Sarah McKinley had a choice to make on New Years Eve: To shoot or not to shoot the men at her front door who were attempting to break in. She was holding a 12-gauge shotgun when the door finally swung open after one of the men forcefully broke the lock with his shoulder.
With her 3-month-old son in the house the choice became fairly easy. In her own words: “I chose my son over him.” McKinley fired her shotgun and killed the man who was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife and was high on hydrocodone; his accomplice ran away and is now being charged with an array of crimes.
Now, I find this case very compelling for a few reasons. Although it is entirely anecdotal, it cannot be ignored that the right to own a firearm became a matter of life or death for McKinley and her young boy. There are those who will nevertheless argue that all guns should be banned — although people more often argue for a ban on handguns or other limitations — but then I wonder this: Would they rather have this innocent woman and her 3-month-old son killed?
I mean, obviously people who are anti-gun do not wish harm on her; they want peace and are mostly well intentioned. But how do they approach a situation like this? Without her firearm who knows what would’ve happened.
Plus, the men who broke into her house were not exactly law-abiding citizens (as if that needs to be stated). If guns were banned, would they really live by those rules? Or, like the criminals they are, would they break the law and obtain a firearm? I think their actions speak volumes. The old adage rings true: When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. These thugs are no exception (although they armed themselves with knives in this particular case).
Secondly, and very quickly, this situation completely contradicts the “woman as a victim” stereotype that is too often painted by our society. McKinley stood her ground and made a very principled choice to defend her family. She is strong in her defense of her actions, as well; when questioned by Dr. Drew on HLN whether she regretted her action, she simply said, “No.”
The third interesting part of this story is that McKinley called 9-1-1 to ask if it was okay to shoot the men if they broke into her house.
Although there are plenty of reasons to call the police in this situation, it makes me very uncomfortable that she asked if she could shoot them. Understandably, she was nervous and I cannot imagine the feeling as I have never been in the situation. However, our legal system should not be this unclear; under no circumstance should an individual have to question if they can protect themselves or their family, whether it be with a gun or not.
Once again, this is merely one case and is anecdotal. But the fact that she questioned her right to self-defense is troubling to me. Obviously when the door was wide open and she saw the man there was no questioning on her part, which I applaud. I just hope that in the future people do not refrain from protecting themselves for worry they might be in legal trouble. The laws in America should be clear as daylight: You have the right to defend yourself, family, and property. Without this right, how free would we really be?Published in