The Trouble with Trigger-Happy Gun Critics: An Op-Ed on Vox’s San Bernardino shooting article

The first time I met my abuser he told me the story of how he almost choked his ex-girlfriend to death.

Instead of feeling alarm I felt moved by his honesty. I saw beacons of potential instead of burning red flags. I trusted that because he made a mistake and disclosed it to me, I was safe.

Two years later, after continuous coercive control and psychological abuse, I saw the smoke and left the relationship. He threatened to stalk me at my house, harassed me with e-mails, and even pressed a false “attempt to commit fraud” charge against me (it was dismissed).

What I didn’t know then was that I was in the most danger of my abuser when I decided to leave him. According to statistics, an abused woman is 70x more likely to be murdered by her partner when she leaves him.

The Vox article “San Bernardino, California, elementary school shooting: what we know so far” describes a murder-suicide of a schoolteacher by her estranged husband as a “school shooting.” They emphasize the need for firmer gun control laws and cite the stream of school shootings occurring in the last few years. The article writes,

“The shooting is a devastating tragedy. But also the kind of event that Americans have become increasingly familiar with over the past several years. And as the country deals with a level of gun violence unmatched by other developed nations, the question has often turned to what restrictions on firearms could help reduce how many shootings happen year after year.”
School shootings are tragic. But an equally devastating tragedy is a misrepresentation of facts surrounding a silent epidemic where 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime and 1 in 3 female murder victims will die at the hands of their abusers. Painting this episode of domestic violence as another example of a senseless school shooting is reckless. Skewing the context to make another call for stricter gun laws is manipulation. Instead of grieving “another school shooting,” it is time we grieve for the quiet loss of another dead wife.

School shootings are a problem in this country.

Gun violence is a controversy that continues to be debated.

But one of the biggest epidemics in this country is shrouded by trigger-happy gun critics who skew facts to champion their cause. San Bernardino is not just one more senseless, sick citizen shooting up a school with access to generous gun laws.

San Bernardino is an example of what domestic violence looks like in our country: deadly and distorted.

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