Dan Wos of the Defining Success in America blog writes:
When I was a kid, my Dad took me out hunting and target shooting. He loved it. Me, not so much. It just wasn’t my thing. I tried, but I just wasn’t interested. I mean, I didn’t dislike guns and I wasn’t scared of them. I just wasn’t all that interested. When he would buy a new pistol, he would show it to me and I could tell he loved these things. Of course I showed interest and they were actually kinda’ cool, but I was more interested in my guitar so I never really jumped on board with the whole “gun thing” . . .
My Dad would even build his own rifles. I remember going down to the basement where he would be assembling old muzzle loader replicas, oiling the wood, staining and just working on these things with such passion. I would later recognize and understand that passion. For me, cars would bring out the same thing.
I was always aware of sort of an “anti-gun” niche of people and they never really mattered to me because I never had a vested interest in guns throughout most of my life. I just thought, “Some people like guns and some don’t. So what?” It wasn’t until later in life that I started to see the importance and value in firearms.
One night my wife and I were coming out of a late movie at the mall theater in Albany, New York. We were walking down the dark sidewalk to the back parking lot. Sue was walking down the center of the sidewalk and I was to her right (closest to the curb). A guy was walking directly toward her, also in the center of the sidewalk. He was about six foot five, maybe two hundred and fifty pounds. He wearing a hoodie, so I could barely see his face. But I could tell he was not happy and he was not moving to the side.
When you’re in a situation like this, it’s hard to rationalize it away. The “Fight or Flight” mechanism kicks in. As much as some people will tell you not to judge people or assume they are bad and looking for trouble, I challenge you to calm your internal reactions when your mind and body are reacting to perceived danger. I don’t care who you are, you get scared. Fear creates a visceral response, whether we like it or not.
As this creep gets closer to Sue, walking straight toward her, I’m boiling over with adrenaline and trying to keep calm. “He is not moving to the side,” I thought. “He’s gonna run right into her.” When he got about three feet away from her, she quickly moved to her right. He bumped her so hard in the shoulder that she bumped into me and knocked me off the curb. We both almost fell over. The hoodie-wearing guy kept walking down the center of the sidewalk like he owned it. This was no accident. He was clearly looking for trouble and trying to get a reaction out of me.
I turned around still holding her hand and started to lay into this a$$hole. Before the words came out, visions of my wife, my son, my beautiful life and everything I’ve worked so hard to build flashed before my eyes. I had a moment of reality in a time of sheer anger and fear. To be honest, I didn’t want to get hurt. Most importantly, I didn’t want my wife to get hurt. And if something extreme were to happen, I didn’t want my son to be alone. Back in the time when I didn’t have the responsibilities, I would have given that thug a piece of my mind. But somehow I had this moment of clarity. We slowly walked to the car as I bit my lip.
Sue and I got into the car. We were silent for a few minutes. I slowly put the key in the ignition, turned to look at her – feeling the most shameful, irresponsible and incapable I have ever felt. I told her I was sorry. I was sorry I’d put her in danger. I was sorry I could not have defended her against this monster if a life-threatening attack had ensued. I was sorry I was unable to protect and defend one of the two most important people in my life. I realized in that moment that life is vulnerable and as a man it is my responsibility to take care of and protect my family. That night I did not and I was ashamed.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen some wild things, done some wild things and been in some situations that…well, let’s just say it’s a miracle I’m here. But I’m a bit older now. I’d like to think I’m wiser and beyond the point in my life that I want to be rolling around on the ground exchanging punches with anyone. I told Sue in the car that night, that as long as she was with me I would never let her be defenseless again. I told her I was getting a gun. I was driven by fear.
As I discuss in my book Defining Success in America [autoplay audio at the link] fear increases or decreases in direct proportion to the amount and quality of available information you have relevant to your needs. Without a gun, my fear of an attack is greater; I don’t have enough information on how to survive. With a gun, I have a great deal of information about how to prevail. It doesn’t mean I will. But I have enough to keep my fear in [relative] check. Carrying a gun reduces my fear of violent attack and makes it easier to defend innocent life.
To make this leap, first you have to get over your fear of guns.
Anti-gunners constantly work to make people afraid of guns. They manipulate stats, wave the bloody shirt of victims of firearms-related crime and portray gun owners as trigger-happy emotionally unstable racist rednecks. They want people to think guns “go off” all by themselves. That guns are dangerous just sitting there. They use fear to manipulate people to support their agenda. They do their best to keep information about the positive side of gun ownership out of the mainstream media and fight against genuine gun safety education. They don’t want people to have any positive information about guns.
Many people don’t know how ignorant they are about guns – until they suddenly discover that they need some hands-on information right now. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am. Not everyone lives to acknowledge and correct that ignorance. To see the importance of armed defense. To embrace its value, master its practice and promote it to others so they, too, can protect themselves. Those who don’t find out the truth about guns until it’s too late die in fear. And that’s no way to go.
To your Success,