I’m not sure anything will get the collective heart rates of a community racing quite like an escaped prisoner in the area. Hollywood has told us countless stories of the horrors that can befall people at the hands of escapees. The fact that some of these are based on true stories certainly doesn’t help with that.

For one South Carolina woman, that fear became all too real, until she used her Second Amendment rights to rewrite the script.

An inmate who had escaped minutes earlier from a county jail in South Carolina was shot and killed by a woman after he kicked in her back door, the local sheriff said.

The inmate was still in his orange jail jumpsuit and had grabbed a knife sharpening tool from the woman’s kitchen in Pickens as he headed toward her bedroom around 3 a.m. Tuesday, Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said.

“This was a big guy. If she hadn’t had a weapon there’s no telling what would have happened,” Clark said. “I gave her a big hug. I told her how proud I was of her.”

The woman was home alone and had gone through training to get a concealed weapons permit, Clark said.

Bruce McLaughlin Jr., 30, died from a gunshot to the head, Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley said.

Sheriff Clark speaking on the incident sums it up pretty well.

Remember this when people ask why anyone needs a gun.

What were this woman’s options? Sure, she could call 911, but she’d probably have been dead before they got there. It’s unlikely that pepper spray would have been effective under the circumstances. A baseball bat – the preferred weapon for most who don’t own a firearm – would likely have been deflected and turned away.

No, she needed a gun. She had a gun, and she used it.

She’s the one still on the right side of the dirt.

There was no alternative. Further, this is what women’s empowerment really looks like. She used the best tool for the job and put a permanent end to the threat. She took responsibility for her safety and effectively utilized that responsibility.

Yet there will still be those who will claim she’s out of line. I fully expect to start hearing how the escapee “was a good boy” and how he “didn’t do anything wrong.” I’m sure this was all some nefarious plot by people who just dislike this sweet, innocent soul.

But it’s not. It rarely is.

To be sure, this woman may well suffer trauma from what happened, despite coming out on the winning side. She took a human life, something few are prepared to do. She may still feel unsafe in her home after what happened, and I don’t think I could blame her.

I hope that those around her will support her, get her any help she might need to get through this and help her get back to her normal life. She deserves it.