Armed mom thwarts attempted child abduction

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Iowa voters enshrined the right to keep and bear arms in the state constitution by wide margins last November, with almost 2/3rds of voters approving an amendment protecting the right to armed self-defense and instructing state courts to examine gun control laws through the lens of “strict scrutiny.” That wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t already a ton of support for the Second Amendment, as well as plenty of Iowans who are already exercising their 2A rights.


I don’t know how Shay Lindberg voted on Question 1 last November, but I do know that she exemplifies why our right to keep and bear arms is so fundamentally important. The Des Moines, Iowa resident recently had to use her lawfully-owned firearm to fend off a man and woman who tried to snatch her child away in a downtown skywalk.

Last week two people walked repeatedly in front of the Hubbell Tower Apartments door. Manager Shay Lindberg—her young child at her side–finally opened it, asking if there was a problem. One of the people grabbed her child. A struggle ensued, but Lindberg was armed.

Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department says this is one example of a lawfully-possessed gun doing something well. “It certainly looks like the big turning point here, the pivotal piece to keeping her child safe was the fact that she was lawfully-armed with a handgun, and she produced it and told them ‘let go of my kid.’”

I tend to doubt that it was Sgt. Parizek who gave an inanimate object the power to “do something well.” The gun didn’t do anything here. It was Lindberg who did an excellent job of protecting her child because she had her firearm with her, not the gun itself acting on its own to defend the juvenile.


And like the vast majority of defensive gun uses, Lindberg didn’t have to pull the trigger of her gun to end the threat to her child’s life. Once the pair realized that Lindberg was armed and wasn’t messing around, they quickly walked away, allowing her to contact Will Hunter, one of the security guards contracted to patrol the downtown skyways.

“It took Shay about three sentences to describe (her) and I’m like ‘that’s Laurie’…she’s been around, hanging around,” says Hunter. Per Mar Security takes the names of all who cause problems in the skywalk.

Hunter called police, gave names, but then followed the pair until police could take over.

“To have that security guard there in that spot at that moment was probably the most critical piece to this…because he was able to keep an eye on both of these people…as they made their way through the skywalk, down to a restaurant and onto a bus.”

56-year old Laurie Potter and 43-year old Michael Ross were both arrested and charged with the crime of “child stealing,” a Class C felony in the state punishable by a maximum ten-year prison term.

Prosecutors will most likely offer them a plea deal, and I’d say the odds of them doing a decade in prison are pretty slim, but they should be thanking their lucky stars that they’re alive and breathing today after trying to abduct a child in front of an armed mom like Lindberg. Dropping the child and walking away may be the smartest thing either one of them has ever done, and may very well be the reason they’re in jail instead of a local hospital or the morgue.



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