Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A grandmother's gun

Too often I am saddened by stories of women who fall victim to predators and I am left thinking, "If only..." If only they hadn't walked home alone, if only they hadn't trusted the wrong man...if only they'd had a gun so they could have fought back and won. Grim statistics and grisly forensics are often all that's left of what was once a bright future or a beautiful smile.

Of course, some stories have happy endings. Meet Annebelle.

(Annebelle in the 1920s)

Once a vivacious young vaudeville performer, by 1972 Annebelle was a widowed grandmother suffering from arthritis. The Detroit neighborhood she lived in was sadly becoming plagued by burglars, muggers, and other criminals. Break-ins were attempted weekly. Despite all this, Annebelle was determined to stay in the home that she had lived in for 30 years.

"I guess all the old people ought to arm themselves with a cannon..."

Annebelle knew that as an elderly woman she was vulnerable and that predators might see her as easy prey. It upset her to be afraid. Deciding that her life and her home were worth defending, she bought herself a Smith & Wesson revolver.


On the night of Friday, May 5, 1972, Annebelle looked out her window and saw a prowler in her back yard. He didn't run away when she turned on the outside light. Annebelle called the police and went for her gun.



By the time she got back, the man had broken through the glass and was reaching inside to unlock the door.


Fearing for her life, Annebelle aimed her pistol, steadying it in her arthritic hands, closed her eyes and pulled the trigger. The intruder was killed instantly by a single shot to the head.



Annebelle, refusing to be a victim, lived to see another day.








"Don't call me brave. I'm realistic, that's all. The trick is not to think you're living in a dream world. A person can't escape reality. You simply have to face it."

-Annebelle Samuelson









My thanks to Ron, a reader from New York, for allowing me to tell his grandmother's story and for sharing these wonderful photos. (all can be viewed full-size by clicking)

It has been an honor.

13 comments:

tyskkvinna said...

That story says everything I could possibly say about why I am getting my CPL.

That's a really powerful little story. Thanks for sharing.

kaveman said...

I had inherited my Grandmother's shotgun about 10 years ago. The firing pin was broken and I never bothered fixing it until about 2 weeks ago.

Now it's my bed room gun.

Earl said...

Enough gun for the need, and it wasn't in decorator colors nor engraved and inlaid... just armed, aimed and trigger squeezed just right... and another one bites the dust. Does the City clean the mess up, they should have given her a medal.

Mike W. said...

Great story. It really highlights the egalitarian nature of firearms. An old woman was able to defend herself, despite having no training, and having never fired a gun before.

There's simply no defensive weapon more empowering regardless of age, gender, or physical capabilities than a gun. I'm glad this old lady had one and was willing to use it.

BobG said...

That's the sort of women who made this country great; ones who didn't back down or give up, but did what they had to do.

phlegmfatale said...

annabelle totally rocked! Bless her!

Xavier said...

God bless you Annebelle.

Thank you Breda.

Anonymous said...

That evil old woman! Why did she have to kill that poor, misunderstood young person, over THINGS?

Keith Walker said...

That evil, stupid man! Why did he terrorize a poor, widowed grandmother and jeopardize his life over THINGS?

ilovenh1 said...

Hey "Anonymous" why do you assume that ALL he wanted was her "THINGS". Maybe the "thing" he wanted was to beat, rape and murder her? If you have any intrest in being honest go and talk to self-defense trainers with knowlege of the law and they will explain to you that if you wait to find out what some home invaders intentions are, it's too late!

Joe said...

Peter Christopher was a hero. No doubt about it.

Anonymous said...

I sense a little sarcasm here, but on a more serious note...

If someone tries to take my THINGS they may also find themselves shot. What should we do...let them have it and go steal replacements from someone else? It's not only about that anyway. It's about invading someone's home, business, or personal space. Either way, it is an attack, and justifies defense.

Anonymous said...

I sense a little sarcasm here, but on a more serious note...

If someone tries to take my THINGS they may also find themselves shot. What should we do...let them have it and go steal replacements from someone else? It's not only about that anyway. It's about invading someone's home, business, or personal space. Either way, it is an attack, and justifies defense.