Monday, July 1, 2013

Epiphany.

No, not me. Friend, new(ish) gunnie, and mensch extraordinaire Brad_in_MA had one:
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.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I increasingly get angst every time I have to leave my home state to cross into MA. unfortunately my family lives there. so I have to give up my God-given rights to follow some Bravo-Sierra written by Hacks!!! Of course I just might Just have to get my MA LTC.

Dave H said...

I think congratulations are in order. Brad has discovered Jeff Cooper's Color Code, specifically conditions Yellow and Orange. Yellow is understanding that the world is an unfriendly place, and Orange is recognizing that that guy right there might be unfriendly. (Red is when there's no doubt that he's unfriendly, and it's time to draw a weapon.) Most people spend their live in condition White, which is being oblivious to their surroundings until it's too late.

Having a plan thought out in advance for each of those conditions is vitally important. Even if that plan doesn't include a gun, whether by choice or law, know what you're going to do in each condition before you get there.

Brad_in_MA said...

Dave,

It was a RUDE AWAKENING. I physically felt unpleasant -- a bit like knowing you have to puke but "it" just won't come up and relieve the pressure. As for having a plan, I'd never been to the venue before . . . so I had no idea what to expect. As an Eagle Scout (1979), I need to go back to the scout motto - Be Prepared.

To anyone else who will be at Bloggershoot 2013, I'll be asking to test out a number of different compact carry pistols. I'll consider a Glock compact, but am an unabashed fan of Ruger.

Thanks,

Brad

Dave H said...

Brad, sometimes you can't plan ahead any better than to say, "If X happens, run." But part of your situational awareness in condition yellow isn't just watching for threats, it's also being aware of your surroundings: escape routes, cover and concealment, defensible positions, even improvised weapons. The butt of a full 2 liter pop bottle to the nose will take the fight out of a lot of punks.

I forgot to mention in my first comment that if you ask for recommendations for a carry pistol you're going to get swamped. So let me start the flood. (grin)

I drank the Ruger koolaid too. They've hit the concealed carry space hard over the past few years. My weekend carry pistol is an LC9. My weekday carry (where dress code prevents a waistband holster) is a Sig-Sauer P238 in a pocket holster. Ruger makes the LCP and LC380 which are similarly sized. There's also the LCR if you prefer a revolver.

Jay G said...

Dave (and Brad),

Brad has asked, and I will oblige, to bring a smattering of small(ish) concealed-carry options to the bloggershoot.

I have a Ruger SR9C, a Smith & Wesson M&P9C, a Sig Sauer P250 sub-compact, and several J-frame revolvers/LCR. I'll devote a level of my "uber pistol case" to choices...

Dave H said...

I'm going to really try to make the Bloggershoot this year. If I can, I'll bring my peashooters for Brad and anyone else who wants to try them out. Plus some big bore stuff.

Wally said...

Brad, rugers are bulletproof but I am out of them - I can be sure to bring an array of glocks for you to try.

Brad_in_MA said...

Wally,

Thanks for offering Glocks. I am willing to try almost anything. Due to MA regs, they are stupidly expensive in MA. Not to mention that Glocks are lifeless butt-ugly lumps of soul-less plastic.

Gene in Carolina said...

Brad, don't let pretty get in the way of uber reliability. Why else are Glocks the most often issued sidearm in the world...and lets face it gobblins aren't offended if you shoot them with lifeless butt-ugly lumps of soul-less plastic. Hurt, maybe dead but never offended.

Ed said...

There are many conceal-carry capable pistols out there. The important thing is to pick one or more, be proficient with it through practice, be mentally prepared to use it, and then to actually carry it, even when you are sitting on the couch watching a movie with your friends.

Brad_in_MA said...

Gene,
Your point is well taken. I certainly won't let function & reliability be overtaken by aesthetics. That said, MA has some stupid laws w/ regard to dealers being able to sell Glocks. I believe those Glocks mfg'd after October 1998 are verboten when it comes to sale from an FFL, but don't quote me on that. Check out their pricing here in MA compared to other parts of the country where Glocks are not regarded as being extra especially killy. I haven't studied the MA laws / regs when it comes to Glocks. I am certain Jay knows the details . . . . I'll probably start w/ him.

DocRambo said...

Just returned from a week's trip to Memphis, where after seeing the Sunday night newscast, did not leave my hotel room without carrying one or two concealed firearms. Situational awareness is a must there, and after an uneventful week, returned home, where the lack of necessity to be ever aware, and more than a few times leaving home without a firearm, made me aware of how "naked" I felt when I was not carrying. Having that added comfort of being able to protect oneself, is rapidly habituating, and after a week of being hyper alert at all times, I found myself more aware at all times, even in situations that felt safe. My carry choices for this trip were a High Standard .22 magnum derringer, and a Glock 26. Still trying to find the optimal choice, but the big issue isn't "what" to carry, it is simply to carry "something."