A Traumatic Beginning
While at my local gas station, a car pulled up in front of mine and the passenger asked for directions. One, two, three times I patiently repeated the directions for the stranger to understand. My baby daughter’s carrier was getting heavy on my wrist. I just wanted this momentarily act of kindness to be over so I could get on with my day.
I didn’t realize that every time I repeated the directions I was walking closer to the passenger inquiring. In a blur, he jumped out of the car and I had a gun to my forehead. The metal pressed against my skin. He started yanking at my purse on my shoulder on the same arm I was holding my daughter’s baby carrier.
My only reaction was to freeze and scream. He’s violently pulling at my purse that had two straps and I’m a frozen, screaming victim. Thankfully there was a restaurant across the street and people coming out saw what was happening and started yelling towards us.
I couldn’t even give the police an accurate description. I was so traumatized, I didn’t want to leave my house anymore. Danger lurked around every corner, no one, no where was ‘safe’ in my mind anymore. A month later, planes crashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I realized then that no one is safe, no one has true security. I needed to change that in my life to LIVE a life. I couldn’t walk around scared anymore, it wasn’t a life worth living.
I went to the gun store without a lick of knowledge and choose a revolver over a semi-automatic. The gun store staff member who helped me said something about the semi-automatic jamming and my first thought was why would I risk that? Just get a revolver, easy to use, easy to clean. I left the gun store with a Taurus .357 Magnum revolver that day and found an outdoor range to shoot at. I went regularly to the outdoor range to shoot until people started recognizing me and even mistaken me for a police officer. I found my confidence on that outdoor range, I took back my life and walked tall once again.
A Training Journey
At that time, I didn’t even think about firearms training. No one at the gun store offered classes. It would be 10 years before firearms training would enter my life again. I never concealed carried the revolver, I only shot at the range and after a while, the revolver sat high on the shelf in my closet in a lockbox. When times got desperate, I took that revolver to a pawn shop to help fund my escape from an abusive marriage.
Fast forward, I met my husband and he said he wanted us to get our concealed carry licenses. I objected at first, I don’t need one. I don’t want to conceal carry, there’s no need to. I put it off for a year, as the news of violence in our world increased. Finally, I signed us up for a concealed carry class as a gift to him, I figured why not, I’ll have it at least.
We took the class with ten other people, their experience levels were varied including new shooters that brought their brand new firearms to class with them. We easily passed the written tests and moved on to the shooting qualification portion. With a class of twelve and only one range safety officer, I could tell help was needed. The range safety officer asked me to help with the class. We got through the class with flying colors and we survived. There was an older woman with a revolver she couldn’t hold up that I watched like a hawk.
Her hands were shaking as she rose the revolver to shoot. The gun was too much for her, she muzzled my husband (her gun was pointed at him) one time and that was enough for me. I realized then there is a need for more instructors that cared to teach. I realized the instructor who taught our concealed carry class was just in it for the money, not there to make sure people were actually equipped to carry. If we passed the tests and shooting qualification, we were good to go. I decided to look into training for myself after that.
I saw Julie Golob on NRA TV and the light bulb went off, I want to be like Julie! I want to learn to shoot well and then be a catalyst for other women to learn to shoot. The shooting industry is large and varied with different avenues including competition shooting, hunting, self-defense, and within each of those categories…more levels! I went to work finding an instructor in my area that would help me fulfill my new path.
When I called the instructors in my area there were many who are retired (military/LEO) and teach when they can get five students to pay them, not willing to teach just one very eager student. I found an instructor who had a philosophy I could agree on after a month of searching. I started one on one lessons and realized quickly that I was going to progress fast. I trained intensively, dry-firing and at the range. A few months later, the instructor became too busy to accommodate me as a private student and I was left to pursue student and teacher certifications elsewhere.
I found new instructors a few hours away and trained harder. Each class I learned watching them as much as the material, learning how they teach, and watching how they addressed situations with other students. I earned my teaching certifications and started teaching classes myself.
My philosophy is teach what you can well, if you cannot do the subject justice, wait until you can. I will not teach beyond my mastered skill set, my students lives are in my hands and I am responsible for what I teach. I will not pump up my resume to impress. I will be the teacher that stands along her students and walks their journey with them instead of barking orders.
Teaching should never be about the instructor, it is about the student. I am not ex-military or law enforcement, I have had no institutionalized training. I have worked hard to be where I am in my skill set and I can help you too.
I am a NRA Certified Instructor, Chief Range Safety Officer, First Aid & CPR/AED certified, and South Carolina Concealed Weapons Instructor. Most of all, I am a wife, mother, and woman living in today’s world, working hard to keep proactive safety a priority for my family and my community.
Live with Awareness. Protect the Ones You Love. Load & Be Ready.
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