One of the biggest concert venues in Europe was attacked in May by a suicide bomber who detonated a bomb packed with shrapnel in a hallway outside Manchester Arena as patrons of an Ariana Grande concert left the building.
Many of the concert-goers were young people, predominately female, attending the pop singer’s “Dangerous Woman” tour. In addition to the bomber, 21 people were killed, the youngest an 8-year-old girl. Nearly 75 others, including parents picking up their children after the concert, were wounded, with about two dozen left in critical condition.
A day later, the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group claimed credit for the carnage, carried out by a British national of Libyan descent, but it is not known yet whether ISIS provided actual material support for the bomber or just encouragement.
Grande, 23, is already a veteran performer, but since I am decidedly out of her demographic of fans, I was only vaguely aware of her. Although she cancelled several subsequent concerts, she and a cohort of other celebrity pop stars scheduled a benefit for the victims in Manchester.
Several pundits, in the depressing say-anything-to-fill-the-air style that has become so prevalent in the media these days, wondered if the bomber targeted Grande’s concert particularly because of her pop sensibilities, including her taking on the “Dangerous Woman” mantle, and her young female fan base.
We probably will never know if that is true or not, but it has the effect of being self-fulfilling, since I am sure there are many parents wrestling with whether or not to let their kids attend any large event, particularly a concert.
I’m certain my parents wondered occasionally when I was a younger person, if I was going to get into trouble at any of the dozens of concerts I attended in my youth—often in company of my sister and our friends. But they surely never imagined the scenario that unfolded in Manchester, and, in fact, aside from a broken curfew or two, our “troubles” were pretty mild and discreet.
It is certainly more than likely that the murderer took the easiest and “best” — by his definition — target in Manchester and that if the concert had been given by someone other than Grande, he would have acted exactly the same.
But the pernicious idea has been floated out there that it was because it was a Grande concert, attended by a predominantly female audience that he acted at that moment.
Equally pernicious is the idea that a pop singer playing with terms like “Dangerous Woman,” is in some way a problem.
As women gun owners we are always viewed as somewhat “dangerous,” if not downright bizarre, by outsiders, helped along by the media which finds it so much easier to label that it does to explore.
For over 25 years, Women & Guns has printed pages and pages of women gun owners, of varying ages, ethnicities, skill levels, races, political affiliations, careers, etc. etc.
I doubt if a single one of them would view themselves as “dangerous.”
But all of them have at some time, viewed themselves as in danger, subject to forces which they have sought to, fought to and learned to overcome.
In this issue, Candy Petticord details her journey to become a better gun owner, not a more dangerous one.
Also in this issue, we explore how hundreds of women in the Detroit area, aided by a thoughtful, prescient and heroic man and his cohort, are also learning how not to be in danger. Many of those women who got a chance to study gun ownership first-hand — for the first time in many cases — may chose not to become a gun owner.
But many will make that decision armed with knowledge, and not dangerous at all —except to evil-doers.