Mary Katharine Ham

William Deen, 60, was on the telephone about 10 a.m. when he said the man came in with a stocking over his face. He was dressed in black.

"He kind of eased in, and when I looked up, he said, 'This is a stickup,' " Deen said. "I thought it was some kind of joke, but then he put a gun in my face."

Deen said the man again demanded money and tried to crawl behind the counter. The two then struggled for the gun.

"All I could see was his pistol in my face, but I wasn't giving up anything," Deen said. "I work too hard for that. He was going to have to come and take it."

Deen said he didn't want his wife to get involved.

However, Vivian Deen, 45, grabbed a handgun kept behind the counter and fired at the robber's shoulder.

"I've never even fired a gun before. But when I saw the gun pointing at my husband, I didn't waste any time," she said.

Stand by your man.

Then there’s this Texas woman, who not only carries a pistol, but is also armed with soundbites:

The man asked her, "Do you have anything good in that van?"

The woman knew she was in trouble. She told him yes and moved to the front passenger-side door.

She pulled out her pistol and heard a knife click open.

When she looked back, she saw the man was holding a knife pointed downward in his hand.

She quickly turned, pointed the gun right at him and asked, "Are you really sure you want to do whatever you're going to do?"

He took off running, the father said.


In 2002, Charmaine Dunbar met a man on an early-morning walk, who threatened her with a rifle. She shot him twice in the stomach. It turned out he was suspected of six sexual assaults in her neighborhood and had intended her for his seventh victim.

The second time she saw the man, she was walking up Brushton Avenue around 5:35 a.m. She recognized his clothing. "Oh my God," she thought, "It's him."

She walked faster, unobtrusively getting her gun ready, but kept it under her sleeve. When they reached the top of steep Brushton Avenue, he was out of breath and stopped; she continued. She looked behind her once, and she saw him leaning over, pulling his rifle out from his pants.

Knowing she needed to fire before he was able to take aim, she steadied her gun and fired twice at his abdomen. He continued to lean over, apparently unaffected, and Dunbar thought, "Oh my God, my bullets didn't work."

Then he stood up, yelled, and fell over.


Mom and Pop were not to be messed with in Atlanta, and 56-year-old Gloria Doster gave the reporter the quotes of a lifetime:

"I just started shooting," said Gloria Doster, 56. "I was trying to blow his brains out is what I was trying to do."

She said she tried to open the register, but one of the men told her she wasn't moving fast enough and tried to shoot her husband. He missed -- and his gun jammed.

At that point, Bobby Doster pulled out a .380-caliber handgun and shot one of the suspects. Gloria Doster then went for a 9 mm pistol she keeps near the register.

"All hell broke loose," she said. "I was trying to shoot and dial 911 at the same time."


A North Carolina woman protected four lives this spring with one gun.

A pregnant woman was lying on the couch in her home when she heard the mini-blinds on her kitchen door rustle. Police say the woman, whose 1- and 3-year-old children were also in the home, got up to investigate and found a man trying to break in.

When she spotted him, he ran around the corner of the duplex to the front door and tried to kick it in. The woman warned the prowler that she had a gun. When he replied that he also had a gun, she shot at him and he returned fire. The intruder was hit in the chest and died on the way to the hospital. No one else was injured.

Maternal instinct.

This is the kind of women’s empowerment that gets me going. A new women’s studies program just doesn’t do it for me the way a gleaming .380 does.

Highlighting stories like these is the way to get people thinking of guns that way, and I’m trying to do more of it. Other sources for empowerment are the NRA Armed Citizens Database, Clayton Cramer’s Gun Self-Defense Blog, and the Women on Target program.

I’m going to stay armed with plenty of anecdotes. That way, the next time someone comes to me with an anti-gun canard, I can say, “Are you really sure you want to do whatever you're going to do?”


Update: I've gotten a couple e-mails from readers with other good self-defense sources, such as Gun Watch and Second Amendment Sisters. Thanks, guys!

Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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