I am republishing this true life story from 2007 for the same reason I republished Jew Without a Gun, my nightmarish report of being trapped with my family, unarmed and defenseless, in the 1992 L.A. Riots.
This is another cautionary tale — not about the riots — but about one frightened and helpless young woman who was being stalked by an ex-boyfriend. I met her in a gun shop where she, a fragile, naive pacifist, ended up because there was nowhere else to turn. There was no choice for this young woman but seek to arm herself with a lethal weapon.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre has sharpened the claws of the statist utopians, whose ultimate aim is not gun-control, but the complete disarming of law-abiding American citizens.
To the liberal/progressive/Democrat/collectivist, it’s perfectly natural to ban a 16 oz. cup of soda, mandate how your toilet flushes and set the water pressure of your shower head. And the crown jewel: Obamacare, wherein the state owns your body from cradle to grave. Naturally, it’s cool to abort a baby in the womb because, y’know, it’s mommy’s body and she has the right to choose… infanticide. But not so much with everybody else’s body. So the oh-so-sensitive and caring liberal/progressive rams through laws that make the state nanny to our children’s school diet. In short, they now have dominion over your child’s body and mind.
Orwell’s “1984” nightmare world where slavery is freedom has reached its apotheosis in the utopian programs of the American left.
But the greatest threat to the progressive totalitarian state is a free and armed citizenry.
“Thing is, he’s going to kill me.”
“Have you gone to the police?”
“Yes, of course I have.”
“And what happened?”
She shakes her head from side to side, wraps spindly arms protectively around her chest.
“I got a restraining order against Ned — that’s my ex. But you know what good that is, don’t you?”
She inscribes a big zero in the air.
Five Minutes Earlier
It’s a crowded Sunday morning in the Martin B. Retting Gun Shop in Culver City.
There’s the usual cross-section of customers:
Two elderly black women, sisters who have been robbed countless times by drug-addicts. Ignored by the LAPD, they have no choice but to buy a gun for self-defense. The women wear colorful bonnets. Yup, they dressed up to go gun shopping.
There are a couple of hunters buying high-powered ammunition; they sound like Los Alamos scientists as they discuss the exquisite physics of various exotic slugs. It’s way beyond my comprehension.
Two Marines on leave are stocking up on rugged, combat-ready clips for their side-arms. Semper Fi.
There’s also a young Hispanic apartment manager who lives in a high-crime area. His wife just had a baby—mazal tov!—and he wants to protect his family from the local “desperadoes.”
I’m waiting my turn.
And so is a young woman who absolutely sticks out in the gun shop. She’s wearing a cream colored linen baby doll with blue grosgrain trim; on her feet, pink flip-flops that just pop off her white skin. Her hair is the color of Kansas wheat. In her mid-twenties, she’s an iconic all-American beauty. Flash of memory to my great childhood crush: Tuesday Weld in The Adventures of Dobie Gillis.
Looking as if she’s on the edge of a meltdown, she paces, glances nervously at the display cases lined with gleaming rows of pistols and revolvers. She makes a move to exit the gun shop, then returns, as if yanked by a fishing reel.
“Excuse me — do you — do you know about guns?”
She’s even got that vulnerable, tremulous Tuesday Weld voice.
And she is talking to yours truly.
“I’m terrified of guns.”
I hold out my hands as if checking for rain.
“Sounds crazy, I know… thing is—do you think the salesmen are going to be much longer?”
“There’s tons of paperwork if you buy a gun.”
Her eyes dart about, then she just looks at me straight-on:
“Thing is, he’s going to kill me.”
That’s when she tells me about Ned, the evil, obsessive ex-boyfriend.
Ned is a stalker, a human virus who has infected every aspect of her life.
She speaks of restraining orders:
“The thing about them is that people like Ned always find a way around them. He’s there on my computer. He’s a computer guy, for Chrissakes. He knows when I start going out with a new dude and he makes sure to tell the new one all sorts of trash about me. And d’you think the dude sticks around? No one wants that level of drama. I’ve moved twice already and he always finds me. Ned’s always there. Sometimes I wake up at night, go to my window and I’m telling you he’s watching me. Hey, I’m sorry for unloading on you. You must think I’m such a loser chick.”
“It’s fine. I feel awful for you. But it’s good you’re taking steps to protect yourself. It’s admirable. Men like Ned count on women being scared and defenseless.”
She pauses. Looks down at the display of guns.
“I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been against guns and violence my whole life.”
I let this pass. Now is not the time for a self-righteous lecture.
Intertitle: UTOPIA IS THE OPIATE OF LIBERALS.
“Did Ned threaten you — physically, I mean?”
“Said I belong to him and no one else. That’s about it. But I know what he means.”
“What did the police say?”
“The last cop, as he was leaving, whispered to me to get a gun.”
I tell her that owning a gun isn’t sufficient. She has to take safety classes, self-defense classes. She has to know what she’s doing. From the counter, I grab a handful of NRA brochures and press them into her hands. I make her promise that she’ll sign up for instruction as soon as she gets her gun in ten days.
“Ten days?” she says.
Nodding, I explain:
“First you have to take a test, here in the store, a written test. They’ll give you a booklet to study. Then you get a certificate making you eligible to buy a weapon in California. After you purchase the gun, there’s a ten-day waiting period until you take possession.”
“Background check by the FBI. To make sure you’re not a felon, a psychopath, an illegal immigrant, a terrorist, a drug addict. It’s the law.”
Once again, she wraps her arms around her chest, as if trying to keep her heart inside her body.
“Ned’s really smart—but a psychozoid like you wouldn’t believe.”
I do not ask her why she went out with Ned in the first place. The answer is obvious: psychopaths are clever at disguising their pathologies. Evil is seductive.
“You’re going to be okay. I know you are.”
She shrugs, scans a row of pistols.
“Are those good?”
She is tiny, barely five feet tall. Her fingers are like gossamer twigs. No muscle tone in her painfully thin arms. I doubt she could even rack a .45.
“Those are .45 automatics. Probably too much gun for you. I’d recommend a simple revolver. Something like a Smith & Wesson J frame, a .38. ”
She manages a thin smile, her first since I’ve met her.
“One piece of advice, even before you buy a gun, and this is important.”
“Lose the flip-flops.”
She looks down at her feet. Her toes are lacquered a hot psychedelic pink.
“You can’t run or maneuver in those things. Get in the habit of wearing a good solid pair of running shoes.”
“Oh, right, right. What was I thinking?”
I lead her to the glass case that holds the wheel guns, weapons that are simple to load, easy to handle, jam-proof. And, you better believe: lethal.
She scans the display. She seems overwhelmed, lost.
Finally, she looks up at me and says: “What’s to stop Ned from killing me in the next ten days?”
I have no answer.
Resolution: Not So Much, But This is Reality
Hours later, I tell my wife Karen about the conversation. In the background FOX Cable News is reporting the brutal murder of a pregnant woman. The chief suspect is her ex-boyfriend, an evil piece of human garbage with a history of stalking women.
“I’m terrified I’m going to wake up one day and see that she’s been murdered. Maybe I should have done more.”
“What more could you have done?”
Shrugging, I admit I have no idea.
But Ned is out there, obsessively dreaming, watching, waiting for the right moment — to make her his own.
Flash Forward to 2012: I never saw or heard from her again. I paid attention to the news and, thankfully, never saw her named as a stalker victim. I hope that she is all right. But she is just one of thousands of frightened women whose lives are made hell by violent stalkers.
The Cornered Cat is an excellent resource for women who wish to learn about self-defense and firearms. Highly recommended.
Seraphic Secret’s friend, Conservative psychiatrist-blogger Shrink Wrapped links to “Stalked” with a fine piece entitled Leveraging Suppressed Aggression. As Shrink Wrapped explains: “I linked to Stalked as an example of what happens to a pacifist when reality intrudes.”