Far too many CCW holders are situational carriers. They decide whether or not to tote a piece before leaving home based on where they’re headed and their expectation of the danger level there. I’m just running down to the store for a loaf of bread, I don’t need my heater. Except when you do. There is, of course, no way of knowing what can happen or who will approach you, even in the best of neighborhoods or on the shortest of trips. While I haven’t experienced it, I’d imagine thinking about your pistol back home while someone holds you at gunpoint can be a pretty empty feeling. I have no idea whether Karolyn Browden has ever even seen a gun, let alone is licensed to carry one, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t expect trouble when she dropped her kids off at school last week…

Browden had evidently gone all Mr. Mom and violated the school’s drop-off lane etiquette in some way that got Claudia Flowers-Vassell a little hot under the collar. As ajc.com reports, that’s when Flowers-Vassell pulled her car up alongside Browden’s and made her displeasure known.

“’Are you ready for this? Are you ready for this?’” Browden said Claudia Flowers-Vassell, who is now in DeKalb County sheriff’s custody, repeatedly asked her around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday.

The woman, driving her 2008 Honda Civic toward Browden’s vehicle, had suddenly stopped next to Browden before leaving the Lithonia school’s drop-off area.

“I got something for you,” the woman then told Browden, who said a heated exchange ensued. At one point the woman said something about “staying in your lane,” said Browden, whose vehicle was the last of four or five cars in the drop-off lane at the time.

Flowers-Vassell then showed Browden a gun inside some kind of wrap, Browden said. “I asked her what she was going to do with it.”

Flowers-Vassell took the gun out the wrap and repeated, “I got something for you,” Browden said.

Fortunately for all concerned, Flowers-Vassell was only out to scare Browden, which she did with aplomb. Now the aggrieved car-pooler is facing three counts of pointing or aiming a firearm at another person and now resides in the DeKalb County jail.

“She didn’t look like she was in her right mind,” Browden told the AJC on Saturday in looking back on the incident.

Go figure.

Browden and her children have been traumatized by the incident, the kids not wanting to go back to school. Not that kids ever really need a reason for that. There were so many ways this situation, on a busy morning in front of an elementary school, could have turned into something truly horrible it boggles the mind.

Browden obviously wasn’t prepared for anything like what happened to her. She lives in Georgia, so she didn’t need a CCW license to have a gun in her car to protect herself and her kiddies. She was last in line in the drop-off lane and apparently never thought to throw the car into reverse when she realized she was staring down the barrel of a gun. This may have been a learning experience for her.

Long story short, though, you never really know when and where you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation. Statistics confirm that only a small fraction of people who are licensed to pack a gun actually do. In most states you can have a handgun in your car, licensed or not. Do yourself the favor of never having to wish you’d holstered your heater before heading out. Just carry it.

10 Responses to TIp of the Day: You Just Never Know

  1. Good point. Overall, my city is not a dangerous place as I’ve commented recently. I just learned that there was another gang shooting about 30 short blocks away from where I live. Last night, 40 rounds were fired into several bar windows after midnight probably by some local gangsters. Our idiot mayor will probably respond to this by declaring the city a shooting-free no-violence zone.

  2. A few issues:

    There many Federal and State Laws against carry a gun on or with 1000 feet of school property. If you do, you go directly to jail. This includes other govt. buildings and public spaces as well. So, yes, if I may be picking up or dropping off the kids at school especially in my home state of CT, I will not be carrying. My employer also does not allow fireams on their property, so I do not take it to work. Nor do I take it to church. This tells me you must be situationally aware by defacto in many states. I am sure in Montana you can just carry as you please not so in the Northeast.

    “Long story short, though, you never really know when and where you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation.”

    The gun culture like to foster hyper-paranoia — the boggy man is always around the corner. It is one thing to vigilant is another to believe that at any moment you will need you weapon to defend yourself. Being situationally aware and avoiding a bad situation is more prudent than to always being ready to pull the trigger. In my martial arts training we are taught to be ready to fight and to never have to back down from a fight but at the same time also know how to diffuse and avoid conflict unless there is no other choice.

    Finally, in this situation, with kids in the car, that person pulls their gun and this person pulls their gun — what happens next?

    it is not enough to have a gun unless you have the smarts to go along with it. I do not prescribe to the FUD.

    • This sounds more like an argument against so-called “gun free zones” which do not persuade bad people from carrying guns into them, such as this school. It just means that if an armed bad person escalates an incident and starts to shoot everyone, there is no one around to immediately respond. Please wait patiently for 5 minutes for a police response for it to be ended. A lot of damage can occur in that time.

      • Exactly what law do “bad people” obey? — which is the argument of the 2a crowd. I agree with you, but that will never happen in the paranoid Quad-state area (NY, NJ, CT and MA).

        I agree, if things go bad, 5 minutes and it is a mess everywhere….however, situational awareness is key in many scenarios.

        I have taken many motorsports classes (bike and car) as well as defensive driving class…a large part of those classes are knowing where you are in relation to everyone else because at 100+MPH things can go bad really fast and you need an out quick.

        In my martial arts training, we are taught to beat up the bad guy and make sure he is out for the count, but to be aware if he has buddies where they are too. That is why for my black belt I was required to take down 5 people in a certain time limit all attacking in concert…again, being aware of the surroundings.

        I see the same with CCW, it is nice to have on the hip if the need arises, it is also go to look for an out to not be in a gun fight if possible or to put yourself in a place of better advantage. Although I have not been to Gunsite yet, I believe this is what they also teach — its more about thinking through the situation than just gunning your way through it.

        Myself, when driving or dropping off always check all around me to make sure I am not blocked in for any reason or I have an out. Even if that mean waiting for some space between me and the person in front or happily piss off the person behind me.

        Maybe it is just me and my own paranoia or its my training, but I always look for the exits when I enter a building or any enclosed area (trains, buses, etc) and I will strategicly park my car if possible. I see my gun as one option of many and I hope if the time comes can choose wisely

        I am in NO WAY claiming I know best, this is just opinion and view

    • you might want to bone up on your state laws and on the federal Gun Free School Zone statute. The feds use it as an “enhancement” if you are convicted of another federal crime, such as drug dealing. Possessing a gun in your car as you pick up your kids is not a crime under state law, esp if you are licensed to carry.

      • Well in Florida you are allowed to have a gun in your car on school property as long as the mag is out of the gun.

      • http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap952.htm#Sec53a-217b.htm

        Sec. 53a-217b. Possession of a weapon on school grounds: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of possession of a weapon on school grounds when, knowing that such person is not licensed or privileged to do so, such person possesses a firearm or deadly weapon, as defined in section 53a-3, (1) in or on the real property comprising a public or private elementary or secondary school, or (2) at a school-sponsored activity as defined in subsection (h) of section 10-233a.

        (b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to the otherwise lawful possession of a firearm (1) by a person for use in a program approved by school officials in or on such school property or at such school-sponsored activity, (2) by a person in accordance with an agreement entered into between school officials and such person or such person’s employer, (3) by a peace officer, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 53a-3, while engaged in the performance of such peace officer’s official duties, or (4) by a person while traversing such school property for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting or for other lawful purposes, provided such firearm is not loaded and the entry on such school property is permitted by the local or regional board of education.

        (c) Possession of a weapon on school grounds is a class D felony

        Seems clear to me, no gun on school grounds

  3. Lat Saturday my wife and I were at a large suburban Virginia shopping mall and the topic of whether one or both us should be carrying. It was an unseasonably cold and raw day so the mall was as crowed as it would be in December. We concluded that you could never get a clear shot off unless the attacker was right on top of you. A gun was basicly worthless to us for self defense. Maybe it would provide some security in the parking garage but even the garage had a high probablity of a collateral hits.

  4. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. For this particular situation it seems that if the victim had a weapon and brandished it, nothing good could have happened. You pull out your heater and escalate the already messed up situation. What if that would have been just enough to push this nutcase over the top?

    Good to have a gun in a gunfight. Better to not have a gunfight. I’m at a loss for what’s “right” here…

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