walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Real Knockouts_, knocked out NOT A BOOK REVIEW

I made it to page 41, partly by skipping stuff. There might be a good book in here somewhere, but I can't find it. There's bad analysis in here and bad theory, but I'll tell you right now where I parted company with the author.

"Girls and women lack such inspiration to shoot and fight. In fact, girls don't achieve womanhood by cultivating those skills, they compromise it. To this day, boy scouts can learn to shoot rifles and shotguns starting in the sixth grade. Girl scouts sell cookies and contribute to charities, but never learn to shoot."

It's just not true. It's never been true. Shooting rifles has always been a part of Girl Scouts, and that part of the program is available, to this day, starting in 6th grade, just like boys. Do all Girl Scout troops offer it? Probably not. But I bet not all BSA troops offer shooting, either. It's going to depend on the participants and what their desires and wishes are.

This isn't the only error in the pages leading up to page 41. There are misrepresentations of feminism, notably, why feminism avoids focusing on self-defense and similar physical resistance to rape and other sexual assault. Feminism tends to avoid that because women are already blamed all the time for not resisting adequately/appropriately. The focus has been on reducing "blame the victim" approaches, and self-defense advocates often wind up blaming the victim, quite often for exactly the same things the wider culture blames the victim for, like high heels. The explanation is different -- can't run or fight in heels, rather than they make you look like you are asking for it -- but the effect is the same.

There are misrepresentations of labor law's focus on women in the late 19th/early 20th century and there are misrepresentations of how we got "separate spheres" ideology, that make it sound like more male oppression, rather than as the women's power movement of its day.

I have some other issues with the way she is framing rape, because I really do think that you want to have different responses to someone who is using words vs. someone who has a gun out and pointed at someone. A good self defense orientation will address those different situations. But by conflating them in the rape culture framework, I feel like she has muddied things.

ETA: Like a dog to its own vomit, I foolishly returned to this book. Let's see how McCaughey represents the 1959 Inez Garcia self defense rape case!

"After Inez Garcia was found guilty of murdering the man who had assistedin his friend's rape of her and who had called her to promise that both men would return to her home to do something worse, one juror remarked, "You can't kill someone for trying to give you a good time" (Schneider and Jordan 1981, 15) 10.

"Garcia's case exemplifies another sexist bias in self-defense law. The imminence requirement, stating that the threat must be immediate in order to justify lethal self-defense, makes sense for men in an agreed-upon barroom brawl [me: whaaaa?]. But when it comes to a woman facing a man trying to rape her, she must wait long enough for the rape to ensue but not so long that she cannot still stop it from occurring."

Okay. So what _is_ the Inez Garcia rape case?


So, kind of a lot got left out there! Like, later on, she got a gun, drove over to the guy's house and shot him. With her drug dealer friend, who, honestly, was kind of at the center of all this, making one wonder who actually did the shooting. Cause for sure if he'd done the shooting, he'da gotten the chair.

Importantly, the first trial had a weird, diminished capacity defense and got Garcia a couple years. The appeal apparently got her a retrial, where the new lawyer argued simple self-defense ... and won.

Lesson here is probably: don't fuck around with these women-specific psychological things. If you argue straight self-defense, and the facts are on your side, it'll probably turn out better. Funny how exactly the opposite lesson was learned from this case.

I feel a morbid curiosity about what _else_ is embedded in this terrible, terrible book.

ETA: Ah, the 1990s. What a horrible time that was.


Chapter 2, where she describes Model Mugging, and Defending Ourselves classes, and her experiences with various firearms instructors, is a huge improvement, because they aren't theory or history. She is describing what she experienced in some detail, and that is Awesome. There was one on one with a woman, one on one with a man, and then a group class with another woman, Paxton Quigley. Weirdly, Paxton Quigley promotes one of those purses like the one the toddler got into at a Wal-Mart recently, with tragic results. I have mixed feelings about those purses, because I used to carry (with a permit) in a purse. But boy I never left that purse unattended for a second, and while I was occasionally around small children with the purse, I was never _responsible_ for small children while I had the purse. I didn't bring it when I was babysitting. Once I was responsible for small children of my own, the guns went to a friend, because I just can't pay attention to that many things at once. Which is really neither here nor there.

ETAYA: "medico" lock. Oy! Medeco! Medeco! Jeez.

I'm freaking out a little that Paxton Quigley was telling the class a story about a woman who held someone at gun point until the police arrive.

Fundamentally, I want women to be much less annoying about this stuff than men are. And yet, they are really just the same. Frustrating.

There was substantial debate about revolvers vs semiautomatics when I was going to ranges, and a fair number of men who were extremely contemptuous of revolvers but observed that women preferred them. Paxton Quigley prefers revolvers. "One woman had brought in a semi-automatic and Quigley gave her a revolver to use. Quigley recommends revolvers since they jam less often, you can see the bullets and they're easier to clean." All debatable assertions; I carried a revolver at the time because of one of my usual dorky Find The Very Lightest Device That Is Best At Accomplishing the Goal, which led to a 5 shot, snub nosed, titanium, look, never mind. It was horrible to shoot, as you can imagine, with +P.

ETAYA: She observed a couple of women's Okinawan Karate classes, one in LA, one in Easthampton, MA. The LA instructor has a hilarious quote about how if the attacker is wearing a groin protector cup, "you just grab the cup and scrape it forward and you've got cup-o-noodles." Which is funny! (ok, probably not if you have an outie instead of an innie) But I question the relevance to a self-defense class? I mean, this is a sport leakage issue if there ever was one!

Others have asked and answered . . .


ETA still more: Weirdly, I'm at page 118, and it is bugging me now that she keeps quoting people who clearly learned a bunch of situational awareness. But the author seems entirely unaware of the concept.

So the book has improved dramatically, because that's a whole other category of annoyance.
Tags: not-a-book-review
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