The Armed Woman: Raising Shield Maidens

Men are strong, like stronger than even most men realize. I’ve had many conversations with people about the reasons why I carry a firearm every day. I realized this when I saw a person rip a bed that was bolted to a concrete floor, out of that floor and single-handedly barricade a door with it.

They were coming down off drugs and their body was going nuts. That being said, I also realize that most burglaries that happen are not single-person jobs, but multi-person jobs. While I might be able to take one person, maybe, a multiple-person assault though means I am overwhelmed and am unable to protect myself or anyone else.

As such, I have always felt that self-protection is a human right, and one of the best tools for stopping a person who intends harm is a firearm. It’s why the police carry them, it’s also why militaries the world around carry firearms of all kinds. They are effective. I’m not going to pretend that guns don’t harm people, they do. They are very good at that, especially in trained hands. As such, I train. Not as much as I would like, but I have attempted to not be unskilled.

However, I have had fewer conversations about why I am raising my two girls to do the same thing. More than ever, I believe our young ladies should be armed. Men are strong, and while they don’t have a monopoly on violence or sexual assault, the majority of those things are done by men. As such, a woman who is most often physically weaker than any given man should have the ability to even the field of combat.

What is scarier than a woman who is defending herself, her children, or even her husband? I am under the firm belief that a good man should always be ready to defend his family and himself, but let’s face it, sometimes men fail at being good men. Sometimes they are not there for their family or their wife. Beyond that though, even good men can’t be everywhere at once and sometimes the lady of the house is on her own.

Now, do I wish the pain of having to take a life on my wife or my girls? No! Not at all, my goodness no! I would never wish such a thing. But I also am working to prepare them for battle should that nightmare visit them. I would rather they killed an assailant than be raped or themselves murdered by them.

So what does that look like for my girls? I am teaching them to safely handle firearms at a young age. I am taking them shooting and teaching them the fundamentals. Beyond that, I am teaching them fundamentals beyond just firearms. I am teaching them to use knives and to carry those as well.

Up close, sometimes a knife is a better option. Or if you are in a crowded place, a firearm might not be a good choice. I am teaching them to be aware of their surroundings. Teaching them to get their heads out of their phone or a book when in public. Keep their head on a swivel! Glance behind yourself while walking to be aware of what’s around you.

Keep a small (but powerful, over 70 lumens) flashlight on yourself at all times. At night, a person with a flashlight on and shining into dark corners is not only more aware but also sends a signal to all would-be attackers that this person is not an easy target. This also leads us into a discussion of clothing choices. A woman’s clothing choice should allow them to continue to carry their EDC (everyday carry) items. A thigh holster, a belly band, an in-the-waist band holster, a knife clipped in a pocket, or the waist of their pants or dress. There are even ways to carry a firearm in a special bra called a “flash-bang”, which is hilarious and well named in my opinion. I refer to these sorts of ladies as Shield Maidens, taken from Lord of the Rings. I believe all women should take on this title.

Do I wish that title didn’t need to be taken? Of course, I do. However, in today’s world, we can’t allow ourselves to sit idly by and twiddle our thumbs, while wolves prowl the woods. There are people who will say that they can’t bring themselves to carry a firearm, or even a knife and I understand that. Sometimes, the experiences of this world wound people or bring them into themselves in such a way that they feel they could never do such a thing. I understand that. However, that is not an excuse to be complacent about your own safety or the safety of those in your charge. This is why I mentioned awareness and flashlights. Seventy lumens of light into the eyes of a person will blind them temporarily, even in sunlight. While this is not foolproof, it is better than nothing and has worked to save lives.

So this is how I am raising my girls. To be Shield Maidens. Those willing and able to protect both themselves and others should the need arise. I hope it is me, but if I am unable, I pray they will rise to the occasion.

“Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"
Then Merry heard in all sounds of the hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel.
"But no living man am I! You are looking upon a woman. Eowyn am I, Eomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."
The winged creature screamed at her, but then the Ringwraith was silent, as if in sudden doubt. Very amazement for a moment conquered Merry's fear. He opened his eyes and the blackness was lifted from them. There some paces from him sat the great beast, and all seemed dark about it, and above it loomed the Nazgul Lord like a shadow of despair. A little to the left facing them stood whom he had called Dernhelm. But the helm of her secrecy had fallen from her, and and her bright hair, released from its bonds, gleamed with pale gold upon her shoulders. Her eyes grey as the sea were hard and fell, and yet tears gleamed in them. A sword was in her hand, and she raised her shield against the horror of her enemy's eyes.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

D. Michl Lowe

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