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Today, I Shot Guns with My Teenage Daughter

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The day after the most deadly gun-related massacre in America, I took my 15-year-old daughter out to shoot guns. I’m a firm believer in refusing to be a victim, and this philosophy carries over to the way I’ve raised my children. We had planned to take a course together from a new instructor for a while. My daughter, 15, hadn’t ever shot a gun before our class. Since I lived a good part of my adult life in Canada, I’ve only been using guns a couple of years myself. When the day dawned, we were eager to get out the door and be there early. We didn’t turn on our computers or check the news.  I took a cute photo and posted it on Instagram and Facebook, and we popped a CD in the player in the Jeep.   When I posted that photo, I had no idea that a man pledging his loyalty to the Islamic State had opened fire at a gay nightclub in Florida and murdered 50 people. With a gun. If I had known, I might not have posted that particular picture with that particular caption. Tact isn’t always my strong point, but even I can grasp that some would find it upsetting. But I definitely would have still taken my daughter shooting. Guns are the greatest equalizer. On Friday night, the very night before a man with a gun took lives in a horrific mass shooting, a woman with a gun was safer because of having it. It was after supper when the dogs in the back began barking. A car had come down my long private driveway and pulled to a stop. I live way down a long country road, and my driveway is the last one on the road.  Uninvited visitors are extremely rare. We’re too far out there for the usual smattering of Jehovah’s Witness, little girls selling cookies, and neighborly drop-offs of homemade jam. I looked outside and saw that two men had gotten out and approached my daughter while one waited in the driver seat of the car. My daughter, 15, was doing some of the after dinner chores. I had a bad feeling immediately. I knew it,because I was adamantly told by that gut instinct that doesn’t hint something is wrong, but pounds your heart like a drum to get your attention, and screams it inside your head.  I stopped for just long enough to grab my loaded Glock 19 and for the first time since purchasing it, I racked the slide and chambered a round for a reason other than target practice. For the first time, I did so because of another human being. I did so because there were 3 men out there with my child and they were bigger than both of us. They were undoubtedly stronger, and we were outnumbered, and I knew that there was the potential for something bad to happen. I stuffed the gun into the side pocket of my hoodie and hurried out. I asked the men brusquely, “Can I help you?” One was the talker. He was bearded, overly friendly, and ingratiating. The other hung back. He was blond, thin, and moved constantly. I never got a good look at the driver due to the tinted windows in the vehicle. But I noticed the older, beat-up vehicle had no license plate. Another warning sign that this was not right at all. The bearded one, the talker, told me that his vehicle was overheating and that they needed to come in and make a phone call. I said, “No, you’re not coming in.” He asked if they could at least have some water. I wanted to hustle my daughter into the house right that moment and lock the doors and call 911 and wait for a speedy rescue, complete with sirens and flashing lights. But they were closer to my daughter than she was to me, so that was not an option. I let them have a bucket of water, even though I could tell that the car was not overheating. The bearded one kept up a friendly patter the entire time, pretending that the radiator cap was hot, jumping back as if to avoid billowing steam that didn’t exist. While he pretended to work on the car, the antsy blond fellow was whispering to the driver.Without me bringing it up, the chatty one said, “Can you believe our license plate just fell off? If you noticed we don’t have one, that’s what happened. We just discovered it at the gas station.” “Wow, that’s a shame,” I said, playing along. “They’ll charge you an arm and a leg at the DMV.” I finally positioned myself to the point that I was between them and my child. Whether they’re 5 or 15, in moments when you fear for them, they are your precious child, and they are every age they ever have been and ever will be. Any person who has ever loved a child can easily imagine the relief I felt. “You need to leave.” The bearded one looked hurt. The blonde one looked watchful. I still couldn’t get a good look at the driver. “I just need one more bucket of water and then we’ll be on our way,” the bearded one said, putting his hands out in a manner meant to calm me down. “No. You need to leave now.” I put my hand firmly on […]

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      A well armed and disciplined public is the ONLY defense against terrorism.

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