How I afford to do this

Thursday, July 11, 2013

On carrying a gun (Part 2)

  For this section, I thought it might be refreshing to see the mindset of someone carrying a concealed handgun on a daily basis.  I have no desire to argue my stance with this post, just to shed light on the subject for those who have never been exposed to guns or concealed carry, as well as those who may have not been able to get an honest look through all of the stigma.

  As I mentioned in Part One, the reason I got a CHL (Texas Concealed Handgun License) had nothing to do with me thinking I needed a firearm for personal defense.  I have the public demeanor of someone not looking for trouble, and I have the stature to dissuade victimization.  In interpersonal relationships, I tend to polarize people.  Walking down the street, I'm respectfully disconnected.

  If you ask my wife, she will tell you that I "attract weirdos," and she is 100% correct.  I have lost count of the number of people who have stopped to talk to me just so they could tell me a story or claim that the mall we were in had "The real Santa" in a ten-minute diatribe.  I never saw this as a threat to my safety, and to be forward, I enjoy meeting new people (Yes, even the non-lucid and domestically-challenged).

  I was not the most well-informed, and I had an outlook that most democrats could get behind; that hi-capacity mags were senseless and unnecessary, that WASR-10s and AR-15s were impractical for both hunting and defense.  I thought that that I would have the time and wherewithal to recite some smart-ass line which, combined with gun in hand would send any criminal running. I'll write another post later on the luxury of theory.

  I had been in a few fights growing up, nothing really serious until the time I thought it worthwhile to hang out in a trailer park at 4am and tell some crackhead that I didn't want to buy "his" motorcycle until I saw some papers.  Moderate blood-loss, threats of execution by way of a Biden-approved shotgun and a bruised ego later, I learned my lesson and decided to avoid bad situations from then on.

  My CHL came in the mail in the end of 2007.  Almost immediately I noticed the lifestyle and outlook changes.  I stopped flicking people off when they failed to use their blinkers, or anything else that had the potential to escalate.  I knew that since I had the ability and in some cases permission to respond with deadly force, I had to modify my behavior to reduce the likelihood of something turning bad.

  I made it a point to learn as much as I could about armed citizen situations and how they are most effectively handled.  The CHL class has a noteworthy section on non-violent dispute resolution, and I considered this every bit as important as trigger-pull technique, proper breathing, tactical reloads and cover vs concealment combined.  Every instructor with a shred of credibility included the obligatory disclaimer that "your brain is your best weapon."

  At first, the gun in my pocket provided the kind of smirk on a young man's face; not dissimilar to the one I had when I brought a 7 1/2' Colombian red-tail boa to Plano East Senior High in a duffel bag.  On the enthusiast forum, the standard rite of passage is to take a trip to Walmart, walking around the store while eating nachos with a gun in your pocket.  I don't think that they sell nachos there anymore, so I settled for the stroll.

  I acknowledge that the environment I grew up in is different than most.  I shot my first gun when I was 6-years-old, destroying a prickly pear cactus in Uvalde, TX with .410 bird shot.  A year later I had shot my first deer, and I went hunting with my dad and brother just about every deer season until I was about 20.

  Growing up around guns taught me a lot.  Not only about guns, but about life and natural laws as well.  One of the main rules of gun ownership is to never point a gun at something that I'm not willing to destroy.  This is because in the words of my father, "You can't un-pull a trigger."  While other kids were playing video games with "Extra lives," "Power-ups," and so-on, I was being taught the value and fragility of the only life we are given.

  For the most part, I carry only one gun with no spare ammunition.  I carry a Glock 27 with a total of 11 rounds in the magazine/chamber.  While I consider myself mentally-prepared to respond to a situation if necessary, a gun in my pocket has simply become my normal.  Most people have an out-the-door checklist, and mine is "Phone, wallet, keys, gun."  Three of these I will use at some point during the day, and one I hope not to.

  I've adopted an inclination that I once read; that paranoia is the point that one prepares more for what probably won't happen than for what probably will.  Do a YouTube search on EDC (For every day carry) and you'll find plenty of people who disagree with this notion.

  Carrying a gun encourages me to be more aware of my environment.  The one time I had to draw my pistol in self defense, I had picked up enough about the situation to proactively determine the best course of action as I went so that I remained safe and at the same time did not have to take a life.  This skill has transferred over into retail management where I see customers approaching the store and encourage my reps to do the same.  This helped my store to become and remain the top of it's kind in Texas.

  In essence, I think that carrying a gun has made my life better.  So far I've killed none and saved one.  Perhaps the biggest caution I could give someone outside of the notion of physical safety is that of moral polarization.  Simply put, one cannot be an ordinary, law-abiding schmuck when they leave their homes with a gun.  Each day, an armed citizen must decide to be either a good guy or a bad guy.  Many are too intimidated to actively make this choice, but the potential for deadly force requires one or the other.

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