The shooter ducked around a corner of the building, but rather than follow him, the officer recalled her training and ran down the side of the building the other way. As he came into view, she fired at him from a prone position. He kept coming towards her, so she took cover behind the corner of the building. When he came around that corner, they began wildly exchanging shots at close range. Struck in her hand and leg, she fell.
On the ground she tried to fire again, but her gun jammed. He kicked the pistol out of her reach. She tried to drag herself to it. Inches were like yards. Time was in slow motion. He stood over her intending to finish her off. But he could not fire because she had shot him twice in his shooting hand, so he began to move the gun to his other hand. Waves of panic and dread were overwhelming. Suddenly another officer ran up and shouted at the shooter to drop his weapon. Then she heard the gunfire that saved her life and the shooter fell beside her. Since then, she has relived those terrifying seconds hundreds of times.
Taken from the pages of a crime novel or an action film script? No, I describe her in my book about paradoxes facing women in the twenty-first century.
This was a nightmare experience that almost no police officer ever faces. And most of the time, if someone with a gun is standing over you intending to kill you, you die. Sgt. Kimberly D. Munley was off duty when she heard the radio call of a shooting in progress at Fort Hood, Texas. She raced to the scene and ran towards Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, even though he had weapons superior to hers. At his murder trial last month, she faced him in court.
Munley has had her shattered knee replaced, but she can no longer run or work as beat cop. Incredibly, she is now laid off from her job and has received little help from the government. She has become a spokesperson for the other Fort Hood victims, who she says have been forgotten.
Instead of suggesting you sign some meaningless petition, I’m asking you to take two minutes of your time and contact your Senator to demand justice for this hero and other Fort Hood victims. Those, like Munley, who have been shot in service to their country deserve better.
Contributor Robert Waring, the grandson of a suffragist, writes about the interplay between feminism and public policy, including how current policies affect women, and how policies that empower women can improve society for everyone. His essays on part-time work have been featured in the New York Times. His other writing has covered the First Amendment, the privacy of mental health information, and how films portray law, lawyers and the legal system. He was a founding editor of Picturing Justice: The Online Journal of Law & Popular Culture. As an attorney he has worked with California’s judiciary and legislature crafting laws, and has been court-appointed counsel for thousands of children in foster care, where he has seen parents at their best and their worst. He is the author of Upside Down: The Paradoxes of Gender in the 21st Century. He calls the San Francisco area home. Follow him on Twitter @upsidedownbook or at www.upsidedownbook.net.