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L. Neil Smith's
Number 752, January 5, 2014

Only you can help yourself.
That's why it's called self-defense.

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A Note to the Women of India
by L.Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

We used to have a saying in America: "Nobody ever raped a .38".

I say we used to have it. Not many folks actually say it any more, not because it's been discredited, but in the 40-odd years since it was coined, it has gradually fallen into the category of self-evident truths.

The same 40-odd years have taught us a number of other things, as well. One is that it's better if the weapon in question starts with a .4. But another it that when you need it, any gun is better than no gun.

These thoughts, and others like them, will be new to many of those I'm addressing specifically today. I'm unsure whether most Americans even know that young Indian women are being attacked and raped by large groups of men. They will often be attacked more than once, and if they report it to the authorities they risk death by being set afire.

What's interesting, in a horrible way, is that these men are not the dirtbags who would commit this sort of crime in our country. Many come from "good families". What makes it even worse is that the police seem not to care, and regard the women who report these events as a nuisance.

I'm writing this because I thought Indian women might like to know about a series of events that took place in Orlando, Florida, in 1971 that have changed the course of American history immeasurably for the better.

A great deal of effort is expended by the international media to portray America as an especially violent country. This is largely untrue—remove from the statistics the inner-city cores that have been under socialist control for a century, the rest of America is the most prosperous, productive, and peaceful culture the world has ever seen—but even if it were, at least we have learned how to handle crime.

In 1971, it was estimated that one American in three would be touched by violent crime at some point in their lives. In Orlando, there was a sort of epidemic of rapes going on, nowhere near what India is going through today, but bad enough—until some unsung genius in the city government offered what was then a highly radical suggestion.

The city's women were told that, if they'd like to be shown how to use a gun, safely and effectively, police officers would be available on a given Saturday morning to help. Two hundred student shooters were expected.

Two thousand showed up.

Over the following decade, violent crime in Florida plummeted—in double digits—in a way that had failed to happen in previous years when billions of federal dollars and hundreds of thousands of professional "crime-fighters" had been thrown at it. During the same period, public officials—except for those in Orlando—backed up by "cooked" statistics, blatant lies, and outright threats, urged civilians unanimously not to try to defend themselves. Increasingly, individuals began to ignore this advice, and violent crime declined nationwide.

The only thing those "in charge" managed to achieve was to end any lingering respect for authority in America. A new dawn was about to break. America's current "Tea Party" struggle for greater freedom, lower taxes, fewer laws and regulations, would have been unimaginable without the empowerment provided by the long political struggle for self-defense.

In the 60s and 70s, politicians deliberately gave women bad advice about defending themselves, and all that people could do was ignore them. We have now reached a point where we can drive them out of office.

If you take nothing else away from this essay, take this: what happens next is up to you. Only you can help yourself. That's why it's called _self_-defense. You already have the right; you were born with it. There are those who will try to keep you from exercising it. Many will be politicians, bureaucrats, and policemen. Some will be pundits. All of them will lie and falsify the truth. All of them will be wrong.

The fact is that self-defense is a personal bodily function, exactly like breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. Not one of those functions can be delegated to somebody else. It doesn't even make sense to talk about it. There's a saying going around today: "When seconds count, the police can be there in minutes".

A rapist is like any criminal. He expects to get what he wants without effort or risk. The rapist's interest isn't so much in sex as in wielding power over other people, living off their terror and submission. When you show him that he'll have to struggle for what he wants, and that he risks being injured or killed himself, when you demonstrate that you have power equal or superior to his, he loses interest.

Ninety-five percent of the time, all you have to do is show the gun.

Will you have to break the law to defend yourself?


Will some of you get in trouble with the authorities?

Almost certainly.

Can you put a stop to the tidal wave of gang-rapes ravaging your country?

Without question.

But it's up to you, to change the law, to change society.

To change yourself.

Just remember: nobody ever raped a .38.

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