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“Hundreds of Armed Women Defend Mexican City From Cartels”

Mexico women on guardI don’t know first-hand details about what is going on in Mexico – only what I read in stories like this – but when I saw this story about the women taking up arms and defending their town from the drug cartels, it reminded me of the women during the Revolutionary War who took up arms to defend their new nation – often at the risk of imprisonment or death.

You can read the story of the Mexican women by clicking here. Again, I don’t know these women or what they truly stand for, but I am proud of them for doing what they need to do to protect themselves, their families, and their homes.Colonial woman holding flag

You can read my previous story on the brave women of the Revolutionary War by clicking on Dangerous Women Series, which I never got back to, but which these Mexican ladies would definitely qualify as. I know there are brave women all over the globe that are doing dangerous things to protect their world. I need to find time to search them out. I know I would be inspired.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in Everyone, Women

 

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Sitting Ducks – Part 1

I’ve been stewing about school intruder plans since the Sandy Hook shooting last December. Even before that event, I knew that the existing plan most schools utilize is completely useless. That event, and the resulting discussions by school administrators, parents, and teachers caused me to stew even more; and with school starting up again this month, I decided to put some of my thoughts down on paper.

As a firearms instructor for a company that has other instructors who are very knowledgeable about this topic, we have had many discussions over the past year about how badly some situations have been handled in schools with active shooters. We are all more than willing to go into a school, assess it, and come up with a better plan than the current ones used in most facilities today, which basically make our teachers and students nothing more than sitting ducks.

I began asking my son’s private school administration shortly after Sandy Hook what their intruder plan was, and offering to come in, free of charge with other instructors, and help develop a plan for them.  I didn’t hear anything for some time, then was told that they do have an intruder plan, but that’s as far as the information went.

My son, Dylan (15 at the time), came home and told me that the plan was just the same as other schools:  Shut and lock the classroom door, huddle down, and wait, hope, and pray that the intruder doesn’t get to you before help arrives.  He said he told the teacher, and the class, that he would not be doing that. He said that plan would only get more people killed. If you know Dylan, you know he was not disrespectful or belligerent about it, just very matter of fact. I told the administrator the same.

I also found out that Dylan went on to address the class and let them know that if they hear a shooter in the building, yes, they would first shut and lock the door, but that’s when they would go into action. His classrooms are all on the 2nd floor of a metal building with thin, hollow-core doors that would not stop a bullet or an intruder.  The windows are narrow, but wide enough to get through if necessary. And even if they had to drop from that height to the ground and broke a leg, that’s a better option than being shot. Escaping would not only remove them as a target, it would also most likely make notification of authorities much faster, as someone could make it to the church next door and get help.

Dylan pointed to one of the larger boys during that conversation and said, “You break the window and start lowering people out.”  Pointing to another, he said, “You pick up whatever you can use as a weapon and stand by the door with me.  If an intruder gets in, we will tackle him and do whatever we can to buy time for others to get out.”

kids in lockdown procedure

Can you tell what is wrong with this picture? First, it would be easy to locate all of the children in the classroom with just a quick glance. Second, the shots will not come from the ceiling; why are they under the tables? Those tables might not stop bullets, but they might slow them down enough to save lives, at least providing a little concealment; putting the kids behind the tables, not under them, would be a better choice. Plans such as this only provide a false sense of security for those involved. Picture from The Southern Gazette, Marystown, in Canada.

Dylan knew, and I knew, what that meant, that he would at that point be risking his life for others. He wasn’t having delusions of being a superhero, and he wasn’t trying to take the fight to the intruder. He knows there is a good chance that if he tried to attack someone that had the forethought to arm himself and dress in a defensive manner, that Dylan (completely unarmed) might be overcome by him; but his hope is that it would buy enough time for others to get out, greatly reducing the number of casualties.  I know other young people who would do the same.

They are wise enough to know that gathering up into a huddle and waiting only increases the death count if the gunman comes in and finds the huddle, forming a large target.

In future posts I will be going over what teachers can do to improve their, and the children’s, odds of survival in an intruder situation.  I will also be talking to school administrators who have chosen to arm themselves and their teachers so that they could stop an attacker before many innocent people are killed.  I admire those who are leading the pack on this issue and risking ridicule by putting the safety of those in their charge first.

My advice to parents:  Talk to your school administrators and find out what the “active shooter” or “intruder” plan is. If you don’t like it, work to change it.  Your child’s life might depend on that plan.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in Everyone

 

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Ladies, you are in good company!

I decided to rework and republish this story that I wrote almost two years ago for my Rounds and Roses blog, with a little updated information:

Ladies, you are in good companywomen_guns_lg (368x295)

People are still talking about the huge influx of women to the shooting arena in recent years, to the tune of between 15 to 20 MILLION female gun owners in the U.S. – and that’s not counting the number of women who shoot, but do not have a gun registered in their name.  Maybe they shoot a gun purchased by their husband, or they shoot someone else’s rifle when they hunt, but regardless, that’s a lot of women. I decided to try to get a better picture of just how many that is.

You can’t begin to come close the number of women gun owners in the U.S. until you add together the numbers of active military personnel in the following countries:  United States, India, Syria, Thailand, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Indonesia, Italy, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, North Korea, Pakistan, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Russia, Myanmar, Morocco, Malaysia, Jordan, Israel, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Cambodia.  Active military personnel from those countries COMBINED are approximately 15,095,300, which means the number of female gun owners is greater than the military force of 30 countries.

And compared with national population numbers, female gun owners would equal the number of citizens in either the Netherlands, Chili, or Romania – or more than the populations of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, New Zealand, and Ireland COMBINED (15,548,522).

Feeling empowered yet, ladies?

How about more than twice the number of motorcycles in the US (7,752,926), more than all the redheads in Scotland and Ireland combined (10,700,000), or about 15-20 times the number of lawyers in America?

The bottom line is that 15 to 20 million of anything is a lot, and for that many women to actually purchase a firearm, there must be a good reason – many good reasons, to be exact.

Of course, many of the active military personnel in the world today are women who own firearms; and if you add the number of female law enforcement officers, you have a large number of women who are armed to protect and defend.  Many other women who own guns are prompted to do so by a desire to defend themselves and others on a personal and individual basis, and with the current numbers of violent crimes committed against women every year, that’s a good idea.

Along with defending themselves and their families, many women have joined their male counterparts in an effort to defend the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution, which states that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms.  With that right being threatened from all sides, especially in recent years, many women-led groups are popping up across the nation to encourage and empower women who desire to fight for that right.  Groups such as 1 Million Moms Against Gun Control are leading the fight – and you don’t have to be a mom to join!

Hunting for food or sport is another reason many women own and use guns.  The number of new female hunters is now outpacing the number of new male hunters, according to the NRA; and according to the National Sporting Goods Association, there were 2.6 million female hunters in 2011, and that number continues to rise each year.

DSC_0073Women across the nation are also finding out there are shooting sports that have nothing to do with hunting or self-defense.  The National Shooting Sports Foundation tells us that more than 19 million Americans participate in target shooting each year, many of whom are women.  But standing on the line and shooting at a stationary target is not enough for some women; these ladies want a little action in their shooting, hence the rise in attendance at practical shooting events throughout the U.S.

“Imagine combining the athleticism of competitive sports with the choreography of modern dance, then toss in the adrenaline rush of skiing down a double black diamond sky slope,” is how the USPSA Ladies’ Zone website describes the sport of practical shooting.  The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) and the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) sponsor many events across the nation where women and men navigate various “stages” while shooting at stationary and moving targets.

Ladies who “just wanna have fun – guns,” and who may also be involved in the action shooting sports, are joining women’s leagues today at a rate almost faster than the organizers can keep up with them.  Julianna Crowder started the A Girl & A Gun leagues just over two years ago and already has 57 chapters across the U.S.  AG&AG members and guests get to participate in gatherings such as Breakfast & Bullets, Girls Night Out, and T-Time (Target Time), among many others, and are leading the trend of “social shooting” groups for women.

If you add the fun of cowboy (cowgirl) shooting (who could resist dressing up in vintage clothing and participating in a shootout at the OK corral?), you have even more opportunities for female handgun shooters to have fun and compete alongside the men – check out SASS for more info.  But cowboy shooters do not only use handguns, and there are just as many women picking up rifles and shotguns these days, as pistols and revolvers.

The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is one group encouraging women to improve their rifleDSC_0052 skills through Project Appleseed Ladyseed events.  The Appleseed program instructs participants in three-position rifle shooting:  standing, sitting, and prone, as well as how to transition between positions; and it also teaches how important the rifleman was to gaining our country’s freedom in the Revolutionary War.

If rifles and handguns are not your cup of tea, how about shotgun shooting?  You don’t have to hunt birds to enjoy shooting a shotgun at your local skeet and trap range.  In fact, skeet shooting was named by a woman, Gertrude Hurlbutt, who suggested the Scandinavian word for “shooting” to replace the term of “clock shooting” in 1926.   And if Kim Rhode could compete against adults and win her first world title with a shotgun at the age of 13, going on to earn an Olympic gold medal at the age of 17, it might be something you could try, as well.  Now only in her early 30’s, Kim continues to compete, as well as encourage women and young people across the nation to become more involved in the shotgun sports.

So you can see that any woman who has a desire to shoot, also has many avenues and opportunities to do so, and with all of the many female shooting blogs, Facebook pages, and support sites available today, it is clear that women shooters are here to stay.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Everyone, Women

 

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Junior shooting programs

Looking to get your kids involved in sport shooting?  There are many organizations that act as entryways into competitive shooting for kids; the unfortunate part is that local clubs are few and far between.

National 4H Shooting Sports logoThe first organization we joined when getting our son into shooting was a 4H shooting club.  The National 4H Shooting Sports site will give more information, but you may find there is not a club in your area. These clubs generally start the kids off with smallbore (.22 caliber) rifles and maybe archery or shotgun, but rarely pistol. Students may compete through 4H in the Civilian Marksmanship Program or NRA competitive events.

AIM (Academics, Integrity, Marksmanship) and the SCTP (Scholastic Clay Target Program) are two other youth organizations that offer shotgun training and matches.  The SPP (Scholastic Pistol SPP logoProgram) is a new sister organization to the SCTP, but it provides matches for pistol shooters, specifically shooting steel targets.

Another steel shooting group  for young people is the SSC (Scholastic Steel Challenge) organization.  SSC is part of the SCSA (Steel Challenge Shooting Association), which is part of the USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association).

The Boy Scouts of America also have a marksmanship program, and participants can earn badges in various shooting disciplines.

The most common group to find operating at most ranges is USPSA, which is for both adults and youth, however, there may not be a Scholastic club being offered at the range. Starting a club is not difficult, but you must find a range that will let you shoot steel targets.

The best place to start is to contact your local gun range and see if they offer any youth shooting clubs.  Most likely they do.  If you need more information on finding a club, need to know what the group you are interested in is like, or want to start a club in your area, you can contact the individual organizations, or give me a shout.  I’m familiar with most of them and can point you in the right direction based on the age, needs, and desires of your child.

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Everyone

 

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The High Caliber Generation continues…

Over on my original blog, Rounds and Roses, I started a series called “The High Caliber Generation,” which featured junior shooters that are an encouragement to all of us. I am reviving that series here on High Caliber Cate, and will begin by featuring my own junior shooting team, the Red Dawn Raiders.

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The winning team: Brandi Stroud, Kyle Post, Bailey Stroud, and Dylan Bray

Four members of that team, Dylan Bray (16, and my son), Brandi Stroud (15), Bailey Stroud (13), and Kyle Post (16), recently became the Scholastic Pistol Program’s Junior Rimfire National Champions, even beating the best Senior Rimfire time!

All four of these young people have been shooters for some time, but not necessarily focused on pistol shooting.  Dylan, Kyle, and Bailey had been shooting local steel challenge matches as a hobby, but when we decided to begin competing in the Scholastic Pistol Program (SPP) and Scholastic Steel Challenge (SSC) matches, back in February, I wanted to send them to a match that was coming up at Texas A&M (the SPP Winter Regionals), just to see what the competition was like. I wanted to enter them so they could get a feel for what the matches would be like, and really just to see if it was something they wanted to do.

Problem:  We only had three shooters (at that time, Dylan, Bailey, and Daniel Martin), but we needed four to compete. We grabbed Brandi about a week before the match and asked her to fill in – again, just go see what it’s like – no pressure.  Brandi had been a long-distance rifle competitor for some time.  She shot pistols for fun occasionally, but her competitive focus was high power rifles.  She agreed, though, so we ran her through the steel procedures for less than a week, and send the group up to A&M – where they promptly took 1st in their division, 1st overall, and Brandi came in 2nd Woman Overall!  They even beat a few college teams that weekend, winning beautiful A&M Corps of Cadet watches, which A&M purchased because they expected their own junior team to win them.

Everyone involved was walking on air!  We knew they were good shooters, but they had never shot as a team before, had never shot in an SPP match before, and Brandi had never shot in a steel match at all. One thing we learned at that match, though, is that these kids are competitors.  Every one of them shot their best times at that match, and they have pretty much continued to do that at every match since then. Not only does competition not intimidate them, they do their best in that environment.

Check award at Ft. Benning

Being presented with our endowment check at Ft. Benning

Following that match, they shot in the SSC Collegiate Nationals in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and took 1st in Junior Rimfire and 2nd in Junior Centerfire. Unfortunately, for us, Daniel Martin went off to Marine bootcamp (and we’re very proud of his service) after that match, which again left us without a 4th.  We began to develop some of our younger students at that time, and were preparing (hoping) to take two teams to the SPP Texas State Championship in San Antonio, in June (actually on my birthday).

Team members came and went, right up until days before the match, and we never knew if we would have two full teams to compete or not.  Bailey Stroud, who at 13 was on our younger team, agreed to step up and fill in a spot on the older team, so that gave us three solid Black Team (older students) shooters.  Fortunately, at another local match about a week or two before, we met Kyle Post and his dad, Adam.  Kyle and Adam were excited about the team and Kyle jumped right in to fill out our Black team.  We already had four shooters on our Red Team (younger students), so off we went to San Antonio.

Some Red Team members earned cash for dropping their times dramatically at the match.

Some Red Team members earned cash for dropping their times dramatically at the match.

Sure enough, the kids performed even better than expected, and our Black Team took 1st in Junior Rimfire and came in 1st overall, with the Red Team (consisting of Carissa Barrett and her twin sister, Twila Barrett, Dalton Evans, and Baley Lamar – all 13 years old) taking 2nd in Junior Rimfire and 3rd overall.

Next challenge:  The SPP National Championships in Sparta, Illinois.  We were only able to take one team to that match, our Black Team, which now solidly included Bailey Stroud, who has grown tremendously as a shooter over the past few months.  And as stated earlier, they swept 1st and again had the best time overall in the rimfire division.

I simply cannot be more proud of them – not because they win matches, but because of the dedication and commitment I see in them.  They work hard, and it shows – but not just in shooting; they also work hard in school, are all good students, and are quality individuals no matter what they are doing.  That makes for a very well-rounded person, which is what we are seeking to build on this team.

A photo with awards 2

The team and their A&M watches

The success and commitment of all our team members has prompted me to work on formalizing the junior marksmanship academy, to help others succeed, as well.  One thing I didn’t mention is that at two different matches, Texas A&M Corps of Cadet members and Staff have approached our team and asked if they would consider wearing a maroon (A&M color) jersey.  The kids have been told they have a place on the team when they are ready, which prompted Dylan and Brandi to change their plans, from going directly into military service following high school, to attending college first – something their parents had hoped for 🙂

Many thanks go out to the folks at Red Dawn Training and Houston Tactical Training, specifically Michelle Stroud, who literally, physically built (and continues to expand) a new range when we were kicked out of our original one (because “the women are doing too much out here”), and who has done so much to help build and support this team; and to Michelle’s husband, Perry, and her parents, Jake and Janice Jacob, who gave the property for the range; to Brian Su, a Master level USPSA shooter, and dear friend, who has become head coach of the Alpha Squad (formerly the Black Team); and to my husband, Tom, who is a constant encouragement to all of us; as well as to the parents of all the kids, who spend a great deal of time and money to make sure these young people have what they need to move forward in this sport.  I’m so proud of all of you!!

In the future I will be interviewing each team member individually to let you hear from them how shooting has positively affected their life.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Everyone, Kids

 

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Typo in post

Thanks to all who came over from Slow Facts and/or Gun Rights Magazine.  It seems I had a typo in my recent story, though, so if you read “Have Guns, Will Travel,” please check it again.  The correct website for gun laws by state is http://www.handgunlaw.com – no “s” after “law.”  Here is the correct link, and I’m sorry for the confusion.  (Click on the map below)all_usa_map

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Everyone

 

Get your Slow Facts

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I think “Slow Facts,” a blog written by Rob Morse, is the blog I have followed the longest (his, and Female and Armed, by Lynne Finch). I like Rob’s take on things; and his short, precise posts are easy to read and understand – unlike my lengthy tomes 🙂  Rob was one of the first to comment on my previous blog site, “Rounds and Roses,” and he has continually encouraged me to write since that time. He’s the one that suggested I write about my travels with a gun this year (Have Gun, Will Travel, posted at Gun Rights Magazine), and has been kind enough to share that story in his recent post, “Think it is easy to carry a handgun in the U.S.?” I hope you will check out Slow Facts, and subscribe to his site.  I think you’ll like what you find there.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Everyone

 

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