Situational Awareness and Safety During the Holidays

By The Carry Girl
on December 23, 2019

 

The term “situational awareness” is one that most of us will come across fairly frequently once we become focused on self protection or emergency preparedness. In plain terms, situational awareness (or SA) simply means being aware of what is going on around you and whether someone or something in your area is a potential threat to your safety. In some cases, we see references to situational awareness as a way to thwart terrorism, as in the “See Something, Say Something” campaign; however, situational awareness helps us identify criminal behavior and other dangerous situations in the most normal of times, such as a storm on the horizon or traffic stopping suddenly ahead of us. Having a good idea of what’s going on around us at any given time, in any given location, can do anything from save us time by skirting traffic on the way to work to saving our lives by helping us avoid, or be proactive in responding to, life-threatening actions by others.

Clearly SA is something we should be thinking about, and working on, throughout the year - so why would it matter more during the holidays? Starting in late fall, especially in the USA, we have a calendar chock full of extended weekends, big celebrations, and blocks of time that are traditionally spent on the road or in the air. Many of us are out shopping, with cash and credit cards in hand and huge crowds around us. Lastly, with the large number of people traveling by every method available, we will face more traffic, longer lines, and stressed out, potentially cranky fellow travelers who have the potential to act out inappropriately, as well as those who plan to prey upon everyone possible in such a target-rich environment.

Expanding our situational awareness during the holidays can usually be broken down into two major needs: time at home and time away from home, including going out shopping, going to holiday events, and spending extended periods away from our homes and possibly via methods where we cede control of both the area and the mode of transportation (such as moving through airports and flying). Entire books have been written about situational awareness, such as Gavin de Becker’s The Gift of Fear, and I strongly encourage you to continue beyond the quick tips in this article to help learn more about situational awareness and how to appropriately respond to the threats that could come up in these, and other, situations. Such resources will also help you move along in your preparedness efforts if you feel you’ve got a good handle on being situationally aware and need to challenge yourself further.

Let’s start with how we can be more aware at home during the holidays! First of all, all of us should be making an effort to practice the basics of home safety and security, such as locking doors and windows when they don’t need to be open, and analyzing our home for entry points that bad guys could use against us. Come holiday time, though, we need to amp things up a bit, because said bad guys know that this is the time of year that families are stacking up gifts and goodies that they may want to steal. Obviously, good home security will serve you year-round, so don’t hesitate to consult with local law enforcement on ways you can improve your home security. Being neighborly also benefits us all year, but particularly so during the busy holiday season: knowing your neighbors means having someone you may be able to trust to watch your home or pets should you travel, and it means you’ll be more likely to know that your neighbor is out of town and there shouldn’t be a big van in the driveway swiftly filling up with furniture and valuables!

Since so many of us host guests and do lots of cooking this time of year, our situational awareness needs to take into account common causes of injury and illness. Being aware could include making note of the chimney that has some creosote build-up and scheduling a cleaning before cold weather hits; it also means checking smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors to make sure they are in good working order before firing up the stove or when everyone piles into bed for their “long winter’s nap”. It can even be as simple as making sure to follow industry standards for extension cords and chaining Christmas tree lighting to prevent electrical fires. Your local fire department or utility company may be able to do an assessment for you on such safety issues. Another option is to visit websites and work down a checklist yourself. There are great lists and suggestions for holiday and year-round safety assessments through the National Fire Protection Association (http://www.NFPA.org), the Electrical Safety Foundation International (http://www.esfi.org), and the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (http://www.nachi.org).

 

In addition to being aware of these safety concerns, consider these holiday tips for home security:

 

  • Hide packages/gifts and don’t display them where passersby, including burglars, can see them. Knowing that thieves are looking for gifts this time of year and making it look like they aren’t there is part of the battle.
  • Assess your schedule and consider having purchases sent to your office or placed in a parcel locker so package thieves can’t scoop things up before you get back from work or school.
  • Be aware of who may be listening when discussing holiday events and travel with colleagues or friends.
  • Deal appropriately with boxes from big ticket items; piles of boxes from expensive TVs, laptops, and game systems are a dead giveaway when they are stacked outside your home waiting for recycle day! Consider keeping them indoors until recycle day, taking them to work for recycling, or carrying them to the local refuse center for recycling instead.
  • Watch the neighborhood. An unfamiliar SUV full of giggling folks in “ugly” holiday sweaters in your neighbor’s driveway is totally normal this time of year; the bumbling burglars from Home Alone will stand out if you know that neighbor mentioned thawing out in Bermuda over Chanukah.
  • Watch for the mail carrier or delivery driver - the real ones and the fakes! While these folks are super busy during the holidays and may have some very late deliveries, it’s important to be aware of what you have ordered via online sales and when it is due to arrive. If the doorbell rings at 9 PM and you know you don’t have a package on the way, safety dictates leaving the door locked and assessing the situation.


Speaking of Christmas, let’s discuss shopping. Obviously, a great option for personal safety and security is to skip the crazy lines and chaos and shop the sales online - bonus points for being able to kick back in our jammies! You’ll want to research good cybersecurity practices - your bank and local police department likely have tons of ideas for you there. However, if a big part of your holiday fun is to get out and about to do your shopping, here are some suggestions for staying aware and safe:

  • Gear up. Whether your every day carry is a firearm, a TASER, or something else - have it on you and make sure you’ve practiced accessing it if you’re bundled up due to winter weather.
  • If possible, go shopping with someone else. Even if you split up inside a store, meet up before heading to the parking lot and approach your vehicle together. At the very least, communicate with loved ones where you are going and when you plan to be back, as well as at what point “late” turns into “I need help”.
  • Map out your route to/from the stores and plan for alternate routes in case of bad weather, horrible traffic, or other issues. Also know the layout of the store(s) you are going to; look for emergency exits as you shop so you know where to go should you need to leave quickly.
  • Keep your head up and your eyes sharp! Many of us are working from lists for gift buying and need reminders of what we are getting next, but being aware of your surroundings means not burying your nose in your phone, and marking off items on your list quickly, then scanning the aisles around you for suspicious behavior from humans and mischievous Elves on Shelves.
  • Keep your hands free as much as possible. If you carry a purse, consider switching to a sling or cross body style over a clutch or other item you have to hold while shopping. DO NOT leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart!
  • When leaving a store with multiple packages, use a cart. Not only does this save your back and shoulders from overload, it means your hands are free should you need them. Should you be approached by someone with ill intent, the cart provides a bit of a barrier between you and them, and even gives you something to ram them with if need be.
  • Check out your vehicle as you approach and put parcels in quickly, then get into your vehicle and lock the doors as soon as possible. Should you see someone loitering near your car, consider going back into the store for assistance or an escort from store security or law enforcement. Situational awareness means listening to that little intuition that says someone isn’t just waiting for their fellow shoppers or trying to find their car keys.
  • Check your mirrors! This busy time of year means more cars in parking lots, more runaway shopping carts, and more little ones potentially running behind and in front of moving vehicles. Take the time to make sure your area is free of hazards before leaving your parking spot. Keep in mind there are folks out there who will purposely get in your way so they can create a collision and take advantage of you or your insurance company.

    While we’re out and about, let’s briefly discuss our last segments of being away from home: attending holiday events and extended holiday travel.

    Both of these opportunities for celebration include some of the above ideas. For instance, if you know that the town’s holiday light parade is always a big deal, you will also know that you should learn as much as possible about the routes to and from the parade venue, where the safe parking is, and where your emergency exits are. If attending with a group, choose a meeting point should you be separated, even for something as simple as being moved apart by a large crowd. Depending on how far from home your event is, either wear or pack sturdy shoes and socks in case you should need to walk a distance from the event in an emergency. Most especially, if attending a party, designate a driver if you drink alcohol, and never leave any drinks unattended. (If you carry a firearm, do everyone a favor and stay sober. It’ll help you stay more aware, and eliminate a legal issue should you be forced to defend yourself.) Keep with your group and listen to those feelings should you observe any activity that throws up a warning flag to you. Communicate your planned schedule to loved ones and stick to it.

    Traveling further from home by car? Call me a mean mom, but safety dictates that you check the weather report, plan your routes, wear your seatbelt, and stay off the phone (particularly texting) while driving. You aren’t aware if your nose is on your phone! Keeping your eyes on the road means you are aware when traffic on the freeway slows, when a herd of deer are edging toward the road, and when that gentle snowfall changes to “time to put the chains on” or means you should take the next exit and find a hotel for the night. Consider shipping gifts to your final location to leave room for vehicle emergency supplies, and to make your vehicle less tempting if you don’t have a fully covered storage space (such as a trunk) that will keep gifts out of sight.

    Be aware that sharing your travel plans is never a good idea - no matter how well you’ve got your social media accounts locked down, you just never know where information will be shared further. Post pictures from your big trip after you get home.

    Flying or taking other public transport? Consider the following:
  • Keep your itinerary to yourself as much as possible and keep your eyes open. People watching is fun - and very common - at locations such as airports and train stations, so it’s the perfect place to practice your situational awareness skills! Who is leaving their bag behind to go fill their water bottle - is that really all they are doing? Now is a good time to work through a plan for yourself; if they leave behind a suspicious package, how should you react? Is that couple in the corner lovingly whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears or are their actions more suspicious and making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up?
  • Never leave your belongings unattended; doing so could mean a simple theft of your valuables, but it could also lead to legal issues if someone slips something into your baggage or reports your behavior as suspicious.
  • If traveling out of your usual cultural region, make the time to learn ways to be a good guest. Try to learn as much as you can to communicate effectively, blend in, and dress and act appropriately so as to not offend, but also to prevent legal issues cropping up on you. Know what behavior is “normal” for the region you plan to visit, so you can be better prepared to recognize potentially dangerous situations, such as carjackings, muggings, abductions, and terrorist activity.
  • Research the weather and natural disaster risks of your destination and watch for warning signs. Situational awareness means being aware of what is going on around you, and it’s not limited to the behavior of human beings.

    As previously mentioned, entire books and other resources are available on the subjects of situational awareness and personal safety. I strongly recommend that you keep researching and learning throughout the year so that you continue to be a hard target. Check with local law enforcement, colleges, or outdoors stores for the NRA’s Refuse to Be a Victim program (a non-firearms related personal safety course) to learn more about these matters. Another great option would be to research the works of the late Colonel Jeff Cooper, Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman, and Rob Pincus (of Personal Defense Network). A huge part of self protection is knowing what is going on around us and having a plan in place for how to deal with it. I hope that this holiday season you will continue further along your path to preparedness by making the most of your opportunities to look around, plan, and learn.

-Melonie Kennedy

Melonie Kennedy is a military spouse, homeschooling mom, and freelance writer. She is a chapter leader for The Well Armed Woman (TWAW) Shooting Chapters and an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer and Refuse To Be A Victim instructor. Learn more at MelonieK.com or on Instagram.

IT IS NOT OK!

By The Carry Girl
on October 23, 2019
1 comment

 

 

  • 1 in 4 women  experience severe physical violence, sexual violence,  or stalking by their partner
  • 60.8% of female stalking victims reported being stalked by a current or former intimate partner
  • 23% of female college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation
  • And 1 in 5 women in the United States is raped during her lifetime 

Do I have your attention?  Hearing the politicians speak out every day, especially the female politicians that are advocating that law abiding citizens, including the women listed in the stats I just recited, should have our gun rights limited, regulated and in some cases removed is unbelievable. If you champion for women you MUST also champion for their right to bear arms. Period. 

Despite the media and politician's rhetoric asserting that “the average person … has basically no chance in their lifetime ever to use a gun in self-defense,” the CDC reported that studies routinely find that Americans use firearms in defense of themselves or others between 500,000 and 3 million times every year. It's amazing to hear that so many accounts of law-abiding Americans whose lives were saved because they were able to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Reports also show that over 200,000 times per year a women uses a gun to defend herself against sexual assault. These stories rarely make any type of noise in the media, if at all. If these women did not have the right to bear arms these over 200,000 incidences where women saved themselves from a sexual assault would now be included in much higher statistics than I stated earlier.  These politicians care more about their power and votes than they do about these 200,000 possible rapes and assaults. They don't care. If they did, they would never fight for any gun controls.

For example, last March In Chicago, a woman shot a man in self-defense after he began physically assaulting her, breaking her hand and covering her body in cuts and bruises. In Oregon this year. A man forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s house and cornered her in her bedroom with her son. The woman, who had called 911 before to report the man for entering her home and threatening her, she fired her gun at him in fear for her life and her son's. The man was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and was charged with assault and menacing. 

Unfortunately, because of the stats I cited earlier, not every women is fortunate enough to be able to protect herself and is raped, assaulted or even worse, killed. 

The new red flag laws being introduced in many states, new regulations on concealed carry permits and waiting periods are making it more difficult for law abiding citizens to protect themselves.  These new laws will never affect the criminal. Because criminals don’t care about the law, new or old. 

There was a story from 2015 about a NJ women, Carol Bowne. This woman had a restraining order against her very violent ex. She was so fearful that she installed security cameras at her home and applied for a gun permit so she could purchase a handgun for protection in April 2015. In NJ at this time it could take several months to get approved for your permit. This local police department and Sheriff were also known to routinely sit on firearm applications that they are supposed to rule on within 30 days. Carol Bowne visited the police station to check the status of her application in June of 2015, 2 days before her ex brutally stabbed her to death in her driveway as she exited her car. If Carol Bowne was able to exercise her God given right to protect herself against her known abuser and not jump through state red tape, she would have been able to protect herself from her murderer. Carol was only 39 years old. These regulations need to be repealed now.  Carol Bowne is just an example of how gun control fails time and again, not against the criminal but the 39 year old woman begging the state to ALLOW her to legally protect herself.  

In the stats I listed previously where 1 in 4 women will experience severe physical violence, sexual violence, or stalking by their partner. Why shouldn’t these women be able to protect themselves against these attackers?  The politicians are telling you through gun controls laws that these 1 in 4 women do not. Even these waiting periods put in place can have deadly consequences. The politicians want you to believe that these gun control measures and waiting periods will have little to no effect on the law abiding citizens. Don’t you think Carol Bowne would disagree? Don't you think her loved ones would disagree? 

As a women who has survived my own rape on my college campus over 20 years ago, where my resident adviser took my pepper spray away and provided me with a red whistle for self-defense, I DISAGREE.  That whistle did not save me for that man beating and raping me and that restraining order did not protect Carol Bowne from being murdered.  Why would criminals, rapists and murderers suddenly follow these new gun controls.  The answer is easy, They won't.  And it is up to us, the law abiding citizens to make sure that we vote in such a way that these proposed laws do not become anything more than campaign rhetoric. For all the women in the stats cited above, don't we owe them the chance to save their own lives by insuring their right to keep and bear arms?

Bee Jackson

Owner-Founder Carry Girl Gear

 

 

 

Tactical Fairies - Shooters, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs

By The Carry Girl
on September 04, 2019

Tactical Fairies - Shooters, Bloggers, Entrepreneurs

 Hi, we are Gwendolyn and Pamela - two friends who share a passion for shooting, firearms and military events. We are from Austria, where gun's rights are much more restricted than in the US and our blog aims at dispersing some of the rather widespread prejudice against firearms. On our channels, we share our personal experience of tactical shooting courses, home defense, self-defense and first aid classes. 

Please follow our Instagram account @tactical_fairies if you want to see more about about our projects and ventures. 

 

I have always been drawn to weapons - my great-grandfather was a rifle inventor, so guns kind of run in my bloodline. After high school, I ventured on quite a different path though, spending many years in Asia, where I became a certified yoga instructor and taught workshops and private classes. When I finally returned to Austria I fell in love with an army officer and reconnected with the military lifestyle. I loved attending military events with him and developed a growing passion for firearms. Unfortunately, he decided to leave both the army and me, to pursue a consulting career in another country. Very disappointing to say the least. Another gun guy ambushed my heart - again I was ecstatic about the tactical breeze that he brought into my life and again he left the country - and me! (I sure know how to pick them...). After that break-up, however, I decided that enough was enough and that I wasn't going to depend on boyfriends anymore for a connection to the world of guns but was going to take matters into my very own hands. I decided that even though I was a tiny girl of all but 100 pounds I could still go for the things that I admired and make them part of my own life! 

I took shooting classes and signed up for the "Austrian Armed Forces Girls Camp" - where women spend 3 days in military barracks, following the curriculum and timetable of conscripts. I learned a bunch of amazing things and absolutely loved that camp. And- I was shocked to see that many of my friends have lots of prejudice against both the army and against firearms and were disapproving and unsupportive of my new undertakings. They had no actual contact with firearms, yet were biased and filled with anti-gun arguments.  

Resistance and opposing winds don't stop me, they fuel me, so I decided I was going to pursue my interests even more vigorously and I wasn't only going to talk to my friends about my experiences, but I was going to talk to the online world about my undertakings. I created an Instagram account and a Facebook page and started sharing my gun and military-related adventures. Support showed up shortly afterward - Pamela, who runs her own marketing agency and has been shooting guns herself for a while, joined me and built a website and youtube channel for our platform. We both feel it is important to portray safe and responsible gun handling publicly to counteract the anti-gun bias. Together we have become Team "Tactical Fairies" - petite, vegetarian women, who do yoga and - own guns. We are both vulnerable and fierce, playful and serious, airy-fairy and grounded, and we don’t shy away from wild adventures that our dainty body and tender heart might not seem to be cut out for at first glance.  

We go to the range regularly, we feature shooting courses, self-defense classes, firearms, etc on our blog and aim to empower other women to try out things beyond their comfort zone and learn about self-defense. Being able to protect yourself as a woman has become increasingly important and while going to the shooting range and Krav Maga classes is a lot of fun, it also has a very serious side to it. 

We firmly believe that gun's rights are women's rights and we want to do what we can to protect these rights. 

Throughout the courses, competitions and range days we have met absolutely fantastic people who are so supportive of us and of women in general picking up shooting & self-defense. We are really grateful for our teachers, for everything that we have learned and of course for our own stubborn determination :) 

We would be delighted if you want to check out and subscribe to our social media channels

Xoxo, 

Gwen and Pamela 

 

https://www.instagram.com/tactical_fairies/

https://www.facebook.com/tactical.fairies

https://tactical-fairies.at/ 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqFq8piTFR6AFxIhs2N20wA 

 

ASHLEY- 2A Warrior, Mamma Bear & Competitive Shootin' BADASS

By The Carry Girl
on August 20, 2019
Hi, my name is Ashley Leatherman, and I'm 28 years old and have been shooting for the past 11 years now. I am a stay at home Mom of two awesome, crazy,  little boys and the wife of an amazing Sheriff’s Deputy. I am a proud supporter of our Law enforcement community and our 2ND Amendment rights! If you would like to continue to follow my story, send me a friend request on Facebook , or follow me on Instagram @Hawtbrass.
I am from the small town of  Milwaukie, located on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. I came from a background with no firearms experience growing up. While dating my boyfriend (now husband) he took me shooting for the very first time at a sporting clays event at the Big Horn Gun Club. I can remember picking up that 12 gauge shotgun and feeling awkward, yelling “PULL!”, then lining up the bead sight with the clay pigeon and as I was getting ready to pull the trigger,  closing my eyes in anticipation of the recoil. Then much to everyone’s surprise, BAM! I hit it!!! That was the best feeling in the world and I have been hooked on shooting ever since!
I ended up moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2009 to be closer to my boyfriend (now husband). After he graduated the Law Enforcement Academy we got engaged and later were married in 2010. Throughout those years he took me shooting several more times. When he decided to take me pistol shooting, he had me start out with a little .22 cal, and I shot it a few times and said, “Well that was fun, but easy, give me the next one!” So, with a surprised sound in his voice, he said, “ok, try this one!”, as he brings me a .9mm.  So again, I shoot it a few times, and say, “ok, that was fun but I want to try the next one". So, he hands me a .40 caliber Glock, I shot it a few times and said, “ I hate that one, but let me try the next big one!”. So, he hands me a 1911, .45 cal. and I absolutely loved it! He had the biggest grin on his face when I told him that, so he called his Step-Dad on the way home and said, “You will never guess which one was her favorite!”. So, for my wedding present, my Father-in-law endlessly searched for the perfect 1911 for me, which was a nickel plated, government issued, pre-series ’70, and he even found me hot pink grips to go with it!
In 2012 we had our first born child, which changed my entire world! I quickly became a protective Mama Bear and the instincts kicked in. I had decided I would do anything to protect my family and the ones I loved. So, feeling the need to protect my family while my husband was away at work, I decided to get my concealed carry license in 2013, and have been carrying a firearm ever since.
After watching my husband and father-in-law shoot in multiple competitions I knew I had to get in on the action and wanted to give it a shot myself.  That’s when I got in contact with my Range Mom & Dad, Jim and Nanci Lambert, who took me under their wing and taught me what I needed to know, to be able to shoot competitively.  In 2015 is when I started shooting competitively in USPSA pistol matches.
Then in the Christmas of 2016, I was surprised by my In-laws with a membership for A Girl & A Gun Women's Shooting League and a shooters slot to attend the AG&AG 3-Gun University held at the NRA Whittington Center. It was an amazing experience, being able to get hands on 3 gun training from other women shooters and instructors.
Over these wonderful years of shooting I began to be approached by other women who also wanted to learn more about shooting sports. In 2018 is when I obtained my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor Certification, so that I would be able to train women in a safe and non-judgmental environment, how to shoot a firearm proficiently.
I am currently a sponsored shooter for Firebird Precision, Ergo Grips, A1CustomTac, and NotchGear and am so grateful for all the opportunities they have given me, in being able to do what I love in the shooting community. I’m also the former Facilitator for the Albuquerque Chapter of A Girl & Gun, and I am so grateful for that opportunity, it meant so much to me! Being able to help empower other women was the best feeling in the world! It was exciting to see the ladies who joined  our group, take their own path in the 2nd Amendment  community. We had an amazing group of ladies, and I'm  eternally grateful to our A-team Instructors and coaches as well, who stuck by me through it all.
Thank You,
Ashley Leatherman

 

Kerry Slone - SURVIVOR, ENTREPRENEUR, and ADVOCATE FOR WOMEN

By The Carry Girl
on June 14, 2019

I woke up on November 7, 2019 like many people with a post midterm election hangover, and with incredible disappointment and concern regarding the passage of WA I-1639; this initiative is a compilation of failed gun control laws from previous elections all thrown together to capitalize on the Parkland shooting. One of the most concerning pieces of this legislation being the full, unrestricted access to an individual’s health record...including their mental health record, as part of the application for a firearm purchase. 

Like many individuals, I took to social media to share my concerns with friends and followers. However, on this day my words resonated with people in deep and powerful ways that I could not have anticipated. Never could I have imagined the impact my words would have. My story was everywhere. I had a flood of emails, text messages, and social media Direct Messages from domestic violence survivors and rape victims wanting to share their stories and express their gratitude for me as someone who gave voice to a very serious issue that has long been, and continues to be, pushed into the recesses of the gun control debate. Domestic violence victims are constantly used as pawns in the political chess match over the Second Amendment. Advocates of gun control laws have insured that the voices of domestic violence survivors are virtually silenced or ignored when these survivors make an attempt to speak out in support of their constitutionally-protected and natural rights to defend themselves with a firearm. 

So here, I am, 8 months later; my life forever changed as I have chosen to retire early and devote my time to changing the paradigm surrounding domestic violence and gun rights. 

I believe that my words helped so many survivors feel heard and spoken for because I know the struggle firsthand. I am a domestic violence victim. Washington State's broken legal system failed me. This very legal system that was supposed to protect me and prosecute my abuser dropped his felony assault charge to a misdemeanor, allowing him to negotiate a diversion agreement that he took advantage of. He took a job delivering pizzas so that he could be mobile and began stalking me. 

Gun control advocates and legislators use women, and more importantly, domestic violence and assault victims in their efforts to consistently take our constitutional rights from us. These laws present a much more problematic situation in that they not only take away our rights protected within the Constitution; it takes away our ability to defend ourselves. 

While we have been fed lies that so-called "common sense" gun laws are not designed to take away individual's guns, each additional law that is put into place limits more and more of our rights, and some of these laws completely remove an individual's ability to obtain the tools needed protect ourselves. This is something that goes largely unchallenged, and is consistently used as emotional manipulation for justifying more oppressive laws. 

If it were truly about the safety of victims, why are guns the sole focus of the supposed well-meaning "do-gooders"? Why are other weapons not focused on? Because it is not about safety, it is about control. 

So to answer the question “Why do I carry?”

I carry because I choose to never be a victim again. I carry to protect my daughter, and to teach her how to never be a victim. I carry to not only protect other women that may cross my path needing to be defended, I carry as a symbol of expressing my right to choose how I defend myself, and to inspire other women to stand up and never be victims as well.

We, as women, owe it to one another to educate, engage, and inspire each other to take back our power. What better way to do so than embracing our fundamental human right to defend ourselves; oh...and having a nice little Sig 9mm under our skirt. ;)

-Kerry Slone

Founder, We The Female

Social:

Instagram:

@stilettosandshotguns    @wethefemale_official

Facebook and YouTube:

 Stilettos and Shotguns 

 We The Female  

wethefemale.net

 

Maddie's Story...Student, BADASS Competitor Shooter & 2A Protector

By The Carry Girl
on June 04, 2019

 

           I grew up in a house with firearms, and I was taught to shoot at a young age.  Shooting in my family was about being able to defend yourself and being prepared.  We always had guns in our house for as long as I can remember, and I loved shooting with my family.  When I started shooting, I never thought I would be where I am today.

          My dad got me into shooting, and I started shooting air guns when I was five years old.  As I got older, I started shooting more and more.  I fell in love with shooting at a young age and felt safe knowing how to defend myself. Since I can’t carry a gun yet, I took TaeKwonDo for several years and earned a blackbelt.

          After seeing many women in competitive shooting, I really wanted to try it.  So when I was twelve, I started practicing to shoot competitively.  In the fall of 2017, I shot my first ever match.  I had so much fun, and couldn’t wait to shoot more.  Last year, I shot seven matches and plan on more this year.  For practice, I shoot several times a week and do exercises like dry-fire at home when I can’t go to the range.    

          Guns have changed my life in more ways than one.  I now know how to defend myself, and use a firearm safely.  Shooting has also boosted my confidence.  Knowing how to defend myself and being a competitive shooter has given me a confidence that I didn’t have before.  Having guns makes me feel safe in knowing that it’s there if I needed it.  I hope I never have to use my gun in self-defense, but I’m prepared if I have to.  Most women think shooting is just for men, but times are different now.  I think more women would like shooting and should learn more about firearms and concealed carry.

          Both of my parents have concealed carried since I was young.  They believe it is important to be able to protect our family.  The police do a fantastic job, putting their lives on the line every day, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time.           

           I think standing up for the second amendment is also very important.  Taking guns away from innocent people isn’t going to stop crime.  Sometimes it is easy to be scared of what can or will happen, but shooting is how I’m prepared.  Shooting and carrying guns is a responsibility we must take to ensure our safety.  Women are often targets, and anything can happen at any time; especially when you least expect it.  We always need to be prepared and aware of our surroundings.

          As women and as Americans we need to stand up for our rights.  Guns are tools that help us exercise the right to defend ourselves, our homes, and our families.  We can’t let that be taken away from us. 

-Maddie, Georgia

@madds_g34

 

 

Meet Cheryl Todd- 2A Warrior, Mother and Badass Boss Lady!

By The Carry Girl
on May 20, 2019

We are excited to introduce you to Cheryl Todd. Cheryl is a wife, a mom, and a grandma. She is the co-host of Gun Freedom Radio, co-owner of AZFirearms.com, a small mom & pops gun shop in AZ. Cheryl is also the AZ Delegate for The DC Project. She sits on several Boards including the Arizona State Rifle & Pistol Association and the Arizona Citizens Defense League Foundation. While Cheryl Todd is indeed a Carry Girl, and has her Concealed Carry License, she considers herself foremost an Advocate for our Constitutional Rights and an Ambassador for the Firearms Community, and she speaks to the value of her 2nd Amendment Rights through the lens of self-protection and instilling those values in the generations to come. 

Carry Girl: Why you shoot or carry?

Cheryl: I carry because I am a fierce Mama-Bear who was born without fangs and claws, but rather, with the intellect to use tools and tactics of self-defense. I carry because danger walks among us, and uses the element of surprise to gain the upper hand. Therefore, I must be prepared to be my own First Responder, because I am the one who will be immediately responding to what is happening to me. And, I carry to instill in my daughter and granddaughter that we are strong and capable women who value our Constitutional and Civil Rights and exercise these Rights unencumbered, and as free American Citizens, who need no permission from anyone to do so.

 Carry Girl: What has led you to this point in your life? 

Cheryl: For most of my adult life I was out of touch with my Constitutional Rights and the importance of protecting and defending them. Not only with the way I interacted (or didn’t interact at all) with our elected officials, but also with the ways I voted. Once my husband, Danny, and I opened a gun store nearly 15 years ago, I became acutely aware of how politicians use talking points to vilify not only the guns themselves but also the people who own guns and most certainly those of us who sell firearms. 

We would hear utter nonsense being repeated like a metronome every night on the evening news, and in a very short amount of time we began to see our neighbors and friends begin to believe these politicians’ half-truths and outright lies. I found myself in a defensive posture more often than not when someone would happen to ask what my husband and I did for a living. I was constantly trying to un-ring the bell of misinformation over and over again. The good news is that I found that most people were genuinely hungry for the truth and would listen with open minds to what guns actually are (and are not), and why someone as “normal” as my husband and I are would be in the business of selling these “weapons.” That was when I realized that I needed to broaden my sphere of influence, and the idea for Gun Freedom Radio was born. Through the radio-show / podcast format I am able to reach people from all over the globe to help educate, engage and inform them about the rare and beautiful freedoms we have because of the Second Amendment.  

Carry Girl: How do you train?

Cheryl: While I am sure your question has to do with getting out on the shooting range and practicing with my firearms, I want to answer this question a little bit differently. As I mentioned earlier, I do own and carry firearms, and training with them is highly important, however I am foremost an advocate and an ambassador for those of us who value our rights. So, the way that I stay informed, educated, and proficient in those areas is by connecting with experts in their field. With our radio show I am able to interview people from all areas of expertise in the Firearm Industry, in the Constitutional Advocacy Communities, in Competitive Shooting, in Law Enforcement and Personal Protection Training, and in, yes, Politics. Also, as the AZ Delegate for The DC Project I connect with women from all across the United States to keep in touch with the individual concerns of the various cities, counties, and states across the nation. 

The DC Project was founded by Dianna Muller, a retired police officer, who served 22 years with the Tulsa Police Department, and is now the Captain of Team Benelli 3-Gun. The DC Project is 50 women, one from each state, who join together in Washington, DC each summer to spend four days meeting with members of Congress. The DC Project is a nonpartisan initiative to bring women and girls from each state to our Nation’s Capital to dispel common myths and garner support for gun rights. 

Carry Girl: What impact have guns had on your life?   

Cheryl: Guns have had an incredible and positive impact on my life. Because of the tremendously emotional and illogical push from some in this country to dis-arm law-abiding American Citizens I have been made aware in ways I otherwise would not have of the importance of the sacrifice of our Founding Fathers. Also the purpose and need of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the enumerated Amendments therein. By becoming connected to the unique and sometimes difficult past of our nation, I realized the part I play in passing along the baton of liberty and freedom to my daughter and granddaughter. Whatever I do or don’t do in my lifetime will have ripple effects into the future. And I choose to be on the side of those who fought, bled, starved and died to secure the Legacy of the Second Amendment which is the legal protection of our God-given rights to self-protection. 

This is a responsibility I take very seriously, but I might have missed it entirely had I not been in the business of selling the tools of self-defense that American citizens use to save lives 2.5 million times each year. And that women use 200,000 times each year to defend themselves from sexual assault. 

Isn’t it interesting that the Rights-Restrictors who seek to confuse American voters and disarm law-abiding American citizens are the very reason I had to wake up and speak up. I might have stayed disconnected and silent about my Rights, and therefore not have instilled these values in the next generations, had these Rights not been threatened. I believe there is truth in the statement, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone (or endangered). 

The encouraging news is that I am not alone or unique in these things. I have met thousands of other fellow Patriots that I like to call “Ordinary Warriors.” Men and women alike, who see themselves as part of the almost secret society of 2A Warriors. I even began using a hashtag and created a lapel pin to help connect these Patriots. The hashtag is #PolkaDotsAreMyCamo and is a nod to the millions of ordinary everyday warrior patriots, skilled and prepared to be their own First Responder and protect those around them.

To follow Cheryl Todd:

FB: Cheryl_Todd GFR: https://www.facebook.com/CherylToddAZF/

IGram: https://www.instagram.com/cheryltoddgfr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GunFreedomRadio

I carry because...

By The Carry Girl
on May 10, 2019

Today, this is a sensitive subject in America. Many people have their opinions and they are strong.  However, for me, growing up the way I did it was as useful as any other tool. It was just an object... 
I grew up on an Apache reservation in New Mexico (yes, it is a state). I played in the woods but I also spent my older years in a city where I worked in a historical bookstore about the Southwest. I have seen my culture in a textbook and for myself. One of the most prominent figures for Apaches is Geronimo and guess what; in nearly every picture, he's holding a gun. I recognize I come from a line of strong stoic people and that modern two-dimensional labels of natives just do not fit. I don't understand why people attack this issue. I think, if Geronimo, Lozen, or other Apache figures didn't have guns would I even exist today? It's not barbaric to want the best utilities to hunt or defend yourself. Think about it, that sounds rational but the lines become blurred when people get emotional and I'm not saying there's not a legitimate debate to be had. I'm just giving a perspective most people don't consider. I come home every day and my walls are littered with paintings of Apache warriors scouting with their horses and rifles. I hear about my aunt on the rez who is a professional game hunter shooting a 12-pointer and wishing I could hunt with her. My mom would tell me stories about how the Mescalero Apaches came from a long line of strong matriarchal women and how I would grow up to be the same. Looking back now, I didn't understand how unique my experience is and I'm grateful for it. I realize why Apaches were feared. They were incredibly aware of human nature and did anything to protect children. I want to be the same way. I want the best protection afforded to me because you just don't know and the stats of violence against native women is high enough, why shouldn't I use everything afforded to me? I choose to be prepared as much as possible and if that means having a rifle in my hand or a phone, I want both. 
I also think guns have been a major part of my life now because of my lifestyle as a military spouse. My husband is constantly away for training. Sometimes this means 10 miles up the road in a secluded area with no signal or 3,000 miles away across the ocean. It is one thing to be home alone near your family and everything you know but it is a completely new issue when you just moved and don't know anything about the area. I've been attacked walking my two dogs in an upper-middle-class neighborhood and it was a horrifying experience because I didn't have anything to protect myself with. I thought nothing would ever happen if I was walking a Pit and Doberman mixes but it did! I filed a report with the police letting them know the make, model, year, and that it was a convertible(easily identifiable) and the police more or less told me 'kids will be kids' after telling them two boys around the age 18 threw fireworks at me and kept driving around. I just don't understand it. I would have felt better knowing I could've been armed at the time. These boys looked at me, stopped the car to make sure it hit me and drove slowly to debate hitting me again. Why should I just let the police handle it 40 minutes later to just to say 'wow, crazy teenagers? Have a good day.' Since the latest reminder of my safety, whenever possible I try to keep at least a Taser near me. I am not the type to be anxious or upset by these situations but I cherish my life and the people in it. I love guns because I don't have to worry if I'm as safe as I can possibly be and because of the culture that it's helped my family to uphold. 
I carry because I am an independent person. I carry because it is what my family has done for generations. I carry because my principles are to be as strong as possible.  
I am grateful for a country that respects these principles and accepts diversity. And I see that our world isn't perfect. 

-Rose, Hawaii

Developer & Writer

http://unearthedlifestyle.com 

@roseunearthed

Mother, Firearm Instructor and Survivor

By The Carry Girl
on April 26, 2019
1 comment

I am a NRA firearms instructor and an instructor for the “Well Armed Women} in Southern California.

So the number one question I get asked all the time...Why? Why guns?

Well...

At a young age, I was attacked…

After my attack I felt ashamed, scared. I didn’t want to feel that way ever again,  So I decided I wanted to learn how to not only protect myself but as a mom protect my four children.  I shot my first gun at the age of 16. It was an AR-15. I was completely hooked!!!!! I got into hunting and I would shoot anything I could get my hands on.  Over the years, I shot more at local ranges, and learned a lot about hunting.

I love being outdoors but teaching others to shoot is my passion. I took some classes with a male instructor but did not feel comfortable. I felt almost intimidated. I knew a lot of women who wanted to shoot but were intimidated by men or just to even walk into a gun store because it’s a “man’s world” I decided I wanted to change that in my community. Times are changing!!! So I wanted to be the voice for those women who wanted to learn how to protect themselves and their families.

A few years ago, I headed to Arizona and took classes with Carrie Lightfoot, the founder of The Well Armed Women, at the amazing Gunsite Academy. I spent the weekend there with 13 other amazing women from all around the country. We had long hours in the classroom and on the range. We all supported each other and a beautiful bond grew within all of us. Since I have been back at home, the support from my community has been truly overwhelming. I am beyond thankful. Doing classes here in my community gives me the pride of knowing I am teaching other women like myself not to ever be a victim. The smiles, the confidence they build while on the range is absolutely amazing to see. I love teaching beginners because I know once they take any of my courses, they will be hooked!

The friendships and bonds I have created through this journey have been what makes what I do so enjoyable. Empowering other women, lifting each other instead of breaking or bashing each other is what’s it’s all about!! Teaching other moms who are terrified of firearms how to safely handle them is one of the best feelings. Knowing I’m giving them the knowledge to protect their loved ones is priceless ...overall the best feeling a mother can have is knowing she herself can protect her children and herself.

-Jackie, Southern California 

@packin_momma_society

"Shooting saved my life."

By The Carry Girl
on April 19, 2019
4 comments

It isn’t about what we have gone through, it’s about what we learn from those experiences. I grew up in a household full of firearms, and I was taught firearms safety at a young age by my dad. I also grew up in a household with a clinically depressed, alcoholic, possibly schizophrenic mother. As a child, fear and I were close friends. I was around 7 or so when the nightly rituals started. I would fall asleep only to wake up to a drunk mother standing over my bed smiling at me. She would say things like “I know where daddy keeps the guns, and I’ll kill him before he can hurt me.” “The devil sleeps next to you at night because you’re a bad child and have to be taught a lesson.” One thing that I will never forget hearing was “One day you will come home from school to see me laying on your bedroom floor with my wrists slit open to show you what real pain is like.” Eventually, she would leave, and I would muster up enough courage to sneak into my father’s room (they did not share a bedroom) to see if he was still alive. I was so scared to tell him about any of this because I didn’t want to make her angry. 

It got a lot worse from there. She would have bad nights, grab me, throw me into the back of her car, and drive 60mph through our neighborhood drunk and screaming. I used to jump out of the car at stop signs and hide in the trees because I didn’t want to die. I remember barely breathing behind the brush. I would watch her drive back and forth looking for me, taunting me from the window of the car. There were a lot of nights that I spent at our local park.. it is honestly a miracle that something worse didn’t happen to the kid alone outside in the dark.  

I broke a coffee pot once by accident and she chased me through the house with a cast iron pan. I hid in the bathroom and the only thing I could think to do was grab the top cover from the toilet to use as a weapon if she broke the door down. 

I moved out when I was 17 and ended up dating a guy for two years who would rape and emotionally abuse me. I had to testify in court alone to get a PFA order against him when I finally left.  

The point of all of this is to say that I have experienced evil. Not once in my life have I thought that taking guns away from people would stop evil. Shooting saved my life. It gave me a purpose, and it gave me control over my life for the first time. I will carry everywhere, and every day, because a long time ago I made a promise to myself that I will never allow myself to be in a terrible situation ever again. Gun rights are everyone’s rights. The right to self defense is everyone’s right. I would love to see a world where everyone had a way to protect themselves, I would love to see a world where innocent people aren’t taken advantage of.  

Today I speak openly in the firearms community about mental health, rape, and domestic violence. Every single thing that I have ever gone through will be worth it if I can help even one person. Fear is a choice, and Although we will never be able to eliminate evil, we sure as hell can be prepared to face it. 

-Genevieve, PA

@beyond.the.unknown

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