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March 2012

Kids and toy guns

I held an impromptu GDO class in Shawnee for a stay at home mom's group and Cherise was our special speaker. One of the questions she got from a mom was what about toy guns? She loved the question, I loved her answer! Be sure and read this month's Mom's Corner to hear the rest of the story.

Upcoming Class: Between the Threat and the Bang

I'm holding another impromptu class, BTB, for the mom's group here in Shawnee. This class is open to anyone who wants to attend, but it's very short notice as the class is next Tuesday, March 13th, in Shawnee. Hours are for stay at home moms from 2-6. If you're interested, don't wait to register as registration will close Sunday evening.

Classes for Your Group

Lately I've been scheduling classes for groups of women asking for specific classes. I'm happy to schedule any class for a minimum of six confirmed students – this means in addition to saying you want to come, you're actually committed to signing up for the class once I go through all the work it takes to make it happen. It's not always doable on short notice, though I have done so recently for a couple of groups dealing with pressing serious crime issues. It never hurts to ask, so if you're wondering about a class or speaking engagement for your group,
contact me.

Policy for All Live Fire Classes

It is a pre-requisite that in order to attend ANY OPD live fire class, including SDA (conceal carry), all students must take Girls Day Out or a private lesson from an OPD instructor. This is for the safety and comfort of students, range safety officers, and instructors. This policy is posted on the SDA page as well as the classes page of the website.

Financial Aid for Classes

No one will be turned away from Oklahoma Personal Defense training because they cannot afford a class. If you need assistance, please contact me.

If you'd like to help women who may not be able to afford a class, please go to the Payment page, look for the Donate button under Financial Aid near the bottom of the page. Click that button, simply input the amount of your choice and complete the transaction either through PayPal or with a credit card. Funds are kept in a separate account and used when help is needed. Contact me for more information.

Oklahoma Personal Defense (OPD) is a personal defense academy committed to the empowerment of women through their own personal defense education. OPD protects the dignity and comfort of women by providing a safe, secure environment in which they can learn without the stress of intimidation. Classes are developed specifically with the needs of average women in mind.  Focusing on firearms training, OPD tactics and techniques are practical and doable for all women. Class helpers are women who have been students of OPD, learned the techniques, and expressed a desire to help other women learn. OPD was formed in response to the tremendous volume of women seeking their own personal defense training.

Glossary of Acronyms

Below are a few terms you may encounter in these newsletters and other publications regarding firearms self-defense

BOLO – Be On the Lookout
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
VCA – Violent Criminal Actor
DRT – Dead Right There
ND – Negligent Discharge
FMJ – Full Metal Jacket (practice ammo)
JHP – Jacketed Hollow Point (defense ammo)
NQR – Not Quite Right
RSO – Range Safety Officer
SDA – Self-Defense Act
CCW – Conceal Carry Weapon
BUG – Back Up Gun
GDO – Girls Day Out (class)
EE – Everything Else (class)
BTB – Between the Threat and the Bang (class)
OPD – Oklahoma Personal Defense

Seen an abbreviation you don't know? Send it to me and I'll post it here.

As for naming her, it was between Patsy or Rowdy. Patsy would be named in memory of my grandma cause she was definitely a pistol! But I wanted something tough (since she is a tough gun... Ruger SR40C) yet cute... Maybe beginning with an R since I love the name Ruger. When I thought of Rowdy Ruger I loved it and had to go with that...definitely rowdier than a 9mm. :-

Jennifer Wiggins

If you have a story of how you named your gun, send to me and I'll post it in the next newsletter.

Starbucks....better than just good coffee

In the February newsletter I wrote about the Starbucks Buycott in response to a national anti-gun group's plans to boycott Starbucks on Valentine's Day in hopes of forcing them to put gun buster signs on their doors. I joined fellow gun toters across the country and for three days patronized Starbucks with my two-dollar bills. There are a few reports about the Buycott getting Starbucks' attention, particularly since we actually bought things rather than refused to buy things – as pointed out in this LA Times article, if you were a business owner who would you listen to? The ones who patronize your business, or the ones who don't? The article also quoted a gun control advocate who says gun violence will only increase if people carry guns. I have news, we've been carrying guns, for YEARS, and in actuality gun violence decreases!

Below are stories I received from students about their buycott of Starbucks. My story is that I patronized the Shawnee Starbucks for three days in a row – the only unusual thing about that is I paid with two-dollar bills! I asked the college student barista one of the days if he'd seen any twos and he said a few. He didn't seem to be interested in why, and I felt my explaining it would probably be lost on him. But I also wrote a thank you letter on OPD letterhead to the store franchisee and explained to her why she might be seeing so many twos. She previously knew me by face, and now knows me by name and occupation, when I saw her after that she didn't comment on the letter but she greeted me very enthusiastically so I think she appreciated my letter. If anyone else has a Starbucks Buycott story they want to share, send it to me.

And by the way, I've been patronizing Shawnee and metro Starbucks since they arrived in Oklahoma years ago...I'm always packing, and not once has there been any gun violence erupt just because I carry! As a matter of fact, not once has it in the 16 years I've had my license, nor the 14 years before that! By that reasoning we really should ban all automobiles because I know for a fact auto accidents have increased over the years due to more cars (and more idiots) on the roads! Makes just as much sense to ban cars (or rocks or forks or boards or....) as it does to ban guns.


I don’t have any great story attached to my Starbucks visit, but my husband and I did make it through the drive-through at the Moore 19th street location around 2100 on Feb 14.  We paid in 2s and made sure the guy at the window knew why.  We also told friends and family and encouraged them to go as well.  From the very short story I saw on the internet, it looked liked the buycott offset the boycott as a Starbucks big wheel said business did not suffer that day.


I sent my $2 bills with my husband to the Norman starbucks (He loves their coffees).  He used the first one yesterday evening and said they looked as if it was the first – but it could be a new shift or something. He's going back today and tomorrow so hopefully we'll get better feedback.  I pilfered my daughter's saved $2 bills so I'll have to replace them next time I go to the bank – glad to hear that won't be a problem, lol :-)


I was at the Starbucks with my $2.00 on 19th St. in Moore.  I asked if she had been getting any $2.00 bills today; yes, but she didn't know why.  I had attached a note to mine thanking them for supporting the Amendments, especially the 2nd.  I had to explain further the 2nd and the $2.00 bill--she didn't connect the meaning.

Between the Threat and the Bang
Mar. 13th, from 2 pm to 6 pm

This class identifies and teaches several steps that can and should occur between the time a woman feels threatened and the time she may need to draw a gun in self-defense. Students practice situational awareness, posturing and commanding, and ultimately drawing from a holster.

Training guns and holsters will be provided for drawing from concealment drills. Register

It was my pleasure to speak about children and firearms to an enthusiastic group of women at the Girls Day Out class on February 25th.  Among these ladies were a number of mothers and one of my favorite questions that was asked was how I feel about toy guns.  I had to grin because in this day and age when children are forced to use sporks and sporks alone in the school cafeteria (let me just tell you:  watching kindergarteners try to muscle off small pieces of chicken-fried steak at lunch today with sporks was entertaining at least, and not just a little sad), which I can only imagine is because plastic knives and forks evidently present an unacceptable danger, my attitude about toys guns certainly isn’t favored by modern, “enlightened” parents or many school officials.  Toy guns are dangerous!  They teach children that violence is okay!  Down with guns!  They are all evil and they must be destroyed!

Um… except that generations of children grew up playing Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians with toy guns and didn’t grow up to be disaffected violent offenders.  A lot of those children had .22 rifles of their own and were turned loose with them to rid the garden of rabbits before they could even SPELL “rabbit.”  Nevermind that kids love guns, and forbidden fruit is the most appealing thing on the tree.  Take the toy guns away from a child who wants them and she will make new ones out of whatever she’s got handy, be it her forefingers and thumbs, sticks she finds in the yard, Twizzlers, or slices of bread.  Turn your head and your preschooler will have taken the empty bathroom tissue roll off the holder and, aiming it menacingly at his sister, have ordered her to drop the stolen Legos or else.  Got a creative kid?  Watch as he takes a piece of cardstock and draws a gun, then cuts it out with scissors.  Play-Doh absolutely begs to be molded into the shape of a gun.  I know.  I’ve heard it calling for just that from inside the little pot myself. 

While watching video several years back concerning impoverished communities in Africa, I saw footage of two very young children sitting outside of their hut.  No adults were visible in the shot.  The eldest of the two was disinterestedly watching the younger who couldn’t have been more than two years old cut some vegetable or another to pieces with a machete.  Yes, that’s right.  A machete.  A machete that was nearly as big as this tiny kid.  And no one was bothered by this.  I remember it because I was flabbergasted and impressed.

If two-year-old kids in Africa can responsibly wield machetes, what sorts of things can my children be trusted with if they’re given responsibility for them?  Surely “toy guns” is in that category of things.

What my exact answer was to the question of what I think about toy guns I can’t recall, but it had to have been something along the lines of “Bring ‘em on!”  Toy guns are fun for the kids, but they are also excellent teaching tools for me.  See, one of my biggest personal goals as a mother is to raise three children who are skilled in the responsible use of firearms and will look forward to getting their first handguns and concealed carry permits when they turn twenty-one the way other people’s brats look forward to a wild trip to Las Vegas for reaching the same milestone.  I cannot think of a better way to prepare my little ones than to have them start learning the proper handling and use of guns as soon as they are old enough to pick up a toy version.

Tammy talks a lot in her classes about the need to develop good muscle memory in handling your gun.  Muscle memory is what your body will do automatically when you’ve trained it through repetition.  A child who has learned how to handle a gun – any gun, toy or otherwise because we treat them all the same in certain respects – will have an advantage when it comes time to handle a genuine, working firearm upon reaching adulthood over a child who was allowed to mess around with toy guns without respect for proper handling or who was never permitted or taught to handle guns responsibly at all.  The child who was trained will already have developed the muscle memory needed to make good gun-handling skills automatic.  The toy gun, regardless of how unrealistically it may function, is therefore a powerful tool for the firearms-savvy parent.

How do you teach a child to handle a toy gun?  The same way you teach an adult:  use the Four Cardinal Rules of Safe Gun-Handling:

1.  All guns are loaded, even if they aren’t.  This means that even though the toy gun is a solid piece of plastic, for example, and isn’t capable of firing any projectile, it is to be treated as if it is a real, loaded gun. 

2.  Finger off the trigger.  The trigger finger should be resting solidly against the frame of the gun above the trigger, not waving around in space or hooked on the trigger itself.  Fingers don’t go on triggers until targets have been acquired and confirmed and you are ready to shoot.  When my children walk through the house with their toy guns, I check to see where their trigger fingers are.  If I can’t tell, I ask, “Where’s that trigger finger?” and almost invariably my children will call back, “IN REGISTER” or turn and show me by tapping the finger where it rests against the frame.  My littlest one could do this when she was four.  It’s easy.

3.  Muzzle awareness.  Watch the barrel and make sure the gun is pointing in a safe direction at all times.  Again, as they walk through the house with their toy guns, I check to see whether the muzzle of the Nerf Blaster (I think that’s what my son calls the one that’s like a plastic Tommy gun) is pointed at the ground rather than waving through the air.  If it isn’t, a gentle query of, “Where’s that muzzle?” quickly remedies the situation.

4.  Know your target and what’s beyond it.  No shooting at anything that isn’t your intended target.  Fire away with the Nerf bullets at your sister if she agrees to be a target and you remember not to shoot her above the waist unless she’s wearing your head-encasing Clone Trooper helmet, but make sure my wall photos or pot of simmering spaghetti sauce aren’t behind her, please.  And watch out for the block castle your younger sister is building; if you knock those blocks over onto the wood floor, your Nerf Blaster is MINE.  Remember to stay alert:  the fireplace is a great backstop and always a safe direction… unless it happens to contain a fire.

Additionally, you’ll want to establish some family ground rules about where toy guns are permitted to be used and under what conditions.  For my children, this means that toy guns stay in the house or in the backyard, but they don’t go out in the front yard (or, by extension, the street or park) where the other 700 children in the neighborhood congregate to play.  I don’t know how those children’s mothers feel about toy guns and the last thing I want is Little Billy’s mom on my front porch complaining that her son was held at Nerf-point on the playground because he was supposedly Darth Vader to my daughter’s Princess Leia.  Nor do I want some overzealous, liberal mom to call the police on my child for having a teeny-tiny replica rifle that’s camouflaged plastic and makes this annoying zipper-like noise when you push the trigger, and therefore is obviously a toy except said officious mother doesn’t know the difference and has a zero-tolerance policy for things that threaten her narrow comfort zone.  [For the record, I have no idea whether there are parents like that in my actual neighborhood but I’d rather not find out the hard way.  And while I’m issuing disclaimers, there are to my knowledge no children around here named “Billy”.]  Toy guns don’t belong on the bus, and they don’t go in our car unless they aren’t the sort that shoots projectiles of any kind (it’s hard to drive with tiny foam bullets whizzing past your head) and don’t look too realistic (I’ve no interest in being pulled over on my drive to ballet because someone mistook your aluminum cowboy pistol for your grandfather’s service revolver).

These are easy rules to learn and easy concepts to grasp, and all that’s needed to reinforce them with a toy gun is your attention and consistency.  Stay on top of your kids, yes, but make it fun.  Smile when you ask your child where the muzzle is or if she seriously believes that the neighbor’s cat is a safe direction in which to point the gun (the answer to that may depend on how you feel about cats; I don’t know).  Giving your child the responsibility for her actions when she handles toy guns and letting her know that she’s building the skills she’ll need in order to be permitted to handle real guns in the future will give her a sense of pride and competence and of being trusted.  Kids need responsibility and they want our trust.  Give them the chance to exercise the former and earn the latter.

When your kid has these concepts down pat, you can make the decision or not to move on to things like BB guns or pellet guns that demand consistent, excellent gun-handling technique on the child’s part and – at least in the beginning and until you are certain that your child is ready – immediate supervision on yours.  It should go without saying that these items, however, aren’t properly considered “toys” and that unlike Nerf guns or pop cap guns or non-projectile toy guns they must never, ever be aimed at any part of a human being, ever

Nor even at cats.

Let me hear from you if you have a topic you'd like to see addressed in Mom's corner

It's Time

You may have heard that crimes against law enforcement officers have increased in recent years. While this fact may disturb you, it makes me physically hurt. When I see a guy or gal in uniform, I pause to think of all the people that would be broken-hearted should something happen to them. That's the part that hurts me.

Those of us in law enforcement don't spend too much time thinking about losing our lives in the course of our duties. We are adrenaline junkies. We love to drive cars fast, shoot loud weapons and wrestle alligators for fun. Okay, the last part was a bit much, but you get the gist. We love the excitement our job offers.

We enjoy not knowing what's going to happen next. We jump on our partners calls if things are slow in our area so that we can stay in on the action the whole time we are on duty. Universally, we all have a fascination with the obscure, the morbid, the gross. We love puppies, the outdoors and we despise people that hurt children or the elderly. We cry, sometimes sob, when we notify next-of-kin out of a fatality car crash.

You'll see us laugh like goons at stupid jokes or at terrible accident scenes - because that's how we cope. We fight amongst ourselves like hateful siblings, but won't hesitate to rush to the aide of a partner, no matter the uniform or the personal threat of harm.

We want what you want. Peace, harmony, love and days off when the weather is nice. So maybe the next time you see a man or woman in a law enforcement uniform, you'll say hello. You don't have to thank us. We love our job, we don't do it for recognition. We do it because we are called to the occupation and because we can't imagine doing anything else. We may not know when "our time" is, but we know we all have one. We know the dangers are out there. We know there is a small element of society that wishes us dead, but we are confident in our Protector to see us safely home at the end of each shift until He says, "It's time."

– of or pertaining to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage; showing adroit planning; aiming at an end beyond the immediate action. From the Greek word taktikós.

Another burglar killed breaking into home

Submitted by KFOR-TV, KFOR-TV
Thursday, March 1st, 2012, 5:40pm

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Police have identified an Oklahoma City man who was fatally shot Wednesday night by a woman who said he was trying to break into her house. Jose Hernandez, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene in the 600 block of SW 51st St. just after 10 p.m. Thursday.

James Arnette lives across the street and heard the gun shots. "So I run back outside and she's on the porch and she said 'I just shot somebody, James.' I said, 'What?' I said, 'Well call 9-1-1.' She said, 'I am, I am," he said.

Police say the homeowner who shot Hernandez was 66-year-old Dianne Stracener.

"She was very nervous," Arnette said. "I said, 'Are you OK?' And she was just shaking and trembling. I said, 'It's going to be OK.'"

Police say Stracener was investigating noises she heard around her home when she encountered Hernandez near her front door.

They say he made his way inside her house, became involved in a physical struggle with her and was shot by Stracener out of self-defense. His body was found on the front porch.

"Obviously if she felt threatened, if she felt that she had the risk of some type of bodily harm or even death, she did have the right to defend herself there on her property," OKC Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.

Thursday morning, James says he found a bullet next to his garage that police told him came from across the street.

"If it would've happened to me, I would've done the same thing," Arnette said. "At that time, you want to do the best thing you can to stop something like that and that 'Make My Day' law, that's what it's all about."

The Make My Day law is why police did not arrest the Stracener. It protects the use of deadly force in self-defense situations.

At first glance this seems like a cut & dry woman shoots home invader. And let me preface this by saying that I am not in any way opposed to the fact that she shot and killed this man. I frequently hear the comment, "Crime is getting worse." My reply is always, "And it will continue to get worse until those being attacked start killing their attackers." This man will not attack this woman again, nor will he attack someone else.

But I can tell by reading the above article and by what I saw on the news that he gained entry to her home because she let him in! This wasn't the case of a knock at the door in the middle of the night – if I had a nickel for every time a woman has told me about her husband answering a knock at the door in the middle of the night....or a woman who threw the door open simply because the doorbell rang...well, I could buy a whole lotta ammo and a few more guns!

But that's not what happened here. She heard noises and she went to investigate. Now this is not an unusual thing to do, and in fact probably most of us have done this. And no, we shouldn't grab a gun and go all Rambo style clearing out our houses every time we hear a noise. But her huge mistake, that I heard in one of the interviews, is that she opened her door and went out onto the front porch investigating noises. That's when she encountered him and that's when he forced his way into her home. A struggle ensued. Now she's 66, he's 24, no doubt she was injured in this struggle physically and that's not even considering the mental trauma she'll have as a result. To her credit, she must have had a gun close enough by that she was able to get to it and shoot and kill him. Good for her.

But do you think it would have been better for her overall if she had not gotten into a physical fight with a man three times younger than she?

And this is exactly what I constantly talk about in classes. A woman does not have the physical strength to overpower a man, and this is why we must first of all be smart about defending ourselves, which means we spot a threat before it has a chance to become an attack. This is precisely what I teach, and what students work on through scenario drills, in BTB. It also means that we need a tool which enables us to overpower a man should that need arise. Thus the need for a firearm.

I teach students they need barriers of protection. When you're away from your home, your car is a barrier – this is why you should lock the doors the second you get into your car, to keep a potential attacker out. When you're at home, you have several layers of barriers. Cherise spoke to a metro community last Friday morning about how to stay safe at home and she talked about the outer perimeter – what I call my moat. She said she doesn't have any dragons in her moat, but that is her first outer perimeter. My moat has dogs in it. My "moat" is a fence all the way around my yard with locked gates. Can someone get into my yard? Sure, just hop over the fence. I saw it happen once by the meter reader shortly after I moved in. He hopped over my fence and immediately there were five dogs from 70 to 100 pounds at a dead run flying toward him. I had no idea a human could move that fast or jump that high! No one ever hopped in my yard again. Not all of my dogs would eat someone's face off if they came in my yard, but at least one of them will....if you come in my yard and you're not invited you'll have to guess which one.

The next barrier at home are the outer walls of your house. You lock your windows and your doors and you are inside that barrier. Can someone get in? Sure. They can kick the door in. They can break a window. But many times they don't need to go to that much trouble because people give them easy access by leaving their doors and windows unlocked, or opening the door when the doorbell rings or there's a knock, or one of the most common things I see – leave your garage door open while you're inside or in the back yard. Bad guy can not only assess what you have inside your garage that he wants, but he can come on in. He can wait for you if he wants to, or maybe he'll just kill you when you surprise him by walking in on him.

Your last barrier at home are inside rooms where you can barricade yourself. I discuss this in several classes, including Defensive Shotgun, Everything Else, and Defensive Awareness.

So it is very foolish to go outside your protective perimeter at vulnerable times, such as nighttime or if you hear a noise outside. Again, yes, someone can kick in your door, but if they do the correct response is to greet them with a firearm...preferably a 12 gauge shotgun, but really any defense caliber will do.

You should never go outside to investigate noises you hear. Bad guy may be counting on that and he may ambush you – this is why, gentlemen, going outside with a baseball bat in hand puts your wife's life in danger....if there's someone outside with a gun, knife, or brick and you're caught off guard, you just left your house wide open to this criminal. Stay inside your house, call 911 and let the police come and investigate the noises outside. And you focus on what's going on inside your house. If bad guy crosses into your perimeter, kill him. It's the only correct answer because otherwise he will just do it again and again, possibly even to you.

One more thing I want to note about this story is the fact that the neighbor across the street found a bullet next to his garage that police said came from across the street during the shooting. I stress over and over and over again in SDA and private lessons and all live fire classes that you must be accountable for every bullet that leaves your gun. If you miss, if you wildly shoot and bullets are flying, if your bullet goes through the attacker, that bullet is going somewhere. This is why training is so very important, because yes, you will be terrified and shaking in the middle of an attack but guess what, you still have to obey the Four Cardinal Rules because if you don't you can easily shoot yourself or an innocent bystander (like your child) and you still have to have enough skill that you can get your gun out of wherever it is, come on target, purposely shoot the bad guy, and put your gun away before the police arrive (for safety purposes, you do not want to greet law enforcement with gun in hand). This ability does not miraculously fall out of the sky into your head in the middle of an attack, it's there because you've practiced it so that muscle memory takes over and you do those things which you have practiced. If you haven't practiced, it's anybody's guess what you'll do. Do you really want to leave something this important to chance?

OPD has classes that take women level by level, advancing them in their skill to the point they can very efficiently protect themselves, so get the training!


Contact me if there's a specific topic you'd like to see addressed in this section.

Demeaning ad response
by Tammy Pinkston

In the February newsletter I wrote about an extremely demeaning ad by a gun manufacturer in one of the gun magazines I subscribe to. I constantly see ads in magazines depicting women in sexy poses holding a gun, but this one crossed the line and portrayed a woman in a bikini holding four guns. There's no real reason a photo like that should be connected to women and firearms – it does not portray any real woman who is serious about self-defense, and worse it is beyond insulting to any woman who has ever been attacked. And so I wrote to the gun manufacturer and the editor of the magazine. I heard nothing at all from the gun manufacturer, but I did receive the below response from the magazine editor. It renewed my faith in the magazine, and secured my continued subscription!

If you want to see the ad and the letter I wrote, check out the end of the February newsletter.



Won't find any arguments with me on that. The guys I poke are the ones who are upset anytime there is an attractive woman, tastefully shown in an ad. But I agree with you 100 percent on that EAA ad. They are long time clients as advertisers and we tried to get them to see it, but nope, they didn't seem to understand how that one in particular seemed to cross some lines. I've taken the liberty of sending your note along to the company president at EAA. We do have some basic guidelines for ads, but other than ads for tobacco, alcohol and sex-related gadgets and phony drugs, we try to accommodate manufacturers in our industry. I think EAA learned a hard lesson on this one, and I question if you'll see it again in our magazine or others (I know it ran in other gun magazines too).

I appreciate your concern!

Roy H.
Roy Huntington
Editor  American Handgunner Magazine

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