Defensive Strategies

By Lyn Bates,
Contributing Editor

Wandermere is a place you have probably never heard of. It is not a city or town but an area north of Spokane WA. It has some new residential parts and some people who have lived there a long, long time, enjoying being out in the country.
The Woods were one of those old resident families. Lenny and Tina and their daughter, Kimber. Essentially living in the woods made guns a natural part of their existence. They had many, and used them for, as Lenny would late say, “fun, security and all the hunting we can fit in.” Kimber, as a child, was not excluded from the activities. She learned quite a lot about guns: how to shoot them, how to be safe with them, what they are for; and last July, those lessons probably saved her life.
It was July 3, 2017―everyone should have been thinking about the events that are going to happen on the next day, Independence Day, the parties, picnics, parades, celebrations, and fireworks. The deputies in the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office weren’t thinking about those things. They had a situation on their hands. It started at 5 a.m. with a stolen car, usually an easy problem to solve, as the deputies spotted the car and gave pursuit. But instead of stopping, the suspect abandoned the car in a field and ran. The deputies set up a perimeter to search for him, and the local media, station KHQ was right there to cover all that on their morning show.
Kimber, Kimber’s parents and Kimber’s boyfriend all watched that show, so they knew what was happening. and that the search was nearby. Her parents and boyfriend all had to leave for work, leaving her alone. Her boyfriend ran into some deputies who told him more about the situation. He called Kimber to tell her. She called her parents, and asked if she could get one of the guns to have nearby for protection. Her Dad said yes, and she got their .22 cal. Ruger revolver, put it under her pillow and nearly went to sleep.
It wasn’t long until she heard the screen door of her house open and close again. Kimber grabbed the gun and her phone and hid behind her makeup vanity. Thinking her father might have returned home, she phoned him to see, and was assured that he was at work. That meant the intruder was almost certainly the thief the police were looking for. They stayed on the phone together. She heard the intruder go upstairs, then down to the basement, and then outside, briefly, possibly with her mother’s keys, taken from her purse. He might have been looking for another vehicle to steal, but, failing that, he came back inside, and, finally, into Kimber’s room.
Her father had called the police on another phone, and told Kimber they were on the way. That was the last thing she heard her father say, as she had to put the phone down to get two hands on her gun.
When he was in the doorway, Kimber stood up pointed the gun at his face and said, “Who are you?” and “Get the &%#@ out of my house!”
He turned and ran out the same door he had come in. Kimber ran after him, holding the gun still aimed at him. They both ran. She was about 15 feet from him, with shaking hands . She could have shot him, but made the conscious decision not to. She pointed the gun down toward the ground and pulled the trigger.
He somehow managed to steal her boyfriend’s ATV and took off on it. The police, when they arrived, congratulated Kimber on what she had done and how she handled the situation. As of this writing, the thief has not been found.
Kimber is not nearly the youngest person to protect themselves or someone in their family with a gun. Massad Ayoob documented an 11-year-old boy who, taught to shoot by his grandfather, used a 1911 to shoot a man who had a carpet cutter held to his grandmother’s throat, killing him and saving her. There are undoubtedly stories of children even younger.
Kimber’s story is exceptional because she knew what to do and did everything right, far better than many adults would have done.
She is a wonderful example of what starting to teach children about guns at age 6 can result in: a competent young woman who did everything right in a situation that could have turned out horribly wrong.