For the past few months, Andy and I have attended the Rowlett Citizens Police Academy with thirty others. We've learned about traffic stops, active shooter situations, Crime Watch, Volunteers in Policing, patrol procedures, crime scene investigations, DWI procedures, use of TASER, mental health and crisis assistance and other topics.
Last Saturday was an all-day session. We drove patrol cars through an obstacle course in the morning. I think I may have earned the "cone killer" award for running over so many. In the afternoon, things got really interesting when we went to the gun range. Instructors filled us in on the weapons used and protocols.
I donned a Kevlar vest and ear protection, then went to the front of the range with an instructor. He stapled a paper "bad guy" target to a board. Then the officer taught me the correct stance, how to grip a 9mm Glock, how to line up a shot and finally pull the trigger. I fired the weapon from five feet, ten feet and 15 feet away, putting nine slugs in the "chest" of the bad guy. The instructor was rather impressed and I was pretty thrilled that I did so well.
I had not fired a weapon since high school when my dad took me and my boyfriend to the Adams Conservation Club to plink cans and shoot at targets. However, I'm not a gun fan by any stretch and would never have a weapon in the house. This most likely puts me in the minority in the Lone Star State where open carry is legal.
There's a good reason that I feel this way. More than 40 years ago in Denver, I was settling my toddler daughter in front of cartoons so I could take a quick shower. Suddenly, a guy in a ski mask flew out of the corner of the bedroom and grabbed me around the mouth. I screamed, told him I was pregnant (true) and had cancer (not true). I continued to scream in his face while he made a lame excuse about being at the wrong house and trying to scare his sister's friend. Then I screamed some more and pushed him out the front door and locked it. I immediately called the police and Andy. The intruder was long gone by that time, of course.
My dad, who owned quite a few weapons, insisted that I get a gun and I said absolutely not. With a curious toddler in the house, I would have had to store the unloaded gun and ammo separately in a safe place. There is no way that I could have gotten to a weapon in this circumstance. Gunshot wounds put an average of 8,300 kids in the hospital each year. Six percent of them die. I'm not willing to take that risk with my precious grandchildren.
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.