Where Should You Wear Your Gun?

By Kellene Bishop

The other day I was on my way up to Salt Lake City to work a “self-reliance conference.”  My car has the entire back window taken up by a vinyl sign for Women of Caliber, mentioning the firearm and physical self-defense classes I offer. Being in a bit of a hurry, I zipped through a school zone without paying attention to my speedometer. After getting midway through the school zone, I slowed down, but if there was a police car watching for me or other speeders I most likely would have been pulled over for speeding.

Instinctively when I recognize Continue reading

The Death of Expected Peace

I simply cannot allow the news of the three security guards standing by while a 15 year old girl got pummeled go by without comment. http://rawstory.com/2010/02/security-guards-inothingi-15yearold-girl-beaten/ In spite of a very heavy writing schedule, I feel that I have to address this issue on Women of Caliber in order to translate it into a valuable lesson from which we all can—and MUST—learn.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the story, a 15 year old girl was brutally attacked by another teenage girl all while she was in front of three male “security” officers in a Seattle bus tunnel.  The security officers did absolutely nothing in spite of the 15 year old being thrown down to the ground at the feet of the officers and repeatedly kicked in the head. (see the video footage at the link noted above) This story has a very familiar tune to the event in New York in which MTA employees in Queens New York were legally absolved of any wrong doing for acting as nothing more than spectators while a woman was repeatedly raped at the train station. http://www.nypost.com/seven/04012009/news/regionalnews/subway_rapist_victims_shock_162317.htm  

Both of these incidences as well as others like them should teach us all something very real, but most unpleasant—we must take responsibility for our own safety and peace.

Mass evacuation photo c/o http://www.meted.ucar.edu

Given the litigious society in which we live, many otherwise acceptable and expected human responses are delayed or eliminated as the result of legal exposure.  For example, New Orleans Mayor Nagin specifically delayed issuing a mass evacuation order sooner than he did because he had to consult with the city attorneys, and then the state, and then a national attorney to be sure that his butt . He had to be sure that the city would not be exposed to lawsuits for a loss of business revenue as a result of the evacuation order. As reported by the author Amanda Ripley in her book “The Unthinkable” companies have deliberately not held safety drills (such as evacuation, robbery, etc) because they don’t want to be held liable for someone getting hurt in the midst of the exercise.  It’s a very sad world indeed in which our brains are programmed to act as a responsible human being because instead we feed our minds the horrors of legal liabilities. But the fact of the matter is, that’s the way things are and we simply cannot change them fast enough to protect us today, tomorrow, or even a year from now. So we must take responsibility for our own safety. 

I don’t say that with any bitterness.  I say it in possession of expertise on the legal, realistic, logistical, as well as instinctive responses of human beings. I don’t say this with one iota of pessimism towards human nature. Even if half of all the world thought so inappropriately as those who put the security guards under such an asinine contract, or those three men who were “sheep” enough to follow such guidelines, I still believe in the unadulterated makeup of mankind.  I believe that they are inherently good and have to work hard at being changed into something otherwise. But unfortunately, there are many who have chosen to do so.  Thus I will prepare to defend myself appropriately and so should you. We must take responsibility to care for ourselves and those we love.  We must train our minds to respond with 100% ownership of our safety rather than telling ourselves that someone else is responsible for our peace and comfort. I implore you not to train your body or mind under conditions of panic, rage, or fear. Rather do so with a deliberate conscience in light of the matter of fact reality of the world around us. People have the agency to act inappropriately, and along with that comes our ability and choice to defend against the consequences of their criminal choices. Just because a business entity has successfully been sued for serving hot coffee, not clearing ice or snow from a walkway, or for not properly ensuring the safety of food—doesn’t give us license to surrender our own independence in providing ourselves with safety and peace.

Being prepared mentally and physically in self-defense trainging will be a great asset in any situation photo c/o http://www.sportskarate.net

So that being said, what else could the 15 year old girl have done other than standing next to the three security guards?  Well, by looks of the video, she certainly needed to learn to fight back better.  She didn’t get a good shot in at all and barely made contact.  She could have done so much more while she was on the ground too.  But all of that is pretty hard to teach in a written format such as this.  However, at the very least, she could have  pushed one of the security officers towards her attacker or hid directly behind one of them.  I strongly suspect this would have caused the female attacker to have lashed out at the security guard in response or at least it would have changed her thought process due to an unexpected maneuver. (Interrupting the thought process of an attacker is a highly underrated strategy.) Another suggestion would have been for the girl to have firmly yelled for help repeatedly. Whether a person is under orders to do more than make a phone call or not, the brain of most human beings (human being—the key phrase there) will instinctively respond. We’re simply programmed that way and we have to undergo a great deal of UN-programming to react otherwise. (Which makes the whole incident that much more tragic.) As I view this video tape repeatedly, I see a scared little girl and an enraged attacker.  The gal had the presence of mind to stand near the “security” officers. She also had the presence of mind earlier to ask one of the Macy’s security officers to escort her to a safer location. (which was refused-insert angry words of disbelief here) So she had some of her wits about her. However, I’m sure that when her sound strategy of standing next to the security officers crumbled, her brain couldn’t compute a ready response. Had she trained herself previously to breathe sufficiently to provide her brain with the much needed oxygen in a high stress situation, and be deliberate and strategic in her physical counter moves, the situation would have turned out very, very differently.

Seriously ladies. Can we all live and LEARN from this one?

 Copyright Protected 2010, Women of Caliber and Kellene Bishop. All Rights Reserved. No portion of any content on this site may be duplicated, transferred, copied, or published without written permission from the author. However, you are welcome to provide a link to the content on your site or in your written works.

Safety in Your Car

By Kellene Bishop
Car jacking photo c/o freedomsphoenix.com

Car jacking photo c/o freedomsphoenix.com

As a nation overall, we don’t walk much. Sure we walk to and from our cars, but usually we’re in the vehicles when we’re going somewhere. As a result, the poor criminals who would normally hold you up in the back alley are starving. So they’ve taken to the brazen act of holding people up in their cars, car jacking, and “bumping” cars in order to get someone out of their car for a more vulnerable attack. Some have even gone so far as to obtain red and blue flashing lights and make you think you’re being pulled over by law enforcement. As such, I feel it’s appropriate to give you some good advice to strengthen your safety in your car.

  • Safety in Your Car Rule #1: Always keep sufficient room between you and the car in front of you when you’re stopped at a light or a stop sign. This way, if you have trouble come up to your window, you have an escape route. We are in such a habit of getting right on someone’s tail at a stop light. This simply boxes us in with extreme vulnerability in the event of an attempted hijack or robbery while you’re in your car.
  • 9mm and 40 caliber bulletholes through a car door. Photo c/o gunfreezone.net/

    9mm and 40 caliber bulletholes through a car door. Photo c/o gunfreezone.net/

    Safety in Your Car Rule #2: Have the firearm handy. Having your firearm in your purse or glove box is not going to do you a lick of good in defending yourself against a would-be robber at your car door. The best place is on your body on your front or side. Others have been successful putting it in a Velcro type holder right behind their steering wheel or attached to the front of their seat as well.  If you’re going to have the tools to protect yourself, you might as well have the access to these tools. Also, don’t be afraid to shoot through the door so long as you’re shooting a 9mm or higher caliber. If you need to shoot you don’t need to roll down the window. That would be a precious waste of time. May I suggest however, that you try to go to a junk yard where there are cars and get permission to shoot a firearm from the drivers seat in the car? The sound and experience is a bit more rattling that what you experience at the range, so it’s good to at least have experienced it on some level. (By all means, use your hearing protection. It will still give you an idea of what to expect should you need to shoot from within your car.)

  • Safety in Your Car Rule #3: When you park your car, be aware of potential escape routes. I like to park my car where a simple jump on the pedal will take me to safety. If I’m parked facing the building I’m shopping at, that’s not possible. If you must park near the building, do so with the back of your car facing it, not your front.
  • Safety in Your Car Rule #4: If you insist on storing your firearm in your purse, then when you are asked for your wallet, reach into your purse calm and coolly and then grip your firearm. Shoot it from within your purse aimed at your friendly neighborhood robber. Play it dumb. Play it vulnerable. Play it freaked out. But be conscious of what your purpose is—to get out alive and to not be taken to another location. Shooting from within your purse is easier when you have a revolver, but if you have a semi-auto, you will be able to get off at least one round. So make it count. This means that you may need to rethink WHERE you are stowing your firearm in your purse. If it’s in the little outside zipper that you have to dig into in order to retrieve your firearm, then it’s in the WRONG spot. Shoot, then get the heck out of there.
  • Photo c/o ehow.com
    Photo c/o ehow.com

    Safety in Your Car Rule #5: When you’re pulled over, even by law enforcement, you have the right to feel and be safe. If you have any alarms going off in your head/gut, then you should NOT get out of the car, NOT roll down the window and NOT engage in a conversation until you have verified with a law enforcement source (via your telephone) that this person pulling you over is the real deal. Call 9-1-1 and verify that this person is who they say they are. Once you’ve dialed, tuck the phone under your chin and keep your hands visible on the wheel while you speak to the person on the phone, in order to show the officer that you are complying, you’re just being safe. Even while you’re dialing, keep the car in drive, and your foot on the brake, just in case this person is not who they are pretending to be. Just so you know, it’s HIGHLY unusual for a plain-clothes law enforcement officer to pull you over. You should always at least have the benefit of seeing a uniform. Just because you’re getting pulled over, doesn’t mean you should let down your guard.

  • Safety in Your Car Rule #6: In the event that you think you are being followed, take 3 right hand turns. Ideally you will want to take 4 right hand turns so that you’re back in the original direction you were going. But if a car follows you after 3 right hand turns, you have undoubtedly confirmed that you are being followed and you should call the police or drive to the nearest police station. There have actually been quite a few instances in which driving to a local police station have saved someone’s life.
  • Safety in Your Car Rule #7: Get in the habit of looking at your tires and your back seat each time you get into your car. You want to check for damage to your tires that may have been instigated in order to waylay you as perfect prey for a criminal and you want to make sure that you don’t have any hitchhikers in your vehicle. If you do see a tire problem or notice someone hiding in your car, go back to the safety of the building that you came out of and call the police or the towing company. Do I really need to tell you to always park in well-lit places too?

Hopefully these 7 points will get you thinking how you can be safer when traveling and using your car. I also hope that you may start looking around you in more circumstances and determine what you back-up self-defense plan is—just in case.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Right-to-Carry Laws and the Thune-Vitter Amendment

Right to Carry vs. Gun Control photo c/o freerepublic.com

Right to Carry vs. Gun Control photo c/o freerepublic.com

From an excellent blog by Scott J. Bach, blogger for www.blog.nj.com on the Right-to-Carry, published July 21, 2009. 

In an era where vicious criminal predators prey upon the weak and vulnerable, the U.S. Supreme Court has surprisingly held that police owe no duty to protect individual citizens and cannot be held accountable when they fail to do so. This means that from the time you dial 911 until the police arrive, you’re on your own. Right-to-Carry helps level the playing field in the gravest extreme, and offers victims a fighting chance while they wait for help to arrive.

Approximately 40 states comprehend this simple truth and recognize the Right-to-Carry. Wherever Right-to-Carry laws have passed, there has been a corresponding and sustained drop in violent crime rates, for one simple reason: criminals go somewhere else when they think their victims may be armed. When the predators can’t tell the difference between the lions and the sheep, the whole flock is safer. Right-to-Carry thus benefits not only the law-abiding citizens who exercise their Constitutional rights, but also those around them who don’t.

Think about it: every mass killing in recent memory has had one thing in common: the victims were unarmed and unable to defend themselves against violent and brutal surprise attacks by predators. Right-to-Carry helps even out the odds, and criminals know it. A study for the Department of Justice found that 40 percent of felons had not committed crimes because they feared the prospective victims were armed.

The Thune-Vitter Amendment expands Right-to-Carry and will enhance public safety, contrary to Governor Corzine’s ill-advised view. It recognizes that competent, responsible, law-abiding Americans still deserve our trust and confidence when they cross state lines.

New Jersey’s policies on gun rights are as backwards as its policies on taxes. It’s time for elected officials who swore to uphold the Constitution to stop trampling on our protected gun rights.

For the whole article from blog.nj.com, click here.

ASKing for the Ridiculous

By Kellene Bishop

ASK Campaign

ASK Campaign

In yet another ridiculous move by the anti-self-defense camp, a national “ASK” day was established about ten years ago.  Its purpose was to remind parents to be proactive about protecting their children from firearm accidents simply by asking their friends and neighbors about the use of guns in their respective homes.  Its intent was to remind parents to inquire of friends and neighbors that their children are associating with whether or not they have firearms in the home and whether or not they are stored “properly.”

Here’s the huge problem with this campaign.  It’s putting the majority of the safety of your child in the hands of someone else.  Just because you ask if there is a firearm and the answer is “no” doesn’t mean that will remain the case perpetually.  Another adult could enter the home with a firearm.  Another child could bring a firearm to the home as well.  Are you planning on asking your neighbor this series of questions every time your child goes to visit, or even on a monthly basis?  Are you prepared to track down and research every other child that may also come to visit the same home?  How does this line of questioning completely protect your child from a firearm accident?

Photo c/o iacop.org

Photo c/o iacop.org

What if a mother was sending her child over to a policeman’s house?  Would it be acceptable that a law enforcement officer have a gun in the home?  If not, then are you teaching your child that police officers are bad or that they should be avoided?  The same goes for a concealed carry permit holder.  Several of the books I’ve read by Ayoob and Lott Jr. over the last year point out that fewer accidents occur among concealed carry permit holders than do police officers.  (just a little sampling: http://www.ktvu.com/news/5441146/detail.html)  In fact, a police officer’s gun is used against them in significantly more incidences than a private owner’s firearm.  What does your questioning do to protect your child in these circumstances? 

Additionally, you are relying on your questions being answered truthfully.  Don’t you think there might be some hesitation on the part of your neighbor when you ask someone if they have a firearm in their home?  Do they want to publish its existence to the world?  I know I don’t go around telling people what kinds of firearms and how many I own, under any circumstances.  Frankly, if you don’t know someone well enough to know about their stance on firearms and firearm safety, your child shouldn’t be spending time over there anyway, in my opinion.

Photo c/o blogs.chron.com

Photo c/o blogs.chron.com

Ultimately, the only way to truly protect your children from a firearm accident is to educate them continually—not talk to them a little bit.  Every gun scene you see on television or in a movie is cause for education.  Every time you say “no” to particular video game, it’s an occasion to educate.  Ultimately your child’s education is their prime defense against any firearm accidents.  Properly educating your children on safety around firearms is not a one-time conversation.  It must be a consistent and congruent process of education.  Oh, and by the way.  Questioning your friends and neighbors about their beliefs in gun possession is no more effective in promoting the safety of your children than trying to do crowd control at a “Day After Thanksgiving Sale” at Wal-Mart.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

The Protection Order—A False Sense of Security

By Kellene Bishop

Photo c/o gafamilylawblog.com

Photo c/o gafamilylawblog.com

Too many times there have been instances in which a person’s life was lost or forever physically altered because they mistakenly thought they were safe by virtue of a Protection Order.  This is a façade.  A fallacy.  A state of dreaming.  In spite of the name of a Protection Order, the only time protection is actually ordered is in the courtroom when the judge utters such words.  It has very little efficacy otherwise.  Just as contracts are only as good as those who sign them, laws are only as effective as those who enforce it.  Whether it’s a matter of priority, culture, or manpower, rarely are Protection Orders enforced with any kind of a police presence or support. 

It’s unfortunate that such a legal process has consistently proven to be ineffective in protecting the life of its intended person.  Stalking, harassment, violent threats, even child kidnapping have all been cause for women to request a Protection Orders.  But very few times do they come with any semblance of enforcement by local “law enforcement” authorities.  I don’t mean to sound too terribly bitter in writing this, but it infuriates me when I see—literally—10 times the number of persons being pulled over for speeding in the last several months, all the while knowing that some woman is living her life with a false sense of security from a Protection Order that will not be enforced by law enforcement.  Too often such protective orders are recognized when it was far too late. The point of this piece is not to trash on law enforcement or the court systems.  It’s to make you realize that a protection order will NOT physically protect you and truly gives a false sense of security.  Chances are a Protection Order will only legally protect you (which becomes very important, but much later than you may anticipate).  The Supreme Court has already passed down a ruling clearly stating that police officers don’t even have the obligation to protect you even when they are witnessing a crime, let alone when you call them up in fear for your life because you just got a threatening phone call.  

firearmSo what can you do when Mr. Crazy Man is unfazed by a piece of paper that says he’s not to be anywhere near his object of violent obsession?  I recommend that we not fool ourselves into believing that this Protection Order will physically protect us.  While it’s an excellent legal strategy to have a protective order in place, and it will make an impact on a small percentage of offenders, it certainly is not the same as having Bruno, the bodyguard, follow you around.  Instead, I would recommend that you are regularly accompanied by Mr. Smith & Wesson, or his cousin, Mr. Glock.  While a Protection Order does give you a thin veil of safety, it’s important that you mentally prepare to defend yourself in spite of a protective order.  As you’ve no doubt heard me say time and time again, get a firearm, get a permit (so that you can use the firearm regardless of where you are—with a few exceptions) and get some quality training with that firearm.  It’s the ONLY equalizer that can stand between you and the enemy… and make no mistake about it, if a man is harassing you, stalking you, or threatening you, he’s NOT your husband, boyfriend, acquaintance, the father of your children, the former love of your life.  He IS indeed your enemy and you have every right to protect yourself from such.

For another example of a protective order gone bad, click here.

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

Self-Defense Amidst a National Crisis

By Kellene Bishop

national-crisis-alas-babylonI recently finished reading two GREAT books, back to back, that are fictional scenarios about an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) attack on the U.S. Both books are very well written, extremely realistic, and I had a hard time putting them down. The first one (still my all time favorite) was “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank. The second one, as recommended by many readers on this site was “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. (Warning, occasional language in this book qualifies it as “rated PG-13”.) Both authors are actually so expert in their fields of knowledge on the matters which they write, that I feel the books are more a prediction of things to come, rather than a work of fiction. Out of all of the possible scenarios of a man-made national crisis, the most likely to occur against the U.S. is actually an EMP attack. However, what disturbed me so greatly while reading this books is that the majority of the pain and suffering in either of the books could have been substantially negated with the addition of a very legitimate reality in my world—personal preparedness. So, what does this have to do with you and the use of a firearm? Well, here’s a question for you. Are you prepared to implement self-defense amidst a national crisis?

Unfortunately our nation is actually ripe for a myriad of different crisis situations, not the least realistic of which is an EMP attack. But there could also be a critical financial collapse, a pandemic breakout (we’ve had two more deaths of swine flu in our state today), an earthquake, a nuclear attack, and so on. While I’m associated with many friends who take such threats seriously by storing several months worth of food, water and medical supplies, I find that the majority of them are actually lacking in one critical component of personal preparedness—self-defense.

Photo c/o criminology.fsu.edu

Photo c/o criminology.fsu.edu

The reality is that we are a nation of overly medicated, out of shape, pampered, spoiled and indulgent citizens. If our normal society of luxurious conveniences, jobs, beautiful sunshiny days, and an abundance of food can still foster crazed rapists, gang murderers, and flocks of druggies, what will a genuine crisis do to compound that problem? So many of us still have the notion that the military or the police department will protect us in the event of a national crisis. *insert “wrong answer” buzzer sound here* What if there is a total breakdown of society as we know it? Will there be drug-crazed marauders about? Yup. Will perfectly sane individuals turn into a Dr. Jekyll because they haven’t suitably planned for a national crisis? Definitely. Come on. If the day after Thanksgiving shopping specials can bring out the worst in people, imagine what a real disaster will do. Criminal violence and looting takes place because of Ohio State University wins or loses a football game. The emotional impact alone in such an instance is sufficient to change the predictable structure of society as you presently know it. How will the generation of the “entitlement mentality” change when food, water, and even a simple aspirin is difficult to obtain? With our reliance on technology, our society has become reliant on a one to three day food and medical delivery system. If such a delivery system is delayed whatsoever you will experience a complete breakdown of “peace” as you know it—guaranteed.

To make matters worse, any such disaster would have a cheaply paid accomplice. Mother Nature and the ugly side of human nature is the ally of any enemy to the U.S. and will successfully work in concert during a national crisis. Yup. This is a whole ‘nother component of self-dense—the mental and physical preparedness to implement self-defense in the midst of a national crisis.

Austin police officer Desireé Small Photo c/o aim4le.com

Austin police officer Desireé Small Photo c/o aim4le.com

Bottom line, having food, water, as well as some medical and financial reserves will be useless if you don’t have the means to defend possession of such items in an emergency. My mom once taught me to have one “bullet” on hand for every pound of wheat to ensure I actually get to use the wheat when my family needs it. Even more realistic, if there is an emergency situation, the likelihood of the police, military, and medical resources will be called out to assist elsewhere is highly likely. What will we women be left with to defend ourselves? Even though I’m married to my own “Rambo” character, I know that he’ll most likely be out helping and checking on neighbors in such a situation, and I would want him to out of my own concern for them. But that leaves me with a great deal of responsibility to protect my own “castle” and preparedness supplies. As women, mothers and caregivers, we MUST be able to rely on ourselves to protect our children and our homes in ANY situation, including a national crisis. Such preparation requires mental preparation as well as physical preparation. Although it may seem like a deep dark place you don’t want to allow yourselves to go mentally, doing so is no worse than immersing yourself in a good book or movie-except in this case, it’s a heck of a lot more important.

Guns, ammo, mental strength, skills and determination to survive and thrive. I’m prepared. Are you?

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.