Posted: Feb 23, 2007 12:00 AM

In a shameless attempt to curry favor with Mary Katharine Ham, I thought I’d devote this column to some recent armed citizen stories involving females.

The first story comes from Darlington, South Carolina earlier this week. A woman was alone in her home when an intruder gained entrance, most likely through the unlocked patio door. As the woman entered the living room, she saw the stranger. The intruder also saw her, and began moving towards the woman. That’s when she ran to her bedroom and retrieved her pistol. Heading back to the living room, she told the intruder she was armed. When the bad guy saw the gun, he fled out the back door. The woman wasn’t harmed, but I imagine she’s probably keeping her doors locked these days.

Another woman, this time in Indianapolis, had her door locked over the weekend, but that didn’t stop two men from trying to rob her. The woman told police that as a stranger was breaking down her door, she fired a shot. One of the intruders was killed at the scene, but police say another one escaped. The intended victim was unharmed.

And then there’s the story of Suzanne Carson. I know a little more about her story because I recently spoke to her on “Cam and Company”. Suzanne’s married and a mother of two in the small town of Coalfield, Tennessee. Last Friday, about ten minutes after Suzanne’s husband left for work, she heard a noise in the kitchen. Leaving the bedroom where her three-year old was sleeping, she walked down the hallway and looked through the kitchen to see a man trying to get in through the back door. Suzanne dashed back to her bedroom and retrieved a pistol, then ran back to the kitchen in time to see the door opening and the man coming inside.

Suzanne warned the man that she had a gun, but that didn’t stop him. Either did the first shot Suzanne fired. The man kept coming into the home, closer to Suzanne and her children. Suzanne fired two more shots before the man turned and ran out the back door. She and her children were unharmed. In fact, her three-year old child slept through the entire incident, though her four-year old son heard the sounds of shots fired.

Suzanne didn’t grow up in a family that owned guns. In fact, her husband B.J. has been trying to get her to learn to shoot since they’ve been married, but it wasn’t until a month ago that she first went to the range. As you can imagine, Suzanne says she’ll be heading back with great frequency after what happened to her.

Three stories of self-defense with three happy endings. What would have happened if these women didn’t have a gun to help them defend themselves? Would we be reading about three murders, three robberies, or three rapes? Would there be Amber Alerts for two missing children from Coalfield, Tennessee? Because these women took steps to protect themselves we get to applaud their courage, rather than mourning their deaths.