Political discussions, in general, annoy me. This is due to multiple factors including the rapidity in which emotions turn a perfectly civil conversation into a yelling match. But the factor that probably annoys me the most is how the definition of words and phrases are in constant flux.
A phrase that is finding more use in political discussions if victim blaming. Victim blaming occurs when an individual attempts to blame the victim of a crime. At least that’s what it used to mean. Today victim blaming can be more aptly said to occur whenever an individual mentions a combination of the victim and something the other individual doesn’t like. Case in point, self-defense.
As an advocate of self-defense I advocate individual learn defensive skills. Defensive skills is a topic that is so vast that volumes of books have been written on it. But the what seems to be the most controversial skill that I advocate is learning how to use a firearm and obtaining a carry permit (if you’re unfortunate enough to be in a state that requires such nonsense to carry a gun). Lately I’ve been running into people who have begun accusing me of victim blaming when I advocate individuals learn self-defense skills. The conversations usually follow a similar pattern to this:
Some Dude: “We have to find a way to stop rapes.”
Me: “Agreed. I think raising the cost of attempting a rape would help.”
Some Dude: “Damn right. Let’s put rapists in jail for life!”
Me: “Jail only comes into play after the crime has been committed. I think it would be better to make rape more difficult to commit.”
Some Dude: “Right. More jail.”
Me: “I think encouraging more people to learn how to use a firearm and carry one would go much further. Knowing that attempting to commit a rape would carry with it a high probability of getting shot would go a long way as a deterrent.”
Some Dude: “Typical gun nut. You expect the victim to take responsibility. You probably tell women that they were raped because the clothes they were wearing were too slutty.”
Me: “I’ve never once said that nor do I think that…”
Some Dude: “Shut the fuck up. I’m not going to waste my time talking to somebody who blames victims.”
This brings me to the point of this post. There is a big difference between victim blaming and preparedness advocacy. The former involves blaming the victim of a crime for that crime happening whereas the latter involves preparing for the potential of a bad situation occurring.
Self-defense advocacy is a form of preparedness advocacy. It assumes that there are bad individuals in the world and one should have a plan for dealing with them. When I advocate for more people carrying firearms I’m not saying that anybody who doesn’t carry a firearm is to blame if they are the victim of a violent crime. What I am saying is that one can reduce their chances of being a victim of a violent crime if they have a means of defending themselves against violent criminals.
The perpetrator of a violent crime is always the one at fault. It was entirely within that individual’s power to decide whether or not to commit that violent crime. A target of a violent crime is not at fault because it wasn’t within their power to decided whether or not that crime would be committed. What self-defense advocacy says is that individuals who are targets of violent crime stand a better chance of mitigating harm when they are able to fight back.
Victim blaming, which is a real problem, is an idea quickly being cheapened because a handful of individuals are using it as a blanket argument against anything that disagrees with their ideology.