Former Secret Service agent, 9/11 survivor draws on life experiences to help others


Sam Horowitz

ROCKWALL, TX (October 7, 2014) Business owner Samantha Horwitz of Rockwall is far from your average woman; she’s been a United States Secret Service agent, spent 13 years in the male-dominated field of law enforcement and is well-versed in self-defense. And she can shoot.

As president of the Dallas/Ft.Worth chapter of SHE CAN SHOOT, Sam is offering the women of Rockwall a chance to learn from her extensive knowledge of firearms and self-defense training by joining the highly-trained staff of She Can Shoot at its monthly shooting events and self-defense courses.

“Understanding how firearms training can be that catalyst for creating and restoring confidence is the key,” Sam said. “It’s all about community, creating an environment where that mission can be done effectively.”

To become a member of a SHE CAN SHOOT chapter, one only has to visit the SHE CAN SHOOT website – While membership is exclusive to women, the program offers firearms training to men and women, be it an interest in learning how to shoot, wanting to obtain a Concealed Handgun License or just wanting to try out a recently purchased firearm.

SHE CAN SHOOT: DFW holds shooting events every month at local shooting ranges, where attendees can learn firsthand how to shoot a firearm through target practice on the range. The shooting meet ups create a win-win scenario for both SHE CAN SHOOT and the local shooting ranges, who get spotlighted by the program an in return offer members discounts on range fees, ammo and firearm accessories.

“Really what it’s about is networking in a community and creating win-wins for businesses that may not have thought about really catering to the female population,” she said.

However, the program doesn’t only focus on teaching women how to shoot. Through self-defense classes at Crucible Krav Maga inPlanoand women’s counter violence seminars, members can learn everything they need to know about protecting themselves.

“It really is all-encompassing, being in an environment where the majority of instruction comes from female staffers and where women can come have fun, cultivate friendships and overall have a more open environment where women can feel comfortable asking any questions,” Sam said.

Perhaps the most important aspect that members can take away from the program is how to not become a victim in the first place.

Through its partnership with The Advance Detail Network, which teaches a women-only situational awareness course, women have the opportunity to take a step back from the hands-on, physical self-defense taught at Crucible Krav Maga and learn special techniques for avoiding threatening situations, including counter stalking, social media awareness and personal safety.

Having been in the law enforcement scene for 13 years, Sam knows all too well just how unpleasant it can be to point a gun at someone.

“I have been on that side where I’ve had my finger on the trigger, pointing it at someone and ready to take their life,” Sam said. “It’s not a fun place to be. The mindset is that I’m going home at the end of the day no matter what. But if you can avoid being put in that situation in the first place, that’s the ultimate win.”

Sam was first accepted into the United States Secret Service after graduating from both theUniversityofMarylandatCollege Parkand Howard University School of Law. Sam became the only female in her graduating class to complete extensive training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and the James J. Rowley Training Center located just outside Washington, D.C.She was then assigned to the New York Field Office, Electronic Crimes Task Force and provided protection to several United States Presidents, former Presidents, First Ladies, and many foreign dignitaries.

Sam no doubt experienced a lot of intense and potentially life-threatening situations in her career, but none more so than the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

On that tragic day, Sam was inside Tower 1 when the terrorist-controlled plane struck it. She somehow managed to escape the ensuing explosion and collapsing tower, but lost many of her fellow men and women in blue that day.

Sam understandingly had a very rough time adjusting to life after the tragic event, and eventually fell victim to post-traumatic stress disorder. She was forced to make what she described as a “heart-wrenching” decision to leave the USSS due to the effects of PTSD.

“Everybody remembers where they were that day,” Sam said. “But for those of us that actually went through it, we can tell our story but nobody can really understand what it was like. For the men and women that were there, it’s something that we have a bond with that we’ll never forget.”

Sam said she felt the impact of PTSD almost immediately when she arrived home to her apartment later that afternoon.

“I got back to my apartment a little after 5 p.m. that day, and when I got there, I couldn’t close a door,” Sam said. “I was punishing myself; why couldn’t I close a door, to the bedroom, the bathroom or anything?”

Sam struggled with PTSD and alcoholism for over a year, but eventually found the help she needed to recover and pursued a career in the health and wellness industry before returning to law enforcement as a Lieutenant assigned to The Executive Protection Detail.

Sam retired in 2012, and currently lives in Rockwall with her husband and 7-year-old son. Happy and sober, she enjoys her work with She Can Shoot: DFW and strives to make each meet up as informative and entertaining as possible.

“If we’re not having fun, there’s something missing,” Sam said.

SHE CAN SHOOT: DFW will host its next shooting event from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, October 13 at the Bullet Trap, 2608 K Ave in Plano, as well as a Women’s Self-Defense Workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, October 17 at Crucible Krav Maga, located at 721 N. Central Expressway in Plano; followed by a Women’s Counter Violence Seminar from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 30 at 508 Twilight Trail Suite 204 in Richardson.

By Blue Ribbon News reporter Austin Wells. Photos submitted by Sam Horwitz.

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