A couple of days ago, PLW and I entertained three women from a major metropolitan city in our great state of Texas. We had invited them to come spend a day with us and learn how to properly defend themselves with a handgun. I think it is safe to say they were all skeptical; albeit perhaps on different levels; but each of them had concerns about at least one of the following: 1) handguns appear to be dangerous 2) I can't see myself ever employing one to defend myself, and 3) I'm not real sure what I could possibly learn here today that will be of benefit to me.
I know what they were thinking, because I have been in their shoes. But I have come a long way in opening my mind and in pursuing my training. I am now so passionate about empowering women to take responsibility for their own safety; and together, PLW and I want to share the information and experience that we've gained.
First of all, I have to say that PLW approaches the training of women with respect. He knows that this is a foreign experience for them, and he admires that they are stepping outside their comfort zone. But he also wants them to know that firearms are nothing to be afraid of, and are a tool they can use to keep themselves and their families safe. In fact, the first thing he accomplishes is assuring them that their pistols can be safely handled without harming themselves or anyone else on the range. Once these women realized that they were in charge of their weapon (instead of the other way around), they knew that they were in control of the safety issue. You could see them begin to relax and the fear disappear.
So while PLW stressed the mechanics of operating their firearm (proper grip, finger off the trigger until they were ready to aim and fire, how to safely load and unload the pistol, to be aware of muzzling yourself or others, etc), I began to talk to them about real-life scenarios; the ways, "whys", and importance of women being able to defend themselves with a handgun.
I wanted them to relate this training to their real worlds. The news coverage of mall shootings, carjackings, and home invasions seems to increase by the day. How would they be able to defend themselves, or their small children, if accosted in a parking lot? What if a gunman or a suspicious looking character confronts them in the mall? How are you going to keep yourself or your children safe? What if someone notices your nice car, your expensive jewelry, or your fancy purse at the local Starbucks and decides to follow you home? Could you defend yourself? What if you and your husband are watching TV late one night and someone is cruising your upscale neighborhood and decides to break down your front door? Do you have a plan for defending your family?
I think the fact of realizing that a handgun gives them a form of personal self-defense, combined with their ability to effectively and safely handle the firearm turned a switch on. They suddenly saw the value in owning their own firearm. Once they realized that they and their children were vulnerable in today's society, and that neither their husbands nor police would likely be available to save them from every dangerous situation, they were able to take ownership of their own safety and permit themselves to see the benefits, the confidence they gained, and yes, the fun of training.
By the end of our session, they were safely conducting drills that simulated multiple attackers, hostage situations, and how to move about your home while safely handling your firearm. In a matter of hours, these women were successfully managing their pistols, getting their hits, and asking knowledgable questions about gun safety in particular situations. They were getting it! We all have a fundamental right to protect ourselves, and a firearm is just one of the tools in our belt. These women now know that they can effectively, safely, and confidently employ a pistol in self-defense. (Of course, they realize that further training -- and consistent training -- is necessary, but they have come to realize the importance of owning a firearm for self-defense).
Needless to say, I am not only very proud of them, but completely thrilled to see women realize that they can overcome their biases and fears, and take personal responsibility for the safety of themselves and their children. And perhaps one of the most satisfying by-products of the day? They can now go home and educate the husbands who lack the proper training that they now possess. Take it from me ... the couple that trains together is a couple who has gone a long way towards being able to defend themselves and their family from the darkness that is coming upon the earth.
Psalm 144:1 "Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;"