This will undoubtedly make opponents cringe and proponents celebrate, but here’s more anecdotal evidence suggesting the benefits of gun ownership. Check it:

Memorial Drive Southwest resident Ethel Jones hopes she delivered a message early Monday morning with her .38 pistol.

The 69-year-old shot a man she said broke into her home at 2:53 a.m.

Decatur police said Michael O’Neal Bynum, 18, of 424 11th Ave. S.W., Decatur, was in stable condition in Huntsville Hospital on Monday evening with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

Jones said she sleeps with the gun under a pillow next to her. She keeps the weapon with her whenever she’s at home alone.

“I hope this will make people have second thoughts before they break into a home in our neighborhood and stop some of the crime we’ve had around here,” Jones said.

She said she was going to the bathroom when she heard someone trying to get into her home.

“I heard somebody at the back door and then around at the front door,” Jones said. “He started shaking it, and I said to myself, ‘Somebody is fixin’ to break in.’ ”

Jones said she believes the intruder thought no one was home because she doesn’t have a car.

Police said Bynum apparently removed a window air conditioner from a back window to get inside.

Jones said she came out of the bathroom and met the suspect holding a pen light a few feet away in her bedroom.

“I shot three times,” Jones said, “and he ran away hollering.”

Jones said she then called 911.

“I was a nervous wreck,” Jones said. “The dispatcher kept telling me to put the gun down, but I was scared, and I didn’t know if he might be laying outside.”

Police said Bynum returned to his residence less than 200 yards from Jones’ home. He went by private vehicle to Decatur General Hospital and was transferred to Huntsville Hospital.

Jones, who retired after 27 years as an auditor with Copeland Corp., said she doesn’t know Bynum. She said she’s had a gun for years and once went target shooting with her then-husband. She said he put a dime up as a target to shoot at with his rifle.

“He missed, but I hit it,” Jones said.

Jones, a mother of four, said Monday morning was the first time she’d fired the pistol during what she described as a “very scary” incident.

“I’m glad I had it,” she said. “I don’t know what he would have done when he didn’t find what he was looking for. He might have killed me. You can’t ever tell what people might do these days.”

Bynum will go to Morgan County Jail upon his release from the hospital. The Decatur Police Department is charging him with second-degree burglary.

Bynum was on probation for a prior burglary conviction, and probation for that crime was revoked. He will be held without bail.


Stories like this hit me on a personal level. Not too long ago, my 63-year-old dad faced a very similar situation. He woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, only to hear noises coming from the kitchen. As he investigated the sounds, he found two knuckleheads trying to break in through a back window. He immediately went for his firearm. Once he did, the intruders fled. Had it not been for him owning a gun, there’s no telling what would’ve happened.

I know the issue of gun control will forever be on the table; especially with the proliferation of gun-related violence we’ve seen and will surely continue to see. But clearly the issue at hand should NEVER be about whether citizens can pack heat to protect themselves. The answer to me, especially in the case of one Ethel Jones, is a resounding YES.