Mary Katharine Ham

Margaret Johnson told police she had just left her apartment Friday afternoon on her way to a firing range when a man passed by her and seconds later attacked from behind, trying to get her necklace and purse.

Johnson managed to pull out her licensed .357 handgun and fired once, sending a bullet into the elbow of the mugger, the New York Times reported.

And, another reader sent this one about a Tulsa attorney who ran down two purse-snatchers for 10 minutes, tackled one of them, and directed passers-by to grab the other one. Both were held until police showed up. No gun, but lots of guts.

Yet another reader reminded me of this classic—The Beauty School Beat-Down:

Cops say Jared Gipson, 24, entered Blalock's Beauty College in Shreveport at noon Tuesday and announced a robbery.

"I thought it was someone just playing, but then I saw that big old gun," manager Dianne Mitchell told The Times of Shreveport. "He said, 'Get down, big mama.'"

The masked robber ordered the people in the room — 18 to 20 students and teachers — to lie on the floor, leading some to think they were going to be killed….

After collecting everyone's money, the gunman pushed the school's sole male employee, Abram Bishop, toward the back of the room — but then turned and began to run out the door.

That's when Mitchell stuck out her leg. The robber tripped over it, dropped the gun and slammed into a wall…

"Get that sucker!" yelled Mitchell, and the dozen and a half women present grabbed whatever they could get their hands on — curling irons, chairs, a table leg — and piled on.

"They just whooped the hell out of him," said school owner Sharon Blalock.

If you like these stories, and you’re looking for somewhere to get a little practice, one of my readers recommended the Gunsite Training Center, Thunder Ranch, Suarez International, and Frontsight.

Me, I’ve always stuck with the NRA, and you can find one of their instructors no matter where you are. Happy shooting!

Mary Katharine Ham

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

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