(I originally wrote this one for Mr. Conservative, but it deserves a place at the Bookworm Room table, if for no other reason than the martial arts slant.)
America is such a great country. Where else would a stalker who’s viciously mugging his victim be scared off by a Mormon bishop who wields a Samurai sword, collects DNA, and memorizes license plates? The thug who had the misfortune to cross paths with Bishop Kent Hendrix was so frightened that he turned himself in later the same day.
It all began in Salt Lake City early Tuesday morning, when Hendrix’s teenage son banged on his dad’s bedroom door to say that someone was being mugged right in front of their house. A 35-year woman living in the neighborhood had been stalked by 37-year-old Grant Eggersten, a former co-worker. He grabbed her as she was leaving her house, knocked her down, and went after her keys. Fortunately, the intended victim had pepper and a panic alarm, and she used them both.
An older neighbor with the heart of a lion saw what was going on, and grabbed a little baseball bat. Nancy, another neighbor who witnessed what was happening, said that this bold lady “ended up whacking him a good one.” Unfortunately, Eggersten was undeterred. Hendrix’s appearance on the scene changed the dynamic.
It turns out that Hendrix isn’t just a Mormon bishop, father of six, and pharmaceutical statistician. He’s also a martial arts instructor with a 4th degree black belt in Kishindo martial arts, a weapons-based martial arts discipline. The moment Hendrix heard what was happening, he grabbed the 29” long, high-carbon-steel Samurai sword he keeps by his bed in lieu of a baseball bat, and headed out of the house.
On the street, Hendrix discovered what he called a “melee” between the woman and Eggersten. While Hendrix’s son called 9/11, Hendrix drew his sword, something he never expected to do. He later said “This is my home defense weapon. First time I’ve had to draw it.” Hendrix didn’t even have to attack Eggersten with the sword. Instead, he just waved it at Eggerston and ordered him to drop to the ground.
According to an interview Hendrix later gave, “His eyes got as big as saucers and he kind of gasped and jumped back. He’s probably never had anyone draw a sword on him before.” Eggersten ignored Hendrix’s instruction to hit the ground and, instead, jumped into his car. Hendrix then had the presence of mind to pick up a ChapStick that Eggersten had dropped and to memorize his license plate.
It’s entirely possible that Eggersten heard Hendrix as the latter hollered after the car, “Ha! I’ve got your DNA and I’ve got your license plate. You are done.” After all, why else would Eggersten turn himself into the police an hour later, where he was booked for robbery, trespassing, attempted burglary, and violation of a stalking injunction?
Aside from being a great story about a neighborhood that hung together; a very possessed, responsible 14-yeear-old boy, and a rockin’ Mormon bishop, Hendrix’s heroism also demonstrates that weapons are a force for good when they are held in the hands of good people. Despite owning a significant sword collection – and knowing how to use it – Hendrix does not go around randomly or malevolently stabbing and beheading people. Instead, consistent with his lifestyle, he uses his martial chops for pleasure and to be of service to others. As between a responsible gun owner and Bishop Hendrix, there is no meaningful difference – which may explain why, for the first time in a decade, Americans are becoming increasingly supportive of a gun in the home as the best tool for self-defense.