With the most recent stories about Herschel Walker’s history of paying for an abortion, and his hypocrisy when it comes to his political anti-abortion stance, another part of his past is getting less attention. That would be an incident in which he reportedly held a gun to his then-wife’s head and threatened to blow her brains out. There is a political ad in which she speaks about it. Walker’s response to the claim was not to deny it, but to say that it was fifteen years ago and he was glad issues of mental illness were being brought out in the open. To state the obvious, not everyone who battles mental illness holds a gun to someone’s head.

            I would like us to linger on that event. I would like voters in Georgia to think deeply about it, not just from the viewpoint of Herschel Walker and his attempt at political side-stepping and sleight of hand, but from the woman’s perspective. I would like you to ponder what it says about a man who chooses to terrorize a woman by pressing a loaded gun to her temple. I want you to crawl inside her skin, to know what it feels like with the cold metal of a gun pressed into the soft tissue of your head.

            “I couldn’t move anything,” my friend told me. “Not even a finger. I just sat there looking at the wall and picturing my blood, my brains, splattered all over it. My life, gone just like that.” She had been in an abusive relationship for roughly a year, and like most women in that situation she had gotten ensnared in the spiral of abuse and apology. Every blow, every threat, every twist of her arm that left steaks of bruise was followed by apologies and promises to never do it again. Something drains out of you in that spiral – you stop believing the apologies, but you stop believing that you can get out, that you can live a different life. Every abusive man knows this, counts on it. 

            The night my friend’s lover got a gun from his closet, a gun she didn’t know he had, he also pressed it against her temple. She described the dent of cold metal on her skin, and how every bit of strength syphoned out of her. She had started to take Krav Maga classes, trying to find her strength, to believe it existed. But it didn’t help her in that moment. It takes nothing to squeeze a trigger – just a twitch of the finger – and she didn’t doubt that he would do it. Her terror also made her unable to speak, unable to cry, and that’s what she thinks saved her life. He got bored because she wasn’t reacting enough. It turned out to be the last time he would threaten her or hurt her. She left and got a restraining order against him. Then she moved to another city.

            That man is no different than Herschel Walker. A man holding a gun to a woman’s temple is someone with no compassion, no humanity, no empathy. It isn’t something they did in the past, it’s who they are. Electing a person to political office, by definition, means you are entrusting them with the welfare, the safety, the livelihood of millions of people. You are allowing them to make decisions for people’s lives, decisions that will either protect or endanger them. To sweep aside the fact that a man held a gun to his wife’s head because you want his political vote, you want him to shift the balance of power in a governmental body, is another version of holding a gun to someone’s head. Only in this case, it’s millions of heads.


  1. Hopefully Sen. Warnock will win, although he was also involved in a domestic-assault incident when he ran over his ex-wife’s foot with his car. Sad to say we are saying this about our U.S. senators, but Warnock is the lesser of two evils. On another matter, George Floyd also terrorized a woman by holding a knife against her (pregnant) stomach during a home invasion. Thank goodness Floyd wasn’t a politician, but ironically he is now immortalized as a sacrificial angel for being a victim of police brutality.

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