The Women of Dallas Are Armed and Dangerous, Thanks to Mama Jeanie

Her own shooting career derailed, Jeanie Almond has become Dallas' go-to teacher for shooting's fastest-growing market: women.

Amid the recipe talk, Jeanie shifts the conversation to her love of Paula Deen, an admiration that goes well beyond the butter. "I understand her; we came from the same place. She's a Southern woman, and Southern women, I believe, are bred with low expectations," she says. She puts on her best eyelash-batting exaggerated Southern accent. "It is not in our best interest as Southern ladies to be more intelligent than our husbands."

Jeanie's father, a Marine from Tennessee, encouraged her mother to learn to shoot. He filled the bottom of a milk jug with sand, and she would carry it around the house to strengthen her shooting arm. After a week or so, he'd add another inch of sand.

"I could hold a .357 Magnum out and shoot it," says Connie, a welcoming great-grandmother with dyed strawberry-colored hair. "It will shoot through a car motor."

Jeanie (left) and the Lipstick and Lead instruction team. Yes, that's her pink truck.
Danny Fulgencio
Jeanie (left) and the Lipstick and Lead instruction team. Yes, that's her pink truck.
Jeannie's granddaughter is a competitive shooter, too.
Danny Fulgencio
Jeannie's granddaughter is a competitive shooter, too.

In 1954, when Jeanie was just a baby, Connie went to a shooting competition with the Marine Corps pistol team. One of the Marines invited her to shoot.

"And she did," Jeanie says. "She outshot everyone."

"Now wait a minute," Connie interrupts, "this was not an official shoot."

"Oh, c'mon, Mother, it was the national matches!" Jeanie says. "See? That's where I got it."

Connie beat the Marines in the competition, and it was around then — when Connie could outshoot her husband — that his encouragement gave way to disdain. He didn't speak to her for three nights.

"That's not the worst part, darlin'," Jeanie says, talking about her mom but hinting at her own love triangle with shooting and a man. "The worst part is she put her guns up, and she never competed again."

There's a big, tangled thread here, one that runs through Connie's life and through Jeanie's and into the lives of the women she teaches, but it slips away when she's sidetracked by her preparations, assembling a salad bursting with color, a Bon Appetit photo shoot waiting to happen. "I hope you're hungry for this Chinese chicken salad," she says.


"Little hole going in, big hole going out," Jeanie said the first time we met. Her voice was sweet and high, but what she was describing, the fatal path of a .38-caliber bullet, was gruesome.

When a woman approaches Jeanie for a lesson, either for sport or for protection, the first thing she does is sit down and talk. She needs to know the woman's motivation for coming — does she want to shoot for fun with her husband? Is she seeking an extra layer of safety after experiencing a rape or an attack? She meets hundreds of women in both camps every year.

When the latter is true, she works independently with that woman, talking her through and teaching her to handle the gun before they even approach the paper targets. With shotgun training, she's more upbeat, imparting a love of the sport for its own sake.

She started teaching as a teenager, and even then she was driven by purpose. "I do it because I'm needed out there. I do it because I care about other women."

I walked into the clubhouse on a July afternoon. Jeanie, in her chunky rhinestone bracelet and silver hoop earrings, led an introductory shotgun lesson for a small group of us.

She was cheery like always, imbuing the proceedings with levity that, to some anyway, may not fit the weight of her work. In the weeks after this lesson, the misuse of guns would both dominate the news cycle and rock her family — first with the mass shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and College Station, then with her own grandson, the oldest of her 23 grandchildren, who committed suicide in early August, shooting himself in his apartment. Devin was 24. Jeanie's daughter had cared for him since he was 13, officially adopting him at 18, and over the years, he became an excellent gunsmith in the Army Reserves and a patient shooting instructor at Elm Fork, where he worked until last year.

Jeanie's first reaction to news of shooting rampages is an impossible wish that she could have trained the victims to protect themselves. "Maybe that .38 [pistol] in the purse would have been just the thing to stop a terrible situation," she says, her voice grave and unwavering.

Processing her grandson's suicide is obviously more challenging.

"This — I'm struggling," she says. "Unfortunately, it was his gun. It's the one he had wanted. It's the one he worked on." Jeanie believes the gun was merely a tool to carry out what seemed inevitable. She did everything she could imagine to help him, but through love and profound grief has come to conclude a single certainty. "I couldn't fix it."

The day of our lesson, Jeanie started by noting the key differences between men and women shooters: Women have a lower center of gravity, she said; our strength is in our lower body. While a man's biggest hurdle is his ego, a woman's is muscle fatigue.

"If you want to hit the clay target you have to focus simply on the clay target," she said, and followed up with a question: "How often are you thinking about one thing at a time?"

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25 comments
A Ft. Worth-O-Plex Music Page
A Ft. Worth-O-Plex Music Page

hmmm, preparing to fight back in the war on women, like, "you can have my birth control pills when you pry them from my cold dead hands?"

loxas1
loxas1

myrna - so if guns kill people, then was it a spoon that made you a fat-ass??? maybe we should have an anti-spoon rally and ban all the spoons in the country to solve the obesity problem.... typical leftist libtarded hypocrite....

gdruzek
gdruzek

I hope that people realize that Jeanie Almond isn't the only lady instructor. The NRA's "Women On Target" teaches classes at various gunranges. The Second Amendment Sisters started right here in Texas. On the West coast are the Liberty Belles. All of these organizations teach responsible, safe gun ownership which is sadly lacking due to the media and hollywood.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Nothing sexier than a woman with a gun.  Unless "she BIG". Then you just have her load the rifle. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Another mass gun murder.  This time in New Jersey.  Guns kill people.

JM64
JM64

Leslie, I don't know if you selected the headline, or the editor who did so, but it is quite misleading. The women who are being taught to shoot by "Mama Jeanie" are NOT ARMED AND DANGEROUS in the classic, criminal sense. These women, and any others who learn to properly handle firearms are dangerous ONLY to those people they intend to shoot, if/when necessary.

 

The implication of the headline is that women with guns are a danger to anyone/everyone around them simply because they have guns. I respect the article's overall neutrality concerning guns, but the headline is poorly written.

JM64
JM64

Myrna, obviously you have never seen a gun that didn't terrify you, except for those in the hands of 'trustworthy, well-trained' LEOs, such as the NYPD, who wounded NINE innocent bystanders in shooting one armed criminal. Of course, such twits as you would call that 'collateral damage'...

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

This is clearly a paranoid man-wannabe with a gun fetish and an Annie Oakley complex.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Just what we need.  More guns killing more people.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

Thank you for this article. I have taught several people to shoot pistol and rifle. I've been looking for professional instructors for those who I do not have the skill to teach. This has given me an instructor to recommend to them.

azlefty
azlefty

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz   So the gun fired itself you idiot?

You do realize  the  largest non-terrorist related mass-murder in the  US did not involve any guns? 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @jmelton6414 I was on here bashing the cops for doing that after it happened, and I was invidiously excoriated for doing so by the gun fetishistas.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Empower women, but only if they are women who behave in a proper, progressive-approved, liberal fashion?

 

How very Republican of you.

BANE
BANE

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

 So a strong, independent, empowered woman is now a man-wannabe in the eyes of the tolerant left?

gdruzek
gdruzek

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

 What we don't need is so-called liberals empowering more and more criminals to prey on law abiding citizens. Typical liberal "crime" control: 1. create gun laws that only effect law abiding citizens. 2. Do away with the death penalty and harsh penalties for criminals. 3. create victim disamament zones that only effect law abiding citizens. 4. Give guns and hand grenades to Mexican drug cartels. 5. Disband police forces due to "budget cuts". 6. Supply police forces with military hardware and at the same time reduce training hours to due "budget cuts". 7. Jail law abiding citizens without trial due to "national security". 8. Allow the media to hero worship any gunbanger who's stopped from robbing, murdering and raping. 9. Create no questions asked "gun buybacks" that allow gangbangers to dispose of their murder weapons witihout ballistic tests. 10. Encourage the media to publish statements from anti-gun organizations.[Asking the antigun brady bunch to comment on guns is like listening to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers comment on a NASCAR ruling.]

oboudet27
oboudet27

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Do we have to go there again? Is it not getting old already?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

 @BANE An independent, empowered woman would not need to run around shooting guns in order to be independent and empowered.

dmd-123
dmd-123

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz  @BANEAnd why not? You are clearly threatened by this, as you put it man-wannbe. There is nothing wrong with sport shooting and certainly nothing wrong with personal defense.

 

oboudet27
oboudet27

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Its funny how "guns" kill people. But yet Chicago who has one of the most restrictive gun laws is on the edge of declaring marshal law due to so many killings.

 
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