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'