Shelly Banks, Operations Manager
What should a mom carry for self-defense when she cannot carry a firearm?
Many of you who have taken a previous PLD class are already familiar with me- James' wife who answers the calls, collects the money and takes the pictures. It is often assumed that because my husband is in law enforcement as well as a firearms instructor that I must be well trained in not only a well-aimed shot at 45 feet but also the tactics taught in all our advanced courses. The reality is however, I am just a stay at home mom of 5 who has learned enough to answer the frequently asked questions that come my way throughout the week but I cannot tell you the difference between a 9mm and a .45 handgun other than one has smaller ammo than the other. I am not an instructor and I do not have a whole lot of experience shooting a gun. I’m more likely found with a camera in my hand while you all are shooting your guns. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been taught the basics and if need be, I’m confident that I can use a firearm to defend myself and my family. But moms don’t really carry handguns with them everywhere they go, do they? The moms I know don’t. It isn’t practical, it’s an intimidating process that carries with it a lot of responsibility and when we as moms are on the go, with our children, the last thing we normally think to do is bring along a firearm strapped to our bodies. I know there will be the few of you who disagree, and more power to you! I obviously do not discourage anyone who chooses to carry a concealed weapon. I am simply stating that I, for one, do not carry concealed for my own reasons on most days. I do however feel the need to know how to defend myself or my children if the situation ever called for me to do so.
My first memory of being in a vulnerable situation as a mother happened ten or more years ago. I was a young mother with two little boys ages 2 and 4. I had loaded them up in their Radio Flyer wagon with a couple of water bottles, snack baggies and a bottle of sunblock and headed off on a hike to the park. We stopped for a while at the playground and then I decided I would walk over to the small pond and try to spot some turtles for my little boys to see. On our way down the trail towards the pond I suddenly got that feeling – you know the one. The feeling you get when you’re being watched and watched by someone who means you harm. My first thought was how incredibly vulnerable I was and how mad I was with myself for putting the three of us in danger such as this. If something happened to me, my boys would be left completely alone and unprotected. Not to mention no one knew we were there, and no one could see us from the road. I made eye contact with the stranger watching me and it was like I could see into his dark soul- he was going to hurt me. He knew it. I knew it. I didn’t have anything to protect myself or those two innocent little blonde-haired boys except my own two feet that I used to run like I had never run before. I scooped them up, one under each arm and ran like their lives depended on it. Once I got to the road where I could see other people I stopped and thanked God for keeping us safe. And then I beat myself up with all the thoughts of what could have happened and how devastating it could have been for us all. What should I have done differently? What should I begin carrying with me to use as a weapon? At the time these were all questions I didn’t really have the answer to. These days I am a much more prepared mom. I think, almost without trying to, about what I need to have with me in the small chance of finding myself once again in a vulnerable situation. I carry pepper spray, always. I also have a defense item on my key ring that I can use on a attacker’s face. I’ve never needed these items but I know that if I ever do, I’ll have them, and I know how to use them. It’s almost like packing a diaper bag – you probably won’t need that extra set of clothes or change of socks but just in case you do, you know they’re there.
The reality is, none of us ever really know when danger will find us. As a mother, it is my responsibility to be ready and able to defend my child at any given moment – whether at home, at a grocery store or at a park on an innocent walk to see the turtles. We can’t, and don’t, always carry a firearm as our go-to self-defense tool. We can, and should, be prepared in other ways, non-lethal ways, as well as begin being more defense minded when going throughout our busy days.
Coming up in a little over a week, we are going to be holding our first self-defense class. A.D.A.P.T. The acronym stands for Advanced Defense Applications Personal Training. (My husband loves clever acronyms.) I love the name ADAPT though. Because that is exactly what a mom has to do in this world. We have to adapt to our surroundings and be aware of the dangers we face as the protectors of our children. None of us WANT to live in world where we may have to fight face to face with a stranger who wants to hurt us, but we do live in that world and we may find ourselves in just that situation someday, always when we least expect to. We must adapt to our surroundings and be ready to do what our children depend on us to do, protect them.
This self-defense class will be different than any I’ve seen before. We won’t be teaching martial arts, no. We will be teaching what non-lethal tools work best when carrying a handgun isn’t an option and how to best choose those tools for the most effective outcome. We will also be going over how to do the things girls aren’t normally taught, like to how to correctly punch or elbow an attacker. My husband has personally written the curriculum for this course and as a certified defensive tactics instructor he is more than qualified to teach it but also will create an un-intimidating atmosphere so that all who attend will be able to gain the most out of the information given. Bring your daughters, bring your mothers, bring your friends. Don’t be that naive mom I once was and find yourself and your children in a situation you may not be able to run away from. Adapt.