If there was ever a plaintiff who could make the case for needing to defend oneself with a firearm, it is Mary Shepard. Back in 2009 when she was 69 years old, she and 76 year old Leona Mount were the victims of a vicious beating attack. They were attacked by Willis Bates as he was burglarizing the Anna (IL) First Baptist Church where both ladies worked. The Associate Baptist Press gives this description of their injuries:
Arrest warrants claim that Bates repeatedly kicked the heads and bodies of Shepherd, the church treasurer, and Mount, a maintenance worker, before getting away with less than $600.
Both women were taken by ambulance to Union County Hospital in Anna and airlifted to St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Shepard remained there, while Mount was transferred to St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis. Both women are expected to recover, a fact that church members are calling a miracle.
Shepard's injuries included a skull fracture, concussion and a possible broken bone in her right cheek. She was moved from the trauma unit to the ICU for observation and later transferred to a regular room. She has since been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home.
Surgery was scheduled Oct. 8 for Mount to begin to repair a broken nose, numerous facial fractures, jaw fractures and a fractured palate. Medical staff at St. Louis University told family members the injuries were like nothing they had ever seen. Despite that, she reportedly suffered no damage to her brain or eyes.
The video above is a report from WSIL Channel 3 back in October 2009 announcing Bates' arrest. Bates was given a 23 year sentence for two counts of attempted murder. He had previously served 7 years in Illinois prisons for residential burglary. Here is his Illinois Department of Corrections rap sheet including a current picture.
Even before this horrific beating, Mary Shepard, now aged 71, had obtained concealed carry permits from the states of Pennsylvania and Florida. According to IllinoisCarry, Ms. Shepard had taken five firearms training courses including Personal Protection Outside the Home. However, because Illinois law forbids concealed or open carry, she was unarmed when attacked by 6'4", 240 lb. psychopath Willis Bates. Ms. Shepard discusses the attack, her injuries, the aftermath, and her firearms training which if she was allowed to carry for self-defense could have prevented these horrible injuries in an video made for IllinoisCarry.
The Cook County politicians who kept Mary Shepard defenseless in the face of the attack by Willis Bates should be forced to watch this video. Of course that is a futile hope but perhaps one day - whether by court order or by legislation - the good people of Illinois will be allowed to protect themselves in public with a firearm.