This column was excerpted from “Stalked And Defenseless: How Gun Control Helped My Stalker Murder My Husband in Front of Me.”
The night my husband was murdered in front of me by my stalker, I was informed that the Metro Nashville Police Department offers a Victim Intervention Program for victims of violent crime. This is a free counseling service offered to those Nashville residents affected by violent crime, and it is available for as long as you need it.
Even though I knew it was available, I kept talking myself out of it, because I have a degree in psychology and I thought I should be able to handle it on my own. I tried for a few months to deal with it. I did pretty well at acting like everything was okay, until one day I ended up crying non-stop in the middle of work and scaring the heck out of my already concerned co-workers at the college. I was dealing with anger, guilt, sadness, fear, depression, and loneliness.
So I reluctantly made the decision to go get some counseling. I went for my first session at a large brick office building in downtown Nashville. This building housed the counseling service office and many different offices as well. I began to tell the counselor (I will call her Irma) everything that happened to my husband and myself. It took me about 45 minutes to tell her everything after she started asking me questions.
I left that session feeling OK but not really feeling like this was going to make a significant difference. I had not discussed anything with her that I would not discuss with my best friends or family, and I still did not see the real point in it. But I tried to keep an open mind. I just wanted the pain to go away, and I thought “what the heck” because it was free. I figured that I could use all the help that I could get. I ended up going back for another session within the next week or two. Irma brought me back to her office, and before long, I was telling her how I had to leave my permitted gun locked in my vehicle on the night Ben was killed.
She immediately looked at me and said, “Do you have a gun with you right now?” I said, “Well, of course I do. It’s concealed in my purse. I am carrying legally, and this building and your offices are not posted saying I can’t.” I reached into my purse to get my handgun carry permit out of my wallet so I could show her she had nothing to fear and that I am carrying legally. This woman totally flipped out on me and said, “Don’t take your gun out! Don’t take your gun out!” I just looked at her and said: “Calm down, I am just getting my permit out to show you.” Irma then looked at my permit and said, “You can’t have that thing in here! You can never bring a gun in here! Our rules are no guns!”
I then told her that she has absolutely nothing to fear from me. I also told her that if that is their policy, then they need to have a sign posted on the front door of the building clearly stating “no firearms allowed.” That way, I wouldn’t be in an awkward position like I am right now. I also told her that if the building had a sign, then I would have never come inside. I just sat there in complete amazement at how she could behave like this after I poured my heart and soul out to her in my first session and was clearly no threat to her or anyone else. I am pretty sure this lady had to know I am a good and decent person that has just been through hell and has every reason in the world to carry a gun for self-defense. I ended up leaving, and I sent an email to her supervisor to let her know how disappointed I was that I am not welcome there because I carry a gun for my own self-defense.
I got a call from that supervisor, and she was very nice but reiterated that they do not allow guns. She said, “Nikki, I had no idea it was really this bad for you, that you feel you have to carry a gun with you all the time.” She informed me that they could call a security guard to walk me down to my car if it made me feel more comfortable after my sessions. I had never seen a security guard in or around that building on the two occasions that I had been there, so I wondered where this security guard was that she would call for me. She also told me that their office was safe because their office doors are locked.
I quickly informed her that if I were a bad guy (and I now have had to start thinking like one), I would not bother with the locked door in the waiting room. If I wanted in, I would come straight on through that open glass window at the receptionist desk. I intended to open her eyes as to how vulnerable she and the others in the office really are. I told her that I would never harm an innocent person with my gun, but if someone came into that office to hurt either myself or someone else, at least I would have the ability to try and stop them. She would not budge. I told her I would never be back. I hung up. I remember thinking how ridiculous that policy is. Heck, I could have very easily lied when Irma asked if I had a gun and she would have never known otherwise. But that’s what I get for being honest, I suppose.
Yep, I was honest and not willing to disarm, and now I have to pay for counseling that other victims like myself get for free. While I respect the Metro Nashville Police Department a great deal, I hope they will look into changing this policy. They should understand that many people coming into that office have been brutalized and don’t feel safe. Disarming them leaves them vulnerable. For people who go through the steps to be legally armed, they should not be denied the opportunity to get help. The irony is that those facing the worst situations may be the ones who are excluded.
On its website, the Victim Intervention Program says that its services are provided in an environment which supports cultural diversity with respect to race, religion, creed and sexual orientation. But somehow it’s OK to discriminate against me because I carry my legal handgun for self-defense.
Now I would have to pay at least $30 an hour for counseling. I ended up finding a great psychiatrist who did not mind me carrying my gun. The first time I left my session, it was in the evening and pretty dark outside. He had offered to walk me to my car, but then he stopped and thought about it and said: “You’re the one who should be walking me to my car!” with a big smile.
Instead of blaming the gun like so many other victims of violent crime, I choose to stand for what I know is right. I take the opposite position and help in a movement of freedom to defend our Second Amendment rights, so law-abiding citizens can at least have a fighting chance to protect themselves from predators like Ben’s murderer. My story will be told in the United States and beyond, as an example of what can happen when law-abiding citizens are disarmed.
Unfortunately, believing in the fundamental human right of self-defense is an ideology that some people absolutely despise with a passion. As a response, these people end up bullying, threatening, and mocking someone like myself. A cruel and disgusting reality in this world we live in now, where we blame guns while murderers are made famous by the media and blamed less.
Nikki Goeser is the executive director of the nonprofit Crime Prevention Research Center. She is also thee author of “Denied A Chance: How Gun-Control Helped a Stalker Murder My Husband.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.