A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Danger of Compliance

On Friday, August 22, twenty-three year old Heather Brammer was working the counter at City Laundry and Cleaners in Manning, South Carolina. Tuxedo rentals had just been adopted as a sideline for the business. Around 10:30AM, a man talking on a cell phone entered the establishment requesting a tuxedo for a wedding, and the young woman helped him pick one out. He was to return at 1:00PM to be measured for his tux.

Around 11:00, Heather was surprised to have the man return early. He said he had changed his mind about the tux. Then he drew a handgun, fired a round into the ceiling and began barking orders at the frightened young woman. "If you set anything off, I’ll kill you. Don’t do anything that’s going to surprise me," he snarled. He demanded that she open the safe and cash register and that she hand over all the money.

Heather did as she was told, both by her assailant, and previously by her employer. She had been instructed by her employer that if she was ever robbed to comply and do as she was told and no harm would come to her. She gave the money to the criminal.

Once the man had the loot, he ordered Heather into the rear of the building and instructed her to lay face down. She did as she was told, expecting no harm to come to her because she complied. Then, the criminal shot Heather Brammer in the back of the head. He left her for dead.

"911 What's your emergency?"
"I've been shot. I just got robbed."
"You've been shot and robbed?"

Heather Brammer had indeed been shot in the back of the head. The gunman's bullet had struck the occipital prominence of her skull and lodged in the bone. She had been unconscious for about twenty minutes. Her arms and legs were numb, and her vision was blurred, but by divine providence, she was alive.

Heather stayed on the telephone with the 911 dispatcher and was transported to a hospital where neurosurgeons cared for her. Although the brain is still bruised from the bullet's impact, she is expected to make a full recovery. Her attacker is still at large.

For those who reject the notion of depending on the graciousness of criminals or divine intervention to preserve their lives in a lethal encounter, there is another path, another way. Begin to take your life into your own hands. Decide that you will not count on compliance to convince a criminal not to kill you. Frankly, the criminal does not care if you are compliant or not. He is following through with a plan that he has already scripted. From robberies and muggings to crimes such as the Wichita Massacre, a criminal's victims are only humanless characters in a violent melodrama of egocentrism playing in his head.

As Heather Brammer was asked by Meredith Vieira, "You could do what he says or you could run........ What was going through your mind?" I wanted to pound my screen. Are those the only choices you can think of Meredith? How about taking cover, drawing your own gun? How about being proactive and saving your life with lethal force if need be? Yes, there is another way to self preservation. Buy a gun and make up your mind to use it to save your life. Train to use it to save your life. Use it to save your life. Dependence on a criminal's generosity is a path fraught with risk. Heather Brammer is was a very lucky young woman. I hope she is planning on going armed from here forward.

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Blogger Anthony said...

I have a question for you, completely unrelated to the post. I am in nursing currently and I will eventually be working in a hospital. I think both of my local hospitals are "gun-free" zones. From your posts I know that you are also a nurse and a gun guy. How did you solve the problem of being armed and also being in a hospital? I know that you may not be able to tell me in an open forum so you can drop me a line at acosenza2@gmail.com also thanks for the post about that physicians concealed carry bag. I will be grabbing one of those.

Thanks in advance.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Xavier, if people were to take responsibility for their own safety, politicians and the media would not have such heart wrenching victimization, type of stories to endlessly report/comment on. (sarcasm very intended)

4:03 PM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

To people such as Viera, those are the only options. In her mind, the would be murderer is as much a victim as Ms. Brammer.

To the liberal mind, violence is never the answer, even when it's the ONLY answer. Passivity, compliance, and relying on the beneficence of violent criminals are the only paths of which they can conceive.

Those who would defend themselves, especially those that would use firearms to do so, are a bigger problem than the criminals.

Women, more than men, should want to carry handguns for self protection. The sad fact is that they have been conditioned into passivity, indoctrinated to be victims, and intimidated into rejecting self defense.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Hamster said...

I don't mean to be morbid, but what caliber was used?

5:23 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I'm sorry Anthony, but I will not answer that, even through email, as I do not know to whom the email will travel. I can only state that people who want to defend themselves effectively must think for themselves.

All the best,

5:29 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

I was wondering the same hamster..... I do not know, but from the Xray in the video it appears to be a caliber larger than a 22. I also noted some interior fragmentation of bone.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I’ve been an ER nurse for three years and feel comfortable answering autonomously. My two main thoughts for you are: smart carry holsters work great with scrubs (thanks for the tip on that Xavier), secondly don’t tell any one. If the day arises that my weapon is needed I figure I’ll tell hospital administration that I saved my life (hopefully) and the lives of my patients and co-workers and if they want to fire me for that then so be it. I might also mention that in medicine we try to do things that are evidence based and the evidence shows me that a gun in well trained hands saves lives. I’d challenge them to show me evidence that a nurse carrying a gun is detrimental. In turn I’d be able to show them news clips of nurses being kill either at work or going to/from work, and I’ve got two anecdotal examples of health care workers who carry saving their skin, along with the standard studies that point to the safety of an armed populace.

Say they won’t fire me if I promise not to carry anymore. I’ll promise anything they want and keep on doing what I’ve always done. Which brings me back to the second point, don’t tell anyone. You never know who will leak. My wife knows and my LEO brother in another state knows that’s it, and that might prove to be too many who knows. One thing I do know, at the end of the day I’m going home to my wife and three kids. I don’t care were I have to work. Hope this helps.

I’ve got a question for you Xavier. Where do you carry when you ride your bike? I commute to school and sometimes work and the best I can come up with is in my backpack or IWB which seems to stick out lick a sore thumb.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...


Completely understandable, and my apologies if I have over stepped some bounds. I meant no offense.


11:29 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I decided a long time ago, that if something similar happened, and the thug decided to tie me up/put me down on the floor, I am going to go at him like a bagful of pissed-off wolverines. An action like that is likely being done for one reason...to leave no witnesses.

I am glad she will recover.

11:49 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

No prob Anthony, no offense taken. I'm sure you understand the conumdrum of discussing the issue.

On the bike at this time I am experimenting with a belly band. I have not found an ideal soultion. The riding position on the bike is paramount. An upright position makes carry easier. I'm trying to stay away from fanny packs. I may go with a modified SmartCarry with a retention strap and gym shorts before I finish.

5:40 AM  

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