I have always been anti-gun. But then I read the story of Melinda and Donnie Herman. I’m sure that you’ve read it too. Donnie is the man who had his wife, Melinda, and a 911 operator on the phone while an intruder with a crowbar hunted down Melinda and the couple’s 9-year old twins in their home through three locked doors, a bathroom and an upstairs crawl space. Donnie instructed Melinda to shoot the intruder if he opened the door to the crawl space.
Melinda Herman told police that she started shooting when the man opened the door to the crawl space. He pleaded with her to stop, but she kept firing until she was out of bullets, she told police. She then fled to a neighbor’s house with her children. [nbcnews]
I cannot begin to imagine the terror that Melinda Herman must have felt. I have two young boys. If a man broke into my house with the intention of hurting me, if I thought that he would hurt my children, and I had a gun in my possession, I would shoot him too. And I would shoot him as many times as I thought I needed to in order to neutralize him, just like she did.
So, yes, I’m glad that Melinda Herman had a gun, and I’m glad that she used it. Does that make me pro-gun? No, I don’t think that I will ever own a gun. But Melinda Herman was in her house and she defended herself and her children from harm, possibly from death. She is a responsible gun owner who kept her gun in a safe and took shooting classes with her husband. So, now I can understand the millions of Americans who, like the Hermans, own guns and want to keep the right to own them.
On the other hand, I understand that this is an isolated case and that having a gun in the house might be more detrimental than beneficial:
“It’s more common for an armed homeowner in the United States to be a victim of suicide, homicide, assault or an accidental shooting than it is for that person to shoot an intruder,” according to Dr. Arthur Kellermann, a senior health policy analyst at Rand Corporation, a non-partisan think tank. [CNN]
Still, a family was kept whole because of a gun. As a mother, I cannot ignore this fact, nor do I want to, which makes the gun control issue much more complex than I thought, or perhaps not.