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The Incoherence of Gayle Trotter

February 7, 2013

Occupying center ring in the circus that was the Senate’s hearing on gun violence last week, Gayle Trotter served up an astonishing measure of falsehoods, misdirection, fantasy and good, old-fashioned hypocrisy.

Ms Trotter is part of Independent Women’s Forum-a small, right-wing anti-feminist advocacy group. Think Concerned Women for America, without the evangelical focus. She appeared at the committee hearing on gun violence at he invitation of the Republican members of that committee.

It is hard to imagine what the Republican senators were hoping to get out of her appearance. But she did turn in a memorable performance—probably one that the Republicans would rather not remember.

Ms Trotter told the committee a heart warming, true tale with a happy ending about a single mom with an infant son threatened by intruders. She dispatched the intruders with a firearm, killing one and saving her son.


The only problem with the story is that the firearm that the mom used was a 12-gauge shotgun, a weapon that would remain legal even if the lefties get everything they want in the current legislative session. Since no one is advocating the banning of shotguns, this story was completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. One could even argue that the story supports the argument that assault weapons are not needed for home defense. Shotguns will do.

Ms Trotter’s next stop on the illogic train was the notion that “scary” looking guns (like the AR-15) were a great equalizer for women confronting physically larger and stronger men. (the idiotic notion from the NRA that liberals want to ban “scary” looking guns is a topic for another day. Apparently, Ms Trotter has had a long, deep drink of the Kool-Aid.) Of course, she offered no examples or evidence of any kind of instances where women defended themselves against big strong men using an assault weapon. What she offered in lieu of evidence or actual “facts” were empty conjecture and lurid fantasy. Not a great basis for legislative inaction.

Unmentioned, and a matter of great inconvenience to her story line, is the research that shows that firearms in the home are actually a threat to women and children. One example of this research is here:

For a distressing tally of firearms used against women in domestic violence situations, see:

Perhaps Ms Trotter should spend less time with her fevered imagination and more time with actual “facts”.

And then there is the matter of Violence Against Women Act, which the Independent Women’s Forum opposes. Quoting from their website:

The Violence Against Women Act that the Senate passed might have been renamed the “Duplicative, Costly Federal Overexpansion Act” if we wanted to be more accurate.  In fact, ironically, opposition to this law has nothing to do with violence against women.

So Ms Trotter is opposed violence against women (as long as she has a  firearm, and opposed to legislation designed to help protect women against violence. This, of course, was not asked in the hearing, but it should have. I would have been fascinated by her answer.


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  1. Not_anonymous permalink

    What is an assault weapon?

    • Your question is better directed at Ms Trotter, since the post was about her testimony, not mine. However, you do raise an interesting point—and the reason I am not in favor of an assault weapons ban per se. In order to prohibit something legislatively, one must be able to precisely define the thing prohibited. The term assault weapon has a generalized and commonly understood definition that is quite useful in most circumstances. But as a matter of law it will not work. The AR-15, in particular, should not be thought of as a single rifle, but as a modular weapons platform that can be configured in thousands of different ways which makes it quite handy in evading the intent of such a law and still remaining technically legal.

      The AR-15 used in Newtown was not an assault weapon under Connecticut law because it did not have a grenade launcher or a bayonet mount—but still delivers the same kinetic energy on target as a banned weapon. There will be work-arounds to any such ban.

  2. Not_anonymous permalink

    So how many incidents of semiautomatic rifle usage in domestic violence?

    • You are wandering pretty far off-topic here, and I suspect intentionally so. The post was about Ms Trotter’s testimony. It was Ms Trotter who asserted that women need assault weapons, “scary looking guns” as equalizers against larger, stronger men. She could not cite a single instance where that ever happened, while ignoring the evidence that firearms in the home are a threat, rather than a protection to women and children, especially in domestic violence situations.

      Let me turn the question back to you—how many times has a woman used an assault rifle as an equalizer against a larger, stronger man? Ms Trotter did not cite a single example. Perhaps you can. I, on the other hand, bear no burden to prove or defend something that I did not assert.

  3. iamjustinkase32 permalink

    Great post! Here is my opinion as well, I am mostly in agreeance with you.

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