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September 2011

Upcoming Classes

The October 1st SDA (conceal carry) class has a few spots left and I need all registrations by the deadline of Sept. 12 (this Monday)...I won't teach this class again until probably Spring so if you want in on the OPD all women SDA class before then, you need to register ASAP. Girls Day Out or a private lesson from an OPD instructor is a pre-requisite for all live fire classes at OPD, including SDA.

I still have room in both Girls Day Out on Sept. 17 and the new Defensive Awareness class on Sept. 15th. The deadline for registering for all three classes is Monday, Sept. 12th. See below for details.

Brand New Classes for Moms and Kids!

OPD is officially launching a kid's academy under the umbrella of Oklahoma Personal Defense. To date we have seven classes in the works, specifically for kids of all ages. See below for more info. I'd love to hear
from you with any comments or questions.

New Policy for All Live Fire Classes

It is now 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.

Terrorism Alert

from the National Terror Alert website

Feds – Al-Qaida eyes small-plane terror threat

The FBI and Homeland Security have issued a nationwide warning about al-Qaida threats to small airplanes, just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Authorities say there is no specific or credible terrorist threat for the 10-year anniversary.

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 self-defense

BOLO – Be On the Lookout
LEO – Law Enforcement Officer
VCA – Violent Criminal Actor
BUG – Back Up Gun

RSO – Range Safety Officer
SDA – Self-Defense Act
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

Do you know which of these actual places in Oklahoma City metro are dangerous? It's not as obvious as you may think...come to the Defensive Awareness class to learn the correct answer.

Q: Hi Tammy,

My husband helped a friend clean out her mother’s old shed after her passing, she was 99 and her husband has been gone for 30 to 40 years.  He found old shotgun shells that have to be at least that old.  What’s the best/safest way to dispose of that old ammo?   Thank you.


A: Hi Sherry,

Many police departments have the ability to dispose of old ammo and will do so for its citizens. Call your local PD and ask, if they can't do it ask if they know who can. If you are in a small town with a small department, you might check with Oklahoma City PD – they're large enough they most likely are able to help you out.


Send me your questions.

Defensive Awareness
Sept. 15th from 6 pm to 9 pm
Earl's BBQ

This class is more than situational awareness, it's tactics and techniques on how to keep yourself safe while out and about. The class focuses on things women may not have even thought of that will give them the upper hand in their surroundings.

This class is on a Thursday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm at Earl's. Dinner is not provided but I have the room reserved starting at 5 so that anyone who wants to come early and have dinner together, or just come shoot the breeze, can do so...this is a discussion based class (no drills) so students can eat while the class is going on if they don't get there early enough to eat between 5 and start of class at 6. Register

Girls Day Out
Sept. 17th, from 10 am to 4 pm
Earl's BBQ
$45.00, includes lunch

This class helps you prepare for the conceal carry class and to become more comfortable with carrying your gun after you've taken the class. The class teaches you how to safely handle a gun, how to choose the right gun for you, and how to carry it once you have your gun.

A lot of women come to Girls Day Out in groups because it's a whole lot of fun to do together! Register

Oklahoma SDA (conceal carry) Women Only
October 1st from 9 am to 6 pm

This is the class to get the required certificate to apply for your Oklahoma conceal carry license. This is NOT a beginner level class, you MUST be able to handle your gun unassisted, and demonstrate 100% safety, in order to pass the class. Girls Day Out or a private lesson from an OPD instructor is required to attend this class at OPD. I highly recommend Girls Day Out as it specifically helps prepare you for the SDA class. Register

Refresher Classes: If you've already attended a class, you may take the class again to
work on your skills for
a discounted rate. Look for Refresher Courses on the registration page.

Classes for Kids and Moms

In the last newsletter I made the first mention of a new class just for moms in the works, being developed by Cherise Barsaloux, one of OPD's RSO/helpers. Since then I've been working on classes that will be offered, and here's the current list:

1. Cherise’s class for Moms – teaches moms how to safely have a firearm in the home
2. Defensive Awareness for Kids – teaches kids what to watch for in their everyday environment
3. Krav Maga Breakaway Techniques for Kids – teaches kids how to get away if grabbed
4. Youth rifle class, Level 1 (basic handling), Level 2 (home defense)
5. Youth shotgun class, Level 1 (basic handling), Level 2 (home defense)
6. Youth handgun class, Level 1 (safe handling), Level 2 (home defense)
7. Private lessons for kids of all ages

No doubt this list will grow as we discover what instruction parents want their kids to have. Email me if there's something you'd like to see addressed in the classes.

No doubt you noticed there are home defense levels listed for rifle, shotgun and handgun. Everything I teach in OPD has developed out of my own personal experience, and from 8 years old to my teens I was home alone out in the country after school. While I was taught firearms safety and that I'd get my butt beat if I touched a firearm without my parent's permission and presence (ah the good ole days, we got our butts beat and we liked it, LOL!), I also knew that if I needed a firearm for home defense while they were gone that I could in fact handle one. The potential of a kid needing to use a firearm for home defense is not an old concept (not that I'm old!) are articles from the last few years where kids used firearms in a home defense situation (click the link for full story):

Teen allegedly shoots and kills intruder (rifle) – Houston, Texas

"He is only a teenager and investigators say he did what he had to do to protect himself."
Child shoots intruder during home break-in (handgun) – Port Allen, Louisiana

"A ten-year-old boy left home alone with his sister used his mother's gun to shoot an intruder in the face, police said."
Shotgun-toting teen defends mom, home from burglars (shotgun) – Monte Alto, Texas

"A 16-year-old boy used a shotgun to defend his mother from three would-be burglars in Monte Alto early Saturday morning."
Teen shoots burglar (handgun) – Ashtabula, Ohio

"A 15-year-old shot a burglar late Friday night after the burglar and two cohorts broke into the teen’s West Side home."
Injured 11-year-old shoots home invaders (rifle) – Palmview, Texas

"The child and his mother were hiding in a bedroom when the gunmen tried to force their way in. One of the men shot through the door, striking the boy in the groin area. The child, who was carrying a .22-caliber rifle, shot back, hitting one of the criminals in the neck."
Teen shoots intruder in head (shotgun) – Miami, Florida

"Investigators said the home is owned by attorney Jeffrey Davis, who was not home at the time of the attempted burglary. His son and his wife, Yasmin, were home. They told detectives that Muñoz indicated he was armed and that he planned to harm them."
Police: Boy, 14, ends burglary by shooting suspect – Hot Spring, Arkansas

"Hot Springs police say a 14-year-old boy home alone shot a 17-year-old boy in the face, ending an attempted burglary."
Deputy's teen son shoots at burglar at NW Harris home (rifle) – Houston, Texas

"The boy, 15, and his sister, 12, were alone about 2:45 p.m. when someone tried to kick open the front door then soon after the back door of their home in the 2600 block of Royal Place Court, officials said."

Only you as a parent can make the decision what you want your kids to learn, and at what age. While the youth academy will focus on safety and proper firearms handling, there will be a home defense option for those parents who want their kids to be able to use a firearm if, God forbid, they should need one in home defense. As will all OPD classes, safety will be strictly enforced, and all kid's classes will require one parent to be present at all times.

I've also been working on building the logo design and website for the new academy for kids. I've registered the domain and will upload the site when I've built the whole thing out. For now, you can see the new logo design and name below.

As parents, the health, safety, and general well-being of our children is a – if not THE – top priority.  We tell our children about the dangers around them, give them rules to obey and guidelines to follow, and reinforce all of those from time to time in expectation that our dear little ones will heed our counsel, make wise decisions, and live long enough to someday worry about their own children and grandchildren.  We admonish them to use their best manners at all times, wear shoes so they don’t get stickers, eat what’s put before them so they don’t go hungry, wear sunscreen and a hat to avoid sunburn, and keep their fingers out of their noses because, well, ewwww.

We also give them responsibilities appropriate to their ages and abilities. We encourage them to do their homework without being told, feed and water their pets without being reminded, brush their teeth after every meal, and make their beds before they go to school (Yeah… how is that last one working out for the rest of you?  Unmade beds are my daily reminder that children are little masterpieces in progress).

There are, of course, also things that we let them figure out for themselves.  Climbing the jungle gym in flip-flops isn’t the best idea.  Going without a jacket when it’s cold may mean you come home earlier than you’d like, and with chattering teeth.  Turning the jets on in the tub after you’ve washed your hair can create more bubbles than you can breathe in.  Your friends don’t like being told they have to play “your way.”  Kids learn some things best when they discover them for themselves.

But some situations can be so dangerous that we rehearse repeatedly what we want our children to do if they find themselves faced with those threats.  We tell them not to run with scissors in their hands, and to never run from a dog.  Don’t put anything into an electrical outlet, and never put a plastic bag over your head.  Do not get into the swimming pool without our permission and supervision, and never get into a stranger’s car.   If you or your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.  Our lives and homes are filled with potentially dangerous objects that we and our children live with every day.  Curling irons.  Hammers.  Power tools.  Gas furnaces and stoves.  Matches.  Kitchen knives.  Chemical cleaners.  But we don’t often lose sleep over wondering whether or not our children are safe with these things in our homes because we have taught them where the danger lies and either how to avoid it or how to handle it if they come into accidental contact.

Nearly half of all American households are estimated to have firearms within.  In some places that concentration is higher, and in some places it’s likely to be less.  But the odds are that even if you don’t keep firearms in your home, someone whom you know does.  Yet how many parents teach their children what to do if they should encounter a firearm?  What would your child do?  Whether you are in favor of private gun ownership, vehemently opposed to it, or somewhere in between, you have a responsibility to be certain that your child is every bit as sure of what to do if she should come across a gun as she is about what to do if her clothes catch on fire or if she encounters a snake in her path.  Telling her not to touch it isn’t enough; in fact, if your children are like mine – and I suspect most are – telling them not to mess with something only increases their curiosity about it.  Telling her to notify the adult in the house isn’t enough, either, because it’s unlikely that a responsible gun owner with the proper respect for guns and firearms safety would leave a gun out for a child to find.  So, what do you tell your child?

The most basic firearms safety for children, endorsed by the National Rifle Association and part of their Eddie Eagle program is that they should do the following:

  • STOP. 
  • Don’t touch the gun. 
  • Leave the area.
  • Tell an adult.

This is a great beginning place, and these rules should be an essential part of every child’s basic safety instruction, yet in the five years that my children have been in school, none of them has ever once been given this information.  In none of the parenting books that I read which were suggested by pediatricians or other moms did I encounter these rules.  Why?

Because guns and gun talk are taboo for a lot of people.  Too many parents would rather pretend that guns don’t exist and that if they keep mum on the subject and don’t have guns in their own homes, they won’t have to worry about their children getting hold of one.  The folly of that sort of thinking makes the news often enough to prove them wrong, however, and the biggest tragedy in that is the loss of a human life that could very well have been spared had the child been forearmed with the information she needed to know how to handle herself and given the responsibility to take control of a dangerous situation.

It’s well past time that we as parents and caregivers, regardless of our convictions on the topic of personal firearms possession, teach our children the respect for firearms which those objects deserve, that we incorporate firearms safety into the lessons we routinely teach our children, and that we work to be sure that every child knows how to keep herself or himself safe in the presence of firearms.  Can I get an “amen?” 

Continuing with introductions of the OPD helper pool via a short bio and other contributions...

In previous newsletters I've featured three of my current helpers (view bios here), this month I'm featuring Louise Jennings' bio as well as a student story from her. Louise is an NRA certified Range Safety Officer.

Louise Jennings, OPD Helper

Although one of my grandfathers and uncles had firearms, I myself was raised in town in a home without them.  One time, when I was 10, I even held hands over my ears when at one of my uncle’s farm and there was an opossum in the hen house.  I didn’t understand there was such a thing as a silencer.  Then on another occasion, my husband decided he needed to teach me how to fire a pistol for protection when he was out of town.  That turned into a total fiasco because when I did feel like I needed to have it in hand, my palms got so sweaty I blocked the hammer with my thumb, rather I jammed it there.  I had panicked and was afraid of shooting through my kids bedroom wall and killing one of them. 
For some time now, however, I have been contemplating learning to arm myself, not only because our society is inundated with drugs and some very evil people, but because I have been concerned about what has been going on at the government level with “our right to bear arms."

I consider myself fortunate – not lucky  because I don’t believe in luck – to have been put in touch with Tammy when I called a gun range to line up some actual training. After the first class, GDO, I went in for a private lesson, then on to BTB and EE.  I have enjoyed all of these classes plus additional ones I’ve taken, not only because they’ve been fun-filled and enjoyable but because I’ve learned along the way.  Additional classes I’ve taken are Self-Defense for concealed carry, Gun Cleaning, Airsoft and RSO.  I have now fired three types of semi-automatics and still truly do not have a preference because I’ve not gone to the firing range enough.  I do however have the Pepper Spray and Kubaton which I carry all the time.  I have now found a friend who has agreed to go with me to the gun range so we can practice.

Forgive my “doubting Thomas’” attitude, but for the life of me, I truly didn’t think anything would come of becoming a Helper, until Tammy requested that any who did not feel committed should save her time and theirs (mine) and not bother with the RSO training.  I trust Tammy, consequently, if she thinks I can handle that job with her training I intend to carry through with her and for myself.  I became especially convinced that I can do this when I learned that Dara hasn’t been ‘packing’ very long herself.  I encourage any woman to go through these classes whether you wish to become an avid NRA member or just wish to become more comfortable around guns and want your mind to think – know you can do things to protect yourself.  Each one empowers a person that much more.  If you only take ONE thing away from a class, it may very well save you from becoming a victim.

– 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.

Not your friendly neighborhood Spiderman

Marika Lorraine Reporting
5:46 p.m. CDT, August 18, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man disguised as Spiderman and the suspect's sidekick held up a convenience store in Northwest Oklahoma City. The two men entered Fred's Food Mart at 3123 N. Portland around 8:30 p.m. when there were no customers in the store.

The masked men the held the clerk at gunpoint demanding the money from the cash register.

The robbery was caught on the store's surveillance cameras.

Oklahoma City Police hope someone can identify the pair even though you can't see their faces.

Master Sergeant Gary Knight says, "You can see the clothing he wears, the way he's built, the way he moves, so we're hoping that somebody out there will recognize him based on that."

The manager of Fred's Food Mart says his clerk was not injured during the robbery.

Vickie Nix owns the beauty supply shop next door and says, "Seems like it happens all the time around here. Every time we turn around something is going on in the neighborhood. Shootings, robberies, murders. It's not a shock to me."

She hopes the men are arrested soon.

If you have any information about this crime please contact Crime Stoppers at (405) 235-7300.

I saw this on the news when it first aired and I was shocked by what I the video the clerk has his hand up in front of the gun as if to stop the bullet from hitting him should the gun "go off" – several times the barrel of the gun actually hits the clerk in the hand (watch). All I could think of was, "why on earth did he not grab it?" Does that sound outrageous to you? Then you need to take Between the Threat and the Bang, we do drills on how to take a gun away from someone. Here are photos from a BTB class of one of these drills.

And yes, you need to be prepared and trained to take a gun away from someone should they point it at you because guess what, criminals don't practice the Four Cardinal Rules of Safety so the whole while this robber is waving the gun at the clerk his finger is smack on that trigger. In the video there's a comment about the bullet hole in the neighboring business from "another incident." Criminals do not practice safe gun handling...unfortunately many law abiding citizens also do not because they're not properly trained! So you need to remember that while you're standing there letting someone point a gun at you (whether intentionally or unawares) that they are not practicing safety, and while they're waving that gun around with finger full on trigger it just takes one little hiccup to set it off in your face.

And no, your hand will not stop the bullet, it will go right on through and hit whatever area of the body the barrel is pointing at when the gun "goes off."

Please don't assume because you don't work in a convenience store that this won't happen to you, it could happen to you anywhere in OKC, in even some of the nicest Defensive Awareness, I will show you some of those "nice" places.

Let me point out a couple of other things about this incident...

First, according to the OKC PD Citizen Alert posted August 18th, this actually happened on August 5th, yet was not reported to the public until August 18th, a full two weeks after the event...this is very typical of crimes in our area. There may be a reason for law enforcement not to report crimes when they happen, but you need to understand there are consistently criminals running free who committed crimes that you don't yet know about.

Second, when the neighboring store owner says she "hopes the men are arrested soon." you all need to understand this is an erroneous statement. You see, even if the criminals are arrested they may not stay in jail for long and further, much of the time these criminals are not arrested. If you have any doubts about that, I hope you'll come to the Defensive Awareness class – I'm going to show an actual record of a criminal who perpetuated a heinous crime in the metro and he was arrested and set free and is walking the streets today.

I am certain that law enforcement does the best it can...but their best is not going to save you from being killed or worse. You cannot save yourself by wishful thinking, or assuming it won't happen to you, the only way you can keep from being killed or worse is to be prepared. How do you prepare? Through training. And guess what ladies, you have your very own training specifically designed for YOU! Please make sure you're ready to deal with a threat should one ever come your way. You see, there's one of me and a whole lot of I see a bigger picture of women in our area who have been attacked and are never the same. It doesn't have to happen, it should never happen, and the only way it won't happen is if you take care of it (and by "it" I mean the scum that attacks you).

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

This is from a national "personal defense" magazine in an article on women's self-defense.

In both of these scenarios, the bad guy is too close. In the top photo if she hasn't already shot him by now, he knows she's bluffing and he'll be on her and stab her to death before she can pull the trigger. Unfortunately, this is what happens to women who don't train, her mom side kicks in and she assumes she can talk to a hardened criminal like she would her kids...I've seen this over and over again, including in one of the cases I'll be discussing in Defensive Awareness – the end result in that case was the woman was raped.

In the second photo, she may look tough but do you really think this bad guy is going to stand there and let her hold that stun gun against him? And yes, I said HOLD, because in order to make a stun gun/taser work, you have to hold it against the bad guy for enough time that the current has an impact...or for that matter, can even close the circuit to form a current . No one tells women this when they push the sales of a taser or stun gun as a valid self-defense tool.

As students learn in BTB, and most especially in the Everything Else class, too close means too dead. In EE I always have a really difficult time getting students to get close enough to the mannequin to actually hit him. So you've also got natural instinct at work, we do not move toward someone trying to kill us, we move away.

If you didn't know what was wrong with these pictures without reading the explanations, you need to take Between the Threat and the Bang and Everything Else and learn first hand in the drills why these things don't work. Close quarter combat between a woman and a man simply does not work.

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

Reaction from Targets inside My House

Louise Jennings

My family has been very supportive both prior and during the time I began taking classes and learning about guns.  My daughter and son-in-law were actually the ones to get me started taking classes. One of my sons continually asks "Are ya packin' Mom?"  The other son says, "Now Mom, all we need to do is get you a Pit Bull and No one will bother you!"  After my concealed carry class, I posted my target on a wall in the hall by the bedrooms.  During the process of remodeling my kitchen earlier this year, (I have an older home), it was necessary to show the electricians where my 'old' fuse box was located (in a bedroom closet).  They had to make certain that it was totally disfunctional.  As they walked by the target, when one of the guys saw it, he exclaimed, "W-e-l-l, Al-l-right!"  Whether he's a gun supporter or he might have felt just a wee bit intimidated, my accuracy shown on the target evidently impressed him.  In all my nearly 74 years, I have rarely felt fearful, undoubtedly due to both my strong faith and the fact that I've been taught caution and self-reliance. Having had OPD instructions simply reinforces the aforementioned.  Bad things can happen to good people, that's why we need to do everything possible to prevent any of them that we can.  I encourage ANYONE to take up this training and am urging others in my family to do the same.


I always tell my students after their SDA class to take their targets home and put them up in and around their home. I have targets all over my house, one of my favorites is the shotgun target hanging on the door between the garage and the kitchen – it's the body shaped blue target we call Smurf with its whole center shot's a would-be burglar's last warning that he really should not come inside. I have occasion to visit a student's house and I always chuckle when I see their targets up...because I know what a potential burglar will think to see that. Louise's story proves the point that the targets are noticed! It makes me smile to know there are women all over the metro with targets up in their houses.

Now to be sure, one must be prepared to carry out self-defense should a potential threat assume the target on a wall, or the person's body language and verbiage (as students learn in BTB), is a ruse. And many would assume because a woman is older (or simply because she's a woman) that she cannot carry through with an action. I can assure you Louise has the ability to carry through. I'll never forget her doing the drills in Airsoft (BTB-2) where I come at the students as the bad guy and they have to draw the Airsoft from a holster, come on target, and shoot me before I get to them. Added to this I tell them to speak what they learned in BTB. As I was coming at Louise, she flawlessly drew the Airsoft from her holster, came on target (me) and said in a firm voice, "I said stop! I said stop!" Yes, it was only a drill with Airsoft, but all of us there knew that had it been a real threat and a real gun in her hands, Louise would have been well prepared. When the drill was over I asked the class, "Does anyone doubt Louise means what she says?" No one did. This is why OPD exists, so that any woman at any age can learn to defend herself, not just in theory but in reality.

Louise in the Airsoft drill...I'm on the other end of that barrel rushing her.


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