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In the United States...

• 85% of Burglars Enter Through a Door

• Most Burglaries Occur During Daylight Hours

• In Only 13% of All Robberies is the Thief Caught and Convicted

• Average Police Response Time to a 911 Emergency Call is Over 10 Minutes

• A Property Crime Occurs Every 3 Seconds

• A Robbery Occurs Every 1 Minute

• A Violent Crime Occurs Every 22 Seconds

• A Burglary Occurs Every 15 Seconds

• A Theft Occurs Every 5 Seconds

• An Auto Theft Occurs Every 29 Seconds

• An Assault Occurs Every 37 Seconds

• A Rape Occurs Every 6 Minutes

• A Murder Occurs Every 31 Minutes

• 6,088 Home Burglaries Per Day in the USA

• 70.3% of Burglaries Involve Residential Properties

• 67.6% of Burglaries Involved Forcible Entry or Attempts

• 38% of All Assaults Occur During a Home Invasion

• 60% of All Rapes Occur During a Home Invasion

• $4.6 Billion Worth of Property is Stolen Annually

• Average Dollar Value Stolen Per Burglary: $2,079.00

Anti-Gun Mom Turns Survivor

By Lyn Bates, Contributing Editor

Continued From This Page

The Aftermath

Susan survived but still suffers from effects of her wounds, and now carries a gun everywhere, even when she goes out into her own yard. Mike survived, and outfitted their home with heavy burglar bars and other safety measures.

The hardest part, other than the surgery, was the coming home. Susan's house had 47 bullet holes, blood everywhere, and terrible memories. Could she continue to live there? When she first returned home from the hospital, Walls was still on the run, and she and Mike feared he might come back.

For more than a year, she couldn't sleep normally (a very common symptom of post violent event trauma). Then there were the death threats that started coming as the judicial process made its way to a conclusion. She lives with the daily, and nightly, fear that some of that gang's buddies will come back.

They may already have done so. Despite the formidable burglar bars, someone broke in last March, when they were not at home, and took electronic equipment, tools, and guns. Susan is convinced that it was related to the home invasion. "They could rob any other house quicker than they could ax through burglar bars," she reasons, "It was a revenge thing." To this day, she continues to receive threats, unusual anonymous telephone calls, and other kinds of harassment.

Susan has found a new role for herself as a pro-gun convert. She speaks out at any and all opportunities about the importance of firearms for protection, and the Second Amendment rights that must be respected in order for families like hers to be protected. She has joined advocacy groups such as the Second Amendment Sisters and Women Against Gun Control. She has appeared on "Good Morning America" at the time of the Million Mom March, when stories from "the other side" were important to hear, and heard others call her a murderer. She taped a show with John Stossel for ABC that may be aired about the time this magazine sees print.

"How I feel about it now depends on when you ask," she admits. " I have very good days, and very bad days. Some days I hate them, some days I don't." There are still a lot of unknowns. "I want to know why they targeted our house, and I still don't know. Some days I cry, and I don't know why. There's not a day goes by that I don't think of them, in one way or another."

And now, she carries a gun. "I want it well known that I always carry a gun. That will help protect me." And now she practices frequently with her guns.

One day Susan got a phone call from a man she didn't know, who lived in a nearby county. He had read of her story, and recognized the methods the home invaders employed. Long before that gang hit Susan's house, they hit his, when his wife and young daughter were at home alone. They had beaten his wife badly. "I just wanted to say thank you," he told Susan.

The Lessons

First: Have a gun. A .22 loaded and ready to go beats a .45 locked in the safe or inaccessibly constrained in a trigger lock.

Second: Have a plan, and be willing to change it. Violent encounters are not choreographed. If what you are doing doesn't work, or stops working, try something else. Just think of how many plans Susan went through:

- Run to the bedroom for safety.
- Call 911.
- Go to the living room with the gun and shoot warning shots above their heads to scare them off.
- Entice Waters to follow her to the bedroom where she could shoot him without endangering her husband.
- Sneak behind Waters who was waiting for her to show up in front of him, and shoot him.
- Get back into the bedroom to hide.
- Give Walls the truck keys to get him out of there.
- Call 911, again.

I count 8 plans. That's flexibility! And if Susan had given up or "gotten stuck" in any one of those activities, instead of nimbly moving on to the next, she and Mike likely would not have survived that night. When something doesn't work, don't give up-find something else to do!

Third: Your relationships are stronger than theirs. The bonds among criminals are loose, and fall apart quickly, as evidenced by the fact that Walls abandoned (and ran over!) his so-called buddy, and the getaway driver abandoned them both. Susan never forgot that she was fighting for her husband as well as herself. Susan and Mike gave one another mutual protection as well as a reason to survive. They were a team. Waters, Walls, and Wright, on the other hand, were a gang. They merely gave one another trouble.

When you are faced with multiple assailants, messing up their plan can make them scatter like rabbits instead of helping one another.

Fourth: You DO have it in you to defend yourself. Before this incident, Susan would have described herself as "a chicken" or "a real scaredy cat." If you had asked her in advance what she would do in the face of such an awful situation, she would have said, "I'd probably pass out." But during the incident, "the will to live, a survival instinct, just set in on me."

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