SURVIVOR MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Review by K. L. Jamison
From Lubys to the Legislature, One Womans Fight Against Gun Control Suzanna Gratia-Hupp Privateer Publications San Antonio Tx www.Privateerpublications.com ISBN 978-0-09656784-4-5 $22.95 186 pages 24 photos hardcover available from Privateer Publications and www.suzannahupp.com.
The author survived a massacre and went on to do something about it. This book continues her fight against future massacres. Her book is essential reading for the gun community on several levels. The author was with her parents in Lubys Cafeteria that day in October, 1991 when a misogynist maniac rammed his pickup through the wall and began killing.
The author recounts her realization that she had a clear shot at the killer and her second realization that she had left her gun in the car. Concealed carry was illegal in Texas at that time and she was afraid of being caught and losing her professional license. Instead of an easy shot to end the massacre, her father charged the killer and was shot down. His futile charge may have provided sufficient distraction for another diner to break out a window and open an escape route. The mass of patrons fled through the opening; however, the authors mother chose to stay with her husband of forty-seven years, and died with him.
A nearby hotel was hosting a police seminar, but had required the police attendees to leave their guns in the cars for fear of frightening guests. This timidity cost time and lives. The first officer on the scene fired a single ineffective shot into the ceiling, and the killer retreated into an alcove and ultimately committed suicide.
The author recounts the trauma of the aftermath and the diffculty of recovering her purse from the restaurant and even her car from the crime scene. These pages humanize reports of the crime.
Many persons have suffered tragedy, the difference here is that the author has done something about it. In the days following the massacre she was frequently interviewed. She disappointed her interviewers by not directing her rage at the killer, which she regarded as like being angry at a rabid dog. She was expected to hate his gun, but it was the lack of a gun which allowed the massacre to continue. At each interview she recounted having a clear line of sight to the killer as little as six feet away, with the means of self-defense impossibly further. She was sneeringly told that she could not possibly have acted effectively and would have only made things worse. This is when her rage showed. With that same gun she had shot the head off of a rattlesnake at a range of twenty feet. Her interrogators thought their superstitions about helpless females were more valid than her experience.
The author began to testify in favor of concealed carry laws throughout the nation. She spoke to a committee of the Missouri legislature in the early days of our effort to pass concealed carry. She asked a legislator that if a madman were about to kill him, would he not prefer that she shot him first. Not necessarily, the legislator replied, proving that Darwin was wrong; the unfit survive and become Missouri legislators.
The author recounts becoming a Texas legislator herself and serving twelve years before she decided to retire. Therein lies the importance of this work. While many have provided accounts of tragedies and many have provided accounts of testimony before committees, the author has done both and more. She has sat on committees and testified before them. She has worked on legislation from the inside, and her account of how to advocate is invaluable.
She teaches us to speak to the media, how to pick a spokesperson, how to set the terms of the argument and the words to use. She teaches how to organize testimony before legislative committees. She explains that the same argument over and over does not convince; it bores. Each advocate must come at the issue from a different angle. This has proved a better use of time and a better presentation of information.
This work must be studied by activists to ensure that the next person is not helpless in the face of a massacre.
(First published in Concealed Carry Magazine usconcealedcarry.com)