Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Wait Is Over...

WOW!! Thanks for all the love, but it is crashing the website! {Not that I am complaining for a split second} Bear with us as we regroup...
{early bird sale still in the pipeline, we just have to get the glitches out so everything is PERFECT}

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Prepare for launch...

With the launch of 2013 less than 24 hours away, I wish I were feeling like the photo above. Calm. Serene. Peace. Hmmm...that would be nice. Instead, I'm feeling like this:

So I am trying to do this:

But honestly I am only thinking this:

Thank goodness the Melissa dress is out tomorrow...will hide all manner of chocolate sins from today... 
#psithaspockets we go...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brighter and Bolder

t minus 2 days....
{chirp chirp! there might be an early bird sale...}
{sign up via my website contact page here for the code}

Monday, January 28, 2013

HIWI Prada Feathers

My cold weather uniform tends to be comprised of these old OLD citizens of humanity jeans and a flat black boot of some sort. {I love these from J.Crew I stumbled up on this past fall} And let's be honest: basic jeans do get a bit boring after a while, but they're just so EASY that it's hard to get away from them, particularly in cold weather months. A great way to spice them up is with fun accessories, and it doesn't get sillier or more colorful than this old OLD Prada hat. I have had it for almost ten years now and love it to bits as much as I did when I first saw it. Maybe a bit on the wacko side, and definitely presents a crazy bird lady image, but I simply adore it :)

Hat - Prada :: Sunglasses - RayBan :: Sweater - J.Crew :: T-Shirt - Target 
Jeans - Citizens of Humanity :: Boots - J.Crew :: Bag - Prada
Lipstick is L'Oreal Pink Vinyl

It's almost tiiiiiiime..... 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bouffant Love

Heading out the door for an airport pickup but HAD to post that amazing bouffant above. Perfectly voluminous and slightly messy, yet sophisticated at the same time. Heartsies. Great links below. Glitter for the weekend. Love to everyone. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

CrossFit seems intimidating, but it's actually not

 Image via Star Telegram

GREAT CrossFit article written a few weeks ago about the CF box we love here in Fort Worth. I couldn't have said it better myself! 

It's that time of year when the gyms are packed with new members working on that New Year's resolution to finally get in shape, lose a few pounds or just be healthier.
I'm not big on making resolutions, but late last year I found myself growing bored with my fitness routine. I was hitting a plateau, getting bored easily and losing motivation. I needed to shake things up. I resolved to find something new, and soon.
Ryan Shupe, owner and instructor at CrossFit Seven in Fort Worth, felt the same way just a few years ago. A former college and professional tennis player, Shupe dabbled in several fitness routines before his quest for something new prompted him to do a Google search. "I think I literally searched 'insane workout' and found a video of people doing CrossFit," he said.
An insane workout -- not exactly what first came to my mind when I thought about changing my routine. I first heard about CrossFit more than a year ago. I was sitting on the patio at Winslow's, enjoying a glass of wine outdoors before the unbearable annual heat wave came in. A woman who I guessed to be her early 40s walked outside, and I couldn't help but notice what great shape she was in. I felt compelled to tell her that, and ask her how she did it. Her answer: CrossFit. More specifically, CrossFit Seven. Three times a week for less than 30 minutes at a time, and that's it.
I thought about that conversation a lot over the next several months, though it took me until just recently to do any research. CrossFit was developed over several decades by a man named Greg Glassman. With the main goal of creating peak fitness, CrossFit is a mixture of several sports and physical activities. As Ryan explained, "Who are the fastest runners? The 400 to 800 meter sprinters. Who are the strongest people? Weight lifters. Who are the best at building strength with their own body weight? Gymnasts. CrossFit takes the best parts of many activities and puts them together for one, effective workout." CrossFit does not focus on any one thing. In fact, what's special about it is that it does not specialize.
Once I did my research, I knew I wanted to try CrossFit. I was also terrified. It looked really hard. I wasn't sure I was ready to find out that I was actually out of shape when I'd worked so hard to get to where I was. The people in the videos were extremely muscular acrobats, as far as I was concerned. But it was time to suck it up. I decided to attend a class on Christmas Eve at CrossFit Seven.
I bundled up and headed over to the warehouse area just north of the West Seventh district for my first class. When I walked into the gym, I saw about 15 to 20 people, some standing around waiting to be given instruction, others warming up on the row machines. Many looked really fit, others just looked like "normal" people. The gym itself was pretty chilly (the weather had finally decided to cool off), and it didn't have the warm, friendly vibe that I'm used to at my gym. There were mats covering much of the concrete floor. Kettlebells, bars and barbell plates lined the perimeter of the room, along with rowing machines, different sizes of wooden boxes, and ropes hanging from the ceiling. Looking around, I did my best to suppress the sense of intimidation I could feel creeping in.
Shupe was teaching the class, and right at 9 a.m. he moved to the whiteboard near the door and went over the Workout of the Day, or WOD. He explained that you could choose one of two workouts -- an easier one for those newer to CrossFit, and a more advanced one for experienced participants.
Then, because I was a newbie, he gave me a third, bunny-slope version of the workout. All three options combined five or so exercises that you complete as quickly as possible, then repeat three or more times. He finished talking and everyone got started.


After Shupe explained what my technique should look like, I began my own workout. I started on the rowing machine, something I'd never done before, quickly rowing for what seemed like just a minute or two. After that, I moved to a nearby mat and pumped out 10 pushups. Next were squats, of which I did 10. Once those were done, I grabbed a bar, and from a position in front of my hips, pulled it up in line with my shoulders, pressed it up until my arms were extended over my head, then back down to shoulders and then hips, repeating for 10 reps. I finished with 20 situps, coming all the way off the ground and touching my feet each time. That was one set; I needed to repeat all of that three more times before I was finished with my workout.
I had a much easier workout than everyone else, but I wasn't complaining. I was just happy I wasn't dying. I moved through my second set, which went about as smoothly as the first. When I sat down for the rowing portion of my third set, I looked around at what everyone else was doing. Working at their own pace, on their own exercises, few of my classmates were doing the same thing at the same time. This wasn't like any workout I had done before.
People were working hard, pushing themselves individually, but I could feel the sense of community that bound them together. "You probably noticed that the gym itself is not all that warm and comforting," Ryan said. "But that comes in the community you see here. When you're new, people want to know you, and after a few classes, everyone knows you by name."
My focus was pulled back to the rowing machine when a more experienced CrossFitter sat down on the machine next to me and gave me some friendly pointers on how to improve my rowing. It was that encounter, along with Shupe's help throughout my workout and the friendliness of everyone there toward me, the newcomer, that made me understand the real appeal of CrossFit. The feeling of community is tangible, and it helps make the intense, all-out workouts enjoyable.
I started to feel a little fatigue set in. I silently urged myself to not slow down, to push through. I'd started to sweat despite the cold temperature in the room. Soon I was done with my third set, and got through my fourth and final set, grateful that it was the last. I finished the workout in about 16 or 17 minutes. I was done! I half expected there would be something else to do because I couldn't believe I just completed an entire workout, one during which I really exerted myself, in such a short amount of time.


As everyone finished their workouts, some lingered to talk, others took off, and still others continued working on different strength-training exercises. I lingered for a little while. I felt good -- exhausted, but good. I couldn't help but be in a great mood. I was hooked.
And the next day, yes, I was a little sore. But the day after Christmas, I found myself back at CrossFit Seven. I showed up for the 8 a.m. class and performed a different WOD called "Fight Gone Bad" with two other women. We moved through the workout together, and they provided great encouragement through our three sets. That workout was more challenging than my first (especially after numerous Christmas cocktails the day before), but still just as satisfying in the end.
"Most people come three times a week for CrossFit," Shupe said. "But some people, the ones that are really into it, come as often as four or five days a week."
Thinking about trying CrossFit? Go for it. It's challenging, it's fun, it's probably very different from what you've been doing (or not doing), and it changes with every class. But before you buy a membership, know what you're getting into, and have realistic expectations.
"CrossFit isn't what you do to lose weight fast," Shupe explained. "It's not a crash course. It's meant to make you as fit as possible, which doesn't mean losing 20 pounds in two weeks, or gaining 20 pounds in two weeks."
But, he said, "CrossFit is for everyone, because all the movements are scalable to fit any skill level." That means I worried for no reason before I attended a class.
"Lots of people are intimidated by CrossFit because of what they see on TV, but we start each person at a level they can handle," Shupe said.
"It's one of the fastest growing fitness programs in the world," he added. "It's proven and effective."

Monday, January 21, 2013

What Callie's Cooking - Thai Butternut and Carrot Soup

Great recipe from Callie this week, and super easy to make!

Thai Butternut & Carrot Soup
Yields 8-10 servings
Equipment needed: immersion blender or food processor
This soup is a velvety, full-of-flavor starter or side perfect to pair with grilled shrimp and a light salad.

1 cup yellow onion, diced small
2 Tablespoons lemongrass stalks, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 cups carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
3 ½ cups butternut squash, peeled and diced in 1 inch cubes                
Two 13.5 ounce cans of organic coconut milk
1 cup organic vegetable stock
4 ounce jar of red curry paste
1 large lime, zested and juiced
½ cup fresh basil, rough chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
Olive oil and kosher salt, as needed

In a Dutch oven over medium high heat, sauté onion, lemongrass, ginger, carrots and butternut with olive oil or grapeseed oil. Season with kosher salt and sauté until vegetables are softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Lower heat and add coconut milk, vegetable stock, and whisk in red curry paste. Let simmer over medium low heat until carrots and butternut squash are fork tender, approximately 15 more minutes.

Turn heat off and puree soup until smooth with an immersion blender. Taste soup for seasonings and add more salt if needed. Stir in lime, basil and cilantro then puree one final time. Serve hot.

You can follow Callie on her Linguine and Dirty Martini Facebook page HERE, and she also posts behind the scenes shots of her culinary filled life on Instagram @calliesalls. Callie handles anything and everything from small dinner parties to full-scale catering operations, cocktail parties, special birthday get togethers and everything in between, and will happily work within any budget. Email her at to contact her about anything foodie related. 

Great links for today:
Stubbs & Wootton Mega Sale - I'm not even brave enough for this pair!
Naked Body Scans No More - phew, no worries about cute undies at the airport
Pellicano Hotel and Resort in Tuscany - Must go here!
You don't get to make up most of your story...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What is worth losing your life over?

I had no plans to post today, but I finally got around to going through some emails from last week and watched a video my mom sent me. First I clicked and saw it was, ugh, 10 minutes long. I need to go do the dishes and clean the kitchen before Snooze wakes up. I watched about 40 seconds and knew that I would make the time to spare 10 minutes to finish watching. 

Please, make the time. Leave this as an unread email until you can sit for 10 minutes and watch this. 

I have posted about not texting and driving in the past, posted X-rays of broken necks and backs, all from one little text. Maybe just one letter, because one second is all it takes. But you know what? On occasion, I still do it. I start responding at a red light and the light turns green and I am just trying to finish the last few words so I can set my phone down and focus on the road again, but in those few seconds, everything can change. A car runs the other red light and hits us. Me and all three of my babies, gone in an instant, because Mommy was still looking down, trying to rush through and press send on a text that just absolutely had to be answered then and couldn't wait until the next red light, could not wait until home, so I didn't see the car and have time to brake. We could all be dead. It could happen. To me. To you. 

You could take the life of a mother and three babies because you are looking down and don't realize the light is turning red. Or because you are glancing down just every few seconds, attention not completely on the road. 

What is worth losing your life over? Taking someone else's life over?

I can tell you this right now: texting is not worth losing MY life over, and certainly not my children's. It is not worth taking someone else's life over. I am making a pledge right now to myself, my husband, my children, my whole family, my friends and all of you that I am never going to text while driving - while the engine in my car is running - ever again. Not at all. Not at a red light. Never. 

If you, too, will make this pledge right now, leave a comment below stating so. Hold yourself to it. One comment or twenty comments or more - lives will be saved. Pass this on to friends and family. We wouldn't drive drunk, so why text? 

It's not worth it. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Mom Essentials

These are my absolutely, must have, cannot get through the day without "Mom Essentials."

{1} Canon EOS 50D Camera :: A gift from Biz the Christmas before Squish was born, I have literally used this EVERY day since he came into this world. It is lightweight, easy to use and takes the most amazing photographs. My lens of choice is a 50mm. 
{2} House of Harlow 1960 Chelsea Sunglasses :: Perfect for those mornings (weeks) when I haven't yet managed to put on #4 or #5 below
{3} Otterbox iPhone Cover :: There are so many great educational Apps out there that I have no problem with my kiddos using my phone...except for when it slips out of their little sticky fingers and smashes into the floor. I looked at a LifeCase and Otterbox, and although the LifeCase is waterproof whereas the Otterbox is not, the LC is only available in black and grey. Um, no. 
{4} Aveda Inner Light Concealer :: I love Aveda hair products, but had never used their makeup until the Spring 2012 look book shoot summer before last. Their concealer is amazing, and in my opinion, beats out YSL Touche Eclat any day. 
{5} L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara :: Best mascara out there. I have used it since 8th grade. Carbon black. Do not get Waterproof - it flakes off. 
{6} Purse / Diaper Bag / Toy Box / Office :: I carry everything around in my purse. I am still waiting for some extra arms to grow, but while I still just have two, my bag has to have room for everything in it - keys, wallet, phone, paper, pens, check book, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, teething rings, books, trains, dolls, necklaces, nail polish (for when she just HAS to have her nails PAINTED PINK RIGHT NOW), day planner, measuring tape and who knows what else. I always have one that comes with a shoulder strap so I can carry it messenger bag style, with each arm free for Snooze and Munch. 
{7} Holy Kombucha :: We have been drinking Kombucha for years, but we recently discovered Holy Kombucha made right here in the DFW area. It. Is. Amazing. Green apple ginger is my favorite flavor, but truly they are all fantastic. My aunt and uncle gave us our own Kombucha "starter kit" for Christmas, and I look forward to making our own here very soon! We drink at least 4 or 5 bottles a day here between all of us. 
{8} Erin Condren Life Planner :: This is actually the entire reason I wanted to do this post. I tried using my iPhone calendar for a while and although it is a wonderful tool, I am just a write it down kinda gal. I like the satisfaction of scratching through something on my to do list, seeing how much I got done that week, looking back on months passed to see what was happening when. I stumbled upon Erin Condren last year and was instantly smitten. This girl has thought of EVERYTHING, and it is so much more than a day planner, hence the name. I also use the blank pages in the back as my prayer journal, so that I always have it with me. Seriously, just check it out for yourself. Completely customizable to suit whatever you need, and cute to boot. Go look. Now. 
{9} Mom's One Line A Day 5-Year Memory Journal :: Perhaps my most treasured material possession. I bought this for myself in late 2011, and made my first little entry in January 2012. I am now my second year into it, and reading what I was doing with the kids 365 days ago is really special. I would have forgotten so many things had I not jotted them down. Example:

January 18, 2012 - Squish was hitting me while I was reading Llama Llama before bed, so I left to let him calm down. When I came back he put his arm on my back and started patting it, and sang the Barney song, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family..." He knows the way to my heart!

Such a blessing to have 5 years of fun, memories and love in one book.

What are your absolutely must have cannot get through the day without Mom Essentials? Please share! 

Everyone have a GREAT weekend!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dear Readers

Dear Readers,

As Elle Woods said, "Being true to yourself never goes out of style." (Still can't believe Legally Blonde didn't win Best Picture).

This is primarily directed towards those so vehemently opposed not only to my views on our 2nd Amendment rights, but also those that feel it is bad business sense to post it on my well as the woman that said I should be ashamed to call myself a Christian for believing these things. (come on)

This is not a style blog, never has been, and never will be. It IS my personal blog, and I am truly sorry if you feel you cannot wear my clothes because of my beliefs. Yes, I enjoy talking about fashion, my clothing line, interior design, wellness and adventures in motherhood, but, sometimes, I want to talk about other things which are very important to me. So often these days, people say they are "alienated" by the beliefs of others, and it is unfortunate this seems to happen so easily. Not purchase my clothes because I am conservative? Or because I have strong (I know they are strong) opinions that differ from yours or don't make sense to you? Me saying I would boycott Hollywood films simply because the actor in them is liberal and outspoken is just plain silly. Or stating that I will not buy Vogue because Anna Wintour hosts $40,000 a plate dinners for the Obamas. But, of course, each to their own. I have chosen to speak out because I feel it is the right thing to do.

Numerous commenters have asked, “WHY?” Why would I post such strong views as a businesswoman trying to grow a brand? My response to this might offend people, but there are more important things to me in life than fashion, marketing my brand and trying to get as many followers as possible. Real life and how it affects me and you and all of us will ALWAYS take precedence over selling clothes. As I said above, I find it quite sad and strange that some aren't strong enough in their views and beliefs to not be able to read a blog or buy someone's product without being alienated because they hold strong contrary opinions to their own. I don't get cranky when people send me articles saying I am going to get colon cancer next week because I eat so much meat, or tell me I am out of my mind because I think whole grains are bad. I am not offended when mothers tell me I am an irresponsible parent for choosing not to vaccinate, or to have my babies at home. I don’t feel alienated, I don't feel judged, and I don't care. I have done my research and feel confident in my decisions, and move on with my life. Period.

It IS appalling to think that we live in a time where it would be a better decision for teachers to be trained in the use of firearms, but that is the reality, plain and simple. We have to accept that and decide what to do to move forward, but stricter gun control is not the answer. If someone wants to get a gun, they will find a way to do so even if means breaking the law. We can be prepared as best we can to defend ourselves against the evil that unfortunately exists in our world today. If you have not done so, read The Enemy Is Denial, by Lt. Col Dave Grossman, the world's foremost expert on human aggression and violence. 

If you would like to read additional information (several requested more sources), please read the subheadings beneath my signature at the end of this post. There is a great one via Harvard that concludes gun control is both ineffective and counterproductive. I also very briefly discuss the new NRA ad using Obama's daughters (I personally believe it to be inappropriate), the lack of success of the previous assault weapons ban, Obama's plan to prevent another Newtown, known side effects of Ritalin, Prozac, and other ADHD drugs, and a few other topics as well. 

As the WSJ article below states, "those making the argument that banning guns has worked in places like Australia and England might be advised to check the statistics or risk looking foolish if they encounter someone armed with the facts." Armed with the facts...I like that. My post (and other opinion pieces along these lines) are often seen as one-sided because yes, I have already made up my mind on what I think. I base my opinions and beliefs on facts. 

Given the FACTS about the uselessness of gun control and gun bans already out there, this should not even be an issue of gun control, but sadly the administration has made it so. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's first Chief of Staff, infamously said to never let a crisis go to waste. (Disgusting) What we are seeing is a gradual chipping away of our freedoms, and in this case, gun rights, which should be a state by state issue. It is not the job of the federal government and President to decide this. 

Lastly, to those that said shame on me for using MY blog to post what I am interested in? Really? This is hardly worth addressing, but as I said above there are more important things than growing a business, and the fashion game will never take precedent over real life.

I am a conservative, I always have been, and always will be, because I believe in the power of the INDIVIDUAL over the power of the government. 

Also, going forward I will no longer be posting (or even bother reading) Anonymous comments on any opinion posts, regardless of whether they are for or against my stance. Stand behind what you believe and what you say. If you will not, don't say it.

Now, back to pretty pictures, Gucci, Louboutin, bright colored wallpaper, neon acrylic accessories and pink velvet chairs...for now. 


If you actually care about LEARNING something about all of this - putting politics aside and learning from someone that knows guns, if you have learned all you know about guns from TV, if you want to EDUCATE yourself on the matter to be able to have an intelligent debate, read THIS.

Gun Control Is Ineffectual and Counterproductive - Harvard
Australian Gun Control has little to no impact - WSJ
UPDATE Jan. 20: here is a short article about the difficulty of committing a mentally ill person BEFORE a tragedy like Newtown happens.

With regards to the NRA using the Obama children in their ad, I agree that was not appropriate, however what did Obama do at his announcement of the 23 points? He exploited children to advance his agenda. An emotional ploy. They were used as props to appeal to emotions and deflect from the real issues. It was theatrical staging, with an implication that if you don't sign onto the President's proposals, then you are somehow not standing behind the children and treating them with disrespect. A choreographed moment to push legislation. Ridiculous. Furthermore, Obama can say all he wants that his children should be kept out of politics, and I agree they should, however HE has used them in campaign ads, referred to them in the BP oil spill, Michelle talked about one daughter's BMI being too high, they used them when signing the healthcare goes on and on. When his back is up against a wall, he uses his own girls as references. 


Democrats championed gun control two decades ago with Clinton and as a result of public opinion being so strongly against it, they didn't touch it for two decades. We as a nation have a HISTORY of gun rights and a gun culture, and a 2nd Amendment like no other country in the world. The assault weapons ban from 1994-2004, according to a study done by the DOJ, had ZERO effect on the rate of gun violence decreasing. It didn't make a bit of difference then, and it will not now.


So, when Obama said in his speech that everything in his plan was to prevent another Newtown... let's review: That there needed to be a military style assault weapons ban. Why would this prevent Newtown if it didn't work before. He called for a background check. Why? The guns used in Newtown were bought by the killer's mother, so that wouldn't have helped prevent it. He said they used the type of semi automatic rifles that were the target of the assault weapons ban. WRONG. The guns used were NOT on the assault weapons ban list. NOTHING he said would have stopped Newtown if enforced, was completely useless, and simply gave the appearance of motion.

To say that if there is one life that can be saved by doing something, we should do it? Huh? This should probably be across the board then. What about motorcycles? Do we need restrictions on those so perhaps ONE life could be saved? Bicycles can be dangerous. So can spoons. Anyone ever seen Murder in the First? 

I disagree as much as humanly possible when people say our country is not what it was when our forefathers wrote the 2nd Amendment. We are a free nation, and the issue here is FREEDOM. This is why it was #2 in the Bill of Rights. It is to allow the citizenry to guarantee themselves a free state, so that if the government turns on you, you can defend yourself. We have seen governments become tyrannical - Italy, Germany, China, just to name a few. The founding fathers were concerned with separation of power for a reason, letting congress legislate, not the President. Checks and balance. 


Obama has continually abused his power throughout his Presidency (recess appointments, weakening of welfare work requirements, executive orders to stop deportations of illegals when he couldn't get the Dream Act passed, Obamacare being jammed through, DOJ refusing to uphold defense of marriage act, pushing through contraception mandate, no congressional approval for strikes on Libya...) and this is another case of that. (Republicans have done this as well, however he has taken it to a new level). Executive orders are not intended for this. Hence, why Americans are out in record numbers purchasing firearms as their 2nd Amendment rights continue to erode. Journalists are demonizing our citizens, many of which are single women, young mothers and elderly widows out buying firearms that are fearing for their safety. Where are the success stories of use of defensive guns every day for protection? We are looking at an overreaching of the federal government like we never have before, and people are going to protect themselves from this.

**WHY KIDS KILL (click for full article and information on side effects of ADHD drugs, Ritalin, Zoloft, Prozac, and how things like poor nutrition and toxic metals - for example, mercury in dental fillings, and yes it is STILL in vaccines, along with KNOWN neurotoxins like formaldehyde - affect children's brain function. It is much easier to prescribe a drug than investigate the root of the problem).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Biscuit :: Delicious Homegoods

A friend in Houston told me about a store down there called Biscuit Home, and it seems everywhere I look or read, it is being mentioned. I finally went to their website yesterday and immediately saw the appeal. Look at that color pairing in the pic above! Amazing, right? Those lamps are to die for, particularly against the fab green wallpaper and pop of purple on the headboard. 

Peruse their site if you have a bit of time to spare {or make time if you don't} as there are wonderful items in every category. Particularly loving all of the art, especially this Maison Gray Prada Marfa piece, given that I finally got this new artwork for Munch hung...

They also officially have the coolest crib sheets ever. Splatter paint. Click here to see, then also check out the wood grain crib sheets, perfect polka dots, and old school bicycle print. If you don't have baby fever, you will after seeing their amazing selection. Guess I'll just have to do another nursery at some point!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Enemy is Denial

After the article is a video link in response to the celeb Demand A Plan video, showing clips of the violence they have glorified in their films. Worth watching, but this is also worth reading...
"Active Shooters in Schools: The Enemy is Denial",
Written by Doug Wyllie, Editor in Chief of PoliceOne.
Notes from an 'extraordinary daylong seminar' presented by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman in May 2010.

“How many kids have been killed by school fire in all of North America in the past 50 years? Kids killed... school fire... North America... 50 years...  How many?  Zero. That’s right.  Not one single kid has been killed by school fire anywhere in North America in the past half a century.  Now, how many kids have been killed by school violence?”

So began an extraordinary daylong seminar presented by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a Pulitzer Prize nominated author, West Point psychology professor, and without a doubt the world’s foremost expert on human aggression and violence. The event, hosted by the California Peace Officers Association, was held in the auditorium of a very large community church about 30 miles from San Francisco, and was attended by more than 250 police officers from around the region.

Grossman’s talk spanned myriad topics of vital importance to law enforcement, such as the use of autogenic breathing, surviving gunshot wounds, dealing with survivor guilt following a gun battle, and others. In coming months, I will present a series of articles addressing many of these subjects, but violence among and against children was how the day began, and so it is in this area I will begin my coverage...

“In 1998,” Grossman said, “school violence claimed what at the time was an all time record number of kids’ lives. In that year there were 35 dead and a quarter of a million serious injuries due to violence in the school. How many killed by fire that year? Zero. But we hear people say, ‘That’s the year Columbine happened, that’s an anomaly.’ Well, in 2004 we had a new all time record — 48 dead in the schools from violence. How many killed by fire that year? Zero. Let’s assign some grades. Put your teacher hat on and give out some grades. What kind of grade do you give the firefighter for keeping kids safe? An ‘A,’ right? Reluctantly, reluctantly, the cops give the firefighters an ‘A,’ right? Danged firefighters, they sleep ‘till they’re hungry and eat ‘till they’re tired. What grade do we get for keeping the kids safe from violence? Come on, what’s our grade? Needs improvement, right?”

Johnny Firefighter, A+ Student  
“Why can’t we be like little Johnny Firefighter?” Grossman asked as he prowled the stage. “He’s our A+ student!”

He paused, briefly, and answered with a voice that blew through the hall like thunder, “Denial, denial, denial!”

Grossman commanded, “Look up at the ceiling! See all those sprinklers up there? They’re hard to spot — they’re painted black — but they’re there. While you’re looking, look at the material the ceiling is made of. You know that that stuff was selected because it’s fire-retardant. Hooah? Now look over there above the door — you see that fire exit sign? That’s not just any fire exit sign — that’s a ‘battery-backup-when-the-world-ends-it-will-still-be-lit’ fire exit sign. Hooah?”
Walking from the stage toward a nearby fire exit and exterior wall, Grossman slammed the palm of his hand against the wall and exclaimed, “Look at these wall boards! They were chosen because they’re what?! Fireproof or fire retardant, hooah? There is not one stinking thing in this room that will burn!”

Pointing around the room as he spoke, Grossman continued, “But you’ve still got those fire sprinklers, those fire exit signs, fire hydrants outside, and fire trucks nearby! Are these fire guys crazy? Are these fire guys paranoid? NO! This fire guy is our A+ student! Because this fire guy has redundant, overlapping layers of protection, not a single kid has been killed by school fire in the last 50 years!
“But you try to prepare for violence — the thing much more likely to kill our kids in schools, the thinghundreds of times  more likely to kill our kids in schools — and people think you’re paranoid. They think you’re crazy. ...They’re in denial.”

Teaching the Teachers  
The challenge for law enforcement agencies and officers, then, is to overcome not only the attacks taking place in schools, but to first overcome the denial in the minds of mayors, city councils, school administrators, and parents. Grossman said that agencies and officers, although facing an uphill slog against the denial of the general public, must diligently work toward increasing understanding among the sheep that the wolves are coming for their children. Police officers must train and drill with teachers, not only so responding officers are intimately familiar with the facilities, but so that teachers know what they can do in the event of an attack.

“Come with me to the library at Columbine High School,” Grossman said. “The teacher in the library at Columbine High School spent her professional lifetime preparing for a fire, and we can all agree if there had been a fire in that library, that teacher would have instinctively, reflexively known what to do. But the thing most likely to kill her kids — the thing hundreds of times more likely to kill her kids, the teacher didn’t have a clue what to do. She should have put those kids in the librarian’s office but she didn’t know that. So she did the worst thing possible — she tried to secure her kids in an un-securable location. She told the kids to hide in the library — a library that has plate glass windows for walls. It’s an aquarium, it’s a fish bowl. She told the kids to hide in a fishbowl. What did those killers see? They saw targets. They saw fish in a fish bowl.”

Grossman said that if the school administrators at Columbine had spent a fraction of the money they’d spent preparing for fire — if the teachers there had spent a fraction of the time they spent preparing for fire — doing lockdown drills and talking with local law enforcers about the violent dangers they face, the outcome that day may have been different.

Rhetorically he asked the assembled cops, “If somebody had spent five minutes  telling that teacher what to do, do you think lives would have been saved at Columbine?”

Arming Campus Cops is Elementary 
Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article called Arming campus cops is elementary. Not surprisingly, Grossman agrees with that hypothesis.

“Never call an unarmed man ‘security’,” Grossman said.

“Call him ‘run-like-hell-when-the-man-with-the-gun-shows-up’ but never call an unarmed man security. Imagine if someone said, ‘I want a trained fire professional on site. I want a fire hat, I want a fire uniform, I want a fire badge. But! No fire extinguishers in this building. No fire hoses. The hat, the badge, the uniform — that will keep us safe — but we have no need for fire extinguishers.’ Well, that would be insane. It is equally insane, delusional, legally liable, to say, ‘I want a trained security professional on site. I want a security hat, I want a security uniform, and I want a security badge, but I don’t want a gun.’ It’s not the hat, the uniform, or the badge. It’s the tools in the hands of a trained professional that keeps us safe.

“Our problem is not money,” said Grossman.  “It is denial.”

Grossman said (and most cops agree) that many of the most important things we can do to protect our kids would cost us nothing or next-to-nothing.

Grossman’s Five D’s 
In the next installment of this series, I will explore what follows in much greater detail, but for now, let’s contemplate the following outline and summary of Dave Grossman’s “Five D’s.” While you do, I encourage you to add in the comments area below your suggestions to address, and expand upon, these ideas.

1. Denial — Denial is the enemy and it has no survival value, said Grossman.

2. Deter — Put police officers in schools, because with just one officer assigned to a school, the probability of a mass murder in that school drops to almost zero

3. Detect — We’re talking about plain old fashioned police work here. The ultimate achievement for law enforcement is the crime that didn’t happen, so giving teachers and administrators regular access to cops is paramount.

4. Delay — Various simple mechanisms can be used by teachers and cops to put time and distance between the killers and the kids.

a. Ensure that the school/classroom have just a single point of entry. Simply locking the back door helps create a hard target.  
b. Conduct your active shooter drills within (and in partnership with) the schools in your city so teachers know how to respond, and know what it looks like when you do your response.

5. Destroy — Police officers and agencies should consider the following:

a. Carry off duty. No one would tell a firefighter who has a fire extinguisher in his trunk that he’s crazy or paranoid.
b. Equip every cop in America with a patrol rifle. One chief of police, upon getting rifles for all his officers once said, “If an active killer strikes in my town, the response time will be measured in feet per second.”
c. Put smoke grenades in the trunk of every cop car in America. Any infantryman who needs to attack across open terrain or perform a rescue under fire deploys a smoke grenade. A fire extinguisher will do a decent job in some cases, but a smoke grenade is designed to perform the function.  
d. Have a “go-to-war bag” filled with lots of loaded magazines and supplies for tactical combat casualty care.
e. Use helicopters. Somewhere in your county you probably have one or more of the following: medivac, media, private, national guard, coast guard rotors.
f. Employ the crew-served, continuous-feed, weapon you already have available to you (a firehouse) by integrating the fire service into
your active shooter training. It is virtually impossible for a killer to put well-placed shots on target while also being blasted with water at
300 pounds per square inch.
g. Armed citizens can help.  Think United 93. Whatever your personal take on gun control, it is all but certain that a killer set on killing is
more likely to attack a target where the citizens are unarmed, rather than one where they are likely to encounter an armed citizen response.

Coming Soon: External Threats  
Today we must not only prepare for juvenile mass murder, something that had never happened in human history until only recently, but we also must prepare for the external threat. Islamist fanatics have slaughtered children in their own religion — they have killed wantonly, mercilessly, and without regard for repercussion or regret of any kind. What do you think they’d think of killing our kids?

“Eight years ago they came and killed 3,000 of our citizens. Do we know what they’re going to do next? No! But one thing they’ve done in every country they’ve messed with is killing kids in schools.”
The latest al Qaeda charter states that “children are noble targets” and Osama bin Laden himself has said that “Russia is a preview for what we will do to America.”

What happened in Russia that we need to be concerned with in this context? In the town of Beslan on September 1, 2004 — the very day on which children across that country merrily make their return to school after the long summer break — radical Islamist terrorists from Chechnya took more than 1,000 teachers, mothers, and children hostage. When the three-day siege was over, more than 300 hostages had been killed, more than half of whom were children.

“If I could tackle every American and make them read one book to help them understand the terrorist’s plan, it would be Terror at Beslan  by John Giduck. Beslan was just a dress rehearsal for what they’re planning to do to the United States.”

A future feature will focus solely on the issue of the terror threats against American schools, but for the time being consider this: There are almost a half a million school busses in America — it would require every enlisted person and every officer in the entire Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps combined to put just one armed guard on every school bus in the country.

As a country and as a culture, the level of protection Americans afford our kids against violence is nothing near what we do to protect them from fire. Grossman is correct: Denial is the enemy. We must prepare for violence like the firefighter prepares for fire. And we must do that today.

In response to the celeb Demand A Plan video:

And another great article from across the pond HERE in its entirety, but an excerpt/summary below:

Americans never give up your guns


These days, there are few things to admire about the socialist, bankrupt and culturally degenerating USA, but at least so far, one thing remains: the right to bear arms and use deadly force to defend one's self and possessions.

For those of us fighting for our traditional rights, the US 2nd Amendment is a rare light in an ever darkening room. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position. In all cases where guns are banned, gun crime continues and often increases. As for maniacs, be it nuts with cars (NYC, Chapel Hill NC), swords (Japan), knives (China) or home made bombs (everywhere), insane people strike. They throw acid (Pakistan, UK), they throw fire bombs (France), they attack. What is worse, is, that the best way to stop a maniac is not psychology or jail or "talking to them", it is a bullet in the head, that is why they are a maniac, because they are incapable of living in reality or stopping themselves.
The excuse that people will start shooting each other is also plain and silly. So it is our politicians saying that our society is full of incapable adolescents who can never be trusted? Then, please explain how we can trust them or the police, who themselves grew up and came from the same culture?
No it is about power and a total power over the people. There is a lot of desire to bad mouth the Tsar, particularly by the Communists, who claim he was a tyrant, and yet under him we were armed and under the progressives disarmed. Do not be fooled by a belief that progressives, leftists hate guns. Oh, no, they do not. What they hate is guns in the hands of those who are not marching in lock step of their ideology. They hate guns in the hands of those who think for themselves and do not obey without question. They hate guns in those whom they have slated for a barrel to the back of the ear.
So, do not fall for the false promises and do not extinguish the light that is left to allow humanity a measure of self respect.


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