A main problem with blaming a tool (firearms) for the willful actions of people (violence) is that you may then find yourself in the position where you need that tool to mitigate the actions of other people… and by then you’re out of luck, and perhaps you may not live to learn from your mistake.
Sadly, I don’t think Andrea Koller will learn the right lessons even after surviving her ordeal, even though she and her daughter survived the experience only because the criminals allowed it.
An out-of-town teacher who publicly railed against gun violence was shot in the shoulder by a masked gunman as she tried to save her 20-year-old daughter from a pistol-whipping outside a hotel near JFK Airport, police sources said.
Brave mom Andrea Koller, 53, of Baltimore was improving at Jamaica Hospital in Queens on Friday and expected to survive, sources said.
Koller had driven her daughter, a Lehigh University student, into the parking lot of the Hampton Inn on 135th Avenue in South Ozone Park and then got out and walked into the lobby around 8:30 p.m., sources said.
Her daughter, Meredith Stifter, was sitting in the passenger seat of the car outside the hotel when a man with a ski mask suddenly jumped the driver’s side and shouted, “Gimme all your money!” sources said.
The assailant was captured on surveillance video exiting the passenger seat of a white Jetta with yellow New York plates that was parked right behind the victim’s vehicle, according to sources.
The goon beat the defenseless young woman, pistol-whipping her in the face before removing four rings she was wearing, the sources said.
That’s when Koller came running from the hotel to stop the thief from pummeling her daughter, who was in town to catch a flight to Cape Town for a semester abroad in South Africa.
Koller was recuperating at Jamaica, and detectives were waiting for her to regain consciousness to question her.
The suspect took Koller’s pocketbook and her cellphone — which was later found discarded on the Van Wyck Expressway — before fleeing in the white Jetta, which was driven by another man, sources said.
Surveillance video captures the suspects’ Jetta following the victim’s Hyundai before the attack, sources said. Police are looking into whether the incident is part of a pattern in the area.
So, like so many people who want to wish violent crime away, Koller lived in “condition white.” She was oblivious to the fact that she was being closely followed by another vehicle. If she had the least amount of situational awareness, and had simply driven around the block to check her “tail,” they would have likely spooked and moved on to an easier target.
Once she got to the hotel, she didn’t check her surroundings when she exited the vehicle, where she would again have noticed the vehicle tailing her. If she’d done so and had her daughter come inside at that point, we would have again avoided the confrontation.
But living in her own little world, oblivious to the threat stalking her, Andrea Koller left her daughter for the wolves.
Then the attack happened.
Her daughter was isolated, boxed in, and mauled.
She simply did what any parent would do, and charged in to save her offspring. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go well because she didn’t have the education, the plans, or the tool (a firearm) to make a difference. She was offering herself up as another target.
If Koller had a handgun and decent training, she could have easily greased the dirtbag pistol-whipping her daughter as he was focused on brutalizing the young woman, and either driven off or put down the accomplice driving the vehicle as well.
Might she have faced charges, having an “illegal” gun in a city that doesn’t respect the basic human right of self-defense?
But as the old saying goes, “it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” and the only thing that kept Koller alive this night was the fact that her robber was a horrible shot. I’d take my chances with a jury.
Get trained. Get armed.
Refuse to be a victim.