Concealed Carry: Playing the Odds

Hindsight runs 20:20 in my family. My grandfather played first trumpet with a bandleader in the early part of the 20th Century. Had the opportunity to tour with him. My grandmother talked him out of it. So John Phillip Sousa went on to fame and fortune without him. My dad? He was offered 10% of a company that was going to put a Geiger Counter in a plane and criss-cross the continental US to look for uranium. The buy-in was all the money my folks had saved. They passed. The guys found the largest uranium deposits in the USA. So I’ve learned – the hard way – that my foresight is not the most reliable thing in the world. Which is why you’d think I’d be just this side of militant about carrying concealed. You’d think…

I live in a nice neighborhood in a city that used to resemble your basic, idyllic town. As a kid, I can remember walking barefoot with my sister, 10 blocks or so in a residential neighborhood, crossing a busy street, entering a Pak-A-Sak (the 1960s answer to 7-Eleven) and buying an 8 oz. Coca-Cola (with real cane sugar!), a candy bar, and a comic book or two, doing the same for my sister, and getting out of there for 50¢, tops. All unescorted. Safe as you please.

I mention this because, although I live in a relatively safe part of town, and my daughter goes to one of the best public schools in the area, I would no sooner let her walk to school than I would allow her to juggle hand grenades. Not today. Not in this day and age.

So I look at having a CHL as only a first step in my “keep my kid (and me) safe” plan. It’s an on-going project. But Livin’ Large in Louisiana (a temporary condition) is vastly different than Takin’ my time in Texas. Louisiana’s laws are founded not on the great traditions of the U.S. Constitution, or the Virginia or Massachusetts constitutions (which both influenced the U.S. Constitution, by the way).

Nope. Louisiana law is based on Napoleonic code, which from my experience is like having your governance authored by the two castle guards from the wedding scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You just never really know WHAT you’re gonna get, or what kinda weird, brain-dead, inexplicable kind of law you’ll deal with in the Sportsman’s Paradise.

[NOTE: For those not from here, Louisiana has changed her slogan over the years. At one time they even went for “A State of Excitement” but then figured out that some other state – New Mexico, I think – had already grabbed that. Local wags suggested “A State of Endictment,” but the Tourism folks nixed that.]

In Texas, you can carry, for instance, in a restaurant or other public place, as long as they don’t earn more than 50% of their daily bread by selling alcohol. That’s weird enough. In Louisiana (the last state in the Union, far as I know, to have drive-thrus that sold Daiquiris and frozen Margaritas), they don’t allow concealed carry if the establishment sells liquor, period. So if you wanna dine out, you go in defensively naked. Not a pretty picture.

But out on the street, you’re good to go. Which is why I should have been carrying last weekend, when I pulled in, in broad daylight, mind you, to a strip center anchored by one of those Michaels Stores – you know, the ones that sell all that craft stuff for beading, flower arranging, and other metrosexual pursuits. My offspring needed some materials for a school project. Now you might assume (as I did) that this shopping center, in a busy, nice part of town, is relatively safe. Did I mention that I drive a rag top Jeep, that goes sans-doors in the summer?

We pulled into the parking lot and parked by the store entrance. Not 10 feet away was a skinny guy with dreadlocks, wearing a wife-beater shirt, baggy pants and a Rasta-esque knit cap. (Yes. He was black. It’s not germaine to the story, but I knew you’d be curious. I have lots of black friends, thank you very much, and I don’t buy into racism, at all.) Just after we got out of the car, this guy launches into a very loud tirade over the phone.

And let’s just say that his side of the conversation was peppered with enough expletive-deleteds to make me wonder if he could return to he school and get his money back. He got gypped. It wasn’t so much the language – Lord knows I’ve been known to let a few fly in my day. It was the forum – a retail strip center – and the repetition. Within 30 seconds, I’d determined his cussword vocab ran the gamut of emotions from “A” to “B,” or to be more precise, from “M” to “F” (if you get what I mean, and I think you do).

His verbal assaults might have employed a limited vocabulary, but he did know how to use what he had on hand. His M-F’ing diatribe ran the table from using the term as a noun, a verb, adjectives, adverbs – Hell he even worked it in as a preposition a time or two. Strunk and White would have been speechless.

All this verbal bravura was accompanied with a waving of arms in the approved gangstaz style, with mouth frothing, eyes bulging, and a body language that said “I’d just as soon shoot yo’ wuthless ass as look atcha.”

We did not make eye contact.

My first thought was, “Oh, shit…my only child is with me, and if this ass clown’s friend shows up, there’s liable to be a re-enactment of the OK Coral, right here, right now.”

My second thought was, “Double-shit…I left my sidearm at home, where it will do me every bit as much good as not owning one at all.” All that training. All that preparedness. All for naught.

Crap.

So I did what I would have done, even if I had a gun. Since retreat would have put us closer to this idiot rather than farther away, I put myself in between my daughter and the potential perp, and walked her into the store as quickly as possible, without looking as if we were running away. (No reason to attract his attention.)

Once inside, I made a beeline for one of the employees and said, “Um, you may have a bit of a problem. There’s a guy outside, pacing back and forth in front of your store, talking on a cell phone. He’s obviously upset and agitated, and he’s using some very offensive language and acting in a very aggressive manner. You might want to consider notifying the authorities, as at the very least, he’s liable to scare off some customers, if you allow him to hang out there much longer.” The clerk thanked me for reporting it, and got busy with her phone.

Unfortunately, we didn’t need but one thing, and that didn’t take us long to buy. And we had deadlines – mine for work, and hers for homework. I weighed my options – leave as quickly as possible and avoid being there should the situation worsen, or stay inside and wait for the guy to leave/shoot someone/get shot/or get arrested. Or all or most of the above.

I walked out the door to assess the situation. The guy was still there, but was pacing away from our car, and further from the store entrance. I signaled to my daughter and got her behind me, got to the Jeep, piled in as quickly as possible (which for me was PDQ – my daughter, not so much.

As I sped away, I heard more of the less-than mellifluous sounds of our gangsta friend, regaling his phone (and presumably the poor, dumb mook on the other end of the line) with more verb-tense disagreements, split infinitives, and other dialectical nightmares that would have Magoo in a major snit fit.

Discretion (and safety) being the better part of getting the Hell outta Dodge before High Noon strikes, we left, unceremoniously and unscathed. (I hate to be scathed.)

As I was leaving, I pondered the meaning of all this. I didn’t have my gun, because I had just picked my daughter up from her middle school, a “gun-free zone” (read: “target-rich environment”), natch. I could have secured the gun in the trunk, but what’s the point? I obey the law, even if I think it’s a dumb one. (This, of course, separates me from our President, who apparently thinks it’s not a violation of his oath of office to simply enforce/defend only the laws of which he approves.)

What I realized is that I have a couple of options here:

  1. Lobby for revisions to the gun laws that reduce or eliminate the overly-restrictive parts of the statutes, so I can carry in most places, legally
  2. Carry anyway and hope I don’t get caught (the old “better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6” theory)
  3. Jump through the legal hoops and alter my plans, my carry options, and my routines, to carry as often as I can, legally
  4. Hope that a disaster doesn’t occur

My options suck.

For now, I’ve resolved to stick with Plan C, and start lobbying for Plan A. Not sure what kind of luck I’ll have, but the restrictions in the conceal carry laws make the practical aspects of carrying problematic.

Were we actually in any real danger? Hard to say. That’s just the kind of situation that could have gone South in a hurry. Shreveport has historically had some gang-related violence. So it’s not inconceivable. I could see a car load of pissed-off gang members pulling up and air conditioning this moron for mouthing-off. And generally when that kinda thing happens, you don’t wanna be anywhere near it. Gangstaz don’t really stop to think about things like stray bullets, trigger discipline, or gun safety.

Did I handle this the right way? Well, pilots say “any landing you can walk away from is a good one. And no offspring were harmed during the making of this Michael’s run. But it could have so easily gone the other way. Until I figure out a way to improve my divination abilities, I think I’ll stick with “caution” as my operational plan.

comments

  1. avatar Daverino says:

    “…I would no sooner let her walk to school than I would allow her to juggle hand grenades. Not today. Not in this day and age.”

    This is a statement indicative of an emotional thinker fed a steady diet of cable news. And not a logical conclusion from someone who occasionally glances at official and unofficial crime data freely available on the internet.

    I love guns like all mechanical objects, and I believe in in taking basic safety precautions. But when I come across such nonsense like this I immediately stop reading and begin second guessing the quality of my reading material.

    1. avatar Totenglocke says:

      +20, though Brad has shown in previous articles (like the one about the abusive dad pulling the gun on his daughters boyfriend) that he puts irrational emotions over logic.

    2. avatar Brad Kozak says:

      Funny you should characterize me as “an emotional thinker fed a steady diet of cable news.” I turned off the TV about 8 months ago, and haven’t looked back. I’m so busy, I never have time to watch anyway. And after about a week, I didn’t miss it. Nope, what’s a work here is I have a 13-year-old daughter who is 5’9″ and very intellectually mature for her age. People are constantly surprised that she’s not 17 or 18. Couple that with the rape and child abduction stats for the city, and I think I’m being prudent. Not paranoid. Look, it only takes ONE bad guy, and both of our lives are ruined. I’d love it if we could return to the idyllic days of my youth. I can recall that, at age 13, I saw my first cleavage on a woman featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan. I remember it, because it was a revelation to me. Today, kids are inundated with sexual imagery. In my Junior High years, I can’t recall ANYbody “going steady,” much less going on “dates.” No 8th graders wore makeup, and nobody was busy sexualizing 13-year-olds. You wanna call me paranoid? Go ahead. From where I sit, paranoid would have been carrying my Kimber, a can of pepper spray, a backup gun, a couple of extra mags, a tactical folder, a tactical flashlight, and possibly an air horn, then pulling my gun on that idiot when he started mouthing off. THAT would have been paranoid. And I would have been the one going to jail, and rightfully so.

      I believe in being prudent and careful. Fortune favors the prepared. And the whole idea behind conceal carry is to be prepared.

      1. avatar Daverino says:

        You and your child are safer today than in nearly any time in modern history. Crime data from a myriad of sources all point to the same conclusions. And the methods for data collection are more detailed and reliable than ever, making those conclusions more robust than ever.

        The feeling of safety you had as a child is similar to the feeling of danger you have today; because it is based on emotional states of being rather than a logical look at the likelihood of events occuring. As a child you had few worries and were ignorant of the negative possibilities, today you are educated as to the ways of the world and have a young child to care for. This could possibly explain why your beliefs run counter to factual data.

        I don’t understand what all the information regarding your daughter was pertaining to. But it sounds like you do not trust her and are scared of her new sexuality and the consequences of it. A proper education, proficiency with cellphones, and known routes, (all common counter terror/VIP techniques) are all better protective measures than sheltering a kid away from a world that is safer by several orders of magnitude than when you grew up.

        1. avatar Giordino says:

          Factual data doesn’t mean squat when you are confronted with a situation as described above. At that point, you don’t have time to pull out your (insert smart phone here) and google the local crime statistics. You’ve got an obviously agitated man who doesn’t have a problem spouting off profanities in a public place (Michael’s no less) and there is no telling what else he may do. Any father would and should do exactly what Brad did in those circumstances whether your daughter is really a child or full grown. You keep your statistics and the factual data (probably supplied by some level of government); I’ll keep my instincts and my family safe.

          Cheers!

        2. Damn. Laying down some SCIENCE! Compared to recorded history, we live in one of the safest environments ever known to mankind.

          The author reacted to that situation like an old lady. Not everyone on the street who looks different from you has a murderous vendetta against you.

      2. avatar Dean Weingarten says:

        I stopped watching TV 15 years ago. Life is much better without it. My brother raised his kids without TV. One of his better dicisions.

      3. avatar Adam says:

        @Brad

        You not feeling that it’s safe enough to let your daughter walk to school is fine. I live in a small town that has one of the highest forcible rape rates in the country. I can’t confirm it with data but I have a feeling that a lot of that statistic has to do with it being a college town (despite it being a Christian university). If we had a daughter I’d probably not let her walk to school, even if we were close enough for it to be a possibility.

        Our boys could ride their bikes to school – I’d let them too if it wasn’t for a major highway that they’d have to cross to get there. Too busy for me to feel safe about them doing that at their ages alone. Also, it’s a little too far as well.

        My feeling’s, your feeling’s are not data. There anecdote.

        The problem I think that is being pointed out, and that I agree with, is your statement “not in this day and age” to imply that today’s world is less-safe then yesterday’s. While you may feel less safe, statistically we are safer.

        We also now know that kids are more likely to get kidnapped or assaulted (sexually or otherwise) by someone they (and their parents) know, than a complete stranger. “Stranger danger” is now considered BS for a variety of reasons and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is moving away from endorsing the concept.

        You may not feel safer but… well you are. I don’t think that should be ignored. Your post is almost entirely anecdotal, which is fine, stories are how we communicate. But when you stray form the story telling and make implied statements of fact like “not in this day and age” you do a disservice to the reader who may not know any better.

        TTAG is supposed to be about the truth and the truth is you are safer today then you were when you were a kid. It may not make you feel safer but it’s true.

        That said – I carry a gun everyday, everywhere I legally can because it’s my right and you just never know.

    3. avatar David Walters says:

      Barry Goldwater said, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

      I say, extremism in the defense of family is also no vice.

      So, I respect any father who dreads the thought of harm coming to his child and acts within the law no matter how extreme his actions may appear to others if that’s what’s needed to minimize his fears. Besides, caution doesn’t cost anything.

      I happen to live in a neighborhood where most don’t like my politics. And, once we received death threats by phone that were left on the answering machine and my then 10 year old daughter retrieved the calls and was very frightened. We immediately armed up and got CCLs.

      My kids never walked anywhere again. And, my wife and I were always armed thereafter.

      I’ll never call a Father extreme when he’s acting to defend his family, unless he breaks the law.

  2. avatar Silver says:

    Entertaining read. Very easy-going and anecdotal.

    That being said, I agree, your options suck. I know it doesn’t help your situation, but you can always get your spirits up by saying, “Hey, at least I’m not in New Jersey.”

    1. avatar Mark says:

      or Illinois…

  3. avatar GarinVT says:

    Love the opening line!

  4. avatar boomenshutzen says:

    “I obey the law, even if I think it’s a dumb one.”

    I have mixed feelings about this. I have to trust my gut about when it’s time for a little Civil Disobedience.

    But I agree, your options suck. Keep up the good fight.

    1. avatar RAN says:

      +1 My rights are God given, not state granted. The worlds always been a dangerous place, we just weren’t as cognizant of it before. I do think that the various media have tended to make us more paranoid than before. But it doesn’t mean that we aren’t prepared to protect those in our care.

    2. avatar Derek says:

      +1
      “… one has a moral obligation to disobey unjust laws.”

  5. avatar stateisevil says:

    Because of Louisiana’s conflicting laws on the subject of restaurant carry, the LSP firearms unit has been advised by the attorney general that licensees may carry concealed in LA in restaurants that serve alcohol. This was about 9 months ago. Open carry is still illegal in restaurants.

    Regardless, concealed means…..concealed.

  6. avatar Jim says:

    You shouldn’t take charges of “racism” seriously. The word was coined by one Leon Trotsky to denounce Slavic patriotism. Still used today by the controlled press and universities to shut down debate.

    Anyway, I truly like this article. If one is armed with wits they often out gun their peers.

  7. avatar HeadHunter says:

    Get a pocket pistol and get your priorities in order.

    1. avatar BHirsh says:

      Absolutely. The Ruger LCP disappears in the front pocket of a ‘normal’ pair of slacks, and there are no other concealment considerations necessary.

      I respect my life more than I respect bad law.

  8. avatar David Brown says:

    I want to preface this with my belief that the biggest difference between humans and the rest of the species on Earth is our big brain and all of the self-aggrandization that accompanies it. We still have many strong, basic animal tendencies and with that said…..

    I believe my right to self defense is innate and completely exclusive of any law or “my higher power guarantees it” clause. I AM BORN WITH IT! No more justification is needed. Almost every organism on this Earth exercises an innate right and ability to defend itself when attacked and humans are the ONLY species I can think of that willingly and actively deny it to themselves. Example: Rat gets attacked by a snake? Rat bites the ever-loving crap out of the snake sometimes saving its own life. Stingray gets attacked? It uses its spiked tail to end hostilities. Poison Arrow Frog? Its self defense is so deadly that most attackers know to simply move on. All of these animal defenses are implemented without the implicit blessing of any law or god and these animal defenses (even though most of the mechanisms of death like slashing, puncture wounds and poisoning would garner preliminary murder charges for a human) are deemed acceptable by humankind when it takes place in nature yet when it comes to ourselves and our big stupid brains we somehow think we’re clearly removed from the entire body of species on the planet and somehow “smarter” than the rest (whatever that means). Our only evolutionary advantage (and its a huge one) is our big brain yet its also a serious double-edged sword. We are, in many regards, the most highly evolved species on earth yet many of us let our intellect convince us that in lieu of proper defense when attacked we should actually cower and wait for others to save us. No other communal species on the planet does that and its for a good reason – it doesn’t work. Ants, bees, lions, wolves and cape buffalo don’t play wussy like some of us do. When confronted alone they ATTACK for all they’re worth until the cavalry comes. Its called self preservation. Which is something many of us have not only lost but insist on subjugating in others under with their “let’s go extinct quick” philosophy.

    So “gun-free” zone or not I don’t give a rat’s ass what they say because I absolutely will not leave myself vulnerable. Not exactly proud of this but I stand by it – from 1988 till last year (when unlicensed concealed carry was made legal) I carried a concealed firearm. I’m not a rich man and the thought of spending my scarce money to “legally” do what is my right in the first place seemed wrong to me.

  9. avatar Braden Lynch says:

    I wonder if Daverino has any young daughters. Well, it certainly influenced my attitude towards criminals and my risk tolerance. His critique has the ring of the criticism that you’re paranoid if you think you need to be armed. Well, the violent crime rates that I have seen are still too high for my comfort level.

    If he is correct about the overall risk of violent crime today and in this society, he overlooks that the likely personal cost for preparations to mitigate such risk (i.e. CCW) are often far outweighed by the benefits (i.e. daughter is safe and sound). People employ a lot of measures to provide peace of mind against real (or even imagined) threats. They live in good neighborhoods, avoid risky behaviors, and observe basic safety precautions, but sometimes their concerns are proven right!

    Also, Daverino clearly missed the point about the description of the daughter. She would attract extra undesired attention and would be less prepared to counter it.
    It would justify a higher level of protection.

  10. avatar GR8GUY says:

    Mr Kozak: Like ur writing style, sir! Keep ’em coming!!

  11. avatar William Heizer says:

    An interesting read,Brad,but I’m confused.Why would anyone that fears for the safety of family drive,unarmed,in an open jeep?What color is that target?

  12. avatar TexasJB says:

    Brad,

    Great read. I don’t mean to rub your nose in it but living in Texas is a blessing. That said we do have some less than desirable laws here. All our schools are victim zones. Unlike Utah we are not allowed to protect and defend our kids while at school and the crazies know this. My hats off to you for provoking thought.

  13. avatar Mike G says:

    I have a knife in my pocket when I am unable to carry my gun.

    1. avatar hutch1200 says:

      Good an you. I feel naked w/o one. Even whilst carrying. Preferably one of my out the front automatics. Easily moved up into a shirt sleeve and employed w/o it being seen.

  14. avatar Jenny says:

    I feel like I’m entering the lion’s den here, but I wanted to address something that’s a little off topic. I’m what some (including my college Politics professor) would call a bleeding heart hippy, a pinko-commie-liberal. In terms of my political leanings, socially I generally wind up on the left side of the aisle. And there was a time I didn’t understand why anyone would want to own a gun, for all of the idiotic reasons you and your fellow authors have written about (specifically here, http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/james-felix/throw-down-to-gun-control-advocates-convince-me/, and here, http://thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/08/robert-farago/a-psychiatrist-examines-the-anti-gun-mentality-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/)

    Now, I’ve lived in the south for a little over a decade, and a few Christmas’s ago my significant other took me out to his family’s farm for some mistletoe hunting. I was petrified at first, because I just kept imagining misfires and accidents. Obviously, nothing happened except we were able to bring home from fresh mistletoe for the big family dinner party. A few months later we went back, and he let me shoot his 22 gauge shotgun. I saw how he handled the weapons, how knowledgeable he was about safety, and I began to fear, not his negligence, but my own. Besides that though, it was just fun. We’ve been back a few times, and I’m starting to become more familiar and comfortable with his firearms. And a few weeks ago, I actually accepted a position with a company that manufactures accessories for firearms, mostly (semi)automatic rifles.

    All this is to say that I was that person who hated guns. I was that ignorant person who believed that less gun control meant more violence. I was that person who believed anyone who owned a firearm was a “gun nut”, and that the second amendment was antiquated. I’m not that person anymore.

    So what’s the point to this comment? You told an anecdote about your safety fears, your protection of your daughter, and that’s a great thing to tell your readers. But you made a comment about the President, basically apropos of nothing. It was just a snide little comment. And this is your blog, and that’s totally fine. And I’m not offended by what you said and even understand any anger or resentment towards the administration. However, I think that that is the problem when pro-2nd amendment folks try to convince the other side. Political leanings which seem vaguely hostile sort of bleed into the rhetoric, and it makes the other side less comfortable. And obviously that happens A LOT across the board, across the aisle, and it’s certainly not just an issue for pro-2nd amendment arguments.

    I had a GREAT introduction into firearms. It was a positive experience, and I think that’s the most important way to convince anyone who is anti-2nd amendment. But for my job, I’ve started reading tons of gun-related blogs, watching tons of gun-related TV, and what appeals to me most are the things that stick to the task at hand, and don’t venture off into full-on GOP or Conservative or Right Leaning territory (and I know these aren’t synonyms, but you get my drift). I do hate the political party structure that we have in our country, which pits us on teams – if I’m left I must clearly love this specific set of issues, and if you’re right you must clearly love this specific set of issues, and never the twain shall meet. That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms, but basically my point is that, if you are going to try to educate or convince the other side, then gun rights and gun culture needs to be its own island. Does that make sense?

    I’m not chastising you (as if I had the right) or saying you shouldn’t express your opinions or dissatisfaction with the current political climate or administration. But because outside of this, I’ve read several posts in the last few weeks specifically on TTAG about anti-2nd amendment rights, I felt I should speak up and just point out one flaw that I’ve noticed in the pro-2nd amendment’s lobbying efforts.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Jenny, we’ll said. Bravo!

      1. avatar Jenny says:

        Thanks! Also *20 gauge and 22 caliber rifle…typo happened.

    2. avatar Brad Kozak says:

      Jenny, I see your point. And I kind of agree with you. Sort of. The wonderful thing about working for Robert here on TTAG is we get an enormous amount of latitude to write what we think. That seems to be working for us, if you look at our readership numbers and trends. Part of that philosophy is telling the “truth about guns” (or as near as we can, in a practical sense). Part of it, though, is writing about how we really think or feel. That kind of thing comes through, and I believe it’s what makes our writing more compelling and entertaining than some other gun blogs. It’s certainly what attracted me to TTAC back in the day, when I was a reader and not one of the writers.

      As you undoubted realize, I’m a Conservative. (Can’t really claim to be a Republican, simply because that term has been depreciated with people in the party that don’t support the same things I grew up believing were “GOP Values.”) It might surprise you to know, however, that I was bitchin’ about Bush and the things he did that I didn’t like, just about as much as I go off on Obama. Because it’s Obama’s turn at bat, you hear more of that from me than my Bush rants, but rest assured, you’d be getting an earful, were he still in office. Then again, the Obama stuff is probably more noticeable to you, because of your more sympatico politics, just as I notice more Left-leaning stories on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, et cetera.

      I don’t have hard numbers to back this up (wish I did) but from my experience, I’ve found that most – but not all – people who support the 2nd Amendment and own guns lean to the right. That’s unfortunate. Most of the people (but not all, I suspect) that see no value in private gun ownership tend to fall to the Left side of things politically. But you’re right, in that we really can’t afford to alienate anybody who supports gun rights, and in an ideal world, everybody – Left, Right or Center would see the value, logic and reasoning in private gun ownership.

      We actually do make an effort to keep the politics around here limited to things concerning guns, mainly because, well, we’re a gun blog. Sometimes we slip up. And if that offended you, I apologize. Can’t promise we won’t do it any more, but we really do try and keep a lid on it, more because of focus than of fear of stepping on anybody’s toes.

      Congratulations on your experiences with guns, by the way. Your introduction to firearms sounds like a textbook case of how to show, by example, how much fun it can be to shoot. Anything that demystifies guns is a good thing in my book. I’d encourage you to write about your experiences and send ’em in. Sounds like something we’d all enjoy reading, and there are way too few articles written by a “newbie” for those who are new to guns. And it’s always nice to have someone who’s politics differ from ours writing on the site. Believe it or not, we are one of the few gun sites that are willing to publish pieces from people that are not in lock-step with the NRA, the 2nd Amendment supporters, and the Tea Party. We think that makes for a much more entertaining site (and again, we have the numbers to back that up).

      Last but not least, thanks for reading, writing in, and sharing your opinion. We try to read every word written here on TTAG (which is getting to be a full time job), and we appreciate how passionate so many people are about what they read here. Oh, and do send us your stories. You’d be a great addition to the TTAG writers.

      1. avatar Jenny says:

        Robert – Thanks for the kind words. And I do think it’s great that you have an enormous amount of latitude, as you said, when writing your posts – you’re right, it adds a dimension to the blog that sets it apart from a flat op-ed piece. Again, I was really only referring specifically to that one group of people who may stumble upon your blog and feel put off, and I felt the need to respond only because of a few posts I’d seen recently either directly addressing or referring to them (however, I also realize they were posted by other authors, but it being the same blog, I just wanted to voice my opinion somewhere).

        Anyway, I wasn’t personally offended at all. I actually respect anyone who’s willing to defend their politics in public instead of going the “don’t talk about politics and religion in polite company” route. That infuriated me as a student, and infuriates me to this day, because I think open discussion, and being exposed to opposing views is essential to a democracy. I also understand that that runs counter to my whole original post, but I’m a complicated woman, what can I say?

        1. avatar Robert Farago says:

          That would be Brad.

        2. avatar Jenny says:

          Yes. I hadn’t had my coffee. 😐 Sorry!

  15. avatar miforest says:

    I have a beautiful daughter and can relate. I was more secure in my home neighborhood so she had more freedom than yours does. if you are going to error, error on the side of caution. situations like this call for two of my favorite things, either my baretta 25( for unobtrusive ccw) or my black jack mamba (a great pocket knife).

  16. avatar William Robert says:

    This fact still remains: The one thing that will change the mind of an anti-gunner is their first violent attack. Really. Those who dispute this have never been exposed to real violence. I hope no one ever has to experience it, as it’s life altering and is the material of which your nightmares may be constructed.

    I know this firsthand being married to a pro-gun convert, as well as through experience training thousands (yes, thousands) of students and hearing their stories.

    Don’t expect any other comments regarding this. I know I’m going to get plenty of rebuttal.

    1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

      “The one thing that will change the mind of an anti-gunner is their first violent attack.”

      +1

  17. avatar Mike says:

    The concept of being prepared for an encounter is always a good topic, while often the legislation surrounding it makes for comic toilet reading. That is just the nature of the beast with life in this modern, enlightened and gentle age.
    I have many times had to leave a potentially violent situation and it has always burned me up. At five feet, nine inches and tipping the scale at a a solid 235 pounds, I am somewhat advantaged in most face to face situations. However, my bulldog attitude can quickly prove that brawling is no match for a poorly trained street cretin with a gun, or an ambitious district attorney with all the time in the world to toss my hairy carcass in the tank for battery. Wisdom aside, we all know the score. Ego can and will trip up the best of intentions and the no good can come of it. As Kenny Rodgers so aptly put it “Know when to walk away, know when to run…”
    One more little nugget of goodness that I picked up along the twisted path was my real responsibility to my own offspring. In the event of a tragic incident, my job is to guide him safely out of the way and show him the wisdom of doing so. When he was tiny and not yet completely dry, I always carried. Period. If you saw us together in public, you could invest in a bet that I had my pistol (Browning Hi-Power) on my side under a shirt. I was of the IGOOTD variety (no permit) because I lived in California at the time and did not have a signed letter from God to grant me permission. I took the chance.
    Hindsight is 20/20 on my end as well.
    If I would have had to use the weapon in any encounter, I would have been looking at a minimum of 10 years in prison. I would have missed the best years of my sons life, not been there to guide him and set a piss poor example of what a man should do.
    If we lived in an area that featured constant threats and a battleground atmosphere, then the theory might change with the social dynamic. However, in a city that featured manicured lawns, my choice at the time was suspect.
    Bad things will happen to good people, and that just sucks. I guess the point is to just keep all the little ducks in a row and walk the straight and narrow. Apply for the permit, train and keep my head on a swivel. The last thing any responsible firearms owner wants is to draw and fire in an urban environment. That can devastate a series of lives.
    Sometimes there is just no choice, and that is why people carry a weapon.
    Good article Brad.

  18. avatar Scott says:

    I’m very pro-gun rights.

    However this article bugs me.

    From the description you gave of the scenario, you did have the right to carry at this location. You just didn’t. So it had nothing to do with the laws of the state.

    You basically just described ‘the scary black man’ scenario. He was on his cell phone talking to someone else and ignoring you from your description. Your thoughts are:

    ‘ My first thought was, “Oh, shit…my only child is with me, and if this ass clown’s friend shows up, there’s liable to be a re-enactment of the OK Coral, right here, right now.” ‘

    Situational awareness is rule #1 to self defense, but you really took that as far out there as you could based on your description.

    Finally, Daverino is right. Your neighborhood may not follow the trends of the nation, but overall unless you are divorced, your kids are safer than ever to walk to school. I do have a daughter by the way. She walked to school until she got a car (which is FAR less safe statistically than walking to school). If you don’t want them walking to school because you don’t feel comfortable with it, fine. Playing up the idyllic past though is pretty much a false perception.

    1. avatar Magoo says:

      +1.

      It’s hard to believe what we are actually talking about here: A guy yelling on his cell phone. No, really. A guy yelling on his cell phone.

      Let’s allow our imaginations to run totally amok, along with Brad’s, and presume that a shootout is about to erupt in front of the convenience store. Ok, what are we going to do with a gun in that instance? Join in? Step into the crossfire? Shoot both of them? Pick a side? What?

      Daverino is right. This is the result of watching way too much television.

      1. avatar ScottA says:

        Well, he was black….

        Seriously speaking though. It wasn’t just a guy talking on his phone. It was a rough looking guy yelling on his phone. If it was a guy in a suit yelling on his phone, you’d probably think “Bad day at the office” but a guy in a wife beater who looks shady is a different situation in a threat assesment situation. Granted, if you don’t say anything and get out of there asap then the risk of any trouble is practically zero but I personally would have my guard up as well.

        That said, I do think Brad is a little paranoid about letting his daughter out and waxing nostalgic about the safety of the past. If you live in a nice neighborhood, your children are safer now than ever. Be a good parent and teach her responsibility because the chance is her friends will get her into more trouble than any stranger.

        1. avatar Magoo says:

          Are you familiar with the recent “free-range children” concept? The name is somewhat tongue-in-cheek — the idea is simply to encourage parents to loosen up, stop obsessing about bizarre dangers, and allow their children an appropriate degree of independence. My children are grown but I identify with it in principle.

        2. avatar ScottA says:

          Yes. I’m familiar with it and I essentially agree with it. Being currently childless I can’t perfectly predict how I will raise my children should I have any but I grew up a fairly free range kid and I plan on letting any children I have the same experiences I did.

      2. avatar Brad Kozak says:

        Magoo, once again, you have exhibited the rare ability to put your mouth (or fingers) in gear before you read/comprehend what I’ve written. So let’s recap. I encountered something out of place – a guy (doesn’t matter about the ethnicity…a white guy dressed in a similar fashion would have been just as alarming) in a place where this behavior was screamingly inappropriate. I didn’t hit the panic button. I got my daughter out of there, went inside, and told the management that they had a potential problem on their hands. We shopped, paid for our purchases, and got out of there.

        I’m trying to figure out how my actions were at all irresponsible, even to such an awe-inspiring intellect as yours.

        Furthermore, I indicated that the LAST thing I would have done, had I had my gun, would have been to exacerbate the situation. My first and only consideration was the safety of my child. Let’s say instead of us driving to the store, we walked there. Would it have been wrong for me to have wished I’d had taken my car, so we could have gotten out of there faster? Same principle at work. I didn’t go looking for trouble. But things like this situation are unpredictable. You never know what’s going down. Anything that jolts me from “Condition Yellow” status is going to get me into “take care of my kid” mode.

        You mystify me. When I write about doing the responsible thing, you criticize. When I write about people that have been confronted with armed thugs and they fight back, you criticize. Let me ask you this: is there EVER a situation where someone (other than yourself, as you’re apparently omniscient and all-powerful) should carry a concealed weapon, and/or use it? From where I sit, it seems that you’d answer that question by saying that the only people who should have guns are those qualified (in your mind, of course) to own them, which by your definition would be the military, the police, and you.

        Kind of a short list, don’t you think?

        1. avatar Magoo says:

          None of that has much to do with what I wrote here. You are off on your own tangent.

    2. avatar HAVEGUN says:

      I don’t have to wax nostalgic. The area I live in, small town rural Kansas I believe is one of the safest places in this country. That didn’t stop a couple of traveling burglars from murdering a farmer in his own home.

      Bad guys have cars and look for opportunity.

      Encountering foul mouth, disrespectful low life always gets my hackles up. I don’t want to be near them, and certainly don’t know what baggage they carry.

      Bad enough one must suspect every stranger, but I’ll be danged if somebody acts in what I consider at best boorish does not get my attention, and concern, especially if I have family with me.

      It is no comfort to me that statistics say crime rates are at par with the good ol’ days when I walked to school in not one of the bests neighborhoods of Los Angeles, everyday was a risk to me, and I won’t forget it.

      It is the parents duty to protect their children and it is not up to me or anyone else to question their decisions.

  19. avatar Gabba says:

    gypped?

  20. avatar Scott says:

    Oh don’t get me wrong, anyone acting like that should get your attention. But the direct link to the OK corral shootout is a stretch. I would be FAR more concerned if a person was standing quietly in partial concealment with a view of the door of Michael’s than I would be over some loudmouth on the phone.

    Since we’re talking anecdotes here, I’ll give you my childhood. Do a Google map for Green River Community College in Auburn Wa. I lived in that neighborhood when I was 12ish…in 1982. My friends and I used to bike down to the river and look for bodies from the Green River Killer. I don’t know that I told my parents the purpose of our bike rides but they certainly knew we were biking down to river.

    You can take my point 2 ways: a) parents should have been more concerned “in the good old days” than they were-i.e. idyllic youth meant parents giving their kids some space and hoping for the best , or b) parents have become overprotective based on the inundation of stories of abduction.

    1. avatar ScottA says:

      I think the more interesting question is

      I lived in that neighborhood when I was 12ish…in 1982. My friends and I used to bike down to the river and look for bodies from the Green River Killer.

      did you find any?

      1. avatar Scott says:

        LOL, no :). Thankfully. I think I’d be scarred for life.

  21. avatar Pete says:

    Brad – I think it’s [sarc on] WONDERFUL the way so many of the readers are willing to place your daughter in a risky situation – walking to school by herself, participating in the “new sexuality” at 13, and encouraging you to “loosen up, stop obsessing about bizarre dangers, and allow [your] children an appropriate degree of independence”. It is SO generous and helpful of them to be willing to accept risk for YOUR daughter. I am warmed by such selfless participation in our great experiment with creating a value-less society. [sarc off]

    Option 5: Move to Idaho, where our gun laws take up about half a page in the legal code, with emphasis on the concept of “don’t commit any crimes with a gun, or the state of Idaho will send your ass away for a long time”. We tend to think that taking personal responsibility for your own actions is a better approach than having Big Nanny-state tell you how to live your life, in excrutiating frickin’ detail. Most people in Idaho are members of the LUTHA Party (“Leave Us The Hell Alone”).

    I realize that this makes every resident of Idaho a racist, islamophobic, homophobic, liberalophobic, right-wing Tea Party gun nut, but hey – I can live with that when we have a Legislature that is 81% conservative.

    1. avatar ScottA says:

      (Sarc on) I agree. If I have a daughter I’m going to lock her up in the basement to completely eliminate the possibility of anybody ever looking at her. (Sarc off)

      The world can be a scary place but it’s not like anyone is saying “Bring your daughter to the middle of the ghetto in the middle of the night and let her find her way home” We’re saying, you can’t watch your kids 24/7 and it’s better to instill the right frame of mind than to be paranoid about someone always looking to take advantage of your kids. He can do whatever he wants, I’m not going to try and change any laws about his parenting style. He seems like a loving concerned dad but eventually she’s going to leave the house and it might be a better idea to slowly give her more responsibility and trust than to send her off to college at 18 without letting her make some smaller mistakes while he can still reprimand her. I also do not envy the risk assessment situation parents have to go through. If you’re too conservative your kids can go wild later on at the first sniff of freedom but if you’re not conservative enough and something freak happens you’ll never forgive yourself.

    2. avatar Scott says:

      Hey, thumbs up to living in Idaho, great place. No sarcasm required there :).

      If any of that was addressed to me, whatever. I don’t give a rat’s ass how protective OP chooses to be. I just don’t like the myth that the walk to school is somehow insta-death whereas 30 years ago it was a skipping frolic through fields of helpful unicorns.

      I think OP’s initial point is that he believes there should be fewer gun free zones, and I’m for that. I just think the story doesn’t illustrate that well.

  22. avatar JJ Swiontek says:

    Option 5. Get to know your local PD and become a part of the force. Part-time, weekends, fill in for officers on vacation. In-station duties only. Crime scene evidence collector/photographer. Anything that gets you in with the law. (Including being able to carry almost everywhere.)
    With cut-backs in budgets, most police orgs would be glad for even a part-time volunteer.

    1. avatar Brad Kozak says:

      Interesting idea. I’ve actually looked into that in Texas. There, the drill is you have to go through what amounts to Basic Training (TCLEOSE) and get qualified. Then you can work as a part-time officer, I think scheduled one weekend a month, and agreeing to be “on call” in case of emergencies. Not sure about here in Louisiana. But, God willing, we should be moving back to Texas within a year’s time. I hope.

  23. Your kids won’t learn to handle themselves until given the opportunity to learn.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email