On the weekend, I had a little pow-wow with David about a certain someone’s habit of countering rational argument with emotional outbursts. Like an alarming number of my gun buddies, David is both a crack shot and a high-priced lawyer. He knows everything you need to know about negotiation—and I wasn’t afraid to ask. “When they hit you with emotion, never counter with reason,” he said. “Talk about your feelings. Say something like, ‘I’d like you to consider how that makes me feel.'” Makes sense. ‘Cause if you think about it, gun rights advocates are from Mars and gun control advocates are from Venus. Reason vs. feelings. So, MikeB302000 and friends, I’d like to share my feelings about concealed carry . . .
I was walking the Schnauzers through the ‘hood yesterday when a strange feeling came over me. It wasn’t like Meatloaf’s epiphany in Paradise By The Dashboard Light. It was more of an incoming tide of tranquillity than a tidal wave of hormones. [NB: Getting older is not for thrill seekers.] As someone who’s way too busy to take his emotional temperature (i.e. a male of the species), it was another ten blocks before I could put a name to my satisfaction: safety. I felt safe. And yes, I felt safe because I had a gun.
Obviously, I was in far more danger of slipping on the ice and cracking my head open than facing a deadly group of muggers. Clearly, drawing my gun would be the very last thing I’d do in that situation, anyway. But that’s reasoned analysis, and we’re here to talk about emotions, dammit! Deep down inside I knew I had a Plan C. Or, for those of you who consider concealed carry paranoia personified, a Plan 9 from Outer Space. I could defend myself. And it felt good.
That’s not to say that I’m completely comfortable with concealed carry. Walking into the supermarket, I got that strange sensation of “otherness” that I described in a previous post. My XD-M suddenly felt incredibly heavy on my hip. I had to resist the urge to reach down and feel if the barrel or holster was showing. I was also aware that I couldn’t take my coat off. Not that I would, but if I did, I’m sure all hell would break loose. That’s a new fear: the “thrill” of discovery in a land so liberal the police refuse to check criminals’ immigration status.
The funny thing is, while Springfield is restoring my “main” gun’s trigger to its original factory settings, I’m carrying the Liberty gun. Even on the range, people are surprised to see that the American flag-draped Croation semi is, in fact, a fully functional 9mm handgun. Most “civilians” would see the star-spangled pistol and think it was a gag gun. On the other hand, what in the world would a jury make of it? Again, I live in a state where most people consider patriotism something Republicans use to bash gays, oppress the poor and start unnecessary wars. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this some kind of joke? I think not.
Me neither. After the emotional highs and lows of the day, I brought Old Glory down to the American Firearms School and shot the living shit out of it. I fired off well over a thousand rounds. I practiced drawing with my coat on. Shooting right-handed. Left-handed. Around the faux door. Standing. Kneeling. Sitting. Walking. I shot for precision. I shot for speed. Bullseye. Center mass. Near. Mid. Far. I reloaded. I added snap caps. And, of course, I practiced drawing without shooting. No question: I went into that session with “issues.”
A lot of that armed animus was down to anxiety. Firing my formerly faultless black XD, feeling it go click instead of bang, had rattled me but good. The fact that I’d carried the defective weapon had shamed me. I felt . . . ridiculous. It may sound infantile, but the experience had left me feeling impotent and emasculated. I needed to reclaim my confidence in the gun, and myself. And so I did, the only way I know how: by actions, not words. As Devo asked, are we not men? With a reliable gun and the skills needed to use it effectively, yes, we are.
That doesn’t mean a man has to know how to shoot a gun, or carry one, to feel like a “real” man. Whatever that is. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there is something deeply emotionally satisfying about carrying a gun. Knowing that I’m self-reliant should my life or the life of my loved ones be threatened. In certain circumstance. Potentially. Gun control advocates may read that statement and accuse me of being emotionally retarded. For me, it’s the exact opposite. Carrying a gun has been a growing experience. It’s given me a sense of empowerment that threatens no one, save those who would do me and mine harm.
Bottom line: carrying a concealed gun makes me feel good. Is that really such a bad thing?