(LA) Victor or Victim?


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Drizzt
January 20, 2003, 07:28 PM
Group offers best of other self defense courses

Seth Parsons / The Times
Posted on January 16, 2003

Tracie Byers knows what it's like to have a gun to her head.

The 23-year-old Shreveporter was at work Dec. 19 when a man wearing a Scream mask and wielding a shotgun came into Calypso's Lingerie and Accessories on Bert Kouns Industrial Loop demanding money.

"I was the first person he saw," Byers said. "At one point he had me get on my knees, then he hit me with the shotgun."

Then he took her engagement ring and other jewelry.

It wasn't Byers first experience with crime - her apartment was burglarized several years ago - but it may be her last experience as a victim.

Byers' mother and sister signed her up for a five day Caddo sheriff's office self defense class for women called Victor or Victim. The class - a combination of several different self defense classes - teaches women physical self defense techniques as well as the proper way to use chemical sprays and handguns to defend themselves.

"It's all about awareness," course instructor Sgt. Joey Raborn said. "If you think like a victim, you act like a victim. If you act like a victim, you become a victim. Don't act like a victim, act like a victor."

The free class began Tuesday with physical defense techniques and continues through Saturday when the 14 participants will be taken to a shooting range for handgun familiarization.

That first day, Raborn set up several mock situations in which class participants were attacked by a sheriff's deputy wearing a protective suit. During the class they learned how to defend themselves from standing and laying positions using only their hands and feet, Raborn said.

"They all did very well."

On Wednesday, the women filed into the Caddo Correctional Center proudly showing off the bruises and carpet burns they earned the night before.

"I went home and showed my kids my bruises and gave them some examples," Beverly Allen, 41, of Shreveport said. "I didn't really know what to do if I ever got into a situation like that."

Allen said she does most of her activities at night and realizes that by doing so, she puts herself at increased risk of attack. "I read the newspapers. I watch the news," Allen said. "There's too much going on out there for me not to know how to protect myself."

http://www.shreveporttimes.com/html/8DDBF662-DC6D-42B6-AF2E-730B3F490A15.shtml

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