Susan Gaylord Buxton

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

Every now and then, the action of a specific individual personifies a universal truth in such a dramatic fashion that that individual becomes a living personification, a living symbol, of that universal truth.
 This is especially true of the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms.
 “One such individual who by her recent action exemplifies the significance of our traditional freedom is Susan Gaylord Buxton, a courageous 66-year old grandmother from Arlington, Texas,” John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said last week.   “That is why I am nominating her as CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month.  She certainly is most deserving of this Award.”
 Several months ago, Buxton found evidence on her porch that someone might have broken into her house when she let her dogs out for a walk early one Wednesday morning.  Her granddaughter also said she heard noises from inside the house.
 Susan retrieved her .38 caliber revolver and searched her house as her granddaughter dialed police at 911.  She found a man hiding in a closet, covered by a coat.
 She pulled the coat away.  She told him to get on the floor or she would shoot.
 The man, allegedly 22-year-old Christopher Lessner, lunged for the gun and, police said, Buxton shot him once in the leg. 
 Buxton heard him cry, “Ow, you shot me!” she said.
 Buxton is heard on the 911 recording saying, “Get the police out here or this is it for him.”
 She said to Lessner, by that time in her front yard, “How dare you come into my house, you lousy son of a bitch.  Shut up.”  She fired a second shot but then is heard on the tape saying, “He got away, damn it.”
 Buxton “had let her dogs out to go to the bathroom and noticed there were muddy footprints leading into her house,” Doug Depoma of the Arlington Police Department told a local television station.  He said that Buxton “searched her house and located him inside near the front door.”
 Susan, who has a license for the handgun, said she feared for her safety and that of her 28-year-old granddaughter.
 “He was six feet tall,” she said.  “He could have done something horrible to my granddaughter and me.  That’s exactly the reason you need to learn how to handle a firearm and keep it with you.”
 After the incident, the suspect fled.  Police later arrested him and brought him to an area hospital and indicated he will be charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, evading arrest, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. 
 Buxton has a permit to carry a handgun.  Police said she is not to be charged with a crime because she was defending herself.
 “If I didn’t have a gun to protect myself, I probably wouldn’t be here,” she said.
 She said she obtained her permit after someone tried to kidnap another granddaughter 12 years ago.
 “The instructors teach you to aim for the torso,” she said, “but I aimed for his leg,” adding that she did not want to kill the intruder.
 Susan is an artist who worked as a cartoonist for a local newspaper, the Arlington Citizen-Journal and as a courtroom illustrator.  She said she keeps the .38 loaded with hollow-point ammunition.
 She said she’s a good shot and could have killed Lessner because her instructor taught her so well.  She said the second shot was a warning as he hobbled off.
 The incident brought national publicity to Susan Gaylord Buxton.  She was dubbed the “pistol packing granny.”
 One writer, Jacquielynn Floyd of the Dallas Morning News, indicated that Buxton makes “a pretty good case in favor of responsible gun ownership” and “might even give the most ardent gun control activist a moment’s pause.” 
 Floyd wondered “what the intruder, who outweighed the two women put together, would have done had Ms. Buxton not been armed.  A person crazy or desperate enough to grab for a loaded gun might be crazy or desperate enough to do serious harm to somebody without one.”
 Buxton said, “I’ve had this gun for 12 years, and this is the first time I’ve ever had to use it.”
 She said it was the mandatory conceal-and-carry firearm training that helped her keep under control the panic the incident could have occasioned.   She was angry.  She said her sister, a naval reserve training officer, “taught me how to shoot…You don’t have to let anybody take advantage of you.”