It’s worth mentioning that many of our DGU reports occur in small towns, far away from the mega-cities where anti-gun influence so often restricts our natural right to armed self defense. Gypsum, Kansas and Dothan, West Virginia are names that don’t often come up in everyday conversation (unless y’all got kinfolk there). Sure, incidents from big southern cities like Houston adorn this column most weeks, and Detroit’s citizens sure can hold their own, but the backbone of this country is found in our rural landscape; sometimes on the outskirts, but often far away from what Catrinel Menghia might call cosmopolitan. Take the aforementioned Kansas farm town, Gypsum…
After a shootout with Kansas State Troopers, 30-year-old Jason Gleason was on the loose near Gypsum. This is a guy who would kill a cop; the safety of the small farming town’s residents was a genuine concern. Word got out immediately, neighbors and family members reaching out just like they’ve done since Ernestine ran the switchboard for Ma Bell. This is the essence of a side of America that you just don’t see in the mainstream media.
If the bank robbery had happened in Los Angeles or Miami, we’d have video from three angles, live helicopter feeds and extended expert analysis from perfectly-coiffed automatons. Instead, the mullet wrap with the largest circulation that gave space to the Saline County robbery was the nearby Wichita’s Daily Eagle.
The Salina Journal featured interviews with Gypsum’s residents who found themselves in the crossfire. Gleason was lucky he was apprehended by authorities as quickly as he was with guys like Chris Fritz nearby. Fritz, a local sales rep for Topco cattle supplements, spotted the fugitive:
“I was locked and loaded for bear,” Chris Fritz said. “He was not going to get close to my place. He was not going to come up to the door. I was on full alert. He wasn’t gonna get any opportunity to harm my family. I would have killed him on the spot. He’d already had a shoot-out with police. I wasn’t gonna give him another chance.”
Fritz was honest about his intent and opportunity. His choice of weapon was a hunting shotgun from the truck. When he spotted Gleason, who was about 60 yards away, Fritz opted not to take the shot: “At that range with a shotgun loaded with bird shot, I would have done nothing but piss him off,” Fritz said.
Then there’s Conroe, Texas, an interesting little town bordering the Sam Houston National Forest, about fifty miles north of Houston proper. They have an awesome Oktoberfest and Lake Conroe’s just next door, with restaurants, recreation, and sailboat races. But if you come to Conroe, don’t plan on taking advantage of the locals. Just ask the unnamed robbers who attempted to clean out a jewelry store, owned by a 77-year-old woman.
What they got was one fiesty old lady and a son who’d give his life to protect his mom. Fortunately, Mitch Wilkins didn’t have to; he fought with a robber, a shot was fired and – as always – the bogies turned six and hit the afterburners. Mom grabbed one of the robber’s guns and tossed it to Mitch, who fired at the trio as they made their getaway. And two of the three stick-up men were grabbed by folks running out of nearby businesses.
Continuing our trend of septuagenarian gun owners, a 70-year-old woman in Dothan, West Virgina shot at a burglar after he punched her in the face during a home invasion. Dothan is located nowhere near anything; not even an interstate. It’s best described as, “closer to Beckley than Charleston.”
But the folks who live there aren’t desolate. The rural lifestyle is embraced, a slower pace than most would choose. Again, this peek at small-town mountain life helps define a view of America which seems beyond the grasp of the city-bred. Why would they want to take away an old woman’s right to defend herself? The nearest sheriff is twenty minutes away, and a “city cop” doesn’t exist in that neck of the woods.