A Favor

I get a lot of emails.  I guess that term “a lot” is relative.  I don’t know what a lot is, but for me the number of emails I get per day from women and more than a few men is a lot.  Every single day I get emails with people telling me very personal and difficult things that they have experienced.  Many have never told anyone else.  The email to me is often the first time they shared what awful thing they went through.  Some are stories of near misses, some parallel mine and some are so gut wrenchingly awful that it takes me a bit to get through them.  But, I do.  I read every word and offer whatever support I can and I spend an enormous amount of time on my knees for these women. 

I would like to share one of those stories with you.  This is probably going to be a story like you have never read before.  It will probably challenge many of your emotions, but I ask that you take the time to read it.

When you are finished reading the story I would like for you to stop and think how different things could have been if any of the women had a weapon and/ or training.   Then I would like you to consider going here and donating money to help Erin become trained and armed.  I do not normally advertise(although this is the second time in a week) when I donate money to certain causes, but if I am asking you to give then it is fair that you know that I already have.

It’s Not A Gun, But I Am Still Smiling

Everyone here probably knows by now I love my Remora holsters.  I mean I love them.  They are comfortable and work perfectly for my lifestyle, but I have been wanting an OWB holster for a while and I wanted it to be pretty.  My husband loves his from Dragon Leatherworks so much, I thought I would buy another one from them and I am sure I will someday, but one day I read a post by Jennifer about her husband, Michael, designing and donating a holster for one of our service members overseas.  I am a big fan of our men and women who serve our country, so I popped on over to his site and was very impressed with what I saw. 

I sent an email to Michael at The Holster Site and said something like “I want a holster, but I have no clue what I want”.   I might have given him a bit more to work with but not much. I knew I wanted a holster that went on my belt, was low profile, and was girly, but not over the top. He emailed me back right away and we tossed around a few ideas, came up with a price, I sent off the money and a few weeks later I had my brand spakin’ new holster.

I was crazy excited when I got the tracking number and saw the arrival date.  My mailman was not quiet as excited to see me as I was to see him.  One time I was stalking around my house practicing dry fire and he came to the door, ever since then he pretty much just tosses my packages in the vicinity of the porch.  However on that day I met him at the mailbox and snatched the box from his hands.  I was smiling and all “Oh, hi, is that for me?” “I am so happy to see you.”  and he was all “Yeah”, and had a look on his face like, please for the love of God woman just go back into your house.  I guess a hyper active housewife with an enthusiastic look in her eyes and gun makes some people uncomfortable.

I got into the house, ripped open the box, literally.  I am not using that cliched phrase for dramatic effect, I ripped that sucker open. Holy cow, it was awesome.  Since we just talked things over in an email, I didn’t have an image of exactly what the color would be or any specific details, only abstract images in my mind.  I was just trusting Michael to translate my ideas into a workable holster and he did…except, when I went to put it on my belt my son said, “That is a right handed holster”.  “No, no, it’s not.” I assured him.  “Mom, that is a right handed holster”.  I went upstairs got my gun, checked to be sure it was unloaded, tried to put it in my holster, but guess what?  It was a right handed holster.  My stomach sank.

This was my next email to Michael, “I got the holster.”  “It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”.  “Unfortunately, I am left handed.”  His email to me.  “AGirl, call me.”

In all the excitement of going back and forth talking about the design, I never mentioned that I was left handed.  I completely forgot to mention it.  Not a word, nothing, nada, zippo.  In case you are new to guns and have yet to order your first holster, I would like to offer you some handy dandy advice…Be sure to tell your holster maker if you are left handed.  Seems obvious, you say?  Well, who asked you?!

Since Michael is an incredibly kind and generous man, he said send it back and I will make you a new one.  I did and he did.  On Monday I received it!  Monday was not a good day for me, so I did not meet  the mailman at the mailbox and it’s probably a good thing because the only worse than an excited housewife with a gun is one with red puffy eyes in sweat pants she has been wearing for 2 days.  I am kind of thinking if I would have met him at the mailbox like that, he would be leaving my packages at the neighbors from now on.

So without further ado…

I know, I know…SHE IS GORGEOUS!!!!!!  I am in love with this inanimate object and yes, I have on occasion over the past few days, just held it up to my nose and breathed in the leather.  I have also opened up the bolt action on Anastasiya and got a little high on her scent as well.  Do not anyone email me telling me how dangerous lead is or the corrosive properties of Russian ammo, I don’t care.  I don’t smoke, I don’t drink a lot, I don’t drive fast, I work out, I eat healthy, I go to the doctor annually for all of those lovely little tests, I take a mutli vitamin, and I carry a gun. I don’t exactly live life on the edge, but regardless of the risks, I am going to sniff my rifle from time to time.

It’s possible, I got off topic again.  Let me bring this back around…contact this man and pray that he is not too busy to make you your own thing of beauty, which also happens to be extremely well made.  I don’t know much about holsters, but I do know quality and folks, this is it. It is still brand new, so I am not wearing it yet, as I am safely breaking it in, but I will give you an update when I put it into actual service. 

Thank you again, Michael!!!!!!

I Am Ok

I love you all so much.  I really do.  The emails from you expressing your concern for me are deeply touching. I consider myself very fortunate to have the family and friends that I have and that feeling is extend to you all.

I am not sure I can explain this clearly, but I am going to try.  I am fine.  It’s not an illusion or something I am trying to convince myself of.  I am fine.  More than fine.  This year has had some bad times, down right rough.  It has only been 12 months. I think I said this the last time I kind of freaked. Am I to the point where I am not effected at all by the memories? No, but I am ok with that.  I want to feel.  I do not want to become callus or dead inside.  Yes, I feel pain, anger and sadness, but I also feel love, and joy and passion.  I have hopes and dreams and goals for my future.

When I get mad, hurt, angry or frustrated, I write.  I don’t over eat or under eat. I don’t drink or shop to much.  I do not have thoughts of hurting myself or others, not even the idiot that attacked me.  I am for the most part sleeping and I haven’t had a single nightmare in forever. 

I am a mom and a wife and I have always been protective of those I love.  I try to keep it together for them, but sometimes I need to let it out and so I come here and I write.  I kind of agree with Amy.  I wish I could let it out.  I wish I could yell and scream and cuss and throw something.  But, I can’t.  I would scare my family.  If I acted like that, they would think I had completely lost it and they would worry.  I don’t want them to worry because I am fine.  I can’t write a crazed post on here because you all would worry.  I have only written a couple post that are a little nutty and it draws so much care and concern.  If I ranted and raved I am afraid the Calvary would be sent.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from giving advice or checking on me, I love it, but I do want you to know that at core of who I am, I am more than good. 

Before the attack, before guns were a part of my life, I was concerned with safety. We had an house alarm and we used it, still do.  We locked our doors and we looked both ways before we crossed the street. I always wore my seat belt and I would never get in a car that didn’t have one and anyone who rode with me, regardless of age, had to wear theirs.  I know that wearing a seat belt does not guarantee safety, but it ups the chances and I want to do everything within my power to assure survival should I be involved in an accident.  When we were in China to get our daughter, I had to ride in a van without seat belts. I climbed into a run down vehicle without seat belts and if you have ever been on a freeway in China then you know restraints are a must. I piled my entire family into this death trap on wheel and I didn’t like it, but it is what I had to do, so i did it.  I felt uneasy, but not paranoid.  When we got back into the states and got into our car, I strapped my new child into a car seat and we all buckled up.  I am not afraid to be without my gun. I am uneasy.  I spent 2 weeks completely unarmed when I went to Minnesota.  I went to restaurants and the mall and into a seedy gas stations.  I felt uneasy, but I did it and as soon as I could, I put my gun back on.  Not because I am paranoid, but because I want to do everything I can to ensure survival should I be in a situation that would warrant it’s use.

I do need support.  I do need to hear that I am doing the right things with my daughter and that I am not to blame, but I also need to be able to freak out a little. Reach out to me if you want, that is so nice, but don’t worry.  I promise you I am a survivor. I promise I am human and sometimes weak, but I am not fragile.  I will not break! I don’t mind reassuring you from time to time.  I am not annoyed at all over the concern, I just honestly do not want to cause you anxiety.  Really, I am ok. 

Finally

Ok, lets talk about some fun stuff like, guns!!  On Saturday I went to Fairfax Virginia and took a course called Personal Protection in the Home from the Good folks at Innovative Defensive Solutions.  I always am excited at an opportunity to train and to meet knew people, but when I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the class, I was not so excited.  I am not a morning person.  I am not really a night person either as I am usually in bed by 9.  I guess I am more of a mid to late afternoon person, but that is a bit off topic.

When I got to the classroom, I immediately ran into Lynne and got a big hug.  It was so nice to finally meet her in person.  She is the best.  Lynne introduced me to Evan Carson, President and Chief Instructor.  For some reason I was nervous to meet him, but there was no need.  He was nice and I was very comfortable chit chatting with him.  Of course, I had to disarm, which I hate.

I completely understand the need to do this.  I think it makes perfect sense and I know there really is no other safe way to conduct a class, but I still hate it.  For the first few minutes I took a look around the room at the people there, I can tell you where everyone sat and what they were wearing.  I don’t know why I paid attention to that, but I did.  I looked at the windows and the doors.  We were in a hotel and I thought if someone goes on a rampage, I am not in the best spot.  I have no idea, but I am assuming Evan and his partner, Dave were armed, but I would not be their first priority and plus I have this little thing about being able to defend myself.  I felt safe and comfortable there and I was not overly paranoid, but I am just saying I prefer to have my gun.

At the very beginning of the class Evan purposed a question and one of the ladies in the class answered.  Her answer did not sit well with me, so I said something.  I am not going to get into the specifics because it will come out way more dramatic than it was and also, I do not want to open her up to any kind of criticism.  Sometimes you lovely people try to defend me and by doing so, you get feisty with others.  I love that, but she was a sweet, sweet woman and she meant no harm.  The reason I bring it up at all is because it might be the first time I have ever confronted someone.  I can’t say 100% for sure that I have never said something to someone, but if I have it was rare.  I was so nervous about doing it, my hands shook.  I tried to pick up my coffee cup to calm myself and I had to set it back down because the liquid was literally jumping out of the cup.  I think people thought I was upset about the topic, but I was really terrified about speaking up.  After, I had I felt awful and I apologized to her and the instructors about 10 times.  Occasionally I think about the exchange and I cringe.  I didn’t yell or call her names and I probably handled it fine, but in hindsight, I wish I would have handled it differently.  The whole thing lasted about 5 minutes and everyone moved on.

The class itself was fantastic.  Both Evan and Dave Kirchgessner, Vice President and Instructor, are smart, smart, smart guys.  I learned a lot about things I had never thought about.  Like which floors in a hotel not to stay on.  That a bookcase full of books is pretty good cover.  That it is legal in Virginia for a 12 year old child to have access to a firearm.  I learned a lot.

One of the really cool things was that I got to train with Glock laser guns.  I loved that!  I was surprised by the level of detail both Evan and Dave have.  There were 3 of us students standing side by side, picking up our training guns, and shooting and these two men saw everything.  The first time, they walked around and checked our grip, stance, the usual and after a few times of that, we “drew” from the table top.  The guns were on the table, someone would say fight or go or whatever, we each picked up a gun, aimed, fired.  At one point Evan asked me if that was my normal grip.  I looked and said yes and he said, really because earlier it looked like your index finger was a little higher up on the slide.  I looked and he was right.  I had picked up the gun quickly and my grip was not right. 

The class offered a lot if insight to mindset and ideas for thinking out a plan.  They talked about laws and different scenarios.  Very, very helpful information and I really did learn a lot, but I walked away from that class with a valuable bit of information about myself that I didn’t realize until I left there.  I have learned a lot this past year.  I knew a fair amount about the laws in Virginia and how to apply them.  I understood every term they used or lets say 99%.  I learned things, but I was not lost.  That made me feel very confident in myself. 

My favorite part of the class was when we got to go to the range and shoot.  I know that surprises all of you.  The classroom discussion is as important and I did enjoy it, but nothing makes me happier than a loaded gun and a place to shoot it.  The range we went to was the NRA range.  I had never been there before, so I had to take a test and fill out some paperwork.  A lot of people think the test is dumb and I thought it might be, but it was fine.  I knew all the answers to the basic gun rules etc, but I had to use their book to find answers about their specific range rules.  I was happy to have that info because their rules are much different from the indoor range I shoot at and I would have broken several rules had I not had the test.  It’s a good range, but I didn’t like everything about it.  It’s clean and the people are so, so nice, but the parking garage is creepy and dimly lit.  I did not enjoy walking from my car to the range and the place was packed.  A 3 hour wait to shoot.  It is good that so many people were there, but I would not enjoy waiting and waiting.  For one thing, I rarely have that kind of time, so I fear if that were my only choice, I would not get much training time.  Here is what I loved…

The targets move!!!  They have these neat computerized targets that can be set to do different things.  I got so exited about that!  It was crazy cool.  The way things worked out, I got one on one instruction from Dave for about 30-45 minutes.  That was a huge.  He had me do all kinds of things I have never done before.  He set the target to turn to the side and then flip at different intervals.  He stood behind me and called out, 1 shot or 2 or 3.  When the target flipped to face me, I was to shoot before if flipped back.  That was fun.  We also did drills where I was on one knee.  Dave put my gun on the floor, magazine out, then he would say go, I would pick my up M&P, load it, shoot 2 shots, then stand up and shoot 2 more.  He most certainly challenged my skill and my ability to handle a little stress.  The NRA does not allow any pictures of any kind, so I got nothing to prove it, but I did pretty well I think.  When my time was up, Dave said, “I don’t really have much to tell you”.  He was not saying I was the best shooter ever and for me to go apply for Top Shot, I think what he was saying was that I have good solid fundamentals and if I continue working, I will improve.  At least that is what I hope he meant.  I had a blast!!

Innovative Defensive Solutions offers a variety of courses and I would strongly encourage you to attend one or two or all. 

A Little Clarity

Yesterday’s post was suppose to be about my course at Innovative Defensive Solutions, but a conversation with my daughter changed that.

My morning was going beautifully.  I was in a very chipper mood, the kids were doing well, no one was sick, the sun was shining and my husband made me a delicious cup of coffee.  Who could ask for anything more?

About 15 minutes before the school bus came to pick up the kiddos, my 8 year old asked if she could talk to me.  I said “Sure sweetcheeks, what’s up?”

“I was wondering if I am old enough to shoot the bad guy?”  “I mean, if there is another bad guy, can I shoot him?” She has asked this before.  Several times.  I think she is just looking for reassurance.  I tell her the same thing I always tell, but this time her response was different.

I told her yes, she was old enough, but that she didn’t have to worry because mommy was here and she was safe.(As an aside, I struggle with this. Our kids can’t get to any guns in our house.  There is no way for her to shoot the bad guy and she follows the rules of NEVER touching a gun without asking)

“Yes, I know, but if you couldn’t stop him from hurting you then how will you stop him from hurting me?”

She has asked me before if I would keep her safe.  If I would protect her.  If dad would.  If brother would.  She has asked a lot, but she has never quite used those words to express her anxiety.  I think it’s good that she did.  I think it is good that she came to me to talk.  I think it is good that she wants to learn to be responsible for her own safety.  I think it is good that she is looking for comfort and safety from her mommy.  I think it is good that she is honest with me. We talked about how I did keep her safe by putting her inside the car and mommy moved the bad guy away from her and some other things.  She felt better, for a minute at least.  I asked her if she wanted to stay home from school and talk more, but she said, no.  School is important.

I had a hard time letting her go.  I would like to say that I accepted the situation, that I took comfort in knowing it is healthy to talk and to discuss and that both of us are doing better everyday, but I didn’t.  I ran my errands and came home to write my review of the class, but this came out instead.

I had a terrible day.  I was very emotional and spent most of my energy on not crying.  I was not all that nice to my family.  I just kept saying, I am in a really bad mood, please, please leave me alone and they did. I tried to distract my mind with computer games, cleaning and playing with my new holster, but mostly I was just awful. I was exhausted and crawled into bed fairly early, although I didn’t sleep well and was up at 4am.  Around 5:30, I got out of bed and headed down stairs where I found these…

On the front door

On a mirror in the hallway

On the refrigerator

On the TV

My son had left notes all over the house for me to wake up to.  I am blessed.

Since I couldn’t sleep I went blog hopping.  I stopped over at Miller’s place and read some very sad news.  Maybe you all could pop over and lend your support.  Without the love and care of other’s life can be pretty tough. 

The Price Is High

A month or so ago, I received a gift from The Gun Divas.  Two books by Gavin De Becker.  I was currently reading 3 other books at the time, but that night the books came, I opened up one, the Gift Of Fear and began reading.

The book opens with a story about a woman named Kelly.  Kelly is in the stairwell of her apartment complex on her way up to her apartment when she encounters a man.  She has never seen him before, but he seems nice enough. He offers to help, she says no, the have an exchange of words.  She isn’t sure why, she is not comfortable with him. Nothing about him is scary.  He is dressed nice, he is being nice and he is making no threats at all. You probably have already guessed this does not end well. The man rapes Kelly in brutal fashion.

The guy who attacked me also was dressed nicely.  He had short well kept hair.  He was clean and he spoke very softly and he smiled. His eyes were cold and lacked soul.  My daughter’s pictures are bone chillingly accurate and when she talks of that day, his eyes are the thing she often comes back to, but he smiled and he said all the right things a nice person is suppose to say.

I wish more classes would focus on the fact that many attacks on woman happen slower and are not quite as obvious as the person who runs up behind you and screams some threat.  Many attacks are fast and fit the profile of someone coming up behind, grabbing you and a struggle ensues, but I would hasten to guess, from my reading that there are an equal number of attacks that happen in a more stalking kind of way.  For women the bar room scene is less about a discussion that gets out of hand and quickly turns into a brawl and more of the profiling, get to know you, even though you don’t trust me, get you to at the very least follow me outta here, kind of thing. No class has time to discuss every possible scenario, but I think it would be beneficial to at least mention that for women, it can be very different.  Often the wolf is in fact dressed like a sheep.

I was not raped, but much of my story and hers are the same.  A man we did not know approached us, uninvited and did not leave us alone when we asked. Kelly’s guy also said things like “Don’t worry”  “I won’t hurt you”  Like me, she felt those words were the opposite of comforting.  She did make it out alive as did I, but not without some tough life lessons.  She threw herself into healing and learning how to never again be a victim. She says looking back she can see that her internal voice was talking to her, that her intuition had been guiding her along and she can see where she listened and that without knowing she did act on signals that helped her to save her own life.  My attack was interrupted, so I can not says as definitively as she can, but, I too, can see things I did right that day, that at the very least kept me alive until someone else came along. Kelly talks about being tired of feeling guilty for letting him get that close to her and tired of being blamed for being stupid. 

After I got home from Memphis I picked up the book again and began to read.  I am not surprised that the universe conspired that I would read the chapter I read the day after I wrote my post about the trip.

The author says: “I’v seen many times that after the shock of violence has begun to heal, victims will be carried in their minds back to the hallway or parking lot, back to the sights, smells, and sounds, back to the time when they still had choices, before they fell under someone’s malevolent control, before they refused the gift of fear.”

As I realized on the plane coming home, there was plenty of time for me to have made different choices between when I first felt fear and when he was on top me.  I was afraid and I did not act on that fear, not enough anyway.

DeBecker says, “Often they will say about some particular detail. I realize this now, but I didn’t know it then.  Of course, if it is in their heads now, then it was in their heads then.  What they mean is that they only now accept the significance.  With denial, the details we need for the best predictions float silently by us like life preservers, and while the man overboard may enjoy the comfortable belief that he is still in his stateroom, there is soon a price to pay for his daydream.

The price is high.

“Maybe some good can come of this.” “The weird thing is, with all this information, I am actually less afraid walking around now then I was before it happened-but there must be an easier way for people to learn.”-Kelly

DeBecker, A woman could offer no greater cooperation to her soon to be attacker than to spend time telling herself, “But he seems like such a nice man”…. A woman waiting for an elevator sees a man and she feels apprehension… How does she respond to natures strongest strongest survival signal? She suppresses it and says “I am not going to live like this.”

The irony is that so many of us say, we are not going to live our lives in fear.  We are not going to learn how to protect ourselves or carry a gun because we refuse to let the bad guy win.  We refuse to give him that kind of power over our lives.  We use the excuse of not being afraid and that lie puts us in the most vulnerable position we can be in, defenseless. When you are out of excuses and when someone is lying on top you telling you exactly how they plan to take full control of your life, well, then you will get to experience the kind of life altering fear that Kelly and I did. 

There has got to be an easier way for one to learn.

Honest Gun Owners

Miller tagged me in a new gun meme, so here it goes…

 ”I will write down 5 things that indicate, to me, that a gun owner or shooter maybe is an honest one; I say ‘maybe’ because I have known some seemingly honest gun owners to tell some really tall tales. Then I will tag 5 other gun owners who are also bloggers and I hope each will play along, each listing, in their blogs, at least 3 things that are indicative a gun owner is an honest one, then sending the challenge of this meme on to 5 other gun owner who are also bloggers.”

1. They never claim to know everything about everything.

2. The do not recommend, to a brand new female shooter, the Judge.

3. They send you private emails as to not publicly embarrass you when you say or do something stupid.

4. They try to give you more than they take from you.

5.  They take things down about you if you ask them too.(Thanks Weer’d)

Five Blogs…

From Paranoid To Packin- this is personal.  This is one of my shooting partners from the Cornered Cat class and she just started a blog, but she isn’t really bloggin, so I am hoping a tag will jump start her and also a little blog pressure too.  Go send her some love and tell her I sent you.

From Housewife to Hunter- Really neat blog.  Also brand new.

AKGRRRL- She isn’t posting much either because she is always on FB.  It’s wrong, just wrong, so again a little pressure.

Last Refuge of a Scoundrel-He posts and I like his blog.

A Midwestern Rebel-New blog to me and good stuff.

One more because I am practicing honing a skill I don’t currently have…breaking the rules.
Monty On Guns