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I’m not a caustic person by nature, but I have my moments like everyone else. Cut me off in traffic? I’ll likely curse your name. Take the last bacon, egg and cheese breakfast taco? Our houses are at war. But strap a gun to my hip and I’m the friendliest Texan you’ve ever met. I’ll gladly yield to you on the road and you can feel free to Bogart that last taco as I’m trying to cut my intake a bit anyway. When I’m strapped . . .

I tip better and make polite conversation with the checkers at my local grocery store. I say please and thank you and sir and ma’am. Maybe it’s because I’m always a bit more aware of what’s going on around me when I carry. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that I have a very powerful tool tucked in my waistband that has the potential to alter lives if used improperly. Either way, an armed Tyler is a polite Tyler. How about you? Are you a nicer, friendlier person when you exercise your naturalcivil, and Constitutionally protected right to self defense?

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95 Responses to Question of the Day: More Polite When Armed?

      • I think you don’t understand the meaning of “indifferent.” It has nothing to do with being polite.

        • Don’t feel offended. Sarcasm doesn’t seem to be a universal language.

    • I agree with Tyler. No I do not need a gun on me to be nice to people. I would relate it to an officer putting on his uniform. (Not that I’m a wannabe cop either.) I just feel a heightened sense of purpose and responsibility when I carry. That feeling goes up 1,000% when I open carry because my attitude (or lack thereof) has real consequences / reverberation with anyone that I interact with.

      • for those of you that feel no difference “or claim not” to in their behavior really need to stop and do a reality check and reread what tyler said> if you are not more aware and feel more engaged and a higher lvl of responsibility when your carrying then perhaps you need to rethink why and if you need to carry at all or even own a gun period. unlike most tools we have around the house and the job a gun can make a serious and deadly impact on a persons life with one small ounce of pressure on the trigger, and if that does not make you feel “different” when you carry you my not a brother of myne dont need to have that responsibility on your hip

        • Carry a gun long enough and its as common as your wallet and watch. You aren’t different with it and you aren’t thinking about the responsibility it brings because you’ve thought of all those things so many times that it’s banal and ingrained. That doesn’t mean you’re not being safe and responsible, it just means that ‘gun carrier’ isn’t how you’re self defining, you’re a person, various equipment attatched. Being a greatly different person while armed is a bit like being a different person when carrying a pen; you’re not walking around thinking about all the things you could write on or looking for documents to sign, and you’re not concerned about signing in the wrong place or marking someone’s clothing with your pen, it’s just a pen, when you need to write you bring it out, the rest of the time it’s half forgotten until something prompts you that you might need it.

          Contrary to what you said, the guys who worry me are the ones who are thinking about their gun all the time. It’s natural at first, but after a year or two if you’re still thinking differently while armed something is a little off. It should become as natural and normal as any other object you’re carrying.

    • Not sure about general politeness but avoiding confrontation, yes. This is likely the biggest reason CCW holders hardly ever get in trouble for things like road rage, bar fights, making scenes, and myriad other misdemeanors. If somebody is going to cut in line, you aren’t going to escalate that. You let it happen because you know it can turn into arguing, then screaming, then a physical confrontation and that cannot happen. Same with road rage. Same with somebody bumping into you or leering at your wife or whatever. Go along get along. Deescalate whenever possible, which could be perceived as politeness. And double down on avoiding situations where anything of this sort is vaguely likely.

  1. You fvckin know it man, I almost feel like its 50% obligation because I am armed and if I have to unskin that smoke wagon I better have been polite prior to it, and 50% that I am SO MUCH more aware of everything and the nuances of people’s behavior around me.

    I play a really fun trolly game in Walmart and other places where I smile and greet almost everyone who makes eye contact with me, and Im always making eye contact 🙂

    The reason its fun imho is that people either have no idea how to react OR they will completely avoid all contact, stare at the ground and walk away OR when its an older person/little old lady, they love it because no one is polite at all to them anymore.

    When I was a kid, we talked about how much more polite southerners were and cordial compared to other places or what have you, that is a long time gone in my eyes.

    It just seems like people have decided its easier to be shittier to one another and our current culture almost encourages it imho.

    EDIT: Although Im generally a pretty polite guy anyway, after going around being a complete DBAG for a few years gives you quite a perspective.

    /SocietalFacepalm

    • You said something that made me realize the main reason why it feel like we are more polite when we carry. Its all about eye contact.
      I personally when not carrying, only make eye contact with the people at arms length while quickly scanning over everyone else. When armed I find myself making eye contact with everyone my eyes crosses in at 20 or more feet away. Those are more interactions than the ones when not armed so it might seem to my subconscious brain as if i’m being less polite when not armed when in fact im being just as polite with or without a gun.

  2. I have no idea. I have been carrying for all of my adult life. And I was brought up to be courteous to others.

  3. I consider myself to be a pretty polite, respectable person without the gun. Either I was raised right, or I realize that anyone around me could be armed…

  4. Now that I think about it, I am as well, at least a little. It doesn’t impact how I tip, or change how I curse the idiot that just tried to kill me on the freeway, but for direct interactions with other people I believe I do tend to be a touch nicer.

    • Right, but purple, monkey dishwaters like tables named Sal…

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I must leave you to ponder my motives and meaning.

    • I’m all for mental care checks! It won’t pay for any licensing (don’t need that), but it WILL pay for the tax-stamp for my new suppressor, thereby reducing stress caused by govt. a-holes 🙂 – now THAT’s effective mental care. 😉 Why don’t I email you my name an address so you can make one out to me…

  5. “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” – Robert A. Heinlein

  6. I have to agree with JustAguy, 100%. As my mom used to say, “A person who is not nice to the waiter is not a nice person,” I would suggest a person who is not nice without a gun on his hip is not a nice person.

    I don’t need extrinsic motivation to get along with others.

  7. I have to confess, I do feel a little more confident. Generally try not to be hard to get along with, but knowing i have an advantage tends to make me want to encourage others, give a little praise for good service.

    Now that you’ve brought that to light, I will try to change and be encouraging all the time.

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more. when I conceal carry as well I try to be the best me I can be. I use that concept as a tool to reaffirm that if I ever have to use deadly force I had no other option because everything else was already exhausted.

  9. My driving habits, interactions with others, and attitude in general are not dictated by the contents of my pockets.

    • This. I always try to be friendly & courteous whether I’m carrying or not; it’s just how I was raised.

  10. I dunno if I’m more polite (I’m generally a nice person), but I do notice I’m…calmer. Ever since I started carrying 8 years ago, I’ve definitely mellowed out. Not sure if it’s just me getting a little older (early 30’s now), or the fact that having a weapon on my hip is a good reminder that anyone and everyone could be armed, legally or not.

    how’s that old phrase go: an armed society is a polite one? yeah, pretty much that.

  11. My mama raised me polite, so with or without the piece, that’s usually how I am. Now that I got kids, I’m also trying to fix how often I curse out other drivers in Seattle traffic… LOL.

  12. I’m very polite when I’m carrying. I don’t want to have to explain the the jury why I failed to de-escalate the situation without using lethal force. Or why I escalated the situation in the first place.

    Of course, my parents raised me to be polite in the first place. I’m just hyperaware of it when carrying.

  13. I am always polite, though I am caustic. People generally find it funny in a “jerk with a heart of gold” way.

    I am more calm when armed, maybe the fact that you can mess up your own life with the improper use of your tools forces you to be calm?

  14. I try to be nice, but eventually I come across a person who is legitimately dumb, and then I become a pretty big a- hole, it really ruins my day sometimes.

    • I have pretty much the same temperament and tolerance for morons. I ran into a moron today, and not just any moron, but an obnoxious, demanding, stubbornly wrong-headed moron. I just laughed in their face and walked off. The look on their face was priceless. If it’s not a life or death situation

      Laughter is the best medicine. Just laugh in morons’ faces and roll out. Done.

  15. I’ve always been polite, but reserved, but then again I’m from Seattle, so that’s reflex. When I started carrying I did start think specifically about how any situation may or may not evolve into conflict, and that could potentially have changed my actions at some point. I couldn’t tell you for certain though.

    • I live in Seattle too. It’s so odd that people here clam up if you make eye contact and say “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.”

      • That’s funny you should say that, as I live in Seattle as well, and I have seemed to notice that this is a much more polite city than others I have lived in. Polite to the point of being passive aggressive. I used to live in San Francisco years ago, and I actually miss the open hostility from strangers sometimes.

        • If you really miss hostility, try open carry in Seattle. Sure, state law says it’s legal–but those anti-gunners are crazy.

  16. Every woman that I’ve been in a relationship with has, early on, nicknamed me jackass so that gives a baseline for my real personality I guess. I don’t like being disarmed so I tend to be a bit crabby at those times. So, I’d say I’m slightly more polite when I’m armed simply because I’m overall happier and perhaps a bit more laid back, relaxed. I’ve been armed my whole adult life and parts of my life as a minor so it just feels abnormal to not be armed.

    • Every woman that I’ve been in a relationship with has, early on, nicknamed me jackass

      My standard introduction was: Hi, I’m an @sshole.

      I married the woman that answered: Hi, I’m a b1tch.

      • Oh God…*wipes away tears*… That is so romantic, so beautiful. If I ever get married I can only hope the first meeting is as romantic as that.

        Seriously, isn’t that an awkward story to tell the kids when they ask how Mommy and Daddy met?

        • Despite what parents may tell their children, mommy and daddy ARE allowed to lie.

        • That wouldn’t be nearly as much fun for me as you telling the truth would.

  17. I’m always polite and aware. Like most people I do have a bit of road rage. But put a gun in my hands or in my car, and I too become an extra level of nice. I know that I now have the responsibility of a lot more than just myself.

    So yes, I get the same effect. I’m more aware, more polite, and even more neutral in a discussion with a firearm around.

  18. When you have the firearm you have to put up with a lot more aggravation/crap than if you were not. If you do not and the situation goes bad…..

  19. I’m always polite and generally thoughtful of others; a firearm does not change that.

    I don’t really like this argument from the pro-gun side because it is difficult for non-gun people to understand how a tool suddenly makes someone a more pleasant/observative/responsible person. Plus I definitely know people who carry a gun who aren’t polite/patient at all times. So I think it’s a poor argument in general.

  20. “I tip better and make polite conversation with the checkers at my local grocery store. I say please and thank you and sir and ma’am.”
    Other than the polite conversation, this is how I acted long before I owned a gun.

  21. Well at the moment I don’t carry. Don’t as of yet have a permit. But I will in time. So with that said maybe I’m a poor authority on the subject. But it seems to me that gun people such as us understand the responsibility that comes with being armed out and about in general society. A part of that is that it’s vitally important to realize the concept that avoid conflict is a key concept.

  22. I wouldn’t say I’m more polite, but I am more forgiving of people. My wife actually refuses to go to the store with me unless I’m armed. Because I’ve been known to yell at other people’s kids for their bad behavior. When armed, I shrug it off, apologize, tell them it’s nothing and that kids will be kids and limp away (after having been run over by a brat slams a cart into me, in both prior examples).
    I won’t say I’m a nicer person, because I try to be nice to most people (except for terrorists, pedophiles and people who drive slow in the left hand lane).

  23. Armed….., think about it if you have been militarily trained. You are always armed and in most instances trained to react instinctively. My friends have told me that I became a much more amiable person after obtaining the skills and instincts from an intense set of combat and survival courses. It has a lot to do with the knowledge that you can end a confrontation rather quickly. It also stems from the self-confidence that comes with the ability. And people need to realize that a large part of our population has military training since we seem to be constantly involved in conflicts around the globe. Most of the people I worked with in the military were cognizant of these facts and the military society was a much more civil environment than our civilian society has become. You should always treat everyone as you would like to be treated regardless of your martial ability or CCW status…., or their’s.

  24. I was pretty dissatisfied with the service at Red Lobster the other day. On any other occasion, I would have asked for a refund and had the food hauled away.
    I was carrying. The server couldn’t have been oblivious to the fact.
    I was kind; polite. Smiled pleasantly. Said thank you, and paid for the meal. Though I didn’t eat it.
    Ugh.

  25. I don’t have to be carrying a gun to be polite to people in the first place.

    That is something I learned early on in my childhood, and not even out of being punished for not being so.. though that still did happen a couple times ’cause I was an ornery little shit. But, that’s neither here nor there.

    My behavior doesn’t change when I’m carrying, except that I’m a little more vigilant.

  26. I’m the same person with or without a gun.

    I don’t change who I am because of where I’m at, who I’m with, or what I’m carrying.

  27. I am always nice, friendly toward others, and smile. But since I open carry I am pretty conscious about representing and being a good ambassador for the gun community.

  28. I try to be extra sappy-drippy-nice when I am carrying openly because I want to be an excellent ambassador. (I try to dress up a bit as well when carrying openly.) Otherwise, I am the same whether I am armed or not.

    A more interesting question is when are we NOT armed?

  29. I was a but those when I was younger in occasion. I decided being a but those is not the way to go so I decided to change. Life’s a lot better. I didn’t start carrying until last year so I had already passed my but those phase in life by about 8-10 years.

  30. I’ve never carried legally. I doubt it would make an iota of difference. When I do ( in Illinois) I’ll let youl all know. I do carry a knife and a pepper blaster. One thought I have is the anti’s reading this & thinking “gun nuts are only NICE because they can kill me BS.” That is all.

  31. I’m always polite. I do try to make myself less of a presence when carrying. I try not to speed, honk, yell, or make an a55 or target of myself.

  32. Perhaps it’s because an LCP in the back pocket is merely like carrying another wallet, but I hardly even give it a thought these days. So no, I wouldn’t say I’m any different. I’m friendly, polite and laid back at all times, and pretty much always have been, long before I got a permit and carried. Having moved from the Ozarks to Northwestern Georgia, I was a bit surprised to discover that the people here are just as open and friendly as they were back in Missouri, if not more so. Down in Atlanta they’re a bit more reserved sometimes, but it’s hardly noticeable.

    I’m not without faults, of course. If there’s anything I guess I ought to be concerned about, it’s that I drive too fast at times, especially in back country roads. And I’ve wondered how I would explain to a sheriff’s deputy that I was carrying a sidearm and late to class (hence the speeding down back roads) if it ever came to that. But other than that, totally chill.

    Tom

  33. I’m not 21 yet so I don’t carry, but when I drive to the range I do drive better (well, more to the letter of the law)

  34. I was raised to be polite, plus I’ve been in customer service (mostly phone support) for 20+ years, so I’m nice to service folks – waiters, drive through staff, register checkout clerks, and so on. I’m polite to anyone else until they show they aren’t deserving of it. Stupid drivers do get sworn at, but I don’t gesture so much anymore. I’m still waiting on my CHL (thanks for being slow, Texas DPS), and I don’t expect my behavior to change once I’m packing. I’m already observant when I walk around, I make eye contact with people as they approach and smile (and if they smile back, will usually say something of a greeting).

    So, bottom line, no, I don’t think I will be more polite when armed, I already am.

    • I’m not a fan of the entire carry license idea to begin with, but that’s the law for now. That said, DPS issued about 242,000 licenses last year. That’s up from about 146,000 licenses issued in 2012, or a 65% year-over-year increase. I don’t have 2014’s YTD figures, but I’d expect the strong upward trend continues. That’s not even counting the applications denied, suspended, or revoked, which all takes up manpower to process. So DPS does have quite a workload to deal with.

      All I can tell you is that as a CHL instructor myself, I happen to know a couple of people in DPS’ licensing office and even I, of all skeptical people, am convinced that they’re serious about processing the applications and complying with the law. This isn’t Illinois where they’re looking at that overdue library book you paid a 25 cent fine for in 1978 and concluding you’re history’s greatest monster, so no license for you.

      Unless you have some very complicated background that includes residences in multiple counties, states and countries, plus various arrests, indictments, or psychiatric commitments, all of which must be confirmed for any legally disqualifying items, you will receive your CHL within the 60 day statutory limit. Probably sooner. They were backlogged for several months after the 2008 election, but they’ve made a lot of improvements in the process since then. I assure you they’re not jerking you around and they’re not the typical government bureaucracy with an infuriating “We’ll get to it when we get to it” attitude.

      Hope this eases the waiting some. Congrats on your CHL application, my friend.

  35. This is the way I look at it. If someone spit in my face (it’s considered assault) and I were unarmed, I’d kick the ever living sh!t out of them. If I were armed a response of any sort wouldn’t be worth it and I’d walk away knowing that the next guy who’s face he spat in would kick the sh!t out of him for me. So I wouldn’t call it polite, I’d call it tolerant. I’m more tolerant when armed.

  36. I dislike every one equally all the time.
    I trust none at anytime.
    But Im polite and courteous to every one too.
    No reason not to be.
    Unless provoked..
    Breathe my air and move on please.
    Armed or not……………
    But I am armed 24/7.
    So it changes nothing about me.
    LOL.

    • Why do I suspect there’s a t-shirt that reads “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet” laying around in a drawer at your house somewhere? I’m not knocking it, mind you, I’m just saying.

  37. Not for me. They say an armed society is a polite society, but that still presupposes some kind of society, as in a civilized society, to begin with. So there’s already some inveterate order of social mores and folkways and taboos geared toward fostering peacefully coexistence. Just go about your business being normally cordial and respectful of people, regardless of your being armed, and you’ll be fine.

    Being extra super nice isn’t going to shield you from someone who would initiate violence against you anyway. So there’s nothing to be gained, but possibly something to be lost if they regard you as being especially soft, by laying on the saccharine sweetness.

  38. I carry 24/7 on duty and off. I am polite on duty and off. The only difference is behind the wheel: if for some reason I am not carrying when I am driving, (rare, but it does happen), I tend to drive like the teenager I once was.

  39. I’ve been armed so much of the time for so long and I’m so seldom disarmed that it’s hard to notice a difference. I think I’m probably more likely to engage with strangers when armed than not, but that’s likely because being disarmed these days makes me feel a little off. I don’t think much about my gun(s) when it’s there, but I sure notice when I have to take it off. That said I’m polite to a fault and have never been one to escalate a situation. I don’t have any issue with confronting someone who is terribly out of line and can be very assertive when need be but most of the time I weigh the actual cost of whatever the other person is up to and unless its pretty serious I shrug it off. If I do speak up there is little chance that I’m going to back off. Choose your battles I guess, but the things that will make me speak up are few and most of them are either criminal or flat out dangerous.

  40. I’m generally very nice and polite but I’m more careful about my reaction to others behavior when armed. When cycling (unarmed, need a sweatproof aero holster) I’m quite likely to pull drivers out through the window by their ears when I catch them having done something willfully stupid or aggressive. No one calls the cops after having their ass beat in the middle of the road by some one in Lycra and silly shoes.

    • Somebody on a bicycle rides up beside me while I am driving and reaches through the window for me catches a .45 center mass, without any warning. Just sayin’. You are right, tho, I wouldn’t call the cops, just drive away.

  41. I am already polite, however, I do keep a tighter lid on any anger. I also think about things for slightly longer before I say them.

  42. I think it changes some people because they are now cognizant of the fact that their life is in play (a la the Hienlien quote). Carrying puts some people in a defensive mindset who would not otherwise be in one. Not necessarily a bad thing. For those who inculcate that mindset in general I don’t think it changes behavior.

    That said…In traffic? Perhaps I am less polite than I should be…

  43. nope. same mixed bag of probing/ quickly disinterested extrovertism regardless. escalation avoidance, sure.
    i almost always initiate exchanges with the masses. my kid once said to me ‘why do you talk to people?’ but politeness can go south fast, depending.
    around here, as the ink is still drying, there does seem to be a knowing look in many eyes. polite as it ever was.
    and the ‘feel safes’ plod along, clueless.

  44. I never start shit, but I also tend to not back away from it, either. That said, I walk away briskly when carrying because I know something a shit-talking antagonist doesn’t: that it could end with him dead on the ground if I don’t.

    • Yum! You got a problem with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon or sausage, a bit o’ picante and a pepper or 2? The whole country loves them, McDonalds even serves them.

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