This is a discussion on Good and bad "Murder prompts women to get gun training." within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs...=2007712230324 Article published Dec 23, 2007 Killing of Cheryl Dunlap prompts women to get gun training By Nic Corbett DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER Cindy Jones of ...
Article published Dec 23, 2007
Killing of Cheryl Dunlap prompts women to get gun training
By Nic Corbett
DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER
Cindy Jones of Sopchoppy doesn't like guns.
But she's planning to get one following the mysterious killing of her friend Cheryl Dunlap, who was reported missing Dec. 1 and later found dead in the Apalachicola National Forest in Leon County.
"A lot of people that knew her felt that if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone," said Jones, 47. "She was a wise woman. She didn't take risks."
Jones was among 30 women taking part Saturday in a firearms and personal- safety course sponsored by the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office.
It started with classroom instruction on weapons safety, from handguns to non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray and stun guns, and ended with the women getting real experience firing guns at the Otter Creek shooting range.
Dunlap's car was found Dec. 3 with a flat tire off U.S. Highway 319 in Leon County. Detectives say there's a possibility that someone other than Dunlap put her car there, but many of the women at the class asked instructors what they should do if their car broke down in an isolated area and someone approached them.
"It happens so fast," Jones said. "What would you do?"
Wakulla County Deputy Sheriff Ed Tyer recommended rolling down the window a little bit to ask someone for help, listening to your sixth sense and calling for help on your cell phone.
"The biggest thing is to prepare and have a plan," he said.
Jones said a friend told her you could put a sign up in your car window that says to call police.
Tyer said if you are questioning whether or not to carry a gun or other weapon, it is generally not a good idea to get one.
"Firearms are not for everyone by any stretch," he said. "You have to be in the frame of mind to use the weapon. If you don't use it, they'll take it from you."
Deputies began planning the safety course before Dunlap went missing. It was supposed to begin in February, but when Sheriff David Harvey got wind that women were planning to buy guns without any experience handling them, he decided to move up the date.
Jones said she thinks the world would be a safer place if more people learned how to defend themselves against criminals.
"We need to be educated so that we're not reacting but have a plan," Jones said. "Right now, I'm so scared, and I don't want to be scared. I want to be educated."
Since the course was publicized in the newspaper, hundreds of women have called to sign up. Another course set for Jan. 12 is already full. The Sheriff's Office is planning to hold a third one in February.
Frances Sellers, 53, of Tallahassee, said she has six guns — one for her car and the rest for different rooms in her home. She participated in the course because she wanted to learn how to better handle a gun.
"The reason most of us are out here is the personal protection and the fear of the recent murders, and this (class) just happened to come at the right time," she said.
The body of Michael Lee Gerrard, 35, was found Dec. 4 off Tram Road in Jefferson County. He had been stabbed. No arrests have been made.
James Crum, 59, of Otter Creek, accompanied his wife to the firing range. Crum, who owns numerous firearms, said he thinks all women should carry a gun to be safe. But he said they need to know how to handle them properly. He also said they need to keep them locked away from any children.
"It's like driving a car — it's dangerous just like a car is," he said.
Cindy Wommack, 48, of Crawfordville, also attended the course and plans to buy a gun.
"Obviously, the Cheryl Dunlap thing has got us all scared to death," she said.
# Contact reporter Nic Corbett at (850) 599-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At least it might not be too late for some Too bad it takes tragedy to get their attention.
CRIME..... LAW DEFINES, POLICE ENFORCE, CITIZENS PREVENT!
FOUR BOXES KEEP US FREE:  SOAP  BALLOT  JURY  AMMO!
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson
"Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." -Michael Savage
GOOD Gun Control is being able to hit your target! -Myself