In my last column, “Good Guys With Guns,” I wrote about the Mayan 14 incident, in which a shooter was halted by an off-duty cop. I referred to the cop as a “good guy,” and my readers were quick to issue a correction: the good guy was actually a girl. Lisa Castellano shot the wannabe James Holmes after he ran into the Mayan 14 theater and began firing—and managed to snatch away his gun.
I don’t know about you, but Lisa Castellano is my new hero.
I’ve written about women and guns before, when I was the lone conservative columnist on the staunchly liberal Ohio University campus. As you can probably guess, readers sneered at the notion that guns serve a legitimate self-defense purpose. A self-described feminist activist claimed that women should be more afraid of “facing charges” for shooting an attacker than being raped or murdered. A male reader condescendingly suggested women should “carry mace.” I want better than that.
So did 18-year-old mom Sarah McKinley. On New Year’s Eve 2011, she was at home alone with her infant son, having lost her husband to lung cancer just a week earlier. When she heard two men trying to break in, she called 911—and grabbed her guns.
“My husband just passed away. I’m here by myself with my infant baby. Can I please get a dispatch out here immediately?” McKinley pleaded.
Twenty minutes went by with no police response. McKinley fired, killing one of the two men, both of whom were armed with 12-inch knives.
“It was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son,” McKinley told reporters. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”
As the mother of a 15-month old daughter, I second that.
In October 2012, 12-year-old Kendra St. Clair was also at home alone when a home invader kicked in her back door. Her mother advised her over the phone to hide in the bathroom. Luckily, the preteen grabbed her parents’ handgun first—and shot the intruder in the shoulder.
“When I had the gun, I didn’t think I was actually going to have to shoot somebody,” she told ABC News. “I think it’s going to change me a whole lot, knowing that I can hold my head up high and nothing can hurt me anymore.”
Now that’s girl power.
Two weeks ago, Abilene resident Lawanda Taylor was awakened at 2 am by a break-in. The intruder turned out to be her violent ex-boyfriend, who began assaulting her. Taylor managed to grab her gun and shoot her attacker in the side—likely saving her own life and the lives of her two children.
Last Friday, a Georgia mother spotted a strange man breaking into her home with a crowbar. She hid her 9-year-old twins in a crawlspace and called 911. When the intruder discovered the family, she shot him five times with her revolver.
Guns can’t and shouldn’t be used for self-defense? Tell that to these women and countless others who never make the news. Every two minutes, a woman in this country is sexually assaulted. Three are murdered every day—a third of them by boyfriends, husbands, or exes. Millions become victims of crimes like robbery.
“My wife is a hero. She protected her kids,” Donnie Herman, the Georgia woman’s husband, told reporters last week. “Her life is saved, and her kids’ life is saved… She did what she was supposed to do as responsible, prepared gun owner.”
I couldn’t agree more. America might be a dangerous place for women, but it’s less dangerous when they can defend themselves with a gun.