Front Sight Resorts Interviews Student Janice Holmes
June 23rd, 2006
Interviewed by Jim McMahonPrior to taking her first course at Front Sight, Janice was struck with the realization that she was vulnerable to victimization. Particularly by being a woman, and even more particularly by being seven months pregnant.
Despite owning a pistol, and having some familiarity with its usage, this did little to give her the security she was seeking. That is, until Janice found out about Front Sight, which literally, in her own words, transformed her life to a point where she has now taken charge.
Janice is a Front Sight First Family Member, and has been since 2001, along with her husband and three-year-old toddler son. They all have recently upgraded to Silver. Since that time Janice has taken no less than 14 Front Sight handgun and rifle courses, and believe me, she is now most certainly somebody to reckon with!
She stands as an inspiration to every woman who has ever fallen under the threat of being victimized.
Janice has a lot to say about women and personal safety. I recently interviewed Janice at her home in the outskirts of Seattle.
FSR: What event or reason prompted you to search out firearms training?
Janice: I had an event that transformed my thinking when I was seven months pregnant with my little boy. This happened before my husband and I got started with Front Sight. My husband was remodeling our kitchen, and I went to the hardware store to pick up something for him. I was on my way back home, and there’s this funny little tunnel I pass through. Basically, it has two stop signs on either side of it, and cars pass on a “respect” basis, one car then the other. It’s really a very short, very small pass-thru, railroad tracks go over the top, and it’s only the width of a car. You can’t get anything more than one car through it at a time.
I stopped, and then proceeded on through the tunnel, when the person on the opposite side ran through the stop sign and put his car right in front of mine and stopped it. He was blocking me in. My car was still under the tunnel and there was no physical room to even open the door to get out. It was very tight. Then, this guy started to scream all kinds of obscenities at me.
Meanwhile, another car pulled up right behind mine, blocking me in between. I thought to myself, “This is not good. I’m at the wrong place at the wrong time. What am I going to do to get out of this?” I couldn’t get out of the door because there wasn’t room to open it. I couldn’t get out through the sunroof because there were railroad tracks above, and I was seven months pregnant and couldn’t fit. So now I was trapped, with a man in front of me and a man behind me. Even if I wanted to escape, I couldn’t do it. I had no means of protection with me.
The man in front of me got out of his car, and the guy behind me followed getting out of his car, and they were now screaming at each other. It crossed my mind, “Are these guys working together? Is this the process of them trying to victimize me?” I didn’t know what they might do, I had no idea what I was in for.
I had my cell phone with me, but it was as dead as a doornail. I didn’t let them know that though. I lifted up the phone and pretended like I was dialing 911. I put my phone right up to my ear and started talking like I was telling the operator all about it. And I kid you not, it was then that the man in the front got back into his car, and backed up just enough for me to squeak my way through. I kept my eye on that guy the whole time.
It wasn’t until then that I realized I didn’t have any skills to take good care of myself. I knew right then I needed some more tools. But I had absolutely no idea where to start. For me, that’s what initiated my journey.
FSR: Did you have any previous firearms training experience prior to attending Front Sight?
Janice: I have never had any formal training. The first time I ever really shot a gun was with my husband when we were dating. We used to go target shooting in some of the riverbeds in California, years ago, when we lived there. Occasionally we would go to a handgun range, just for fun. I even picked out a firearm and eventually bought it, a 357 Ruger GP 100, a revolver. I figured that’s what I needed. I practiced with .38 Specials in it, and only put the .357’s in if I absolutely had to.
I thought, honestly, that I really kind of knew what I was doing with it. I figured if I am pointing it in the right direction, know how to load it, and know how to unload it, then I should be OK, right? But, boy was I wrong.
I was always really kind of afraid of any semi-automatic weapon, anything that was loaded with a magazine. My husband had a semi-automatic handgun, and I thought that I should probably know how to use his, in the event somebody ever did break into our house, and I couldn’t get to mine.
FSR: How did you find out about Front Sight?
Janice: I found out about Front Sight when my husband went to the Free submachine gun Course. This was the spring of 2001. My husband found out about Front Sight through an ad that was in Guns & Ammo, or one of those other gun magazines. We were going to Las Vegas and he wanted to do this.
So he went ahead and did it, and came back totally fired up and enthusiastic about the whole thing. He just wanted to go and have fun. But then when he saw the level of instruction he thought it was incredible.
FSR: What made you choose Front Sight over all the other choices in the firearms training industry?
Janice: I didn’t look at any others.
FSR: What course did you first attend?
Janice: My first class at Front Sight was the Four-Day Defensive Handgun Course that I took in October, 2001.
FSR: What was your impression of your first course?
Janice: Before starting the course, I thought, if these guys are any kind of drill sergeant types, I am out of there. I’ll go lay by the pool at the hotel in Vegas. But that didn’t happen. I though this course was just phenomenal. I realized the instructors were very safety conscious, knowledgeable and gentle. I was able to learn without feeling minimized for what I didn’t know. It was really awesome.
I have always have been the adventurous type and definitely never really afraid to try something new. I am active in other extreme sports like scuba diving, skydiving, snow boarding and skiing. It wasn’t too far reaching for me to want to know how to work a firearm. I was really excited to learn a new skill.
The first thing I realized when I got to Front Sight was that these people are professional. These people really know what’s going on. And everyone greeted me with kindness and support. They treated me with respect. They gave me the gift of empowerment, especially through the mental awareness lecture.
After I completed the course, I had a sense that this is something that I could possibly achieve, rather than being derailed by what I call “militant mentality” that says “You’ll do it, or else.” It was nothing like that. I really felt like I thrived in the environment because it was so different than what I thought it would be.
FSR: How did the initial training impact your life?
Janice: I’ll never be the same person. I’ve learned an incredible amount of alternate skills, rather than just one skill. I have learned to basically make decisions of courage, gaining healthy boundaries.
Since I went through those first courses, it’s created in me a hunger to want to gain more information about self protection, but I also have enjoyed challenging and defeating my internal doubts and fears.
FSR: What aspect of the training have you found most valuable?
Janice: You can learn a skill for the first time, and see that it is a great skill to have and know, but it does not really become a skill until you repeat it several times. This is the aspect of training I value most. I can take a class several times and get something new out of it every time.
Training with the simulators has also broadened my thinking, giving me a balance in trusting and using wisdom in everyday situations. I have learned a lot more than how to use a firearm. I have learned how to be more aware of my surroundings, taking an inventory of what is going on around me. I have seen how confidence has bloomed in me. I want to empower other people to be able to do this as well. It’s not something that I just think of for myself anymore. I see the freedoms that I’ve gained out of it mentally, socially and physically.
FSR: Have you used any of the training to protect yourself, family or friends in a real life situation?
Janice: I was at work a couple months ago, and got a gut feeling that something just wasn’t quite right. I am an MRI Technologist, I had a patient that I brought back to an area where he was getting prepared for his MRI. Part of that preparation is to have the patient remove all metals from their body and put them in a locker.
This patient emptied his pockets and then took off his belt, and in an odd way drew it back like he was going to hit me with it. I said, jokingly, in a way to minimize this, “Ah you don’t want to do that.” Then he said, “I would never hurt a pretty girl like you.” Then he took his hand and put it on my cheek under my hair. I took a step back, a technique that I learned at Front Sight, to open up some distance. He then stepped closer again. Every time I would take a step back the guy would close the distance again. Then he reached around and grabbed me inappropriately. Immediately I secured his arm at the elbow, catching him in the act, and I stuck my thumb into his ulnar nerve, and I twisted his arm a little bit. I got my face right up to his and I said “Sir, you are out of line for touching me there!” He looked at me surprised, and I said “Do you hear me!” He said “Yes”. I said “Do you understand!” He said “Yes”. I said “Did I make myself clear!” He said “Yes”. So, I let go and kind of gently pushed him, and I told him to go have a seat over there.
It was very important to me for him to take ownership for his actions. Up until this point in time I’ve lacked the skills to handle varied prior situations that have come up in my life, and in no way did I ever have the empowerment to do this. It was so incredible that it happened reflexively. I didn’t stop to think about what to say, it just came out. It’s from training at Front Sight that I have learned life skills, as well as life-saving skills.
FSR: How many courses have you attended at Front Sight to date?
Janice: I have taken 14 courses so far, all of them firearms training. This last year I took a couple of rifle courses, and I really liked them. Two-Day Practical Rifle Course to start, then I did a couple Rifle Skill Builder Courses. I have not taken the Four-Day Practical Rifle yet, or any shotgun courses.
Most of what I’ve done is handgun training. I’ve taken Two-Day Defensive Handgun multiple times, Four-Day Defensive Handgun multiple times, and I’ve taken Handgun Skill Builder a number of times. I’ve also taken the Free submachine gun Course, the CCW Course, the Glock Armors Course, and the Advanced Tactical Handgun Course.
FSR: How many other students have you directly or indirectly referred to Front Sight?
Janice: We usually bring an entourage when we come. I would say we have told a minimum of a hundred people about Front Sight. Just at my work alone 40 people. Our personal friends, our family and neighbors, that’s being really conservative.
FSR: What is the biggest challenge you find in trying to encourage friends to attend a course at Front Sight?
Janice: The distance. But once they get there they are just in awe over the kind of education they have, and the life skills they learn.
FSR: When did you become a Front Sight First Family Member?
Janice: In late 2001, after I took that first class.
FSR: What level membership did you purchase?
Janice: We started out with Copper Memberships for all three of us, my husband, my son and I. Then we upgraded to Bronze, and also purchased the Family Safe Forever package. We recently were gifted to Silver via Naish’s generous offer, all three of us.
FSR: Why did you choose to become a First Family member?
Janice: I think for me it was perfect timing for everything all together. I knew at that particular point in time that I needed more skills. I wanted to learn multiple ways to protect myself. Sometimes it isn’t practical to have one certain weapon with you at all times. The diversity of classes attracted me. The thrill-seeker in me said “Where else in the world can I do this?”
When my husband and I went to the first classes we realized the levels we were able to attain to just from one course. What could we possibly learn from multiple courses? So, the dream began. The dream of achieving higher levels in the self-defense discipline.
FSR: What is the purpose of the Front Sight Organization?
Janice: To me the purpose of this organization is to help others. And that just totally says it all.
FSR: What does Front Sight, and your participation with it, really mean to you and the future of firearms ownership in this country?
Janice: Originally, the right to bear arms was to keep the Government in check, and to have a process of equality so there was no allowance for tyranny, or for those in the Government to exercise an imbalance of control. To me it makes the playing field equal for all.
Preservation of this right is really important to me. I didn’t realize how important it was until I’ve recognized on a daily basis how many people are hell-bent on taking it away. It really blows my mind. Our forefathers created the Second Amendment to ensure the protection of each individual, and their personal ability to protect and provide for themselves, their family and their property.
People give up things because they’re afraid, and that fear can really paralyze. Many lack the fortitude and courage to pursue in the midst of adversity. Everything becomes too hard and deceptively impossible. So with little hope of change they give in to the status quo, not realizing that any ground they give up will later cause them to lose even more territory.
I couldn’t disagree more with those that are willing to give up their right to have firearms. They basically just don’t know what they don’t know. I want my son to have in the future what freedoms I still have today.
FSR: If you were standing at the speaker’s podium in a large stadium, addressing 100,000 people, and you only had one minute to tell them why they should attend a course at Front Sight, what would you say?
Janice: At Front Sight I have learned to challenge many weaknesses in myself, some internal, some external. The staff and students are some of the finest individuals I care to associate with.
They say at Front Sight that you will always fall to your level of training, not rise to your level of expectation.
Having the skills I have learned definitely makes me feel more empowered. I know the amount of defense I can provide for my family, and myself, but now it’s tempered with self control. I know what I feel comfortable with, and I don’t have to fear. For me, this is real freedom.
FSR: What course are you going to attend next?
Janice: We are signed up for another rifle class, the Two-Day Practical Rifle Course, which we will be doing in April.
FSR: Thank you Janice, we’ll see you at Front Sight!