from the peace-of-mind dept.
The Guardian reports that the woman who was accidentally shot dead by her two-year-old son in an Idaho Walmart is described by those who knew her as a gun lover, a motivated academic and a successful nuclear research scientist who worked for Battelle’s Idaho National Laboratory and wrote several papers there including one on using glass ceramic to store nuclear waste (PDF). Rutledge was raised in north-east Idaho and always excelled at school, former high school classmate Kathleen Phelps said, recalling her as “extremely smart. … valedictorian of our class, very motivated and the smartest person I know. … Getting good grades was always very important to her.”
Veronica Rutledge and her husband loved everything about guns. They practiced at shooting ranges. They hunted. And both of them, relatives and friends say, had permits to carry concealed firearms. “They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” says Terry Rutledge, her husband’s father. “… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.” Many locals don't discern anything odd with a 29-year-old woman carrying a loaded gun into a Wal-Mart during the holiday season. “It’s pretty common around here,” says Stu Miller. “A lot of people carry loaded guns.” More than 85,000 people, 7 percent of Idaho's population, are licensed to carry concealed weapons (PDF), “In Idaho, we don’t have to worry about a lot of crime and things like that,” says Sheri Sandow. “And to see someone with a gun isn’t bizarre. [Veronica] wasn’t carrying a gun because she felt unsafe. She was carrying a gun because she was raised around guns. This was just a horrible accident.”