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Who is Dianna Gordon MacYoung?
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Who is this woman and why should I listen to her?
Dianna Gordon MacYoung lived a pretty normal middle class life -- except for residing all around the United States and England -- until she was about 9 years old when her parents divorced. By 10, she was living on a vast, registered cattle operation (ranch) in the heart of the Sangre de Cristo mountains of Colorado. There she grew to emancipation -- working cattle, bucking hay, breaking horses, training cattle for the show ring, birthing calves, "putting down" wounded and sick animals, riding fence, feeding livestock in life-threatening blizzards and learning the gentler arts of baking bread and sewing a fine seam. Her upbringing was a blend of whang-leather and gardenias. The daily struggle of ranch life gave her the pragmatic, no nonsense, "get the job done" attitude that has served her so well in life. Her stepfather was a licensed veterinarian and rancher, and she acted as vet assistant, doctoring wounded animals that could crush her at a moment's notice. She also served on the local ambulance company for an isolated mountain valley that had no doctor at that time. Wild, breakneck, high-speed runs down icy mountain passes in the middle of the night were the only thing that got seriously injured people to medical help. It was just what the local volunteers had to do.
It was an interesting time.
Then she grew up, sort of, and attended Colorado State University's animal science department. That's where she killed sheep, cattle, swine and poultry with a knife. She never took any joy out of working on the kill floor. It was merely meats lab for a grade. That experience gave her a deep and abiding respect and fear of what a knife can do to flesh, human or animal. Although she was enrolled in the animal science program at CSU -- she also earned a creative writing scholarship and worked for the student newspaper, meanwhile racking up more writing and journalism credit hours than animal science. She ultimately earned her bachelor of science degree with a minor in journalism.
Off she went, young, naive and idealistic, falling into a position as feature writer at a local newspaper and eventually ended up as the managing editor of another Colorado newspaper. It was there she learned the ins and outs of politics, real government, the law enforcement life and rubbed shoulders with and interviewed governors, congressmen, social service workers, convicts, British aristocracy, the "average" housewife and wage earner -- and everyone in between.
She worked with battered women and raised money for the regional battered women's shelter. She worked with parents who had lost their children, both young and old. She worked with feral teens, as well as honor students. She interviewed victims of incest, rape, and attempted murder, as well as those who committed the crimes. She went on drug raids with the sheriff's department and into buildings with the bomb squad.. She walked into murder scenes. She attended autopsies with the county coroner. She badgered the FBI and interviewed CBI agents, DA's investigators, police and sheriff's personnel. She had enduring friendships with Vietnam vets and learned from them the glaring weaknesses of what she had been taught as self-defense, as well as gathering input from the local sheriff deputies and police. She won innumerable community service, feature, editorial, news, sports, layout, typography and design awards for her newspaper.
In short, she experienced a tapestry of human life, high and low
Not having enough in a life that included her profession, rearing four children and a variety of animals ranging from horses to cats, she enrolled in a local Tae Kwon Do school (the only art offered in her town). Six knee surgeries and a lot of tears and blood later, she earned her black belt and later second degree. In the process she also earned a green belt in Judo. She was involved with putting on that school's women's and children's self-defense programs. Despite claims to the contrary by her TKD instructors, she felt that these programs -- while well intentioned -- were not presenting realistic or practical self-defense options. These reservations kept her from testing for higher dan ranking, despite more than 18 years of continuous involvement in that particular martial art. Being somewhat thick and stubborn, she continued with TKD, although she had decided that particular art was not for her. Old, gray-haired, crippled and afflicted by a chronic, incurable disease (MS), she enrolled with great enthusiasm and not much sense in silat. She found the martial arts love of her life.
Although she taught children in her own program, she demanded that every adult who comes to her go into No Nonsense Self-Defense. She honestly feels it is more geared to real-life self-defense. Free of the fetters of a sport-based martial art style, she developed the No Nonsense Self-defense women's self-defense program with her new husband.
She continued to work as an editor, but this time on a policy magazine for a "legislative think tank." There she investigates and reports on important political and social issues and their state-by-state applications and solutions. This brings her into contact, not only with the social problems and activist movements that attract the attention of the media, but the very real nuts-and-bolts problems that arise out of reform, law enforcement and politics. She is aware that after the strum und drang of idealistic campaigns have died away, there are very real problems of enforcement, finance and the day-to-day operations. And it is these practical realities, more than political indifference, corruption or evil counter-lobbies, that keep "things from changing" in a manner activists wish. It is her job to see all sides of the issue and report them fairly and equally.
Finally failing health required she retire.
Her hobbies include her husband, their teenager, teaching martial arts and the various and sundry things her hyperactive husband brings into her life ... such as the international e-mail list they run.
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Dianna's alter ego and e-mail list personae.
Dianna has been active or an "active surfer" on the Internet since she was introduced to it years ago as a research tool. When the "Internet was the coming thing," she was assigned to learn how to use it effectively in the business environment of the magazine . She said, "Sure, but I'm going to learn about it by investigating things that interest me." And that's exactly what she did -- she researched the Web, Internet forums and e-mail lists by looking for martial arts sites.
During that time, she noted the many problems with forums and e-mail lists, especially among the martial arts crowd. Her research and journalism experience gave her a much higher standard for accepting what constituted "proof" in a discussion or debate. Her interview experience gave her the ability to spot blowhards a mile off. Her interviewing and writing skills taught her the difference between how qualified people and real experts act and how people pretending to know it all deliver their messages. Her ranch upbringing gave her very little tolerance for unwarranted rudeness. So she vowed, should she ever be involved in the running of any Internet forum, that there would be things absolutely prohibited.
Hence, Mrs. Velocoraptor emerged. The bane of glittering generalities (one-dimensional, blanket statements that sound real good on the surface but don't make much sense when examined from a logical, pragmatic perspective), flat unattributed statements ("I can't remember where I heard this" or "everybody knows"), egoists of any ilk, "dojo darlings" (people who only know what works under controlled conditions with rules and who speak with blind confidence about those techniques applying to all real-life self-defense situations), urban/Internet legends, people who want to post opinions, but are too lazy to do the research to support these contentions and Internet trolls of all sorts.
That's Mrs. V. Her attitude is "Your words, your responsibility." And she patrols the Animal list with claws clicking and fangs dripping ... just waiting ...
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