So when Brandon Perez tried to break into the Stanton, Calif., home the 72-year-old Cooper shares with her husband, World War II veteran Bob, 85, she took matters into her own hands.
Perez, 31, had hopped the fence into their backyard and, ignoring a barking Rottweiler, broke into the house. Cooper, who was already on the phone with a police dispatcher, pointed her .357 Magnum revolver at the burglar.
"Back up, you son of a bitch," she yelled at him. "Back up! Get out of here! Get the hell out of here! Get your butt out! Now!"
Cooper fired one shot at Perez, missing him by inches.
"After I shot, there was rage that took hold," Cooper said. "My husband -- he's never heard me talk like that before."
Perez was arrested in connection to the intrusion, and was already on probation for burglary.
Cooper said she would do "what is necessary to literally stop them," if it ever happened again. "I'm not going to allow them to come into my home."