As the father of a recently-minted teen and a (relatively) recently-divorced OFWG, my social life is a little on the thin side. Between budgeting for school uniforms, paying bills and working my Alice B. Tookus off, “Date Night” is a rare pleasure. When I get a night on the town with my girlfriend, it’s got to be something special. When asked about the evening’s agenda, My Lady Fair requested we dine at a local establishment that’s a bit geographically-challenged. Translation: it’s in a bad part of town. As I’ve noted elsewhere here on TTAG, just this past week, two men were shot in a well-lit, well-patrolled parking garage in a relatively safe part of my home town. Not good . . .
The restaurant in question for the evening’s repast has a history, too. The owner of said establishment (Herby-K’s) was famous for his “Shrimp Buster” sandwiches, a concoction made by butterflying four jumbo shrimp, beating the crap out of them with a mallet, then breading and frying them. Delicious. (Take my word for it.)
The careful reader will note my use of the past tense, when referring to Mr. K. One evening, he was closing his eponymously-named establishment when a criminal decided to rob him. According to police reports the owner was cooperative, doing everything they tell you to do. Give the man the money. Save your own life. That sort of thing. Didn’t do a bit of good. The thug shot him in cold blood. Since then, the restaurant pays for protection, as in “off-duty policeman in a squad car” protection.
I love the place. I love the food. The neighborhood? Let’s just say that it’s our little slice of Detroit-style urban blight, right here in Louisiana. Even the film crews shoot in the area, because it can double for just about any wreck of a downtown area on screen. Travelling down there is one of those “take your life in your hands” experiences, where you realize dinner may come with a floor show, and you may be doing the audience participation thing in the parking lot, willing or no.
As I saw it, I had three choices:
- Conceal carry, and hope my GF didn’t notice.
- Conceal carry and tell her, and hope it wouldn’t upset her/spoil the evening.
- Leave the gun at home and hope a disaster didn’t occur.
Now as our resident Tr0lls are so quick to point out, carrying a gun does NOT make you invulnerable, and does not assure that you will survive, thrive, or win a gun battle. What they fail to grasp (among other things) is that carrying a gun responsibly will accomplish two things:
- It forces me to be (more) situationally-aware.
- It levels the playing field, should we encounter a robber, mugger, rapist, or other thug.
All in all, I like my odds much better with a gun than without one. So I went with “door number two.” But that’s not the whole story.
Over dinner, conversation turned to the two unfortunate victims in the El Dorado parking garage incident. I mentioned that because of that, I was carrying, and I hoped that wouldn’t offend her. She indicated she was cool with it. I felt as though I’d done my “full-disclosure” thing, and that would be the end of it. Not so.
When we got back to her place, I removed my concealed gun/holster and put it on the counter. Her eyes grew wide and she said, “when you said you were carrying, I thought you meant in the car. I had no idea you had it on you.” I explained that a gun not within reach is every bit as useful as no gun at all. She seemed to accept that (although she’s still a little squeamish about having a gun in her condo).
We reached a milestone tonight. She was surprised at how easy it was for me to conceal my handgun, and how effortless it was to get through dinner with her none the wiser (at that point, anyway). I think part of her reluctance to deal with guns has as much to do with dealing with the gun up close and personal. If it can remain out of sight, I think she’s cool with that.
For the record, nothing happened tonight in the way of my Spidey Sense tingling. Nothing made me feel as if we were about to get jacked. I had no reason to think we’d have anything but a lovely evening, which we did.
Part of that is due to fortune smiling on us. But realistically, part of it is because I was as prepared as I can be to handle bad things happening to good people (that would be US). And the fact that I had nothing to worry about (as it turns out) is a happy thing. That I was prepared if that wasn’t the case, is a responsible thing.