Friday, November 4, 2011

Tough Love

Each one of us holds facets of our personalities which can sometimes seem directly oppositional.  For this reason, I am going to clarify that I am a gentle soul who is married to a gentle man and we are raising/have raised gentle children.  One of our dogs is a Rottweiler, Doberman, Pit-Bull who weighs in at over 110 pounds but who is a well-trained ambassador for large dogs and would sooner lick you to death than to harm you.  One of my greatest teachers is His Holiness The Dalai Lama whom we took our four Angel Daughters to see when he was in Orange County on a speaking engagement, several years back.  We did not expect that they would recall the content of his words, so much as the incredible aura that emanated from this gentle human being.  I felt that it was important for our children to observe goodness in one of its purest forms.  And yet all of those things being said, my daughters know that if danger arises, I am the first one to confront it.  Yes, my husband would be on it as well, but he tends to hang back while I spring into action like a rabid dog if someone even looks like they are a threat to one of my family members.  My spirit was brought into this world by a man whose spirit asks no questions.
Recently, Mark and I decided that it was time for another layer of home/self protection.  This was not something that I was at all comfortable with when our girls were much younger but, quite honestly, I believe that the world has become a much more dangerous place in the past decade.  Whereas an alarm system and a dog used to provide enough protection to ease my worries enough so that I could sleep well at night, I have watched as things have become more and more precarious and the criminals have become bolder, more vicious and crimes much more violent.  I sleep with wasp spray next to my bed.  Plain old wasp spray, and seriously people, if you do nothing else to protect yourself from "the bad guys", go out and buy yourself and those you love a can of wasp spray or two.  Wasp spray shoots up to twenty feet and disperses when it hits its target.  It also causes serious pain to whomever is standing on the other end of the room.  This will give you an opportunity to scream and run.  Anyway, along with everything else that we do to be proactive in life, we decided that it was time to learn how to handle and if need ever be, shoot a gun.  Mark has been practicing at the gun range for several weeks now and so, he decided to set up a private lesson for the girls and I.  It was not my first time shooting.  My dad, being a lifetime gun owner, made my brother and I go with him to the shooting range so that he could educate us on gun safety, etc.  He believes, as both Mark and I do, that the only people who should own guns are those who know how seriously and responsibly they should be taken.  Yesterday, our four daughters and I took a two hour gun safety lesson for women while Mark did some target practice.  Now here is the other truth about guns...Not only are they meant to be taken seriously, but,
they can also be a lot of fun to shoot.(once you get past the intimidation factor)  Angel Daughter Number Four was the first one to volunteer to do everything!  That child has moxie!  After an hour in the classroom, our lovely instructors brought us into the shooting range.  We started out shooting with a small rifle.  Not bad for her very first shot!
We all had our own reactions to our first shots, but the look on Angel Daughter Number Two's face is priceless.
She wasn't a bad shot either.  Interestingly enough, she is the only one in our family who is right handed and left-eye dominant.  She always has to be different:)
Angel Daughter Number Three who is our most cautious and reserved child really took to handling the guns immediately.  She was the one who we thought might be the most hesitant about it but not at all.  She cannot wait to go back for more target practice with her dad tomorrow!  They already set up a father/daughter date.  I think it's cute.
Mark came in to check up on all of his girls when we were practicing with the rifle.  We let him take a few shots and he reminded me of The Terminator;)  He loved it because normally, they do not allow "rapid fire" meaning more than one shot at a time, but since we were in a lesson, they allowed us to walk toward the target while taking five shots in quick succession.  It was sort of like what you see in the movies.  Between each shot, we had to reload the barrel while walking forward and keeping aim.  Quite a bit to remember!
Obviously, it was a lot of fun.

Angel Daughter Number One knocked the plywood off of the holder.  She meant to do that.

Okay, she didn't mean to do that.

I was at a bit of a disadvantage since I had a dangling target, but I managed to hit it!  You can see how tense my body was but once the gun went off, I had the same reaction as the rest of my family did.  Lots of laughter at myself and the recoil on this very small rifle.

I adore these people.

Next we moved onto .22 caliber pistols.  My dad says that these are just "toy" guns, but let me say that shooting them felt pretty serious to me.  Mark was so proud of us.  Our instructors told him that they have never had a class that picked up so quickly on safety and did exactly what we were told in order to insure that safety came first.  I told him that that was all those years of my Jewish mothering showing itself in our children.  I knew it would pay off someday.
AD3 preferred something called "The Weaver Stance".  It's more like what you see in the movies, one leg in front of the other and then arms bent a bit.(Charlie's Angels)  She was in-between breaths when Mark took this picture.  We were taught to control our breathing so that the trigger is released at the correct moment.  She picked up on that right away.  I wonder if there is a Zen guide for gun handling.
AD4 chose "The Isosceles Stance" which is exactly what it sounds like.  You hold your body like an isosceles triangle.  This is the most common position that people use when shooting a gun.
This is what I call the "never come between a momma and her cubs stance"; seriously.  Although now the cubs will be able to protect themselves if need be which makes me feel a little bit better about having my children out in this crazy world that we seem to be leaving them.  Sigh...

And because I did not want to make this post all about this...
yet sadly in so many ways, it is, here is a bit of the catalyst.  Very sadly, I do not know too many individuals who have not been the victims of crime in one form or another.  On October 15th, AD3's car was parked and locked in our gated driveway down at our beach home.  Sometime between midnight and seven AM, someone climbed over the locked gate, smashed her car window and stole her laptop computer which was buried under mounds of her clothing, etc.(She is a college student who works two jobs and so, she practically lives out of her car!)  The computer was not at all visible from the outside, but the thief probably figured that it was worth a quick shot that there might be something of value inside of the vehicle.  Pretty brazen.  I guess he hit the jackpot that night.  The officer who came out to take the report told us that they call it a "surf and smash" on this block.(beach reference?)  He was a bit surprised that this individual had the chutzpah to jump the gate and smash the window, though.  There are always cars parked up and down the street that are much more accessible.  After taking the report, the officer sent out somebody from the Crime Scene Investigation unit so that they could dust the car for fingerprints.  This is not something that most police departments bother to do because they do not usually recover the stolen property or catch the criminals, BUT, apparently our police department has had a very good success rate in this area and so they do dust for fingerprints.
The guy from CSI let us know that he discovered some decent prints on the vehicle and that the investigator who would be handling our case would run the prints through the system to see if a name came up that matched them.
Since both Mark and our daughter opened the door of the vehicle without thinking about it, the CSI investigator took Mark's prints just in case they were the ones that came up.  He told us to call in a couple of weeks to find out if a name came up when the prints were submitted and we would let them know if the name matched that of anybody we already know so that we could dismiss them as a suspect.  The CSI investigator also let us know that although this type of theft seems "low-level", these thieves begin by walking up and down the streets looking for unlocked vehicles.  They then become bolder and begin smashing windows to steal a vehicle's contents.  After that, they begin stealing cars.  Next, they break into homes while people are out.  From there, things become much, much scarier.  In the past month, there have been two break-ins on our block(our house is on a very long road) in which someone has been home.  Sleeping.  One person noticed their purse missing the next day, the other was a single woman sleeping on her couch.  She awoke to see the criminal walking around in the shadows and remained still, scared to death, and quiet until he left.  Thank God he left without harming her.  Thank God.  After much discussion, Mark and I decided that it was time for us to take advantage of our second amendment right to bear arms.  It really did not take us a long way to get there.  Nobody will ever be harmed by anyone in this family unless they decide to make the very, very poor decision of entering our home uninvited.  We have taken the necessary precautions to safeguard ourselves and those who we know and love(or even don't love) from accidently being shot because believe me, I am just as concerned, if not more so, about the possibility of hurting someone "by accident".  But please believe this very gentle soul when I say that if someone enters my home uninvited and expects to walk back out again on two legs, that simply will not happen.

Now go out, buy yourself some wasp spray, and keep it in an accessible spot.


Tracy said...

Gosh, that is certainly scary...remember when we all felt safe without locking our doors or windows? sigh...

Renee said...

It is just so sad that we cannot be safe in our own homes. Thiefs are so brazen. Four years ago a fugitive running from our police here in small town Iowa (30,000) hid in our garage during the day. Our dog was acting strange and would not leave the kitchen. I saw thepolice looking around and asked them to check to see if our garage door was the man they were looking for!. A bit later I got up from laying on the sofa and there outside my window was the man looking in at me! I called the police but they did not catch him. Two days later he came to my front door wanting to talk to me! He wanted me to "know" he was not the guy who was in our garage...scary stuff. Believe you me, we had our gun loaded in the house and I was jumpy for a long time after that. Ny husband grew up with a gun in his hand on the farm.....he no longer hunts and as a pastor is not for guns realy, but is for protecting our family. Years ago an unstable church member came after us with a shotgun, but the police got there first. We were waiting with rifles just in glad that just in case did not happen. Our son who is a police officer said, get strong motion lights, lock doors always, have a gun and a dog. We do....although as he says our best weapon is our brain!
Hope and pray you are safe adn will continue to be safe in a world that seems to be less safe.

Mark said...

Awe crap! My very long comment to this great post just vanished as I hit "publish". I wish I could recreate it but I don't recall it word for word.
Anyway, I just want you to know how proud I am of you and all of yours for doing this. It truly needs to be done and I intend to have my four Angels do the same thing one day.
I was trained very early(12 years old) how to handle a gun. When you live in Central PA, guns were almost a way of life back in the day.
Congrats and way to go!
Your Friend, m.
I'm still pissed that my very long post vanished. m.

Miss A said...

I am with Mark. Very smart move. Smart to teach your daughters self defense. Not only self, but smart self defense. I don't like guns, but my grandmother who lived alone most of her life owned one and when I was ten (yes young) taught me to use it because she was afraid.
Learning meant understand that it wasn't a toy. I knew where it was kept, yet, never ever "played" with it, showed it to a friend.
I don't know whether I intend to keep a gun one day. Most likely like you and Mark, if I do have kids, when they are older. However life sometimes decides otherwise.
Anyway. Stay safe. Really.
lots of hugs.
I just love your family! They all obviously adore you!
Miss A

Kathleen Botsford said...

You guys are awesome! I left some comments on FB but these photos and the whole story are great. We have these issues in South Bend too. Tori's car was broken into in our drive way last year. They stole her back pack with all of her homework. We were at the football game when someone FB'd her and returned her backpack AND her books which had been strewn all over their yard as the thief ditched it when he couldn't find a computer. They got her calculator AND her new lip gloss! One of the "boys" who weighs over 300 lbs. and now plays in the NFL was sleeping on his couch with 8 guys in another room and someone came in and wheeled out a 55 inch TV! I know he must have had a gun to be that brazen. Thank God no one woke up! Scary! I'm proud of you!

Catherine Holman said...

I took a conceal and carry class from a friend and loved it! Stay safe and thanks for the wasp spray tip!

Angella Lister said...

stay safe, dear debbie. good for you and mark teaching your girls to defend themselves. sending love.

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