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Don’t be a victim

Seminar: Knowledge is key

POSTED: March 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Terry Floyd brought her 20-year-old daughter to an Oakwood sporting goods store Saturday morning for a two-hour presentation on personal safety, from locks and alarms to cars, phones and computers.

For Floyd, the news of college shootings in Virginia and Illinois heightened her fears for her daughter’s safety. For others in the class of a dozen women, it was the case of slain hiker Meredith Emerson and her killer, Gary Hilton, that motivated them to sign up.

"I was worried before he came along, but he didn’t help the situation," Floyd said. "There’s just so many bad guys out there."

In an age where crime dominates the news, even as violent crime in America is not far removed from a 30-year low, Taser parties are replacing Tupperware parties.

Women are arming themselves with both guns and information, as evidenced in Saturday’s "Refuse To Be A Victim" seminar, sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

Course instructor Linda Moutray of Gainesville, who began teaching the course less than a year ago after receiving training from the NRA, said many who signed up cited the Emerson case.

"That has really scared them," she said.

Despite its connection to the NRA, the course barely skimmed firearms. Most tips focused on prevention.

"It’s about awareness — just being aware at all times," Moutray said. "I don’t feel like we should crawl in a hole and never get out, but we just have to be careful about what we’re doing."

Criminals, Moutray noted, "prefer easy targets."

Said Floyd, "I’m an advocate of carrying a firearm, but that’s not for everyone. If carry one, you have to be willing to shoot."



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