Episode 148 – Unstoppable Gun Proponent and JEDI Advocate with Carynn Rudolph
Carynn Rudolph is a disabled Marine Corps veteran who has a fascinating set of broad experiences that, at first glance, might seem paradoxical. On the one hand, she is a strong proponent of keeping guns available for all without restrictions as to type, size, or capacity. She also is a strong advocate and heavily involved with the concept of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, JEDI.
During our discussion, Carynn will discuss how and why she feels that her beliefs and work in both of the above areas are not diametrically opposed. We do get to spend some time talking about guns, gun control, and how she feels we can address the problems we face and read about all too often today.
Today she works as a program manager at a youth center in Colorado. I love listening to her talk about how she is helping today’s youth discover and learn how they can become more responsible in their lives and how they learn how to take responsibility for their actions. Make no mistake, Caryn has a deep ethical values concerning right and wrong.
I believe you will find our discussion intriguing and quite informative. I personally learned a lot and I hope you will as well.
About the Guest:
Carynn Rudolph, a disabled Marine Corps veteran and MST survivor, is a passionate advocate for community service and empowerment. As a pastor for nine years, she founded the Urban Youth Initiative in 2016 to support urban youth pastors and leaders in mental health crises. Carynn’s commitment to service extends to correctional work and founding Goliath Tactical Firearms Training in 2019. She works with women who have experienced trauma and is a program manager at a youth homeless shelter in Colorado. Carynn is a mother of two, wife to Tara, and enjoys reading and gardening.
Ways to connect with Carynn:
Goliath Tactical Firearms Training
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Well, hi, this is Mike Hingson, and once again, welcome to an episode of unstoppable mindset. Today, we get to interview someone that I got a chance to know fairly recently, Carynn Rudolph, and she is a a disabled, military and Marine Corps specifically veteran, she’s got a lot of different kinds of experiences. And now she’s among other things working to help a home for youth in Colorado, we’re gonna get to all that I don’t want to give much away. And that’s what makes it tough to describe because if I start talking more, she won’t have anything to say. And we don’t want that. So, Carynn , welcome to unstoppable mindset. How are you?
Carynn Rudolph ** 02:04
I’m doing well. Thank you so much for having me today.
Michael Hingson ** 02:08
Well, a pleasure. And we’re really glad you’re here. And I hope people will enjoy what you have to say. And I’m sure they will. And we’ll kind of make it as fun as we can make it. And as always, it’s it’s always fun to ask people to talk a little bit at first of all, what it was like growing up what what, what was Carynn, the younger person like and tell us about your growing up experiences and all that.
Carynn Rudolph ** 02:33
Sure. Um, well, my name is Carynn Rudolph. I am originally from Savannah, Georgia. I grew up in Colorado, Aurora, Colorado. My dad was in the Army is what kind of brought us to Colorado traveled back and forth as a kid between Colorado and Georgia. Every summer we spent our summers in Georgia and with my like my grandparents, I have a twin brother and a little sister. Yeah, I I lived, you know, normal, normal, young person life, I suppose. And went off join the military kind of fall within my father my grandfather’s footsteps. I when I turned 18, I was going to join the army and went off to the Marine Corps. Instead, they they convinced me because I was able to do a couple of pull ups. They told me that I was hardcore. And that was that was what allowed me on the Marine Corps versus in the army.
Michael Hingson ** 03:36
So they don’t do pull ups in the army. Is that what you’re saying? I don’t know.
Carynn Rudolph ** 03:39
The that was all that it took 17 year olds to convince 17 year old Kirinda to go to the Marine Corps. So army though so
Michael Hingson ** 03:49
good for you. How long were you in the Marine Corps?
Carynn Rudolph ** 03:53
I did four years on active duty and got got out in 2012.
Michael Hingson ** 03:58
Wow. And what did you do after that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 04:02
I did a number of different things. So I had a daughter shortly after I got out of the military got married and all that stuff went to school. I pastored for about nine years after I got out of the military. And I started a nonprofit organization in 2016, called the urban youth initiative that was focused on helping urban youth pastors specifically. Like by equipping them with the skills and the ability to be able to support a young person who expressed that they were experiencing like suicidal ideation. And then I became a correctional officer. I did that for about four years and now I work as a program manager at a youth homeless shelter.
Michael Hingson ** 04:55
I have some friends who retired from being In the federal correction officer business, she was a pastor. But they both had been involved in doing correctional officer kinds of things. We knew them in New Jersey. They’ve retired out of Florida, but it was really fascinating to talk with them, and certainly not a position I envy a whole lot.
Carynn Rudolph ** 05:20
Yeah, I always tell people, people think I’m like crazy when I say this, but that was one of the best jobs I ever had. I worked with us specifically in like a secured facility. But it was a lot of fun. You get to build really cool relationships with young people and help them not, like make the same mistakes that got them landed there, you know, hopefully anyway, but just by having those those relationships and running groups and things like that, so
Michael Hingson ** 05:53
yeah, well, really, you were pretty successful at it. And people didn’t go back to what they were doing before.
Carynn Rudolph ** 05:57
I hope so. I definitely hope so. I haven’t run into anybody that I worked closely with yet. But yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 06:06
Did you do that in Colorado?
Carynn Rudolph ** 06:08
I did. After I got out of the military. I came back to Colorado. That’s where I met my, my ex husband. And we had a couple of kids and all that sort of stuff. So no, it’s Tara. So Tara is my wife. Now. There’s a whole story behind all that. But yeah, Tara is my wife. I met her during COVID after I had gotten my divorce from my ex husband and all that after leaving the church.
Michael Hingson ** 06:41
So what, what got you into pastoring? After leaving the Marine Corps? What What made you decide to go that route, as opposed to going to school or any number of other things that you could have done?
Carynn Rudolph ** 06:54
It’s a great question. I did go to school. As I was like, kind of by vocational I went to school and pastored. But I took that route, because when I was on active duty, I experienced I went through a sexual assault incident when I was on active duty. And you know, I started going to church after that. And that was something that really helped me as I like navigated that, like trauma experience and all that. And, yeah, so I started getting involved in church more and stuff like that. I was like, I think this is something I really want to do. And started working in ministry. After that.
Michael Hingson ** 07:44
Did, did the powers that be if you will handle the sexual assault at all reasonably well, or was it just like a lot of things that we hear kind of covered up? Or? It was
Carynn Rudolph ** 07:57
one of the those kinds of cover up? That was, you know, yeah, it was it wasn’t? They didn’t handle it that well. And I think that since my discharge, since I got out of the military, they have really done a lot to recognize that, like military sexual trauma is something that a lot of females, female veterans, specifically experience, not just female veterans, but you know, female veterans, a lot of them tend to experience that. And so I think that the ratio is like one in five, or the statistic is like one in five women who serve will experience some form of military sexual trauma in their time in service.
Michael Hingson ** 08:43
Yeah, it’s, it’s so unfortunate that there is so much of that that goes on, guys thinks that they’re so tough. And the reality is, it’s, I think, more a sign of weakness, but nevertheless, they think they can take things out on people and that’s too bad. Deed indeed. Well, so did you get a college degree than when you got out? And we’re doing that while pastoring?
Carynn Rudolph ** 09:06
Yes, yeah, it took some time I pursued higher education seeking, like for psychology with an emphasis on substance use and addiction. And that was kind of what drove my passion to like work with with youth, like learning about psychology and wanted to be able to help support people who are experiencing different degrees of a mental health crisis so
Michael Hingson ** 09:33
well, but why youth as opposed to working with older people? Do you think that you could, did you feel you could have a greater influence if you’re working with younger people or just kind of was your, your sort of style?
Carynn Rudolph ** 09:47
I think that it’s a little bit of both. I think that part of it is that I want to be able to make a difference before before folks get kind of stuck in their ways. As as young adults as adults, and I like to think that I’m a pretty cool person. So that’s why I’ve stuck around working with young people for as long as I have.
Michael Hingson ** 10:16
My wife was a teacher. And she always said that she loved the younger grades like third grade, because by the time kids were in the fifth and sixth grade, they were starting to get more set in ways and they were harder to really have as much of an influence on so I can imagine that the older kids got when you got them in those teenagers. And then if you saw people later on in life, you have exactly what you said. They’re very set in their ways, and they’re not going to be very willing to change.
Carynn Rudolph ** 10:46
Michael Hingson ** 10:48
Well, so did you pastor for a church, how to how did all that work out? Or how did you get started in that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 10:56
Yep, I pastored. I started working in church I went through we had a Bible college at the church that I, when I moved back to Colorado, I joined this ministry called The Rock Church of Denver, and they had a Bible college. So I started attending the Bible college while I was there, and went through their ordination program. It was a three year program, got I got ordained and was serving as a youth pastor serve as youth minister, I got licensed through them after about a year and then the next two years, just worked as youth minister and then got ordained as a pastor serve as their youth pastor, and then did some associate pastor duties as well. So did like youth ministry and worked with their like evangelism department and immediate sound department and things like that.
Michael Hingson ** 11:55
It sounds like from what you said a little while ago that you kind of were drawn more to God after the whole sexual assault incident? Yes, that’s correct. And there’s a lot of value in doing that. And of course, you know, God is a part of all of our lives and in so many ways, so. You have a relationship that still goes today, I trust? Yes, yeah. But what got you to get out of being a pastor after nine years,
Carynn Rudolph ** 12:25
wow, I went through kind of a deconstruction journey. deconstruction slash, like a reconstruction journey, if you will, where I really started to evaluate certain, like, parts of the Bible that, that I couldn’t reconcile. One of those verses was from Deuteronomy, chapter 22, verses 28 and 29. That said, that if a man finds a, like a virgin, and he rapes her, you can marry her. And I just couldn’t reconcile that. And so it took some time. And, you know, I was like, I also was going through my divorce, took some time backed away, and, you know, really kind of reevaluated my own personal values and where, where the Scripture stood with me and all that sort of stuff. And yeah, that that is that as I went through that deconstruction process, I just, I realized that I was at a place where I was really learning a lot more. And I didn’t feel like I had the capacity to lead people as effectively as I would have wanted to. Or believe was necessary for you know, a person in a ministry position so I stepped away
Michael Hingson ** 13:50
stepped away. Well, you the I hear what you’re saying. What’s what’s really a challenge, of course, is that the Old Testament is in so many ways so different than the New Testament. And Jesus brings a whole different point of view or standpoint to a lot of it, but I hear what you’re saying with, with justification logical or not. So if you rape a woman and a virgin, you can marry her, you know?
Carynn Rudolph ** 14:23
Yeah, I mean, that was just one piece of Yeah. You know, I think that you know, Paul’s admonishment to the church and, you know, slaves obey your master and like, think about how, like, the Bible was weaponized against marginalized folks. Yeah. I just, I didn’t it didn’t sit right with me. And so I still believe in God, I still have a relationship with God. And I think that through some work, and some time, I’ve been able to maintain that relationship. And that that honor for who? The person of Jesus just, you know, with a different respect and value for the Bible.
Michael Hingson ** 15:11
Yeah, well, and Bible was written by people and absorbed. So there’s there’s a, there are a lot of challenges and you know, it’s no different for the Bible than the Koran or anything else there are. There are a lot of paradoxes. And it’s it’s unfortunate, and sometimes people greatly misuse them as well. Absolutely. I agree, which is never any fun. But anyway, so you got a degree and you you were in the Ministry for a while and all that. One of the things that I know you talk a lot about, is this whole concept of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion Jedi. You don’t know the power of the light side of the forest. I’m not gonna go with Vader. But anyway, tell me more about Jedi. And what got you into doing, talking about that or being involved with that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 16:03
Absolutely. I think there were a number of different things that really got me into that work. When I was on active duty in the military, I experienced some racism and things like that. And as a result of the things that I experienced, while on active duty, I, I wanted to find ways to ensure that I could support people who had experienced the same things that I did. That’s part of the reason why I pursued a degree in psychology, right. And I just got really hungry to learn more and more about like the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, kind of principles. And that tied into some of the other work that I do. I’m also a firearms instructor and I own a business as a as a gun instructor. And I learned a lot about like how even certain parts of our Constitution were weaponized against black folks and indigenous folks, and how that translates to today. The work that I do now, I’ll go back even to the work that I was doing in corrections, looking at how black and brown people are disproportionately represented. And the justice system was something that, you know, I wanted to learn more about and, you know, find ways that we can reconcile, like the the justice system, to make it more equitable. The child welfare system, I work with young people, I sit on a board for the state of Colorado, child welfare, equity, diversity inclusion, to evaluate the child welfare system in the state of Colorado, and then the work that I do for the homeless shelter where I work. We, you know, I look at the, you know, how black and brown youth specifically because I work with young people are over represented in our programs, and like, evaluating how we can better support and serve those folks. Does that kind of answer your question? So, yeah.
Michael Hingson ** 18:39
And so you you continue to do it? And have you ever thought of, also, if you’re going to talk about the system and so on studying the law and doing anything in the law world?
Carynn Rudolph ** 18:51
Absolutely. Absolutely. I studied the law quite a bit. You know, especially in the work that I do, both at together, which homelesses organization that I work for, but then also for Goliath tactical firearms training, which is my business. There’s so there’s so much that we do there. I would say like, for the firearms industry, specifically, I look at how red flag laws or how magazine capacity limits have disproportionately affected black folks. And anytime there are opportunities to testify. I tried to seek out the opportunity to do just that. This past Wednesday, as a matter of fact, Colorado had a, an assault weapons ban bill that they were, you know, we had had an opportunity to testify was able to give a testimony. And, you know, present how those the gun laws that they have proposed would have disproportionately affected black and brown folks. or, you know, prevented folks who are disabled from being able to gain access to the tools that they need to be able to protect and defend themselves and things like that. So it was really good opportunity.
Michael Hingson ** 20:12
Tell me more about that when you’re talking about assault weapons and so on. So are you not in favor of banning assault weapons in any way? Or what kind of is your stance on that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 20:22
Yeah, so I am not in favor. No. And the reason for that is because first and foremost, I, I, when I presented this on Wednesday, one of the things that I brought up was that that kind of legislation would create increased surveillance and lower income and bipoc communities. First and foremost, there’s, there’s statistics from like the Harvard Law Review, that have demonstrated that when people went when there were laws passed about, like magazine capacity limits, for example, it created increased surveillance in black communities, and gave law enforcement officers free rein to be able to go and question black folks. More, and then by black folks were arrested more, and it you know, and I’m a gun person. So I know that we aren’t the only ones who are carrying around high capacity magazines, right. You know, so I think that it would create increased surveillance in bipod communities, number one, and then I believe that everyone should have equal fair access to the tools that they need to be able to protect and defend themselves however they see fit. Because being able to protect yourself as a human, fundamental human right, pistols can be really hard for folks who have pistols can be really hard for folks who have like, arthritis, or like carpal tunnel and other sort of pologize the word escapes me right now. But like folks who have a hard time being able to, like rack slides back, or manage recoil and things like that. And what what people are calling an assault rifle would be better is really an ArmaLite rifle, those would be easier for a person to manage the who’s like in a wheelchair, for example, they would be able to better manage that recoil, because it’s absorbed, like the shock is being absorbed and bodies and things like that. So, yeah,
Michael Hingson ** 22:48
but what’s the solution? You know, I, I, I hear people saying, well, we got to really deal with the people who have mental illness. Well, it’s not just about that. And I think that the other part of the discussion has to be not just why we shouldn’t ban assault weapons, and I think that’s a topic to discuss, but, but more important, what’s the real solution to address the issues? Because it seems like, really, the genie has come out of the lamp or the cat’s come out of the bag. And it’s very difficult to get any control over any of this. And we’re seeing an increasing number of people. And yes, a lot of them are certainly minorities, but a lot of people who are being shot and killed, because to a large degree of the so called assault weapons and some of the higher end weapons that people deal with, what’s our solution to that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 23:50
Well, I think so. That’s, that’s a lot to unpack in that question.
Michael Hingson ** 23:59
But I know it’s a, it is a complex issue. I know.
Carynn Rudolph ** 24:03
It’s a complex issue, for sure. I would say first and foremost, we should look at the poverty rates in America. First and foremost, we need to address the root cause because addressing a tool is not going to get rid of the problem, especially in a country like America, where we have so much access to illegal guns, illegal weapons that are being used to commit crimes on a regular basis. So I think that being able to address root causes, okay, poverty, folks not having equal fair access to health care, or behavioral health services. I think that in order to address poverty, right, like I actually posted a tic tac video about this today. And someone had asked that exact question. They They compared America to Switzerland and said, well, Switzerland has like gun registrations, you know, blah, blah, America, the median income for an American citizen is around $31,000. In a place like Switzerland or other developed nations, it’s anywhere from like, $7,000 up, okay? People are going to do what they feel is necessary to be able to provide for their families and for themselves. People need equal access to food, people need access to medicine to health care, they need access to behavioral health services, if we can find ways to increase funding, and I have ideas about ways that we can do that, we were to find ways to increase funding and access for folks to be able to get health care, first and foremost, okay, universal health care. I’m one of those weird people that believes that we should have universal health care. Okay. I’m not I’m not saying it’s a weird thing. I’m saying like, I believe we need to have universal health care. I think that, you know, there needs to be there needs to be more funding, or access to behavioral health or social service programs in America. You know, I worked for the youth homelessness organization, like I mentioned, and we, we have, like, back, I went to DC, and in March, I was asking for the government to fund the runaway homeless youth services act, so that we can continue to provide services, and they were like, I don’t know, you know, our legislators Where’s and so, you know, providing funding for programs like that, to address the root causes that contribute to gun violence would be great. I’ve heard folks say things like, well, single, single parent, home groups also have like higher rates of gun violence and things like that I don’t have the data. I’m not looked into that at home. But being able to address the mental health care, or the mental health problems that folks might deal with, as a result of coming from a single parent home to me would suffice. So yeah, addressing those big items, would be how I would attack the beast called gun violence.
Michael Hingson ** 27:30
I guess my my thought would be that some of that may help. But I still haven’t really seen the connection, that, that even if we provided a higher mean income for people, and even if we provide health care, and so on, there are some other issues like the whole racial issue. So many times, black people are shot by white people. And it’s oftentimes white people who have at least apparently a better income. And now, we’ve seen in fairly recent times, some people who have shot other people who got in the wrong car or a basketball that went into somebody else’s yard. And so the bottom line is that it has become so indiscriminate that it seems to me, there is still got to be more to it than that. And there has to be some issue or some way to address the gun wielders, a little bit in the process, because it can’t all be put at the feet of a lack of income and other things. And I agree that that there is a good amount of that. But I think there is more to it than that. And that B has become so easy. And our judicial system has not addressed some of the issues with some of the people who have shot other people. And they haven’t done it very well. It would seem to me at least.
Carynn Rudolph ** 29:00
I agree with that. We saw the young man just this last week, who was shot in the head by a person he went to knock on this man’s door. He thought his younger siblings were there. And he was shot in the head. Fortunately, he hasn’t passed away. No, he’s surviving, surviving, which is very fortunate. I would say that I would encourage I’m the type of instructor I offer a ton of free classes. I would encourage other like instructors to offer those kinds of services as well. Doesn’t have to be like all of your classes. All your classes don’t have to be free, but you can create like a tiered system to ensure that we’re producing well trained and responsible gun owners in America, you know, maybe it’s some thing where we create some sort of legislation that folks need to complete some sort of a training. But again, if they if we create legislation that says like, you’ve got to complete this training, I think that it needs to be accessible, even for lower income folks, if that’s something that they’re interested in, we don’t want to. Yeah, we?
Michael Hingson ** 30:21
Absolutely, if you’re gonna do something, it has to be available and relevant to all, no question about that, for sure.
Carynn Rudolph ** 30:28
And maybe there’s like, maybe there are government offices, or like police officers who offer free classes and doesn’t have to fall on instructors like myself, who offer to offer those free classes. Again, I offer a ton of free class, I teach at least one free concealed carry class among I have a free developing a defensive mindset workshop that I offer all sorts of different things. Everybody doesn’t have to be like me, but it shouldn’t be accessible.
Michael Hingson ** 31:00
Yeah. And I think there’s, there’s no question that that makes a lot of sense, and that it needs to be but I think that somehow, it’s very difficult to legislate responsibility and people, and I still kind of think that, we’re going to have to look at some other options to deal with some of the indiscriminate shootings and, and in general, misbehaviors of people in this country, we think that basically, we have the freedom to do whatever we want, and too many people deal with that and go ahead and do it. And that creates challenges too. Absolutely.
Carynn Rudolph ** 31:45
Yeah, I’m above the fold just coming from corrections. I am, I do believe that if a person wants to commit a crime, they’re going to do it regardless. But I do. I mean, coming from the jail, like I saw so many young people who would seek out opportunities just to victimize other people. I don’t think we should just do away with guns at all. You know,
Michael Hingson ** 32:13
and I would not suggest that either I’m, I’m not convinced yet that high capacity. Firearms, add value to our ability to protect and I heard what you said about pap, people in wheelchairs can’t handle particular kinds of guns and so on. But I think we need to look at ways of making firearms available. But I think that we also do need to look at the realities of how many things are, are being done by high end high caliber, not high caliber, but high end high capacity, rapid fire weapons, that aren’t really adding value in society to do it.
Carynn Rudolph ** 33:00
So they aren’t rapid fire will say, Well, no, they, they will, unless somebody does sort of like create it has a modification of some sort. They fire one round at a time. And I do want to just clarify, I didn’t if I if I misspoke and said that I think that folks in wheelchairs can’t handle a handgun.
Michael Hingson ** 33:23
No, I wasn’t saying that. You were saying that I but I appreciate what you were saying.
Carynn Rudolph ** 33:27
Okay, yeah, I just I want to make it as accessible as possible. I think that however folks into it, maybe it’s at the time, maybe it’s just pepper spray, maybe it’s a crossbow, you know, however a person determines that they believe they need to protect themselves. I think we should all have equal and fair access to whatever it was we determined. Sure, necessary for ourselves, we need that autonomy.
Michael Hingson ** 33:50
What prompted you initially while you’re in your organization is what Goliath tactical firearms training?
Carynn Rudolph ** 33:59
Yes, that is correct.
Michael Hingson ** 34:00
And what prompted you to start it I mean, I appreciate your beliefs and so on, but did something specific happened that caused you to want to have this organization and really teach people?
Carynn Rudolph ** 34:13
So I, like I mentioned I, I was sexually assaulted when I was on active duty. I have been in a relationship that was not necessarily abusive, but we like they they put their hand hands on me when I was younger. I was still in the military when this happened as well. After I got out of the military, I was exposed to a number of different things like I saw. I’ve seen witness people have their purses snatched. I have had someone try and carjack me. I’ve had a situation when I was pregnant with my youngest daughter where somebody I was pulling into my parking spot at home And a guy comes downstairs and starts banging on my car hood. And he’s banging on my window, I had to call my my ex husband and he came to the window and helped me out, you know, it’s a get the guy to go away. But all those sorts of instances that I experienced, I knew that I wasn’t the only person in the world. And definitely not the only woman who had experienced that kind of those kinds of situations, I’ve experienced a lot of different things. And so being able to equip other women and men, individuals, with the tools to be able to protect and defend themselves has been something that was just something that like I wanted to do, I wanted to make sure other people felt like they could adequately defend themselves, if they were ever faced with the same kinds of things that I was. And so I teach firearms safety, I also teach hand hand combat, so self defense that way, and I also teach first aid.
Michael Hingson ** 36:04
So So do you operate a training school? Or do you also sell firearms? Or are you primarily in training?
Carynn Rudolph ** 36:12
I’m in training only. I don’t want to sell firearms. I thought about it at one point, but I, I don’t want to get into any of that sort of stuff. I just want to do the training stuff. That’s all I’ve got the capacity for right now.
Michael Hingson ** 36:26
Well, in my opinion, that’s the most important thing that really needs to be done. And I really wish more people would take advantage of truly learning what it’s all about. We, we oftentimes things think we know things that we don’t know, or we don’t know what we don’t know. And that can be a real challenge to so how long have you been training?
Carynn Rudolph ** 36:54
Um, so I have been glide tack fire training has been in business since late 2019. My, I used to teach with my ex husband as well, under Bravo ops concealment, so I used to do that. And then I wanted to do it on my own and started that in 2019. After we split, so
Michael Hingson ** 37:25
keeps you busy.
Carynn Rudolph ** 37:26
It does, it does something that I enjoy quite a bit. And I he sells firearms, so I send all my people who want to buy guns to him. And then he says to the people who want to take classes to me, so we’ve got a pretty good partnership still.
Michael Hingson ** 37:41
Well as a Marine Corps veteran, and you know, certainly an MST survivor, and so on. How do you use your Jedi training, if you will. And again, for those who may not have picked up on it Jedi is wants you to find it again.
Carynn Rudolph ** 38:01
It is justice, equity, diversity and inclusion,
Michael Hingson ** 38:04
right just to make sure we say that, right? So how do you use your experiences to really inform people and help empower them.
Carynn Rudolph ** 38:14
Um, I share a lot of stories, not necessarily about like the MST stuff in my classes, but I share a lot of stories with folks. And I provide free classes to women who have experienced like domestic violence or sexual assault, like Free Self Defense courses to those to folks who have experienced that. Yeah, I try to provide as much education as possible about how gun control legislation has been historically used weaponized against black folks, indigenous folks, and other people of color. I provide a lot of training on like how folks can get involved in advocacy work in their communities, and things like that. Yeah, so those are the big ways that I do that. And I have some more information on my website about like, ways that we do that. In Depth, I offer a course called the Fair fire workshop as well, that really integrates Jedi principles into the firearms training that we do.
Michael Hingson ** 39:36
Have. So can you elaborate on that a
Carynn Rudolph ** 39:38
little? Yeah. So we’ve talked about ways that. Again, my concealed carry law has been used to disproportionately affect black and brown folks and how folks can get involved in advocacy work in their communities, and how we can create collaborate To give solutions to get like that goal of that goal of ending gun violence together on both sides of the aisle. So the goal is to have folks who are not super familiar with firearms and stuff like that to come out and take that course, as well. So
Michael Hingson ** 40:24
if I were to make an observation about the whole issue of gun violence, gun control and everything else, I think my chief observation would be it’s been way too politicized.
Carynn Rudolph ** 40:35
Yeah, I agree.
Michael Hingson ** 40:37
And so we’re not dealing with any of the real issues. And it is just become so politicized on on all sides that it makes it really difficult to have a discussion, it’s sort of the nature of what seems to be going on in, in the world, or at least in the US, and probably elsewhere, as well. But that we are, we’re getting away from being able to have conversations and learning, which is too bad.
Carynn Rudolph ** 41:04
It really is too bad. And I think that that, you know, I wish that more folks would be open to listen and learn. And that’s really one of the goals of that workshop is to get folks from all backgrounds to like to get them to the table so that we can all participate in and contribute to this conversation about ending this epidemic of gun violence. But then also to provide education and resources so that people can equip or excuse me protect and defend themselves.
Michael Hingson ** 41:43
Yeah. Tell me a little bit more, if you would, about the urban youth initiative that you’re working on a mental health relating to that, and so on, because mental health is, of course, a buzzword that we hear a lot. And but at the same time, there is a need for really addressing issues of mental health. But tell me more about the European Youth Initiative. Let’s go from there.
Carynn Rudolph ** 42:03
Absolutely. That started in 2016. So shortly after I had had my youngest daughter, I was still working in ministry. And I saw several youth, I don’t want to say a lot of us, but I had several young people who were involved in my ministry Come Come to me who had been experiencing mental health crises, young people who ran away from home on young people who would report it to me that they, you know, maybe had experienced abuse and things like that. And what I found was that there was not a lot of training from my, like Bible College around like the pastoral care piece that went into supporting people who were experiencing mental health crisis. And so I built a course, in a small workbook called Suicide Prevention for the urban youth worker, and shared that with a ton of youth pastors across the nation and provided training and information and resources to help people who maybe weren’t super familiar with or didn’t have the tools in their tool belts who handle like crisis de escalation, in that capacity. I helped help them like navigate that. Pastors from all over all over America, utilize that workbook, I shared it with quite a few folks after or in 2020, during COVID, that that like disbanded just because we It wasn’t sustainable anymore. But the workbook is still available. And I still share that, that resource in some of the youth pastor and church communications groups that I’m a part of, on social media and stuff so.
Michael Hingson ** 44:08
So is that workbook something that’s on your website that people can access?
Carynn Rudolph ** 44:14
Um, yes, it’s still on the urban youth ministry. website. I believe I have got to double check. I’ve got to double check on that.
Michael Hingson ** 44:24
So clearly, je di and firearms training to a lot of people would probably seem like two diametrically opposed concepts. How do you explain that to most people? I think we’ve talked about that some, but just to sort of sum it up or maybe delve into it a little bit more.
Carynn Rudolph ** 44:44
Absolutely. So what a lot of folks don’t like there’s not a lot of education around like, the history that, like the history of gun control legislation, the history of the Second Amendment. And a lot of di work, at least the work that I’ve been involved in, has been learning about the history behind these laws, how they came to be. And then strategically created ways to eliminate the barriers that folks might experience while trying to gain access to certain resources. And so I have, I think that those two intersect, because because a lot of folks don’t know the history behind, again, the history behind the Second Amendment and gun control legislation, and so being able to provide that history, but then also share information about how that affects folks today. And then creating strategic solutions to be able to resolve those issues is how those two kind of intersects those two things marry.
Michael Hingson ** 46:06
You know, something I’m just thinking about, is that if you look at the Second Amendment, it basically says that people need to have the right to bear arms to sustain a militia and protect themselves. But then you also got people who would say, but do we really need the kinds of today at least, guns that tend to be more and more appearing in our world in order to fulfill the the the provisions of in the commitment of the Second Amendment? Or is there? Is there some limit to all of that? How do you answer that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 46:50
The Great question, there is gentleman, his name is Tom Gibbons. And he did just a ton of like resource research and stuff like that, if I’m not mistaken, he worked for the FBI, please don’t quote me on that. But Tom Givens did a ton of resource research and things like that as data is available, you can find books, things like that. That helps to identify like he studied gun guns, like, like use of force incidents, gun laws, and things like that. One of the things that he found was that on average, it takes 4.5 shots to successfully stop a threat. And so having access to a semi automatic firearm, or you know, sometimes that’s more than 4.5 shots, sometimes a little bit less. Having access to a firearm that can, that has the capacity to carry more than four rounds is really important. But then also, having access to a firearm that is easier to manage than a, like a revolver. Like I have some mild dexterity issues from the military. With my my right hand, which would be my dominant hand when shooting, and it makes it really challenging for me to be able to handle a revolver. I don’t like shooting revolvers, they’re really hard for me to grip with my hand and things like that. Some folks like them, but revolvers are not super easy for me to shoot. And those if we were to get rid of like awesome automatic weapons altogether, we would get rid of everything but a revolver basically. And so it would be really challenging. I’d say for some folks who do have dexterity issues like like myself, to be able to use the tools that they need to to be able to successfully eliminate a threat. Yeah, I apologize. I don’t know where I was going with that. Well,
Michael Hingson ** 49:05
but again, are there are there limits? Again, it’s still the issue of how do you reconcile the whole issue of what the Second Amendment says it was for at least as I’m assuming that I’m reading it reasonably correctly, with the pleura for proliferation of more and more high capacity and other kinds of enhancements to guns without having any kind of limit at all on what we what we make available to people? It just seems like there. We know that a lot of people don’t tend to be very responsible. So is there some limit? Is there some process or governor that we can provide on all of that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 49:52
That’s a very subjective statement to say that not Yeah, that one is super responsible. But I would say that Um, high capacity magazines, folks should have access to whatever capacity magazine, they determined to be necessary just because there could be multiple threats or whatever the case is, maybe it takes more than five shots. That’s what I was getting at is it sometimes it takes more than five shots to eliminate a threat, or to have a threat stop. And so I think that, you know, taking into consideration the question you asked about, like the history of it, and, you know, looking at like all the well regulated militia, etc. I think that, we also have to consider that historically speaking, black folks, we’re not allowed to possess guns, because we were told that we weren’t citizens, right. And so the language and that can be really elusive. But yeah, at any rate, I think that, you know, high capacity, folks should have access to whatever capacity to be necessary,
Michael Hingson ** 51:01
it can be elusive. And I do appreciate that. But again, what we’re also seeing are a lot of times where people are being shot where there isn’t a threat. And how do we deal with that? Um, do you know what I’m saying? Yeah, can
Carynn Rudolph ** 51:23
you give me an example?
Michael Hingson ** 51:24
Well, okay, I mean, the ones that we talked about the father and daughter who were shot, just because they went to get a basketball, or the young man, the 16 year old who went to a house, who, just looking for relatives, and it happened to be the wrong house, but without any questions. The the person in the house open fire, or any number of other examples where we’re or any of the school shootings, where people have gone into schools, and they’ve opened fire, and there have been a significant number of those. But there wasn’t a threat in any way, or the guy who, what, two weeks ago in Memphis went into a bank conference room, because apparently, he heard he was going to be fired. And so he killed a number of people and so on.
Carynn Rudolph ** 52:19
All those instances that you mentioned, was specifically thinking about the ones of the lot of school shootings, school shootings, and the gentleman in Memphis, who went into the into his job, shot the place up place like that those places are the those folks targeted those places, because they knew that those people would be unarmed. Now,
Michael Hingson ** 52:44
polling point exactly. How do we deal with a lot of that, though, that because it’s an increasing number, and that’s the issue is that the bottom line is there, there was no threat there. Right? And so how do you reconcile that kind of thing with the whole issue of a discussion of Second Amendment rights just for anyone to be able to have any gun and so on?
Carynn Rudolph ** 53:06
I think that we there, it’s twofold because to address the, like, school shootings and the general like people going into, like, targeting their workplaces and things like that, is one thing. But then like the issue of like, people who were scared scared gun owners just like taking fire on people like the 86 year old guy who shot the kid, the 16 year old kid last week. Like though that’s a separate to me that when you deal with that a different way, right, by providing education and then tearing down stigma, addressing racism, addressing unconscious biases that folks might have, and things like that providing education is how you would deal with that issue on that side with folks who are just walking around scared with firearms. On the side of where people are targeting people because they know that they are unarmed school shooting specifically. We’ll start there. I think that I’m a I’m a proponent proponent of having SROs in schools. The schools that I went to that I grew up in, all of them had locked exterior doors, like the main egress doors, were all all secured. And we had SROs on site on campus
Michael Hingson ** 54:41
SRO, a security resource officer, yes, school officers security
Carynn Rudolph ** 54:45
resource officer. We had we had them on campus. So ensuring that we have like we’re protecting folks in that regard, which is one Same, right? If a person, my I have a twin brother, like I mentioned earlier, he’s a teacher. He’s an Army veteran, he’s a teacher, my mom was an educator for 26 years. And I have a little sister who’s also a teacher. So we work with kids a lot in my family. But that said, my mom and my brothers specifically have expressed interest in being able to have that ability to protect and defend themselves, in case they’re posed with a direct threat to their lives. So maybe arming teachers who would be interested in being able to protect carry on site, you know. And same thing in workplaces, I actually dealt with a disgruntled employee just earlier this year, and he was making threats to come back and harm me. And with that, like, you know, people were like, are you going to carry your gun? They, you know, and asking those kinds of questions. And so I would say, like, if a person, you know, making sure that people feel like they have the right to carry, if they can, you know, doing away with with gun gun free zones, could be an effective solution.
Michael Hingson ** 56:17
Yeah, I, I mentioned, my friends earlier, they were federal corrections or parole officers. And one of the things they said, was that at night, both of them sleep with their pieces under their pillows. They said, they have to do that, because they never know. Yeah, I believe they’re very responsible people, however, but I do appreciate that they have to have that concern.
Carynn Rudolph ** 56:43
Yeah, working in the jail, we would get a lot of, like threats to, like, we’re gonna shoot staff on their way out of the building or on the way on their way off campus. And in response to that, we have long, like increased law enforcement presence, in the parking lot to ensure that if someone was going to try and attack one of us, we were protected.
Michael Hingson ** 57:09
All I know is I have a guide dog who says if I don’t get my bones on time, you’re in serious trouble.
Carynn Rudolph ** 57:14
Michael Hingson ** 57:18
Yeah, he’s a wonderful lab. He’s He’s a cutie. Has your background and experience affected or helped you in formulating what you do with the the youth center that you’re working at now in Colorado?
Carynn Rudolph ** 57:36
Um, you know, I think that my background and my experience, I love working with young people. And so I don’t bring I don’t, you know, I don’t disclose, of course, to the youth that I work with that I’m a firearms instructor at all. But I use a lot of my behavioral health experience, my my experience from working in corrections, my experience in crisis de escalation, I utilize those that experience quite a bit, I was able to develop a restorative justice program for our youth at our shelter. Because we have like an accountability system. And I was able to revise that accountability system to make it a little bit more equitable, by introducing this restorative justice program so that we could prevent, strike you striking out just due to behavior issues, or whatever. And like, going back onto the streets and things like that. So yeah, I’ve used I’ve used a lot of my experience, to be able to better support the young people that
Michael Hingson ** 58:45
I work with. You feel you’re making progress, I assume. Yeah.
Carynn Rudolph ** 58:49
It’s a really, it’s a really rewarding
Michael Hingson ** 58:52
career. Yeah, there’s nothing like working with kids. Yeah. And even adults who are like kids, but you got to have the right adults for that. But there’s nothing like working with kids. I love to teach and interact with kids. That is so much fun. But I but I know that there’s a lot of challenges for kids today. And I know that when I was a kid, it was a whole lot different than it is now. And I wouldn’t want to be a parent or a kid today with just so many uncertainties that we all face. Absolutely. Well, Carynn, I’ve got to tell you, this has been much more fun, and for me a great learning experience than I expected. And I hope and I really appreciate you coming on and hope that you enjoyed it as well. And we’d like to definitely keep up with you and what you’re doing. If people want to reach out and learn about what you’re doing or talk with you maybe learn about the firearms training program or other things about you. How do they do that?
Carynn Rudolph ** 59:52
You can find me on LinkedIn. It’s just Carynn Rudolph on LinkedIn. You can connect with
Michael Hingson ** 59:58
C a r y n n R u d o l p h.
Yes and Rudolph the spell just like the reindeer R U D O L P H Right. Um, if you are interested in learning more about the firearms training that I do, you can look up goliathtactical firearms training that way. And you can find me on all social media platforms. I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, building a Twitter page and all that sort of stuff just so that folks can stay connected. Cool.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:35
Well, I really appreciate you being on here and and helping us have a better understanding of what it is. And I believe you absolutely have done that. So thank you. And for you listening out there really appreciate you listening. We’d love to hear your thoughts about this and just and all the things that we do. So please feel free to email me Michaelhi at accessibe A C C E S S I B E.com. Or if you’d like to listen to podcasts and more of them, or reach us that way, go to Michaelhingson.com. And click on podcast. And then you can come find us and listen to more podcast episodes. And definitely give us some feedback. And wherever you’re listening, please give us a five star rating. We really appreciate that. I know that Carynn would really appreciate you doing that, and that you’ll reach out to her as well. So, really, thank you very much for listening to us. And Carynn one more time. Thank you very much for being here and giving us a lot of insights today.
Carynn Rudolph ** 1:01:33
Thank you for having me. I really do appreciate it.
**Michael Hingson ** 1:01:39
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.