Develop a defensive mind-set
Don’t be paranoid that everyone out there is determined to victimize you, just be aware that some will if you aren’t paying attention.
That’s the underlying lesson that Guy and Suzanne Masterson try to teach.
The Grand Valley couple of 13 years have been teaching the National Rifle Association’s “Refuse To Be A Victim” seminar for the past three years.
The couple also are certified instructors for other courses, including for concealed and carry permits, but this one is helpful even for people who don’t own firearms.
“We address in every class we do that it’s important to have a healthy defensive mind-set, so you’re safe but not paranoid,” said Guy Masterson, a regional counselor of the program and a volunteer firefighter. “We don’t increase fear, we minimize fear through the training that we do. We get people who are very terrified to people who are 23-year Marines. Sometimes they just want to know how to help a loved one, and sometimes they just want to refresh their own insight to have a safe level of awareness.”
The couple said criminals are more likely to target easy victims, so putting as many deterrents in their way helps minimize you as a target.
The two offer common-sense tips on how to avoid becoming a victim — everything from remembering to secure your house before leaving on trips to being careful to whom you give personal information.
Isabel Menapace, 15, took the course at the behest of her family, which wanted her to become more aware of how to avoid bad situations.
“I learned that by just taking a couple of extra steps, you can prevent a lot of bad things from happening,” she said after taking the course Saturday. “That can be from buying a better lock for your door or buying a better door. I never thought that someone would take advantage of newspapers piling up or snow being around the house. It now occurs to me that it makes sense.”
The three-hour course, which doesn’t emphasize the use of guns but doesn’t dismiss them either, is offered monthly for free.
The Mastersons also give a defensive pistol refresher course that is acknowledged by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department as qualifying for concealed weapons permits.