Amid debate on guns, Soldotna shooting victim says she copes with trauma by carrying one

Margaret Stroup, the Soldotna hospital administrator who survived the 2008 shooting rampage by an angry ex-employee at Central Peninsula General Hospital, is on the cover of this week's Christian Science Monitor magazine wearing a holstered handgun. The story: "Why We Bear Arms," a post-Newtown look at the place of guns in American life. Stroup tells the Monitor in a sidebar that becoming a gun owner is helping her cope with the fear of random violence she still feels in the wake of her shooting.

After four years of healing – from the wounds themselves, post-traumatic stress, and a legal battle for compensation – Stroup still has trouble venturing out alone; much frightens her, from noises to crowds. "I'm afraid of someone taking out a gun," she says.

But she describes ways she's dismantling the fear, and one step Stroup has taken may seem counterintuitive: She bought a gun.

Even though the sight of a gun after the shooting made her shake, she now hopes that very thing will bring a peace of mind that will allow her to go out to a matinee with her grandchildren or to the grocery store.

"If I had had a gun, I would not have gotten shot. I don't think I would have frozen. I think the training to use that gun would have overrode the fear," Stroup says.

Read more at the Christian Science Monitor: Gun owners talk: Self protection is more complex than 'stand and fight'