A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Remaking of Jeanne Assam

It seems the mainstream media has a hard time accepting the idea that a concealed weapons carrier can stop a massacre in progress. I'm not surprised. Even though the pastor of the New Life Church explained the position of his members who carry handguns in church, the media continues to portray Jeanne Assam as a security guard. She wore no uniform. She received no pay. She worshiped there by choice. Her only duty was to God, her fellow parishioners, and to her own conscience. Jeanne AssamShe was a private citizen with a gun, not a hired security guard.

More recently, not being able to acknowledge the fact that a private citizen in the right place with a gun and the readiness necessary to use it effectively put an end to what police and gun free zones could not, the mainstream media has sought to discredit Ms. Assam. By digging up skeletons in her past, they are painting her as a disgraced police officer. A decade ago, Jeanne Assam was terminated by her superiors from the Minneapolis police force for not being truthful during an internal investigation.
Sgt. Jesse Garcia, a Minneapolis police spokesman, said Jeanne Assam worked at the department from March 1993 to November 1997. She was fired for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver while she was handling an incident on a city bus.

"In giving a statement about the incident, she was untruthful and she was fired," Delmonico said. The swearing was caught on tape, he said. "The union arbitrated the case and the arbitrator upheld the termination."
They say nothing, absolutely nothing about Sgt. Jesse Garcia's hand in the publication of Ms. Assam's private personnel file.

It is not uncommon after a shooting for the righteous survivor to be reviled by the ignorant. Friends may ostracize the survivor. Relatives may disassociate with them. People whisper behind their back at church and in check-out lines at the supermarket. Rumors circulate. Reputations become tarnished. Old bones are examined by the ignorant trying to find the difference between the survivor and other people. Here's a tip for those who want to know the difference...........There is none. None. The righteous survivor is just like you, or me. They are a person struggling with day to day life, who managed to survive through their own determination to persevere and live and perhaps save a few others in the process. What the ignorant fail to realize is the righteous survivor of a lethal encounter was an unwilling participant in the act of saving their own life or the lives of others. The righteous survivor did not leave home with the intent to kill. It was forced upon them. The righteous survivor did not prepare to kill. They prepared to live.

After a shooting, a righteous survivor goes through much internal turmoil. At the very least they question what they could have done to avoid the event, and if their preparation in any way brought this new and unwanted identity to their lives. At worst they may contemplate and commit suicide. While the legal entanglements are inevitable, the emotional storms of self doubt and questioning are no less imminent.

The media makes their bread and butter by building people up and then tearing them down. Make an icon, then make an outcast. Many people will say the media leads the masses. No. The masses lead the media in the dance of influencing perceptions. If we do not accept the tripe they hawk as truth and reality, they lose their ability to influence. Truth is not on the newspaper pages. Truth is not on the six o-clock report, and it is not on the internet. Truth will be found within ourselves.

We need to stop looking at righteous survivors, people who have lived by regrettably taking the lives of others, as being somehow different. They are human with the same frailties and foibles as the rest of us. They are no different than the person who has faced and survived cancer, a devastating automobile accident, or any other life threatening encounter. They took action and they lived. The morbid curiosity of dark and unknown places that threaten us, that inner fear of our own immortality within each of us, should not compel us to harm another person while they are at their most vulnerable, assimilating a new, inescapable conception of themselves, and trying to rebuild their life from the confusing aftermath of a righteous shooting.

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Anonymous Drew said...

Well said.

6:24 AM  
Blogger princewally said...

There are rumors floating around the Minneapolis PD and city government, that she was eased out of the PD for being a church-going, straight, white female, in a very liberal city. The swearing was supposedly, just the excuse.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Very well said. As one who has survived a shootout you nailed this right on the head.

Stay Safe
Dr. Joe

8:30 AM  
Blogger Breda said...

Beautiful, Xavier. Just beautiful.

9:31 AM  
Blogger Dutch said...

Thank you for stating the heart of the problem. This brave lady's ordeal might be just starting. In one sudden selfless response to fellow parishioners in imminent danger of "serious bodily harm or death", she has singlehandedly proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that an unofficial and ordinarily armed citizen can make a huge difference in what was THOUGHT to be a "Gun Free Zone". This one incident has the potential of bringing to light the idiocy of the Gun Free Zone Fiasco. The fearful are bound to react in an ignorant manner.

This hits close to home because my wife is the office manager of a large church and we are both CCW instuctors. I believe the pro defense community should support Ms. Assam with encouraging cards, letters and e-mails. She did the right thing! Any ideas how to contact her without that information getting to the fearful?
You may publish my home phone 505-579-9661.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Tam said...

Gunsmith Bob worked with her while he was at CST out in CO. He says she's straight up. I tend to believe him.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Russ said...

Thank you for the comment about her being a civilian without a commission. The talking heads seem very intent on ignoring the fact that an ordinary citizen with a handgun stopped a massacre.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Hobie said...

I bet that PD won't release any other confidential personnel file data.... Sounds more and more to me as if it was an excuse to get rid of Ms. Assam because they just didn't like her. We've seen it all before, the you-resign/quit-or-we'll-find-a-reason-to-fire-you mode of management. What really happened, well, I just don't care. There is a certain US Senator I believe drowned a young lady and nobody holds that against him...

No, I won't forget. Ever.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Less said...

There was an article, very eloquently written, by Black-5 on PTSD.

"What you need to know, first and last, is that so-called PTSD is not an illness. It is a normal condition for people who have been through what you have been through. The instinct to kill and war is native to humanity. It is very deeply rooted in me, as it is in you. We have rules and customs to restrain it, so that sometimes we may have peace. What you are experiencing is not an illness, but the awareness of what human nature is like deep down. It is the awareness of what life is like without the walls that protect civilization."

Read the whole thing.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should test the posting feature on your blog Xavier. I got no notice on the screen telling me my message had been sent. This may be why I sometimes see duplicate posts as people send it a second time.

The preview feature also doesn't seem to send the post. I wonder if you are receiving them all? Two I sent recently did not show up on your site and I doubt you would have found reason to delete them.


5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odd. I just got a notice that my post was saved -- for my 2nd post which said my 1st post did not get a notice. I did them both the same way, hitting the "publish your comment" button and not using the "preview" button. Both times I entered the word verification. I still think the problem is not just me.

Must be gremlins.


5:33 PM  
Anonymous Bladerunner said...

Several pro-gun websites have stated that Ms. Assam was not a security guard, but simply an armed citizen in the right place at the right time. But a church official in a televised interview right after the shooting says she was a volunteer security guard. So which is true?

8:08 PM  
Anonymous IRightI said...

Dear Xavier,

Thank you for writting what I think but don't have the gift of expressing like you.

Thanks for sharing your time with us via the internet.

Much respect & admiration for you.

John in Jax FL

8:45 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

If Ms. Assam were not a private citizen with a CCW and a member of the New Life Church, then she would not have been providing "security" as part of her ministry for the church. As I stated, she wore no uniform, she was not paid, and she was not on the church staff. She held no official position.

She was given permission by the pastor to carry her gun in the church, in the event it was ever needed. Other CCW holders were given the same permission. The same pastor you cite stated that these folks were not mercenaries, but members of the church given this permission.

Even among the church staff and parishoners the need to see an "official" position for one who carries a gun at church may be necessary to prevent alarm among them. If there is not prior documentation of the presence of a "security force," then the "security guard" is merely a private citizen who has permission from the pastor to carry their CCW at church.

Some persist in wanting to see CCW holders with permission to carry in church as a "volunteer security force". I suppose that's fine. The same folks can call private CCW holders in society "volunteer undercover security" wherever they may go. It does not mean the label is appropriate.

Many folks have asked their pastors in other churches for this same permission, and it has been granted or denied. That does not mean those churches have a "volunteer security force." My Episcopalian church is very similar.

If anything, this idea of a "volunteer security force" seems, on retrospect, to be an attempt by the media to paint a large charismatic Christian church as some type of cult.

9:50 PM  
Blogger kbarrett said...

Methinks it is more an attempt to deny that these are just ordinary people doing CCW.

The MSM believes that only the anointed may be armed, doncha know?

Police, military, and trained guards only ... never us mere peasants.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

Well said XB. This ought to be one of your stickies. It's an important point that deserves to stay accessible.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous JV said...

Well Said. I had no idea the mush-heads at her former PD had released personnel info in an attempt to smear her. What lowlifes must run that department.

In my book she's truly an American Hero, not because she wanted to be one but because her everyday sensibility gave her the opportunity to defend herself and her congregation.

It's bizarre that "the media" would so consistently ignore the fact that about 1/2 of the mass shootings in the US in recent decades were stopped when a private citizen, not an on-duty police officer, grabbed a gun and confronted the evildoer(s). It's shameful how "journalists" have fallen from unbiased reporters of facts to consciously biased filters that omit crucial facts that don't fit their preconceived notions of what should have happened.

Keep up the good work.

3:22 PM  
Blogger phlegmfatale said...

Jeanne Assam is a hero - and no mistaking it. As for those who would discredit her or try to minimize her role in stopping a killer: damn their eyes.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

Thanks for this post XB. To read more about this story from a friend of mine who lives in Colo Spgs, read the December 9 entry at http://odegardonline.blogspot.com/

6:29 PM  

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