My first visit to a gun range with my sister proved to be not only embarrassing but also expensive when I thought I had been shot due to a shell casing burning my cleavage cause me to point my gun at the ceiling with one hand while checking for an injury with the other!

Most Texas women carry a handgun and, my sister Cindy Daniel successfully gained her handgun license to carry- I did not.

Years later, although my husband owns numerous firearms, I’m not comfortable using them. Of course, if I absolutely had to use one I’m aware of the steps necessary but, hope I never need to.

Cindy is as comfortable picking up her purse as she is handling ANY weapon.

She took my son to the firing range when he was 10, he loved it. The tiny Texas Twins, Maryssa and Makenna Mahaney recently turned 10 and, I’m sure will be paying a visit to our local firing range soon as well.

For parents to own firearms and not educate their children on the dangers of guns is a mistake!

Only by educating children can you prevent an accidental discharge. Both of our homes have gun (firearm) safes to keep children from handling guns without our being present.

Frankly, it is fairly well known that I was mugged twice. Once at the Dallas Apparel Mart where my assailant had a switch blade knife and the other in San Francisco when I was pushed in front of a trolley- the victim of a “push and grab.”

In both instances I suffered injuries that were not life threatening but certainly opened my eyes to the danger of not being aware of my own surroundings.

I successfully took the knife from my assailant in Dallas but would require 5 hand surgeries to repair the damage to the top and bottom of my right hand (used to take the knife away) and today still suffer nerve damage from the injury.

Ladies, while we are often told to “go along” with the attacker, this is incredibly dangerous if you are either in your vehicle and told to “drive” or, preparing to enter the vehicle and told to “get in and drive.” Your chances of survival are far better in a public place!

Although I along with my twin have taken numerous self defense classes that include Tae Kwon Do, I carry Mace when walking my dog and also in my car.

A few days ago in Fort Worth, a man car jacked a vehicle he then used to rob consumers in several different parking lots across the metroplex. He is still at large and because of this, although many of our friends on social media sites do not share our opinions of owning firearms- the fact is, no one knows how they will react to crime until they are a victim of a crime.

So, the moral of this story is that if you own a weapon- learn how to use it, buy a gun safe if you have children at home, educate your children to the dangers of guns and rifles and finally, if you find yourself at the end of a knife in a parking lot-

1. Do not get in your vehicle if you are outside it, the chances of someone else seeing you or hearing you will help you
2. If you are in your car- keep your doors locked at all times
3. Never leave anywhere without your keys in your hand- they are effective at gouging eyes, ears, etc
4. Pay attention if you have children with you- you are an “easy” target
5. The world is a dangerous place, scan a parking lot for suspicious people prior to parking

Finally, understand that being helpless is not to your advantage get mad, get angry and understand that by not crying or begging “not to hurt me” makes you appear vulnerable.

I survived because I pulled a “wild card” taking off my shoes and beating my assailant. Crazy reactions rather than fear surprise predators and take them off guard.

I’m going to try (again ) this year for my gun license, will I panic and fail the test? Maybe. But, I know how to load and use any weapon on my home and pray I will never need to.