Monday, December 8, 2008

Off-Topic But Important

This post will definitely be off my usual subjects, but I know that the majority of my audience is like me- female, likely a mother, probably a mother to young children- and so I have decided to address a topic that has become important to me recently. The topic is women and guns. 

Don't run screaming to another blog, I am not going to go all G.I. Jane on you. I just want to briefly share my story and encourage you to keep an open mind. A couple of years ago, just before my little girl turned one and my son was 2, my husband and I were awakened by our house alarm at 4:30 am. We could see from the system touch pad screen in our room that the front door had been opened. My husband grabbed his gun and stationed himself at the top of the stairs, pointing the gun down toward the opened front door while I called 911 and grabbed my baby daughter and took her into my son's room at the end of the hall. 

We were fortunate that the intruder was scared off by the alarm, but the whole experience left me feeling extremely vulnerable as I realized how defenseless I had been in that room alone with the children. What if something had happened to Chad? How would I protect myself and my children? Those thoughts are what propelled me into eventually concluding that I needed to have my own gun, and I needed to know how to use it and be comfortable using it.

Shortly after that unnerving night, my husband took me to the target range to shoot his gun. However, it was heavy and very awkward for me to use, and in his excitement he glossed over most of the safety instructions, basically just telling me to point and shoot. I didn't do so well, and the experience made me feel even worse about my situation, making me question if I could ever really successfully defend myself using a gun.

Fast forward to this past July, when my brother e-mailed me a Craigslist posting he had seen looking for a female who was considering purchasing a gun for the first time. I looked into it, and it had been posted by the National Geographic Channel as part of their preparation for an upcoming show about guns in America. I responded to the ad, and after a series of e-mails and phone calls with the producer, we scheduled a weekend for filming. 

To make this long post shorter, the show will be airing tomorrow night (Tuesday Dec. 9th) at 10pm on the National Geographic Channel. My story will be one of many, but I am hoping that it is portrayed in a way that was true to my experience as I worked with the crew over the weekend of filming. They took me to a gun show where I had the opportunity to talk with some very nice and helpful people who began to 'show me the ropes' of gun usage and ownership, and then they hooked me up with a fantastic instructor who took me step by baby step through gun safety and, eventually, actually firing the gun. 

My whole perspective changed completely over the course of those two days, and I am certain that there are other women out there who probably feel much like I did in the beginning- anxious, trepidatious, and even just scared- who could watch this show and realize that they don't have to feel that way. A gun is a tool that is available for you to use to protect yourself and your children, and if you treat it that way and embrace knowledge rather than fear, then you can stop being a victim and take responsibility for your life and your protection.

To read more about my experiences with filming, check out my entry on the National Geographic Channel Blog.  For a brief synopsis of the show, check out National Geographic Explorer Episodes: Guns in America.

Let's hope I don't make myself look like a complete dork. ;-) 


  1. Thank you so much for your post. First I want to thank you for the scarf I won it is beautiful. As for this, this really hits home for me. My husband is a police officer here in the town we live in which is considered one of the safest places to live. We had someone break into our house during the afternoon luckily I was not here but should of been. I had decided at the last minute to go with my sister somewhere. Luckily, my husband was on duty and they caught the guys. One of them is going to prison and the other one is paying us back for all the damage they did to our house. The reason they broke in was because no one answered the door well if I had been home I wouldn't of answered the door anyway. SO, I'm afraid if I had been home they would of come in on me. I have small children also and do not know how to shoot a gun. SO, since then my husband has been wanting me to learn. Your post has just made me decide to do it.

  2. I completely, completely agree. We just recently purchased a handgun, and I do feel much safer knowing that it's here. I have been to a shooting range once, and, like you, it didn't go so well. When you see people shoot guns on TV or in the movies, it looks so easy! They fail to mention how hard it is to hold that gun steady and how powerful it really is. But hopefully I will get to go to the range more frequently so that I can become more comfortable with it.

    And good for you for learning and being open to this new experience!


Comments make me happy. Nice to know I'm not just sitting here talking to myself. So, thank you!

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