Patricia Maisch: disarming a killer

There was a tragic shooting in Tuscon, Arizona over the weekend. Twenty people were shot, six of them fatally. Since this is Midweek Media, I’m not going to talk about the event in general: you can read about it here (and also my article on how “mentally ill” doesn’t explain the shooter’s actions). ABC has an interview with Patricia Maisch which I’ve transcribed. It’s awkwardly titled “Female Hero Stopped Shooter From Reloading” – I guess they felt “heroine” has never been associated with heroism, but that “hero” invokes a man? Ah, well.

“Well, I get there about 9:30 because I had other things to do with my day. I put my name on the list and I assumed that they were going to take people in order, so I went in the grocery store for a few minutes, and when I came out I thought there was now quite a number of people. So I was at the north end of the line of people waiting to see her [Re. Gabrielle Giffords, who may have been the target], listening to people around me talk about why they were there.

And, um, I heard a shot that I was sure was a gunshot, even though I’m not a gun person. I knew right away it was a gunshot. There was a slight pause after that first shot, and then just a continuation of, um, of shots, a whole series of shots that just kept going. Um, I thought about my options, whether I should run or whether I should lay down, and I decided laying down was a better option. So I did that. I think the lady next to me was laying down – I’m not sure about that.

I could see out of the corner of my eye him coming in our direction. He shot the lady next to me. I was waiting to see if I got shot and wondering how… a gun wound would feel. And just then, there, he was down on the ground, right next to me. The two gentlemen [Col. Bill Badger, and another man who has not been identified in press reports] had knocked him down and had secured him. And, uh, somebody – and I was laying right next to him. And he was partly… I don’t, I don’t remember if he was right on top of my legs.

But I was able to get up. Somebody said “Get the gun” so I jumped up and was now kneeling over him. The gun was in his right hand. He was secured with his right side against the sidewalk. Um… I was not able to reach the gun, but I… he was pulling a magazine out of his pants pocket with his left hand and I was able to grab the magazine. Somebody said – when he pulled that out, they said “Get the magazine” so I got the magazine and was able to secure that.


  1. Casey says

    I thought maybe they used “female hero” instead of “heroine” because people are stupid and think it’s referring to heroin.[/shrug]

    • sbg says

      But people aren’t smart enough to figure out she’s a woman by, I dunno, looking at her?


      It’s a bit, if not exactly, like how in stories people of color almost always have their skin color given when they’re being described; if no color is mentioned, you can assume they’re white. I’ll bet the headline would have never read “Old Hero…”, because, well, she is that as well.

  2. Sarah says

    Perhaps they felt the headline Heroine Stopped Shooter from Reloading would indicate to many that a drug problem had somehow interfered with the shooter’s ability to reload? Not that that should be the automatic response but it could have been a concern.

      • Sarah says

        Sorry, when I posted it looked like there weren’t any other comments. Otherwise I would’ve just agreed with you. :)

        • Susan says

          I often find that comments turn up in my RSS reader when they are not visible on the site. It can be at least a day before they turn up (if it takes longer than that, I guess they’ve been deleted). Perhaps there’s a cache somewhere on its route through the internet that isn’t updated often enough? (I’m in Britain.)

          • says

            Er, that absolutely shouldn’t be happening, and would be a very problematic security issue. We rarely delete comments, though we do moderate several a day, so the only thing I can imagine would fit your description is if somehow unmoderated comments are showing up in the feed. Which, again – not good.

            Are you seeing spam comments? If you were seeing everything before it’s moderated, you’d see spam about bank loans improving people’s lives – at least 1 comment per day.

            If you could email me some details, like the text of the next comment you see but can’t find on the site, that would be helpful. Is it possible that with comment threading, you’re just not able to find the comments on the site? I do find it confusing, and wish there was a way to switch between a threaded view and a view straight up by date. MAybe someday!

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