The recent shooting at Fort Hood has left me sober, but also grateful. If you have not heard the story I recommend you read it here:”Hash Browns, Then 4 Minutes of Chaos.” Below is a significant section that I want to highlight this morning:
“Kimberly Munley, a 35-year-old police officer, happened to be nearby, waiting for her squad car to get a tune-up, when she heard the commotion. She raced to the scene . . . As she rounded a corner, she saw Maj. Hasan chasing a wounded soldier through an open courtyard. He looked as though he was trying to “finish off” the wounded soldier, Mr. Medley said.
“He looked extremely focused,” said Francisco De La Serna, a 23-year-old medic who had fled the building and was watching the same scene unfold from a hiding spot across the street.
Ms. Munley’s first shot missed Maj. Hasan. He spun to face her and began charging, Mr. Medley said.
The time was 1:27 p.m., just four minutes after the initial 911 call.
Authorities haven’t said precisely how many shots were fired during the running gun battle between Maj. Hasan and Ms. Munley. But one of her shots hit Mr. Hasan in the torso, knocking him to the ground. With that, officials say, she quite likely prevented more injuries or deaths on the base.
Ms. Munley took two bullets to her legs. Both entered her left thigh, ripped through the flesh and lodged in her right thigh. She also received a minor wound to the right wrist.
Specialist De La Serna, the medic hiding across the street, sprinted to the scene as the shooting stopped and put a tourniquet on Ms. Munley, who was fading in and out of consciousness, he said. Then he moved to Maj. Hasan, who had a gunshot wound through the chest.
Ms. Munley underwent surgery Thursday night to halt bleeding and faces at least two more operations to remove the bullets in her thigh.” quoted from The Wall Street Journal, to read more from this article or from another in the WSJ “Lethal Rampage at Fort Hood.”
In these pictures of Major Hasan and Ms. Munley, both man and woman involved in this gunfight look like kind people. And yet they each took their weapons out to kill one another. This forces me to note an unsettling and significant fact of our fallen world.
When Sergeant Kimberly Munley pulled out her handgun to shoot Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan, a man who had killed 13 and wounded 30, she put herself, a woman, against a man. Without her gun she could not have matched his strength, but with her sidearm she was capable of meeting his aggression.
Ms. Munley makes me think of the unnecessary losses when a man pits his strength against a woman’s vulnerability and dominates. Makes me think of the students at Virginia Tech. What if one female student at Virginia Tech, with the same tenacity to run after the assassin as Munley had been permitted to carry concealed weapons? Makes me think of my neighbor whose close friend was hunted down at her own home by a serial murderer and despite a long, physical struggle against him, eventually decapitated in her own home. What if she had had been carrying a concealed weapon and knew how to use it?
What if women were encouraged to know how to use guns, instead of our society relegating guns to violent, dangerous, testosterone-fueled obsessive types?
Munley laid her own life in harm’s way to protect those who could no longer protect themselves. She was equipped not only with a weapon but with the courage and skills to protect herself and others. She bent stereotypes and for that I am deeply grateful. I feel my heart quake in me when I think of her running toward Maj. Hasan, drawing his fire away from the wounded. I’m sure she knew she might not come through alive. Still, because she was armed, a woman’s strength was on equal ground with a violent man’s. It surprises me that there are not more feminist’s blogs commenting on the need for women to carry a concealed weapon.
Ms. Munley’s heroism and willingness to attack an aggressor, rather than run, speaks to the power a sidearm when held by a capable woman in battle. Because she was trained and armed she was a force powerful enough to stop Maj Hasan.
Upon moving to the woods, a remote region in the Rocky Mountains, Dale and I both filed for concealed carry licenses. We had to take a three hour safety class and then endure fingerprinting and knowing we’re under suspicion (you should hear some of our big-city friends when they find out) for the offense of wanting to exercise our Constitutional right (something I thought only fanatical, kooky people every wanted) of carrying our own guns.
Last month we took a handgun defensive training class, in Eastern Oregon at Thunder Ranch. Their goal, “Our primary concern is that people who come to Thunder Ranch® leave with a peace of mind in their heart and head. We strongly hope that they never have to use any of the skills or things learned here for the defense of themselves or their family, but if they do, we want this knowledge to be used confidently and with great vigor.“
Still, I was, frankly, afraid. I didn’t know my 40 caliber pistol all that well, I was nervous about making a mistake with so much risk at stake and the gun is just LOUD and forceful. Besides, I was 16 weeks pregnant. Was this a wise thing to do? My doctor, surprised at my request, said the baby would be fine and to be careful. If I learned anything at Thunder Ranch it was awe for the power of a gun. We NEVER allowed the gun to point at something we did not want to destroy. I’m more careful now than I was before, but I’m also a heck of a lot more accurate. Dale says he’s glad to have me at his side.
Our instruction, Clint Smith, marine corps veteran and police officer, nationally known for training SWAT teams in urban defense, and his wife and one other assistant, helped me and 11 others learn the importance of steady, careful gun drawing, shooting, re-loading, clearing jams and re-holstering. We fired over 800 rounds in 3 days. And I’ve never met a more conscientious, respectful group of strangers. None of them fit the stereotypes of gun-carrying fanatics. You can, by the way take classes like these all over the nation, but Clint’s record of safety (he’s had NO accidents and 19,000 clients) and professionalism motivated us to make the trip.
The cost of the class was severe, not only in dollars, but also in energy, strain and fatigue. By the end of each day my pregnant belly, around which I could barely squeeze my belt to hold my holster, were aching. While the class included several couples, I was the only pregnant woman. By the second day I had rubbed my fingers raw with clicking the safety on and off of my handgun. It was very cold most the time (watch the video below to see our breath in the air as we practice a leaning drill to know how to be off balance and shoot around corner). We could not wear gloves, so we would know how the gun felt without any protection. I felt every bump and button, I know how to load and ask for “Cover!” while I’m vulnerable. And Dale and I know how to work as a team. The ear protection helped, but the repetition of drawing, firing, belting out verbal commands to “Get Away” or “Stop” combined with the ceaseless vigilance, left me utterly exhausted at the end of each day. Then we had to pick up all our shells, carefully unload, clean our equipment, then finally off to find some dinner.
While men and their guns has grown into a stereotype mixed with red-necks and caricatures of violence, I know many gun-carrying men (many who attended the class at Thunder Ranch) and women who carry their weapons with humility, respect and utmost safety. I would trust them to defend me. I’m grateful for their willingness to carry a dangerous weapon so others might be safe. So as I move on to catch up with the rest of my life, as I read the week 24 update on my pregnancy, as I think of protecting the lives of those nearest to me, I’m grateful to have a husband who wanted to educate me about concealed carry.
And in light of the sobering murders committed at Fort Hood, I want to salute the women across the country today who bare the disapproval, misunderstanding and mockery of carrying a sidearm, not only for their own safety, but for the love of their fellow men and women.
To read more about the Biblical justification for carrying a handgun see this helpful blog: The Cornered Cat