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November 2010

November 9th Informal Discussion Opportunity

Several students ordered products which have come in so I will be planting myself at Panera Bread at 3321 NW Expressway (across from Baptist Hospital) on Tuesday, November 9th, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. so that they can pick up their orders. Many of you have asked me for my comments on various crimes that have happened around the metro, this is a great opportunity to have an informal discussion about such things (that I can’t take formal class time to talk about) other words, this is a time ya’ll can ask me anything and I’ll take the time to talk about it! Everyone is invited who wants to come during that time period for coffee, pastries and open discussion.

October 30th Classes in Shawnee

We had a successful day of classes in Shawnee last Saturday. First was Between the Threat and the Bang, followed by Everything Else. The two went together very well as "think outside the box" techniques carried over from one class to the other. One of the biggest comments I received was how much the ladies enjoyed beating up SD...even though he clunked instead of squished when they hit him, students still found it eye opening to do drills hitting a would-be attacker...and yes, one of them tried to flip him over, but the wall caught him so it wasn't quite so dramatic as the first class!

Upcoming Classes

I am already booked up through December so I don't anticipate scheduling anything until probably January. Check the Schedule page of my website for any upcoming classes.

New Segment

The entire reason I started Oklahoma Personal Defense was because of the lack of relevant quality training available to women. While there are some exceptional male trainers – and some who may be well meaning but have no clue – the fact remains men are not women and therefore, they cannot possibly understand how we think, what we truly need in training, or for that matter what we truly want. This is what I've found women want – the stay at home mom, the realtor, the nurse, the lawyer, the secretary, the grandmother – all we truly want is to be able to defend ourselves while at home, the grocery store or mall, or while out and about in our daily lives. This, to me, is a very simple request, and it is not fulfilled by ultra tactical training, nor by the ridiculous things some of us are told are valid methods of self-defense. There is a reasonable intermediate, which is what I do. This newsletter introduces the ridiculous end of the spectrum in a new segment (see below).

Guest Writer

And by "writer" I mean professional writer! I'm very pleased to post in this newsletter an article written by a transcription client of mine, Sue Russell. I've transcribed many fascinating interviews for her regarding forensics and crime. Sue is a California-based, internationally syndicated award-winning journalist and the author of several non-fiction books including the top-selling true crime book, Lethal Intent, the story of Aileen Wuornos, the first woman in contemporary society to have met the FBI’s guidelines for a serial killer. See article below...

(From evaluations after class...)

Between the Threat and the Bang

What did you learn that you didn't know before?

~ The importance of being able to draw my gun quickly and effectively
~ I need lots of practice pulling a weapon from a holster...I need to always be aware of everything that is going on around me
~ Holster draw
~ Watch around you, authoritize voice
~ Defensive positions and when aggressor enters space (personal space or with aggressive intent)
~ To think more about different scenarios

What did you like the most about the class?

~ All of it
~ It will help me to be more confident in the future
~ Drills
~ Self-confidence
~ The involvement of the participants
~ Role playing (practice)

And Everything Else

What did you learn that you didn't know before?

~ Escape techniques
~ Transfer of body movement away from harm
~ Techniques using kubotan and cane/stick
~ How to use various items as weapons
~ Ways to attack
~ How to handle close up situations
~ Stance, look, voice
~ Cane defense...defense moves when a gun is on me

What did you like the most about the class?

~ Beating up the mannequin
~ Hands on, humor
~ The class participation
~ Everything
~ Always the practical application of hands on's hard to get over the idea of hitting
another human
~ Participating in the drills and going over different scenarios
~ Hands on
~ All women, practice

One of my students gave me a book which details alleged ways for women to defend themselves. Written by a man who is an "expert" in martial arts, he asks in the beginning of the book, "What should a woman really do to defend herself?" Well, sir, I can tell you it is absolutely none of the things you've suggested! Each month I'll post a few photos of some of the ridiculous things I've seen perpetuated as valid self-defense. My comments are in blue.

Take the time to pull off your shoes,
and put them on your hands...
...or find a hat and poke him in the eye with it.

Whoa, now this is a technical move, don't try this unless you're an expert... reach over your shoulder and hook your hair clip on his nose! That'll teach him to mess with you!

Q: Hi Tammy,

Are you ever going to have a gun cleaning class?  I am a complete novice at this type of thing.  I have used written instructions, but I would like to make sure I'm doing it right.

A: Hi Sharon,

Yes, I would very much like to hold a gun cleaning class, there are a lot of women who want that class. My problem is location. I can't hold this class where food is served (like Earl's) because of the chemicals – some of the cleaning solvents put off quite an odor. I have two room options in Shawnee, but one is a bank and the other is a college campus, neither will allow guns in their buildings. The uneducated society (such as many business owners) think that guns are bad and they won't allow classes where there are guns present so I'm extremely limited in finding a meeting place where I can do anything with guns. Earl's allows me to handle unloaded guns in their meeting room because I have been in national training classes with the managers so 1. They know I am safe and 2. They are very supportive of firearms education.

So you see my dilemma, and why it is so very important I acquire my own building, so that I can hold the classes women want and need.

In the meantime if I can figure out a place where I could hold a gun cleaning class I would love to do that one.


Send me your questions.

Book Recommendation

Lethal Intent, Sue Russell’s biography of serial killer Aileen Wuornos is reissued November 2010 as a “Pinnacle Books True Crime Classic.” Aileen confessed to killing seven men in Florida and was executed in 2002.

I'm recommending this book not only because it is well written and interesting, but because it is a terrific example of how not to stereotype. Aileen Wuornos was the first woman who met the FBI's criteria of a serial killer. Most of us assume attackers will be male. Even though Aileen attacked men, we as women must change our assumptions to realize that anyone could attack us. Don't assume a woman cannot harm you just as much as a man – Aileen Wuornos killed seven men!

Sue was present during Aileen's trials, and interviewed her on death you can read Sue's account of writing Lethal Intent.

You can find this book locally at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Borders, or you can order it online through any of those stores and Amazon.

Anyone who purchases a book and would like an autographed faceplate signed by Sue, Email me.


By Sue Russell

The true picture of a life comes into focus only slowly. The real, rather than imagined, existence essential to non-fiction can be inconveniently opaque, downright incomprehensible, and, in the case of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, unimaginably violent. Aileen was behind bars and had confessed to killing seven men when she first crossed my radar in 1991. I was riveted, I admit. I couldn’t imagine why she did what she did. So I wound up making sense of her life for my true crime book Lethal Intent. It was like piecing together a shattered glass.

Here, a family vacation snapshot of a smiling Aileen boating with the grandparents who raised her. There, stories of her screams heard way across the yard whenever her adoptive grandfather whipped her. Here, old school yearbooks showed her smile sliding further off her face every year. There, a letter from a school counselor revealed a missed opportunity, an ignored cry for help. “This girl needs help now,” it insisted.

Learning that during adolescent kissing games no boy ever would kiss Aileen made the sting of her rejection palpable. Between ages eleven and twelve, she began selling her body for packets of cigarettes, earning the nickname “cigarette pig.” It was clear that she was sexually abused, but Aileen’s stories were ever-changing and slippery. However, she got pregnant at fourteen and had a son who immediately was whisked away from her. In Florida, working as a prostitute, she once drunkenly held up a mini-mart while wearing a bikini.

As I interviewed, researched, and covered her murder trial, the puzzle pieces kept piling up. She wasn’t charged in one of the seven murders to which she confessed. She was too drunk to remember where she left the victim’s body. And to this day, the body of part-time missionary Peter Siems has not been recovered.

So many scenes swirled in my head. They drew me right into her world but did not tell me why she was a serial killer. I have a huge, detailed timeline of Aileen’s life to thank for that. It stared down at me from my office wall for ages before it began to speak to me.

Then it hit me. Aileen suffered from borderline personality disorder, said the experts, and was consumed by fears of abandonment. The timeline showed me that those fears and the stress on her all-important relationship with Tyria Moore, her girlfriend of four years were, for varying reasons, through the roof in the days preceding each murder. Often, she had no money, and in her mind, having cash was essential to hanging on to Tyria.

As a teenager, Aileen drove people away with her explosive temper and tried to buy the friendship she craved by supplying beer for parties. Adult Aileen stole hundreds of dollars from many of the men she murdered. She carried Windex in her “kill bag” with her .22 caliber gun and methodically wiped away any fingerprints. Then she’d scoot home triumphantly, waving wads of dollar bills to pay for rent and beer – a short-term fix to quiet her dread.

The timeline showed me that she committed at least five of the murders when her jealousy and fears that Tyria would leave her really escalated. A pretty blonde heterosexual co-worker of Tyria’s joining them for Thanksgiving and being close to Tyria shook Aileen up a week before her first known murder. And when Tyria’s 18-year-old sister visited, Aileen’s murders spun out of control. Aileen was incredibly jealous of the sisters’ tight bond and was petrified that Tyria would move back with her family and leave her. She killed three men in six weeks. With the hundreds of dollars she scored, the women partied and went to Sea World.

Ultimately, I felt as sure as I’ve felt about anything: Aileen killed – she said it herself – to avoid leaving behind any witnesses, but her “killing days,” as she called them, were when her fears of being left overwhelmed her. For me, the timeline on my wall was the key to understanding.

Do you think the timeline of your life would reveal anything important about you? If so, do let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Aileen Wuornos was executed by lethal injection in October, 2002, after a decade on Death Row. Award-winning journalist and author Sue Russell’s book “Lethal Intent” is being re-issued in November 2010 as a Kensington Books “True Crime Classic.” Email Sue, or follow her on Twitter or Facebook

Tactical – 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.

One of the things I try to stress in Between the Threat and the Bang is that it may not be obvious based on looks who your attacker might be. This is why we must be aware enough of our surroundings to notice if someone is entering our personal space, and savvy enough to know whether or not this person poses a threat. Finally, we must be ready to take action to ward off this potential threat, or stop it all together if it proceeds to an attack. BTB prepares students for this by considering potential scenarios, and I encourage students to continue the process of preparation by the thought process, "If this happened then I would _____________." As one of the students pointed out in class Saturday, like a computer if you have not input the information into your brain when you need it it will not be there. This is the fatal misstep that causes too many women to make the wrong choice, hesitate, or freeze
, which can end up costing them their lives (or worse).

The entire purpose of what I do is to prepare you to actually stop an attacker, and even better yet, ward off a potential threat before it becomes an attack. Part of this preparation is helping change mindsets where stereotypes reside. Such stereotypes might include the false conception that an attacker will be an adult (the home invader shot and killed by a Midwest City woman last week was only 15), or a man (reference Lethal Intent), or an actual attacker (Penn Square Mall security guard opens fire on fleeing shoplifters), or that the only way you can defend yourself is with a gun. Students in the Everything Else class learned several other legitimate ways to defend themselves, and none of them
involved hooking a hair clip on an attacker's nose!

The trend I see amongst students is the realization as they go through drills that it isn't as easy as they first thought to know what to do, and added to that is the intimidation factor – several students commented Saturday that it was difficult even to hit a mannequin, and the mistake most of them made was being too far away from him. You see, Everything Else covers close quarters self-defense, it is the alarming point where your attacker has – or is about to have – his hands on you. It is yet another mindset shift.

In both classes on Saturday I invited students to step outside the box and begin to change their thinking...this is a crucial step in truly being able to defend yourself.

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

Click photo to watch video

This is from a parking lot security camera. When the video begins, notice the time in the top right – at 12:36 the car jacker begins his "work" and completes it in 13 seconds. He then lies in wait for 30 minutes for his victim.

Have you ever thought of this potential scenario? What would you do right now if it happened? The natural instinct is exactly what this woman did, she heard a noise behind her car and she got out to see what the noise was. Notice in the video when she walks up to her car she has a purse on her shoulder...which she leaves in the car when she exits it. Now her purse, house keys, and address are in the vehicle as this man drives away with it. He knows where she lives. He has a car to get there. He has her house keys to get in.

But what if she had a child in there as well? What if there is a child waiting at home and this man is on his way there?

This is why I ask students to consider ahead of time, "If this happened then I would ____________" (fill in the blank) so that when it happens is not the first time you've considered what to do about it. This type of thinking should not make you afraid but instead should empower you because after all, YOU are the one who is prepared!

On the video you see the car jacker running from behind the car parked next to her, he does it so quickly that he is within about three feet of her when they pass each other. His quickness suggests to me he was standing at the back of the car parked next to her, else he wouldn't have been able to move so quickly. He gets in her car, you see the brake lights as he puts it in drive, and she's still at the back as she moves around to look at the passenger side and she still doesn't know he's gotten in her car until the car starts moving.

Notice this man doesn't look particularly scary. This is probably intentional. If someone sees him tying cans to the back of a car he can just say he's playing a prank on his friend. He doesn't look scary, why would anyone question him?

My answer to the question "If this happened then I would" – If I heard a noise outside my car when I start driving the first thing I'm going to be is suspicious (because I am naturally suspicious due to many years of personal defense training and mindset) and my first instinct is going to be to look around FROM WITHIN MY LOCKED CAR. Since I am looking around I would see the man standing at the back of the car next to me and I would absolutely not open my door, I would assume he's done something to my car to distract me and I would pull away from the parking spot to a highly visible area, such as directly in front of an entry to a store with the driver's door facing the store entry (not facing the parking lot)...i.e. I would parallel park on the curb directly in front of the store. Only then would I get out of my car to see what the noise was.

Watch the timer in the top right, it only took him eight seconds from the time she stopped her car and opened the door until he drove away in her car. Still think you can wait to figure it out when it happens?

Real life stories in their own words from students of how they used
something they learned in class to deal with a potential threat
(used by permission)
me your story.

I NEVER open my door
by Debbie

Wow, yesterday a man came to my door. Dressed nice, cell phone on his belt. But nothing in his hands, like a note pad or anything that might be used for asking questions, or a survey. I NEVER open my door even if they have a Bible tucked under their arm. I watched him go from house to house until he went out of sight. This was around 2:00. Then I heard the news and got your email !!!! I never did see a car that he may have been in. This is very scary. I don't even do yard work unless my husband is home. Be safe!


That is scary.  You handled it very well by not answering the door and watching him until he left the neighborhood.  Very observant to notice he didn't have anything in his hands - what legitimate reason could he have been there with nothing to take notes or pass out? I had a couple Jehovah Witnesses come to my door recently, I have a camera above my door and was pretty sure that's who they were when I saw them but I still didn't open my door. It was a 20ish man and woman, he spotted the camera after a few moments and pointed it out to her, she began acting real nervous when she saw it. She was wearing very high heals, very short skirt and low cut blouse – I never saw a JW dressed like that. See, he could have been legit, she might have been canvassing to come back later. Criminals are getting creative in getting in the door. Probably most of them just want to rob people - it's the terrible depression we're in, people who wouldn't ordinarily steal are stealing. But the disorganized criminal is the one that can suddenly turn violent (organized criminals plan so if you're observant you can often see it coming), these are the ones who are desperate, who would keep on trying to steal after a pregnant woman takes his knife away and slashes him to pieces, or who when you surprise them in your house might turn violent out of fear, or who after they've gotten in your door because you let them in realize you'll cal the cops when they leave so they better not leave a witness who can I'D them.

The career criminals are easier to spot because they're not dressed nice and even if they are you can put pearls on a pig and it's still obviously a pig. So these, even if it occurred to them to dress up, would be easy to spot and most people if they're observant (so many women aren't and the scummiest looking person can walk right up to them) will not let someone like that approach them. Now it's a lot of ordinary people who are desperate that are committing crimes...that's why so many bank robberies by people who don't even realize the whole thing is caught on tape and their face isn't even covered. This type criminal doesn't set out to kill someone but they're already using very bad judgment in turning to crime – they obviously have the lack of morals to do such a thing (there are those of us no matter how bad it got the thought of crime would never cross our mind) and once they start down that path there's nothing to stop it from getting worse. That's the one who kills you and as they sit in prison they're remorseful, but you're still dead. We can not afford to take chances.

You did very well, keep it up!


Addendum: The morning before I sent this newsletter out, an OKCPD Citizen Alert came in about a woman in NW OKC who opened her door when someone knocked and allowed the man in her home because he was disguised as an ONG worker. I forwarded the Citizen Alert to the group, but KFOR has a few more details in their article. Once inside the house, the fake ONG worker pulled a gun on her, forced her to strip, and duct taped her head, after which his accomplice appeared...evidently the accomplice was considering raping her. She was VERY lucky that neither of these two men raped and/or killed her. You see, once inside the privacy of YOUR home, they can do what they want. Unfortunately for her, they now know she's an easy target and unless they're caught, they may be back. Even more unfortunate, she will probably be just as unprepared as she was the first time to deal with this threat.

The fake ONG worker gained entry to the home after the SECOND time he knocked on her door...the first time he asked her if she had any vicious dogs. Ladies, whether you have a dog, a cat, a ferret, a husband, or nothing at all, the answer to this question is always YES!!!!! Some of my dogs are Golden Retrievers and like Will Rogers, they never met anyone they didn't like...but if anyone asks me if they bite I immediately respond, "Yes!" So what if they only bite cookies and squeaky toys, their size plus the belief that they bite is enough to keep the uninvited at a distance. I do happen to have one dog who has enough German Shepherd in him he actually would bite...he guards me and I have no doubt he would eat someone's face off if they tried to harm me.

Home invasion is a problem that is not going away, and the
answer is preparation so that 1. You can prevent this or 2. If it happens you can deal with it.  Two men with guns inside your home = you shoot to kill!  Best option – DON’T LET THEM IN YOUR HOME!!!!

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