Don't Mess With Mama

How far would you go to protect your children?


By now, I'm sure that most people have heard the story of Sarah McKinley, of Blanchard, Oklahoma. She's a teen mom who called 9-1-1 for permission to shoot intruders trying to force their way through her front door. She eventually killed one with a 12-gauge shotgun as he broke into her home.

Although this may seem like yesterday's news since reports surfaced last week, her story remained with me long after I read the headline and heard the audio of the now famous call placed to the emergency dispatcher. I can't help but wonder how I would respond in a similar situation. To me, her bravery and presence of mind was nothing short of heroic.

Just imagine, you're a teen mom to a three-month-old boy and your husband recently died of cancer, leaving you as a widow and a single mom. Grieving and alone on New Year's Eve, you hear a noise outside and peak out of the window to see two men trying to enter your home. You can see that one of them has something shiny is his hand, is it a pistol?

What do you do? McKinley grabbed two guns, gave the baby a bottle to keep him quiet, blocked the front door with a couch, hid in a bedroom, and called 9-1-1. According to a report from CNN, she had a very intense conversation with the female dispatcher.

"I've got two guns in my hand. Is it OK to shoot him if he comes in this door?" asked McKinley.

"Well, you have to do whatever you can do to protect yourself," dispatcher Diane Graham responded. "I can't tell you that you can do that, but you do what you have to do to protect your baby."

As Justin Shane Martin pushed open the door and entered her home, she pulled the trigger of the shotgun and killed him on site. Authorities said that Martin was armed with a knife. The second intruder ran away but was later arrested. McKinley will not be charged because it was considered an act of self-defense.

So, back to the question, how far would I go to protect my children? My husband is an avid hunter and we have an arsenal of guns, lined up like soldiers in a gun safe. Would I have the guts to shoot an intruder? What if we didn't have guns? Would I have the same precence of mind as McKinley did, to run to the kitchen and grab a knife or even a cast iron pan? Would I panic and freeze in fear?

I think that I would do just about anything to protect my children. Since becoming a mother, I've discovered that I have a fierce side that is unleashed when it comes to keeping my children out of danger. I took a self defense class in high school and I'd like to believe that in an emergency, I could do some serious damage to the bad guys. I might even be willing to pull the trigger.

I think that McKinley said it best when she told a CNN Oklahoma reporter, “It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.”

How far would you go to keep your child out of danger? Do you have protection in your home? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Leigh Hewett January 12, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Well said!
Maggie January 12, 2012 at 03:35 PM
My opinion on everything is always this - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And so - if I ever become so mentally, emotionally and/or spiritually sick that I would deliberately harm or even kill somebody - please, please somebody stop me by any and all means necessary. Healthy people do not commit such crimes.
Karsten Torch January 12, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I love this story. If she had fired a warning shot to scare him off, he would have just come back, so congratulations to the young lady, she did a fine job. I actually like hearing these kinds of stories - when the scumbags get it, it just warms my heart. That being said, guns are not a toy. I make sure everybody in my house, including my daughter, know about them, where they are, and know how to handle them. I also put them away when people come over to the house. The easiest way to do this is to get a safe, preferably a biometric safe that you can put within easy reach of you should you need to get at the weapon. You don't lock up your fire extinguisher so it would take you 2 minutes to get at it should a fire break out, guns are a tool for emergencies as well - they do no good if it takes you too long to get it ready to use. The number is huge in regards to gun accidents in homes that have guns vs those that don't - the answer to that is pretty obvious. However, as has been proven in Kennesaw, having guns is a deterrent to crime. While it's hard for a family member to get shot with your gun if you don't have one, it's very hard to defend yourself from an armed intruder or thug if you are unarmed. Remember - when seconds count, police are only minutes away!
GardenMagik ~ Melissa Allman January 12, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Everybody here has made some excellent points.. Great article Leigh!
Caroline U January 18, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Wow, Leigh! I had not heard this story. It's amazing! I have no idea what I would do in that kind of a situation. But I do know that I would do ANYTHING to protect my children. Who wouldn't? I agree with all the commenters who have said there is nothing more dangerous that a mother with children trying to protect them! Great discussion! Great article!


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