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61


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 61, December 15, 1999
Happy Bill of Rights Day!

But No Honest Citizen Needs a Gun ... Right?

by Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

Special to TLE

           One of the staple mantras of the gun grabbers -- we're not supposed to think about it (since statistics show it's 99 percent wrong), just chant it until is lulls us into a feeling of sweet repose -- is that "If you own a firearm you're just as likely to have it taken away and used against you."
           Right?
           I guess that's why I took so quickly to a new book which Floyd Coons at Master Shooters Supply handed me the other day. "The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves With a Firearm," is by Robert A. Waters, a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor from Ocala Florida ($14.95 from Cumberland House, 431 Harding Industrial Drive, Nashville 37211.)
           I defy anyone to dismiss these 14 harrowing, true-life accounts, often told in the words of the very crime victims who survived their ordeals due to one common factor: The fact that in America, we have a right to bear arms.
           Take the case of 49-year-old divorcee Sammie Foust of Cape Coral, Fla. "I used to love to open the windows and doors and feel the gulf breezes flowing through my house," Ms. Foust told interviewer Waters. "I got pleasure from watching sailboats pass by in the canal behind my home. Now I sit in a closed-up room. I'm even afraid to answer the door."
           Foust had fallen asleep cleaning house on the evening of May 9, 1996. The bed where she lay was piled with bags of old clothing she'd decided to give away, along with old purses and boxes of odds and ends.
           In her housecleaning, she'd also come across a tiny .25 caliber semiautomatic handgun a friend had long ago insisted she take for self-defense, though Sammie's father had warned her it was too small, advising: "Get a bigger gun. Wounded dogs will bite you. Dead dogs don't bite."
           The magazine of the .25 held four rounds. She'd checked it the night before, snapped the little slide to chamber the top round, and then fallen asleep with the little gun next to her pile of pillows.
           When she heard the blinds rattle in the living room at dawn, she assumed it was her cat returning. But it wasn't. It was three-time prison inmate James Wayne Horne, who had been released for the third time only a few weeks before, after serving slightly more than one year of a 10-year sentence for aggravated assault.
           The robber-assailant rushed into the bedroom and slashed Foust's face with a box-cutter knife.
           She offered him her purse, which he dumped on the bed, finding $400 in bills. He then demanded Foust tell him the location of her jewelry box, which she did. But the man was upset with the cheap quality of the costume jewelry, returning to demand "her diamonds" and to continue viciously slashing and beating her about the face.
           "You know I'm going to kill you," he hissed. "So you might as well give it up. Die easy or die hard, bitch."
           Foust directed the man to a second credenza. She knew it contained only more costume jewelry, but she needed space and time. Time to pick up the little .25, which she was amazed her assailant had not spotted ... and to figure out what to do with it.
           You see, Sammie Foust had never fired a gun in her life.
           She aimed for the man's center of mass and pulled the trigger. It sounded like a little cap pistol. There was no recoil, no blood. The man did not fly backwards or keel over dead. She figured the gun had misfired.
           But she'd certainly managed to upset James Wayne Horne, who flew back across the room, punching her square in the face. "She literally heard her nose implode back into her skull," Waters reports.
           "Dear God, she prayed, don't let me pass out. Dear God, please let me hold onto this gun."
           The assailant pulled her to her feet, grabbed her wrist, and tried to wrench the gun away her with one hand while pummeling her with jackhammer blows to the face with his other fist. Police later told her James Wayne Horne had knocked out four of her teeth, which she'd swallowed. The bones in her gums were crushed, and her left cheekbone was fractured. Her nose was broken and her larynx fractured. Horne pounded and slashed at her face with his knife until one eyeball was hanging out of its socket.
           But he did not get the gun.
           Assuming her first two shots had missed, Foust resolved to save her two remaining cartridges until she had a clear shot. Finally, as the man drew back his arm for a knockout punch, she pointed the .25 at his stomach and fired again.
           "Bitch!" he whispered, as he dragged her into the living room and continued beating her. ""Now I'm gonna take that gun and blow your brains out!"
           Instead, Foust shot Horne a fourth time, in the abdomen.
           With the man atop her, pounding and pounding, Sammie Foust believed she could not survive. But finally, James Wayne Horne lay still.
           When police arrived, they found tables knocked over, chairs broken, dishes shattered, the walls and floors smeared with blood.
           They found James Wayne Horne where she had left him. The medical examiner concluded the first shot had entered his mouth, the second his heart, the third and fourth bullets his abdomen and groin. He had taken nearly an hour to bleed to death.
           Sammie Foust noticed the police and ambulance personnel wincing whenever they looked at her, cursing her attacker under their breath. When she finally found a mirror, she realized why. Her eye was surgically reattached that day, and permanent loss of sight was minimal. She has since run out of funds to pay for the proper repair of her gums and teeth. To this day, she eats only soft food.
           As an afterthought, as they hauled James Wayne Horne's body away, Sammie Foust pulled her hand from her pocket and asked a police interviewer: "Would you like to have this?"
           Foust recalled for author Waters: "A policeman came back and knelt down on the driveway. He tried to pry my fingers from the gun. And he started crying and said 'I'm gonna break your fingers. I can't get them loose.' But I couldn't let go of the handle. My knuckles were swollen up, I was holding it so tight. The grip I had on that gun was what kept my attacker from getting it from me. Even as big a man as he was, he couldn't take it away."
           And here I thought people like Sammie Foust would be better off if we banned all handguns. Because if she had a handgun, you see, it would just as likely be taken away and used against her.
           Right?


Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His new book, Send in the Waco Killers, is available at 1-800-244-2224.


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