My name is Kathryn Ann Graham. I was born at Mt. Sinai Hospital on Manhattan Island shortly after the hurricane blew through there in September of 1954. My father was a writer/director/producer of documentary films, and my mother was an advertising copywriter. How’s that for a liberal background?
Actually, both of my parents were (and my mother, who is still living, still is) Libertarians, although few people knew the word in those days, and they were wise enough to get me out of New York before my third birthday. I was actually raised in Dallas, Texas. My folks taught me to believe in the Bill of Rights, and in a government that serves the people, rather than the reverse that we see all around us today. I was raised on some archaic concepts that would be disturbing to most children today, like personal responsibility and honor, and I was taught to respect and revere the men and women who don uniforms and risk their lives to protect us, like the police. Remember Officer Friendly?
On my sixteenth birthday, as I was already a high school graduate, I found myself a job and started taking flying lessons. On my eighteenth birthday, I raised my right hand and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force – oh, not as a pilot. Women couldn’t do that then. We weren’t even trained in the use of arms. Nevertheless, I was a patriot. Vietnam wasn’t quite over, and I joined up to serve my country. I served with honor, and was honorably discharged. And in those days, the military treated me with honor as well. I worked hard, long hours, but was paid a fair wage for it. I surrendered my freedom, but was offered a priceless opportunity for travel in return. I gave four years of my life, but they paid for my pilot’s license. It was a wonderful four years, and I would have recommended then that any young person of my generation do the same.
Today, I am a private investigator in South Texas, a firearms instructor and a science fiction author. As a private investigator, I do those jobs that our police can’t or won’t do any longer. My specialty is solving cold cases for the families of the victims. As a firearms instructor, I try to teach others the legal and honorable use of force for the protection of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Meanwhile, I work every day for bloodless political change. Our right to keep and bear arms was not protected by the Second Amendment for the purpose of self-defense, although self-defense and reduction of violent crime are very good things. It was protected for us as a deterrent against tyranny, and that is precisely why our political leaders hate and fear it so. 80 million gun owners in the United States have the ability to restore the country Thomas Jefferson gave us, without ever firing a shot, if they are willing to stand together as one.
I am jointly owned and managed by six cats, a German shepherd who is half angel and half holy terror, and my business and life partner, John Tarsikes. We manage to maintain a loving home for ourselves and our four-footed “kids,” while still finding enough adventure to keep life tasting sweet.
Youth is a wonderful thing, but take it from me – life really begins at 45!
CCM: How long have you carried a concealed weapon?
Kate: I can’t answer that question honestly without incriminating myself. A very long time. I have always believed in the principle that it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.
CCM: What weapon(s) do you carry?
Kate: I carry a Kimber Ultra Carry 3” .45 and two spare magazines 100 percent of the time. I also carry a second, or backup, weapon that I am not willing to discuss. In Texas, I am legally permitted to carry as many handguns as I can conceal.
CCM: What type of ammunition do you carry?
Kate: Exclusively hollow point. I prefer hollow point ammunition for several reasons. As a small woman, I need the additional shock effect. I cannot afford to grapple with an assailant at all, so the sooner I can take that assailant down, the safer I will be. The other good reason for hollow point ammunition is that it stops better – i.e., I am less likely to hit two folks with one bullet. This is especially important for a self-defense situation in my home, which is a manufactured house in a country community. Our walls are not very substantial. Hence, I have chosen a large, slow-moving bullet, and hollow points. Another advantage to .45 is that it can be found in ammo cans in garages all across the United States. Should the sale of ammunition ever become illegal in this country, that will be a consideration.
CCM: How often do you shoot/practice?
Kate: As often as I can. My weeks run to 100+ hours, so it is sometimes difficult to schedule range time. However, shooting is a sport I love, as well as a deadly serious means for defense, so I make time for recreation.
CCM: Which concealment holsters do you use? Which is your favorite?
Kate: Unlike many who carry, I do not always carry in the same place or in the same way. It is dangerous to become too predictable, although I do agree that practice with all methods is very necessary. I have three I particularly like. One is a Galco, horizontal small-of-the-back holster, which is surprisingly comfortable with the Kimber, as it is a very slim weapon. I also have a Galco shoulder rig that is very comfortable. The most comfortable method of all, though, is a Phobus, molded composite, that just slips over the waistband of my belt or jeans. The Phobus is very well designed. It is easy to draw from it, and very fast, but next to impossible to draw from the wrong angle, which makes it hard for my firearm to be taken away from me. Because of the large paddle that fits inside my pants, I am almost completely unable to even feel the weight of the weapon. In all cases, I wear a vest, or light shirt, over the weapon.
CCM: Why did you decide to carry?
Kate: I don’t remember any particular epiphany, if that is what you mean. It was an evolution, a part of growing up for me. I gradually realized that if I didn’t defend myself, no one was going to do it for me. I survived a rather ghastly rape as a teenager, and studied martial arts as a sort of therapy afterward, which is when I began to take responsibility for my own safety. As I grew older and fatter and slower, I gradually realized that all the martial arts in the world weren’t going to help me much against an assailant twice or three times my size.
I’ve always been a shooter, and kept guns in my home, so it was a natural progression to carrying. My parents insisted that I carry when traveling, so I guess the trips got shorter and shorter, if you follow me. Frankly, I’ve never worried all that much about it. I was rarely in situations where I was likely to come to the attention of the police – I’ve always been the goody two-shoes of the crowd – so I never worried about being caught and prosecuted for it.
CCM: Have you ever had to use your firearm in a defensive situation?
Kate: Oh, yes. Roughly four times in thirty years or so. Twice, I was legally carrying as the owner of a business, and stopped armed robberies with my little Chief. On both occasions, said assailants became Olympic runners immediately upon seeing the outline of the firearm in my pocket. As both of those incidents happened within three months of that career decision, I took that as a cosmic message and decided to change careers again post haste.
A few years later, a certifiable nutcase threatened me in my own home. I held him unharmed at gunpoint for the police to come carry out the garbage. Finally, only a few months ago, a gentleman of considerable size accosted me on the street and would not allow me to reach my car. I didn’t show the firearm in that case, although my hand was on it–I just told him about it in sweet and reasonable tones, and he demonstrated his track skills as rapidly as the first two had. I have never pulled the trigger on a human being, and most sincerely hope I never have to do so.
CCM: Kate, what do you do for a living?
Kate: I am a licensed private investigator in the State of Texas, a firearms instructor, an aviation consultant, a computer technician, and a writer.
CCM: Do you have any advice for our readers?
Kate: Practice! Educate others about their rights and about firearms, and vote in every single election.