This is about the 5th or 6th Giveaway that I have done in my short 2 years of blogging,(I missed my blogaversary somehow. It was a week or so ago) but this is first one where I decided to choose the recipient.
Normally people send in their name, I put the names in a hat(either real or electronic) and the name is drawn. That is a waaayyyyyy easier method.
If you are not aware, this time each person wanting a chance to get the gifts was required to write a short or not so short explanation of why she wanted the training and what it would mean to her.
The women who took the time to write their stories are quite an inspiration.The entries were varied from teachers, to stay at home mommies, to young women just starting out on their own. We had professionals who wanted to be safer on the job and those that were aging and felt a need to increase their odds of survival against a stronger enemy. Stories that made me cry and those that made me smile. Many that made me nod i agreement as I understood their fear and trepidation of taking that first step into the world of firearms. I had a very difficult time choosing, so difficult that I couldn’t do it. I was finally able to narrow the field down to 10 which took me all the way til yesterday to do. Then I sent those 10 onto a panel of 3 other folks. My husband, our very first giveaway winner and a newbie shooter. Those 3 sent me their top choices. All 3 of them picked the same top 4, but in a different orders, so I wrote each name on a piece of paper, put them in my Hoplorati hat and my daughter A, then choose a name. Very complicated system:)
What name did she choose you ask?????
Drum role please…
CONGRATULATIONS TO Ms. Lynda Duke!!!!!!!!
Lynda was gracious enough to allow me to share her story(as were the other 4 and I will be sharing their stories later in the week)
I was really excited to read about this wonderful opportunity for a beginner like me to win firearms training and the other amazing gifts being given away with this contest. It’s not just firearms training class, but training with real experts in the field. I find that to be very exciting. Because I live in Southwest Virginia I could easily travel to Fairfax, Virginia.
To tell you how much this would mean to me and why I really want to win this contest I must first tell you my story on what led me to want to learn all I can about guns and why.
When I was growing up my father hunted and always had guns. I remember a little gun he carried with him when we traveled. My father never taught us girls, (there were three of us with no brothers) anything about guns. We just knew they were in our home.
It was when I was a teenager that I first began to fear guns. One day my parents were not home and my next door neighbor Donna and I were hanging out. We were outside with a neighbor boy. I can’t remember why but for some reason we were afraid and ran into my house. He was chasing us and going from door to door to try and get in. We were scared enough that I ran and climbed on a chair in my parents bedroom and I got one of my dad’s pistols out of the top of his closet. I don’t even know if it was loaded. I just remember standing at my front door pointing it when the boy got in. I remember shaking and feeling so scared. He backed out pretty quickly. I put the gun back where my dad had hidden it and never told my parents what had happened or what I did. The fear that gripped my heart that day – thinking of the what if’s – paralyzed me as far as guns were concerned. I didn’t want anything to do with them.
The years passed and I got married and had children. My father passed away in July of 1995 and my mom gave all my dad’s guns to each of us girls. My husband locked mine away and we didn’t really mess with it or anything. I had small children and was too afraid to have them in the house because of what had happened when I was a teenager. Then, on December 26, 1996, my oldest sister’s husband committed suicide with one of the guns from my dad’s collection. That was the end for me of ever wanting a gun around. I thought they were too dangerous. My mom felt guilty because she had given the guns to us and asked for them back and got rid of them.
So here I am today, after years of refusing to allow guns in my home, now wanting to learn as much as I can and get a concealed weapons permit and carry. What changed my mind? This…
December 26, 2012 my husband and I were traveling to Florida to visit my son, his wife and our grand baby. We make this trip about every couple of months. As usual, we left home before anything was open. So when we got about a hour down the road we knew the McDonald’s in Christiansburg right off Interstate 81 would be open for breakfast. We thought we’d grab a biscuit and coffee and use the restroom. We went in and a man had just finished cleaning the ladies’ room. I asked him if it was ok for me to go in. He said yes. My husband went in the men’s room and I went in the ladies’ room. I stopped at the sink when I realized the door opened. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a mop start mopping in and out of the room. I stood quietly. I was not about to go into one of the stalls. I was trying to figure out what this man was doing in the restroom since he told me he was done and to go in. He then propped a chair in the door and was working his way in. That chair in the door would cause anyone else to think it was unavailable. I took off out of there and as I went by he said something like, “Oh I was trying to make it smell nicer in there.” All the while my husband had no clue I was feeling threatened. He was in the front of the place ordering our food. Over the next ten-plus hours on that long trip to Florida I thought a lot about what happened. I don’t know what his intentions were? But it scared me enough that I was very fearful every time we stopped on that trip and I needed to go into a restroom alone. That day I realized how vulnerable I am. I thought about my fears and how really irrational they were. I thought about the death of my dear sweet brother-in-law. Yes, it was VERY sad and horrible. And I am sorry my sister is alone and went through that.
But my thinking changed that day. I had to recognize that him committing suicide wasn’t the gun’s fault. I had to recognize that maybe me getting a gun as a teenager and holding it on someone may have saved me and my friend from a very bad situation. All those years I dwelled on the, “what if’s” and thinking “what if I had shot him.” But now I think, “what if I saved us?” Another event comes to mind. Just in the last year I was walking out of a store and a truck with three men in it started following me in the parking lot. They blocked my daughter’s van and I had to jump in through back doors. I am not quite 5′ 2″ and I weigh about 125 pounds. I know I really couldn’t have protected myself if they had done anything.
Well, my husband and I made it to Florida and visited with my son and his in-laws. Most of them carry. In fact my daughter-in-law’s mother had just purchased “The Judge.” My son showed it to me and I held it. It was a bit heavy for me. Then on New Year’s Day we went out to the grand parents property and the guys went out to shoot. I secretly wanted to give it a try. I didn’t say anything though. We were getting ready to leave and my daughter-in-law told my son she really wanted to shoot his gun before we left. I popped up and said, “Me too!” So we went to where they were all shooting at targets. The first gun I tried was a 22 caliber revolver. Then I shot my son’s Sig Sauer 40 caliber. I LOVED shooting! I felt SO empowered. I even had my husband video me with my phone and I texted it to my son-in-law, the hunter, back in Virginia. He knew how I much I didn’t like guns. I knew that he would NEVER expect to get a video of me shooting. He of course was thrilled. When I got home he showed me his Glock and my husband still had that little gun my dad carried with him all those years ago. That brought tears to my eyes.
I came away from all of that wanting to learn all I can. I want to get my concealed weapons permit. I want to take whatever classes I can find to learn. I want to feel safe and not be afraid. I know if I learn how to handle a gun and all the safety aspects of gun ownership I won’t have those fears.
Right after we got home from Florida I had my husband take me to different gun shops to look at guns and hold them. One thing I learned from shooting that day was how different the various guns feel. I picked up a copy of Women & Guns and promptly devoured it. I watched lots of YouTube video’s and and been reading up on guns women carry. I found the Cornered Cat site and facebook page.
What I “Think” I want is a hammerless revolver. Something like a .38 special. But until I can take a class and shoot some different guns I won’t really know. One thing I do know is that I want a pink gun :). As I write this I am about three weeks into recovering from Carpal Tunnel surgery. I have had a lot of time to read about and look at guns. I am going crazy wanting to be healed up so I can get on with my new adventure. Then, last night I ran across the “A Girl and Her Gun” group in my area (Roanoke, VA) and emailed them for info.
Winning the firearms training would change my life and equip me with the knowledge I need to start this journey and develop my new found love for guns.
Thanks so much for considering my story and entry.
Lynda Kay Duke