Topmost (in use)

Tag Archives | self defense

Girls With Guns

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.

Continue Reading

Good Guys With Guns

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

That statement, from NRA president Wayne LaPierre, was immediately turned into a laugh line by the press, deemed everything from “deadly spin” to “delusional” to “paranoid.” The New York Daily News proclaimed that anti-gun cranks—oops, I mean “mental health experts”—who had never met LaPierre had diagnosed him as crazy.

As someone who went to journalism school and has worked in media for years, I’m used to this. Left-leaning editors and reporters declare what “everyone” knows and “everyone” thinks, while pretending to be objective. Their preferred method of slanting the news is covering stories that bolster their worldview while completely ignoring others. Because whether the “good guy” is a police officer or a private citizen, LaPierre’s statement is absolutely true—and several incidents ignored by the media prove it.

Two days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a San Antonio man burst into the Mayan 14 movie theater and began shooting, “sending panicked moviegoers rushing to exits and ducking for cover,” according to But instead of becoming the next James Holmes, the suspect was shot by an off-duty cop. Unlike the Aurora theater shooting, the incident ended with only two wounded—thanks to a good guy with a gun.

How many of you have heard the name “Mayan 14” before today? Is it any surprise that a network like CNN, which employs Piers Morgan, let this story slip under the radar?

When most Americans hear “school shooting,” they think Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook. They’re all incidents where the gunmen took a dozen lives or more. We rarely think of Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Pearl, Mississippi; or the Appalachian School of Law. Why? School shootings there were all halted by good guys with guns. They also had dramatically lower death tolls—one, two, and three, respectively.

At the Appalachian School of Law, the gunman was tackled by three men, two of whom had rushed to their cars to retrieve their guns. The media covered the story—but selectively edited the details.

“What is so remarkable is that out of 280 separate news stories in the week after the event, just four stories mentioned that the students who stopped the attack had guns,” wrote economist John Lott in his book More Guns, Less Crime. “In the other public school shootings where citizens with guns have stopped attacks, rarely do more than one percent of the news stories mention that citizens with guns stopped the attacks.”

The media deemed LaPierre’s “good guys with guns” line as a delusion of wannabe cowboys everywhere, who fantasize about Wild West-style shootouts with cartoon villains. Maybe they should go back and read one of my favorite Townhall columns of all time: Chicks Carrying Guns and Kicking Tail by Mary Katharine Ham.

Ham’s examples aren’t fantasies or hypotheticals. They’re true stories of women who chased away thugs, rapists and thieves with guns. The potential victims included elderly women and a pregnant mother of two, who shot an armed gunman who kicked in her door. A woman named Charmaine Dunbar was accosted by a rifle-toting gunman and shot him twice with her handgun. It turned out he was a suspect in six sexual assaults in her area.

As Ham put it, “This is the kind of women’s empowerment that gets me going.”

The mainstream media might have a bigger audience and more influence, but the conservative media should refuse to ignore these stories and countless others. Instead of letting the anti-gun camp control the debate, let’s turn “Mayan 14” into a household name.


Continue Reading

It's a question.