Friday, January 29, 2016

Instructor Corner: Hold What You've Got!

Hold What You’ve Got!
Shoot Like A Girl Instructor & Pro Staff Member Suzi Greenlee

You hear it all the time…”follow through”!  Follow through with your golf swing, follow through with your bat swing, tennis swing, basketball shot and even follow through with your plans!
The sport of archery it is no different than any other sport, you have to follow through your shot.  Early on I was shooting a 3D tournament just for fun with friends, no pressure other than I am very competitive in nature.  That day every shot I made was a little too far to the left.  I made some adjustments to my sight, which meant moving my sight to the left to “follow my arrow”.  I shot again and darned if I wasn’t still shooting to the left.  Adjusted my sight again, certain it had come loose and was moved at some point during transit.  I began really focusing on everything that is important in archery like my stance, my anchor point, my grip, making sure I wasn’t punching my release and could not figure out what was off to make me shoot to the left.  I even tried to blame it on the uneven ground I was shooting on!  Hahaha.  It took only a few more shots when a buddy said “I know what you are doing, you are looking to see where your arrow went before it has hardly left your rest!”  Sure enough, I was getting more and more anxious to see where my arrow would land that I was jerking my bow away to see my shot too soon.  Nothing smooth about my follow through.  To be honest I was laser focused and dialed in until I released my arrow, then it was a race to see where it landed!  It is easy to develop bad habits if you aren’t careful.  If you drop your bow arm too soon and your arrow hasn’t cleared the rest, you can steer your arrow off target.  Follow through means engaging your back muscles even after you have released your arrow, and holding your bow up until the arrow hits the target.
I am thankful for 3D tournaments to have the chance to iron out any wrinkles or bad habits I may have developed before it’s time to be back in the tree stand.  It is so important to me to make a good, clean shot when harvesting an animal, we owe it to them.
Archery to me is an art, a beautiful, graceful motion from the moment you pick up your bow, smoothly draw it back into your perfect anchor position and gently release the arrow into flight.  With the final part of the almost poetic motion being a smooth, controlled movement with confidence to follow through the perfect shot.

May all your arrows fly straight and your aim be true.  <3 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Shoot Like A Girl's Karen Butler's thoughts after attending CNN's Guns in America – The President’s Town Hall

I was very excited when I was invited by CNN to be an audience member on their program, “Guns in America – The President’s Town Hall” hosted by Anderson Cooper.  I did not know what to expect, but I was eager to have the opportunity to talk about safe responsible gun ownership and give a voice for those of us who value the 2d Amendment.  I went into this event a bit na├»ve of the Washington DC politics, and came out with several observations about the process and the people that we all need to take seriously.  During the Town Hall the president mocked people who think there is a conspiracy theory to take all our guns, but there are hints of it everywhere from the protesters, to the politics, the setting, and to the untruths.  The good news is that the level of encouragement and support I had from friends and strangers alike strengthens my will to advocate for safe, responsible gun ownership.

The Protesters.  I have to say, I just don’t get it.  These people were gathered and holding their “No Guns” and “No terrorist” with a picture of gun signs, and little children’s t-shirts hung on a line to represent children who were killed.  That would seem like a somber moment to me, but these people were clapping, and cheering for the President’s executive order, saying “Thank you”.  They were, well, having a huge party.  I’m certain, they think this order is one step closer to the complete disarming of America.  Click here to see the video  of their celebration.

The Politics.  Even though I disagree with the viewpoint of the President, I was excited for the opportunity to not only see, but talk to the President of the United States.  Unfortunately, this excitement turned to disappointment only two minutes into his speech.  He wasn’t giving a speech you say, actually he was.  It didn’t matter what the questions were, he had his talking points and in my opinion, this wasn’t about hearing from both sides, this was about driving home the point that he does not think much of guns and gun owners.  His utter contempt for the NRA, which I am a proud life member of, was apparent.  I would say I was offended, but that is really the other side’s shtick, I was just extremely irritated. 

The Setting.  CNN claimed that the audience was 50/50 with pro and anti gun supporters.  Not true.  The questions may have been 50/50, which was nice; however, the audience was more like 10/90.  I believe there were about six pro 2d Amendment people there. The rest of the audience was made up of extremely biased, anti-gun fanatics.  I tried to have rational discussions, but these were unreasonable people.  This scene was set that way, purposefully. 
Karen and Taya Kyle

The Untruths.  I was amazed at how bad the data was that was used to make points.  The surveys that were used to support the opposing position were from 1999, and extreme anti-gun groups collected the data.  The worst to me though, was when Kim Corbin’s question was addressed, and the President condescendingly inferred that women who use guns to protect themselves are too stupid to get training and will have the gun turned on them and/or their children will be killed because the gun is in the home.  Talk about a war on women, this was just ridiculous. 

All of these factors made me realize just how organized people who oppose the 2d Amendment are, and how we had better be prepared to come together and stand up for our rights.  I am confident we can, because as I started this journey, strangers and friends embraced me.  One of my favorite moments was from the ticket agent at the airport counter, when I told her I was headed to the Town Hall to advocate for gun rights, and she gave me a huge hug, and screamed, “Go get ‘em!”  This random act of support gives me faith that together we will persevere.
Karen in the background, agreeing with the Sheriff

Monday, January 18, 2016

With Rights Come Responsibility

Becoming a Safe Responsible Gun Owner
By Karen Butler, President, Shoot Like A Girl

Shoot Like A Girl has been growing the number of women who participate in shooting sports for the last 8 years.  We have safely and respectfully introduced women – gun and non-gun owners alike – to shooting pistols, rifles and bows, and educated them on firearms, firearm safety, the importance of the 2nd amendment and our hunting heritage.  We take our mission very seriously, and are dedicated to empowering women with confidence.  Shoot Like A Girl’s mission is gaining urgency with current world events, and we are committed to creating safe responsible gun owners, promoting the 2nd Amendment and encouraging active participation in elections.  This series of articles, “With Rights Come Responsibilities” will hopefully inspire activism.

We are very lucky to live in a country where we not only have our “inalienable rights,” but also fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.  All Constitutional rights are important, but three in particular are intertwined and preserve the “inalienable rights” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – especially for women; they are the right to keep and bear arms, the right to free speech and the right to vote.  With these rights come responsibilities – the responsibility to practice safe gun ownership, the responsibility to articulate and advocate for the importance of our rights and the responsibility to vote for candidates committed to preserving our rights.

As we look around the country and witness terrorists attacking us because of our freedoms, criminals stealing our possessions and/or doing physical harm to our loved ones, and politicians who seem to want to undermine the very document that defines our governance, it is no wonder that gun sales are at an all time high. I applaud and welcome each new gun owner, but buying a gun is just the first step in becoming a safe, responsible gun owner. A gun owner is responsible for the use of that firearm and understanding the laws for the area they live or travel to.  That includes how the gun is stored when it is not in use, how the gun is used, a plan for use in self-defense in the home and out of the home, practice for proficiency with the firearm, and proper maintenance to ensure good working condition.  This may seem overwhelming for a new gun owner, but truly it is not.  With the purchase of a gun comes fantastic literature that explains the mechanics of the gun and provides a safety overview.  The National Rifle Association has a multitude of courses to teach the skills needed – from basic firearms course, to personal protection in and outside of the home – and the NRA – Institute for Legislative Action has links to the laws in each state. 

It is exciting that so many women are exercising their right to keep and bear arms, and demonstrating their responsibility through education, practice and planning.  We also need to exercise our freedom of speech by speaking out on the importance of the 2d Amendment.  Typically, gun owners have an Achilles heel, ironically when non-gun owners voice their opinions, we remain respectfully quiet and realize they have a right to their opinion and to voice it.  The challenge is that we can no longer stay respectfully quiet, we must be what I call respectfully vocal role models.  Which means we talk about and demonstrate safe gun handling at all times.  During CNN’s “Guns in America,” a town hall with President Obama that I participated in, he loosely stated that guns used for self defense by women could be turned on the woman and could kill her children.  As responsible gun owners, we know we have safe guards against that happening.  Yet again, this is another scare tactic to make guns bad and women gun owners seem like idiots.  We must show them that this isn’t true – we must all be respectfully vocal role models and change the discussion in our country by educating ourselves and others, and demonstrating safe, responsible gun ownership.

Shoot Like A Girl’s Karen Butler at CNN Town Hall with Pres. Obama

Athens, AL – Jan. 7, 2016 –Karen Butler, President of Shoot Like A Girl, will be an audience member in President Obama’s Town Hall on CNN, moderated by Anderson Cooper on Jan. 7, 2016, at 8 p.m. EST.

CNN contacted Butler and asked if she would be willing to represent the pro-Second Amendment point of view. Butler immediately responded in the affirmative and made arrangements to travel to Washington, D.C., where the Town Hall will be held. Ironically, she was in Louisville, Ky., when she got word, but had her personal firearm with her. In order to travel to D.C., she had to drive back to her home state of Alabama and lock her gun in her safe, since she could not travel with it in D.C., which is the perfect example of how current gun laws negatively impact law-abiding citizens who practice safe responsible gun ownership.

“I am so excited for this opportunity,” said Butler. “I have no idea if I will have a chance to speak or not, but if I do, you can bet that I will carry the message for law abiding gun owners, and let our voice be heard in this very serious discussion. It is time for our country to hold criminals accountable for criminal activity, and to fix the current National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to ensure that information regarding adjudicated mentally ill people and convicted felons is quickly and accurately updated to prevent them from purchasing firearms. Expanded background checks within a system that does not have all the necessary data is not a workable solution. Futhermore, our government must act to arrest those who falsify information on the NICS form.”

Butler founded Shoot Like a Girl in 2008, with a goal to grow the number of women in shooting sports, and has done just that. This year alone, Shoot Like A Girl’s efforts had nearly a $14 million dollar impact on the industry. Butler began shooting as an adult, during a particularly difficult time in her life. After she experienced her first shot, she was hooked on the confidence that shooting sports inspires. She hunts with gun and bow, and on occasion shoots competitively with her .22 rifle and pistol

About Shoot Like A Girl:

Shoot Like A Girl (SLG2, Inc.) is a company dedicated to growing the number of women in shooting sports by empowering them to participate with confidence.  They introduce women to shooting in their revolutionary 52’ mobile trailer, where women participate in a process called Test Shots ™ and Test Flights ™, and shoot a 9mm pistol, .223 rifle and/or compound bows in a safe, controlled environment in a short amount of time with qualified women instructors.  Shoot Like A Girl’s Corporate Partners are:  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 3M Peltor, Hunter Safety System, Bear Archery, Beretta, BowTech, Cabela’s, Charter Arms, Colt, Danner, Federal Premium Ammunition, Game Plan Gear, GLOCK, Inc, Hogue, Hoyt, Leupold, Neet Archery Products, Mathews Inc, Mossy Oak, Nikon, Rock River Arms, Ruger, ScentBlocker, Smith and Wesson, S & S Outdoors, Taurus, ThermaCell, Trijicon, TRUGLO, PSE, Women’s Outdoor News, Upper Canyon Outfitters, and ASA.