By Nathan Reed
I will be turning 21 in a month and have decided to begin carrying concealed in my daily life. I know this is no small undertaking, and as such have been trying to nail down when I would engage, when I would draw, and when I would actually shoot. Over the past two years, this is what I have come up with . . .
I would only engage when a situation has become impossible to escape from. As with many other concealed carriers, I have decided that non-confrontation is best. To me, engagement does not necessarily mean drawing my weapon. If possible, talking down a non-violent confrontation would be best. If I sense that the situation is getting violent, I’d try to walk away. If not, then I move to step two.
Step two is drawing my weapon. Again, this is only done if I sense that a confrontation is getting violent. My hope in drawing is that the person will back down to where I can exit the situation. When I draw, I would immediately get distance between the other (if there wasn’t already distance) and me so that they cannot disarm me as easily. If they begin to close this distance is when I’d move on to step three.
Step three is the decision to shoot. If the person continues to close the distance and presents a threat to my life, then I will decide to shoot. If it comes to this, I honestly don’t even know if I’d be able to pull the trigger, but I’d have the tools necessary.
In a discussion in my political theory class last fall, we were discussing natural rights and when it is appropriate to take a life. The professor gave a real-life example of someone breaking into her house when she was home. A few people said that she automatically had the right to shoot the intruder. My response reflected my three-step system. I said that under the natural rights doctrine, one can only take the life of another if they are trying to take your life. Simply breaking into your house does not mean that they are a threat to your life. However if they were to advance upon you after you drew a gun, then they would be classified as a threat and deadly force would be justified.
Now that I have set up my system, I have to address the probability of using my weapon. I live in Wyoming where crime is low. The probability of using it is quite low. However, I moved here last fall from California. I was halfway between Stockton and Modesto, two cities that constantly rank on the worst places in America to live.
My city did its best to keep gangs out, but it did trickle over from time to time. My experiences there have taught me that it is better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it (pretty cliché, I know). Here’s to hoping I don’t need it.