Behold: The Woman With a Shotgun

TIME Magazine appointed The Protester as the person of the year in 2011. Perhaps next year the winner will be The Woman With a Shotgun. After all, the media is now saluting such women.
In December, a 22-year-old Minnesota woman was home alone with morning sickness. She was nine weeks pregnant and her boyfriend was away.
She heard strange noises outside, the dogs began barking, and the doorbell rang about 50 times extremely fast. Someone was clearly checking to see who, if anyone, was home.
Her quick thinking led her to ready the 12-gauge. The burglars kicked open the kitchen door and heard a strange noise themselves.

The ku-chick! of a woman pumping a shotgun. That’s all they had to hear before high-tailing it out the door and off to their getaway car. “I’m pregnant and I wasn’t about to go down with nothing, with two men double my size and me here,” she said.

Just after New Year’s, the media went crazy for Sarah McKinley, the 18-year-old widow who protected her 3-month-old baby from attackers when they busted down her mobile home door. She was on the phone with an operator asking permission to shoot the intruder with her 12-gauge aimed and ready.

The dispatcher told her, “I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby.” Justin Martin busted through her door with a 12-inch hunting knife when she blasted him with some fatal rounds, effectively stopping the intruder before police could arrive. She had been on the phone with the dispatcher for 21 minutes – she lived far from any police station. This woman braved out the situation the week after her husband’s funeral!

“It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child,” McKinley said.
The real interesting facet to these stories is how the media and law enforcement treated the matters. The women weren’t charged, hassled, or chided in any way for using a firearm in self-defense, as many of the programmed in America would have expected. In the latter story, McKinley was protected by castle laws that “allow” residents to shoot-to-kill intruders. Castle laws are found in around 31 of the 50 states.
Stories like the two above are countless, but bigger mainstream outlets are picking them up with greater interest. 
Another notable move in heralding women with guns was Yahoo’s first ever winning choice of their own Sundance shorts nominees: a documentary called Debutante Hunters.

This was not just a vehicle for gun totin’ hotness. Sure, the bad-@** factor is there. But for these women, hunting is a lifestyle that upholds independence and self-sufficiency. It’s how they feed their families healthy meats and live off the land. It’s a relaxing sanctuary within themselves that also affords them constant protection.
These are not the days during and after the Brady Bill when reports like these would be suppressed and attacked. The media seems proud of these women and undoubtedly relieved that they aren’t reporting about police on the scene of their would-be murders.
Women with guns are not just the bad-to-the-bone stuff of movies anymore. Their stories are not just buried in NRA magazines, but are proudly shared by the media and documentarized. It is now embraced not only as socially and morally acceptable, but absolutely necessary for true independence. Behold her: the woman with a shotgun is here to stay.

What’s not to like? Photo by Lindsey McCrum
Note: For any ladies interested in trying their hands at multiple guns and slowly acclimating to safe gun use, consider the organization Women In the Outdoors. WITO is a subgroup of the National Wild Turkey Federation which upholds the conservation of wild turkeys and the tradition of hunting. For a donation, women can join the workshops found in about every state and it is a fun introduction to all outdoor skills. Men and women alike can also volunteer their training services to the events.
Chicks With Guns by Lindsay McCrum

Read other articles by Heather Callaghan here

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