Riding Shotgun With Charlie
It seems like I’ve known Laura Carno since I started this journey. In 2019 at GRPC, she asked me and Derek Leblanc (RSWC #033) why we called each other “brother” and we weren’t calling her “sister”. Since then, she has been our “sister from a different mister”. This year, I was going to Colorado for some personal stuff, and I was able to reach out to Laura to talk about FASTER Colorado. FASTER, as it is known, is Faculty & Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.
Laura grew up in California with a very pro police and pro military family, but they weren’t necessarily a “gun family”. As a young woman in her early 20’s she was followed out of a gym by a big guy and her “spidey senses” went off. The only thing she had was a metal pipe for self defense. That was what opened her eyes and realized she may need to be able to protect herself.
Before FASTER, Laura was involved with some local politics and she wrote a book called Government Ruins Nearly Everything which you can, and should, buy on Amazon. The book is a great read, and I do suggest it for everyone! It isn’t expensive and it is eye opening!
When she started paying attention to politics, her California friends said the Republicans weren’t really doing much, particularly for gun rights, so maybe she should become a “small L libertarian”. In 2008, she realized that Mr Obama wasn’t going to do anything good for guns and gun owners. She kept saying “yes” to new opportunities and she found herself doing new things she never dreamt of doing. By 2013, when Michael Bloomberg came to Colorado for a voting recall, she was running an ad that said “If guns are for you, don’t own one. But don’t you dare tell me how to defend myself.” That led to a connection to NRA TV and Cam Edwards (RSWC #168). Eventually, Laura was friends with folks from the Buckeye Firearms Association and school security came up.
Laura went to Ohio to see what this FASTER program was about. She saw that the people taking the class were willing to die for their students. So why shouldn’t they have the necessary tools to save the same students. She put in lots of calls and contacts to county sheriffs to let them know about FASTER and see if they were interested in having this in their rural areas. They’ve got law enforcement and military who train the school staff. Currently they have graduates in 37 school districts and have over 300 people trained to save school children.
One of the events that has opened the eyes of the public was the shooting in Uvalde, TX. People have started to realize that the police are not going to be there to stop school shootings in progress. But the biggest one so far was the Covenant Christian School shooting in Nashville. The police were there in 12 minutes and started taking care of business when they got there. One of the things that also changed is how fast the body-cam and school camera videos were released. These videos made people realize that if the school office was able to return fire and stop the murderer at the school entrance, it would have ended differently.
When talking about things they’ve learned during the last 8 years, not knowing who would be the teachers/staff willing to step up and take the FASTER courses has shown them some of the least likely people are the willing ones. They’re the quiet professionals willing to do what’s necessary to save their students’ lives.
We talk a lot about the program and the different levels that they do training on. They’re up to Level 4 in Colorado. Each of the levels do get more challenging. It’s not just shooting, then shooting and moving. It’s very realistic to what you’re seeing on the body-cam videos.
Please check out the whole conversation with Laura. There’s a mountain of work that they’re doing. And that we need all over the rest of the country. There’s also more interviews with FASTER Saves Lives staff coming up! So stay tuned!
“I know how to take care of myself in other realms of my life, but how do I protect myself.”
“I kept saying ‘yes’ to things I could have never predicted for myself.”
“There are certain attacks that happen that there is no other defense than another firearm.”
“Nothing bad has happened in these schools where there’s armed employees.”
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FASTER Saves Lives Website
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