that would hurt us if given the chance.  We must be willing to bare our fangs in resistance.  But we should be able to back it up with the resolve to attack.

I would argue that the resolve to attack a criminal is more more important than the tool employed.  Certainly a firearm is an excellent tool, but if you do not have the resolve, have not drawn the line, then it is nothing more than so much plastic/steel/aluminum/etc.  Too many people treat their self defense tool like some sort of talisman against danger.

Personally, I’d rather this unarmed woman have my back than the person who owns a gun ‘just in case.’  She has what far too many are missing.  The resolve to act.  No one wants to fight for their lives.  But if you must, win.  There is no other option.  Fight dirty.  No one is keeping score, and penalties are only assessed against the loser.  Don’t lose.  Never do nothing.  Never be a helpless victim.  The cavalry is not coming to rescue you.  They will be there to record the story, and they are skilled historians.  Be your own eye witness.  Resolve to survive.

Seconds Count

Even when the police are right outside standing guard.

Investigators were trying to determine Thursday how a man got into a woman’s apartment and killed her while police stood watch outside, Los Angeles police said.

They weren’t even minutes away, but they couldn’t protect her.  She had filed her complaint.  It seems it held more weight than the typical VPO.  And yet, she wasn’t protected.

Would a gun have prevented this?  Maybe.  A gun is certainly no magic talisman protecting it’s owner.  But with the proper tools and training, she would have had a chance.  Instead, she was left helpless.  She was left delegating the resposiblity of her personal safety to the professionals.

Only you can protect yourself.  You need the tools.  You need the training.  And you need to have the will to put it to use when necessary.  And when something bad is going to happen somewhere, don’t be there.  That may be your house.  Get out.  The police cannot protect you.  Be somewhere else.  The easiest way not to be a victim is to not be where crime happens.  If it’s going to happen, get out.  A gun is a tool of last resort.  Sometimes, you are where the crime is happening and you must stop it.  If at all possible, don’t be there.

This story is tragic on so many levels.  This woman was a victim before he killed her.  Ladies, please understand that the man that beats you, he will not stop.  One day, he may kill you.  You must get out.  When your friends are offering to help you, take the help.  Go.  Get out.  If the thought crosses your mind that you might need a gun because you’re afraid of your violent partner, it’s time to go.  You should have gone already.  He will not change one day.  Breaking your nose will not be the straw that makes him change.  Get out.

I Am Mom

I am far more dangerous than the pistol on my hip.

Because I am Mom.

All mothers are dangerous.  There are reasons they tell you not to mess with a bear cub.  Mama Bear is more dangerous than her teeth and claws.  Those things are only tools.

She would still be dangerous if you removed everything sharp from her.  She is dangerous because she is passionate about protecting her young.

A mother’s senses are never more heightened than in situations where her children are involved.  She will never be faster or more precise than she will in defense of her cub.  She will sacrifice herself for the cause.  Nothing. Else. Matters.

I did not choose to become so dangerous.  No mother makes that choice.

But many mothers make the choice to aquire the best tools and skills to protect their young.  That is why there is a pistol on my hip.

Because I am Mom, and I am dangerous.

Naked Self Defense

At o’dark thirty when someone is breaking in, your firearm is more important to grab than your robe.  Robert E. Thompson, 91 year old WWII vet, can attest to this fact.

Robert E. Thompson jumped out of bed early Saturday when his dog starting growling and attacking the intruder. He said he got his revolver and went out back to let the guy know how he felt about home invaders.

He didn’t even notice he had failed to grab any clothing until the authorities arrived.  I’m betting the perp didn’t notice either.  I’m sure all he saw was muzzle. And really, what’s more embarrassing, peeing yourself when you find you’re on the wrong end of a revolver, or being stark naked on the right end?

Yeah, breaking into my house in the middle of the night would probably be a good way to see me naked.  I’d like to think naked Jennifer is a memorable sight, but I’m guessing the business end of my 12 ga would trump it.  And as much as I love my readers, I will not be posting pictures to test the theory.

Thing is, my bathrobe won’t stop a home invader.  It really won’t protect me from anything other than a very awkward moment.  In fact, the delay involved in grabbing it before my shotgun could get me killed.  Or worse.  Most home invaders are just after stuff.  I have insurance for stuff.  I’m grabbing my shotgun for the real sicko that is there for me and/or my family.  If that is the case, my bathrobe wouldn’t slow him down.  But as many pounds of lead that I can pump in before he falls certainly will.  And the dead goblin won’t have any stories to tell about the naked lady with the shotgun.

Responding police…well I’ll probably have time to grab my robe before they get there.  Might even earn a faster response to subsequent calls.

I Just Want To Hurt Him

I hear this kind of thing from women all the time.

” I just want a little .22.”

“I just want to hurt him; I don’t want to kill him.”

“I want to scare him away.”

“I just want him to know I’m serious.”

Ladies, stop this line of thinking.  Just stop. Let’s take these one at a time

I just want a little .22.

You just want a little .22 because you view it as less lethal and easy to shoot.  Indeed, it is not an optimum self defense round, but it is most certainly lethal.  Unfortunately, it’s not a very good stopping round, and you can learn to manage something bigger.  You can easily puncture the bad guy’s stomach with a .22, killing him slowly and painfully.  He’ll have plenty of time to shoot you or even beat you to death while it happens.  And he’s likely to be extra pissed off at that point.

I just want to hurt him; I don’t want to kill him.

Really?  Then why pull out a firearm in the first place?  Drawing your firearm is considered employing deadly force in most states.  Pointing it is definitely considered deadly force.  You shouldn’t be employing deadly force unless you are threatened with deadly force.  Here you’ve got a goblin ready to take your life.  Why would you want to make any moves that are less than the best to stop him?  He’s not offering you the same amount of mercy.  In the act of self defense, the goal is to stop the aggression.  The most efficient way to do it is to aim for center mass.  Don’t waste time trying to injure them, stop them.  Death is an unfortunate side effect of their violence.  Yes, if you have to take the life of some criminal, you’re going to have to live with it.  But if he kills you, he’s likely only feeling guilty if he’s caught. What if he’s not?  What if he beats you, rapes you, and leaves you for dead and you survive only to hear on the news about how his next victim wasn’t so lucky?  Which burden is worse?

I want to scare him away.

Don’t count on it.  Yes, criminals love easy targets, and they aren’t real fond of being shot.  Can’t imagine anyone is.  But they’re also pretty good at spotting victims.  They’ll see that gun shaking in your hand and the fear in your eyes.  Can you follow through if he calls your bluff?  Why are you bluffing?  I hope you draw it and the perp runs screaming down the dark alley into the waiting arms of the local PD, but we all know it’s not always going to work that way.  Again, you only draw if you are willing to do whatever it takes to stop the aggression.  If he spots it and runs, you’re done.  But what is your plan if he doesn’t run away?

I just want him to know I’m serious.

If you are looking to injure rather than take that potentially deadly shot, you aren’t serious.  This is your life you are gambling with.  Maybe your child’s life.  You are gambling with a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend.  Where does this leave your husband, child, sibling, friends?  Ladies, when faced with an aggressor it is not the time to be compassionate.  If you can’t be strong for yourself, do it for the people that love you.  There are people that depend on you.  If you must be compassionate, show your compassion to the next victim.  Unless you are willing to use the most efficient means necessary to stop the attack, you aren’t serious, and he will know it.

Women tell me all the time about how they can’t take that kill shot.  They wouldn’t be able to aim for center mass.  Honestly, I’ve never been in that situation, so I can’t tell you for certain how I would react, but that’s what I train to do.  I don’t set myself up for failure by undercutting the very basis of self defense. I don’t tell myself that I can’t do it.

Understand that just by virture of being female you are far more likely to be targeted as a victim.  At 5’4″ 130lbs, a man doesn’t need a weapon to overpower me.  I stay alert.  I am aware of my surroundings, and I am prepared.  Bad things can happen in broad daylight.  Exhortations to stay away from dark parking lots don’t really help the single mom working nights to feed her family.  She needs more options.

Today’s Must Read

If you make an illegal activity low-risk and high-reward, and you guarantee that the attacker gets what he wants every time he mugs someone, do you think you’ll get a.) less, or b.) much more of that illegal activity?

That’s just one great line.  Go.  What are you waiting for?  I’m not gonna do a trick or anything.

It’s Not Misogyny, It’s Biology

Contrary to what this New York Times  *cough* journalist *cough* thinks, the fitness center shooter did not open fire on an aerobics class due to a culture of misogyny.  He did it because he was a sociopath.  That’s probably also why he could not get a date.  People in general, don’t like those that are capable of opening fire on innocent people.  I assume anyway.  Maybe I’m just discriminating against the sociopaths of the world.

But according to the keyboard jockey, we should be far more outraged about the gender of some victims rather than the simple fact that they are victims of violence.

Back in the fall of 2006, a fiend invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.

I wrote, at the time, that there would have been thunderous outrage if someone had separated potential victims by race or religion and then shot, say, only the blacks, or only the whites, or only the Jews. But if you shoot only the girls or only the women — not so much of an uproar.

It isn’t enough that we were outraged about the murder. We should have been upset about the sexism. Because those little girls would be less dead that way.  Why oh why couldn’t he have been an equal opportunity murderer!  Someone call the ACLU!  I have to wonder if the keyboard jockey noticed that they were separated by religion by the fact that the fiend targeted an Amish school.

In spite of what the feminists would have us believe, men and women are different.  Men have more testosterone; women have more estrogen.  This creates some physiological differences between the sexes.  Generally speaking, women have less upper body strength.  Thus, we are far less adept at hand-to-hand combat.  The criminals that wish to victimize someone are generally looking for an easy mark.  In general, they don’t go after someone they believe could kick their ass.  Ass-kicking ability is commonly associated with the presence of testosterone.

Criminals don’t attack women because they are misogynists; they attack women because they are cowards.  They live in a culture of cowardice.

Women also have a tendency towards certain habits that make us easier victims.  This does not in any way negate any level of guilt from the attacker, but there are certain behaviors that we should be aware of and modify.  Women are relational by nature, and thus, more automatically trusting.  For many women, this also means that invisible circle of personal space that we do not want to be invaded is smaller.  We will allow someone to get closer to us than a man would before our internal alarms start going off.

Criminals don’t attack women because they are misogynists; they attack women because it is easier.

The presence of estrogen in a woman’s body also gives her a great capacity to multi-task.  We can paint our toenails while watching TV, talking on the phone, and folding the laundry.  We can balance GL accounts while participating in a multi-national conference call.  It’s a great thing.  We can also text message while balancing our checkbook while walking across the parking lot into the mall.  (Saw this happen last week)  We can plug in our head phones, put on our cute little running shorts, and head out for a jog.  Although we have an impressive capacity for multi-tasking, we can become absorbed in the multitude of tasks to the detriment of our situational awareness.  (Yes, men can and do get distracted from their situations as well.)

Criminals don’t attack women because they are misogynists; they attack women because they are opportunistic.

I cannot change the fact that I am a petite woman, nor would I want to.  I can arm myself with a weapon to equalize the force disparity and the knowledge and training to use it.  I can keep my head up and be aware of people that approach me.  I can keep my focus out of my phone while crossing a parking lot.  Sure it’s convenient that I have the whole internet in my pocket, but maybe a dark alley isn’t the best place to make use of it.  Maybe it would be better to use it once I’ve entered the mall.

There is absolutely nothing I can do that will absolutely prevent me from becoming a victim.  Nothing.  An attacker is just as guilty regardless of what the victim was or was not doing at the time.  Being victimized is not a crime and should carry none of the guilt associated with it.  I can make myself less likely to victimized by refusing to be an easy target.

Criminals don’t attack women because they are misogynists; they attack women because they are criminals.