So today I had to drop My Progeny at a camp site in [townnameunimportant], MA. Canoe camp stuff.On the walk from the car to the site, I was overtaken by a bunch of teens on the path. They were on the way to the swimming hole. I'm sure if girls were around, they'd also want to try and 'hook up' but I digress.After the kids blew by, I thought to myself, 'self, you don't know if anyone else coming from behind is a kid, a rabid bobcat, or a two-legged predator with nefarious intent. I wish I had a gun with me. Any gun, even my .22 Ruger pistol."In the end nothing happened, but I have to tell you Jay, for a while I felt totally naked, totally exposed and vulnerable.I kicked myself that I didn't think of bringing the pistol BEFORE leaving the house. The worst part of the whole episode was realizing my vulnerability AFTER IT WAS TOO LATE.Have I taken my first step towards concealed carry?
I'd say you've taken your first three steps towards carrying a concealed firearm:
1. You are admitting that, yes, there is evil in this world. Sure, this time it was something innocuous, but the next time - or 100 times down the road - it might not be teens running to the watering hole.
2. You have also realized that you are your own first responder. The only people that are guaranteed to be present at your very own "dynamic critical incident" are you and the goblin(s) who are attacking you.
3. You recognize the most effective tool to have for your defense is a firearm. Regardless of what certain anti-rights fetishists might claim, martial arts only work if you're dedicated to following them, you're attacked by someone in your weight class, and they don't have a weapon of their own.
I would imagine that all of us that carry a firearm for self-defense have had similar moments. For me, watching a kid produce a switchblade in an attempt to intimidate me was mine. I realized that I was on my own, that even if I'd had the means to call for help, any help that arrived would have gotten there in time to call me an ambulance rather than stop the attack. Even if I had a cell phone on me (this event happened before cell phones were common), my attacker wasn't going to give me time to call the cops and then wait for them to show up.
Sadly, for many, their first step is forced up them. Like the young mother in New Jersey viciously attacked in her suburban home, their introduction to evil is face-to-face. Some never get to the second step, either because they just withdraw, or they don't survive. Others come away from the encounter determined to do everything in their power to come out the victor should there ever be a second time. That's the way to be.
It's folly to pretend that evil doesn't exist - we are regaled daily with evidence of man's inhumanity towards his fellow man. It is rare, certainly; if it wasn't, we'd never leave the house. But it's simple to guard against; be aware, be wary, and have a plan and be prepared to follow through. Or, as has been stated much simpler: don't be prey. If firearms are a part of your plan, be familiar with them and what skills you might need to hone to be most effective.
One of the reasons I have pledged to help new shooters is to nurture that epiphany moment. I'd sure as hell hate for someone to have a moment where they realize, "boy, it'd be really great to have a firearm right now" and not be able to get some guidance on what to do next. Learning how to safely handle a firearm - whether because of sheer curiosity or because you're ready to take that next step - doesn't harm anyone, it's fun (shootin' stuff is fun!), and might just come in useful down the road.
And maybe you can help someone else with their epiphany moment...
That is all.