Reader Ripcord writes:
For the first time in two years, the family and I are headed out on a real vacation. We booked it months ago to jibe with my work schedule and their school schedules. Saturday we boarded a plane and off we went. We landed grabbed the bags and off to the hotel. After checking in, it was a three-block walk to a Japanese restaurant and I commented how naked I felt with without my 1911. The walk was on a lit street area, but it still didn’t feel right.
As a part time LEO, I usually carry just about everywhere, but since we would be leaving Florida for the Bahamas, there’s no way to cary as the places we would be wouldn’t allow it and there was no way to get a handgun out of the country. After a decent steak and an eight course meal, the walk back uneventful. I capped off the evening with some Tom Clancy and it was good night.
Next morning, standing in line for a roller coaster, I checked my phone, looked at Drudge and that’s when I see it — a shooting in Orlando. Wanna guess what city we were in? Yup.
The wife started getting on me about checking my phone every few minutes, reminding me I’m suppose to be on vacation. Then I showed her the headline.
As the morning progressed, I started seeing more security — unarmed security walking around the park. Now in pairs and then, everyone once in a while, groups of 4 or 5. My head was on a swivel looking at all the places to egress if necessary. Then there were reports of a tweet about something happening at a hospital.
Mid way through the day I pulled the wife aside and said, if something were to happen, the smartest thing will be not to run with the masses. We go sideways and look for a place to hunker down. There are plenty of areas with lots of vegetation, and only animated animals, not real ones. The plan was to get low and not be part of a human wave being crushed in a panic for exists.
She agreed and we have a short discussion with the boys that if a panic were to break out, follow us, not crowd. Stay close so as to not get separated. If we do get separated, we picked a place to meet.
After the park I grabbed the Mrs. and we went for a walk around the hotel. She thought we are looking for a place for dinner. I’m looking at the hard and soft points.
We stop for a drink and ask the bartender about what he’d heard as a local. He hadn’t hear much, but the property owners are keeping the talk to a minimum. Not a single TV I’d seen since Sunday morning had been on a news channel. All have been on sports or something else.
My biggest challenge now is getting my CRKT knife past security so I have something more than a ball point pen and my hands. At the water taxi, we were getting wanded before entering the park again. As I empty the pockets of my cargo shorts, the female “security” officer started to fumble with my wallet looking at the bulge and asks whats inside.
“My star,” I answer. “Where from?” I tell her I then tell her my thoughts about the bullshit of off-dutys not being able to carry around here in light of what happened. She rolls her eyes. Her expression says that the security officers can’t even carry and they don’t like it.
But Capt. Obvious, her partner with the wand, must have heard something and decided to go over me with a fine-toothed comb. His pseudo Harry Potter stick went off around by waist, and asks me if I’m carrying? “No,” was the answer, and then he asked me to lift my shirt. So my sun-deprived belly and rigger’s belt are there for him to see. Satisfied, I retrieve my stuff and move along.
Day two was much the same. More security out and about in the parks, nothing on the tubes and thousands of people walking around like Harry Potter and Diagon Alley are real. Every line is an exercise in finding the best egress routes and with family splitting up, establishing rally points.
The wife is really bad about answering her cell phone, unlike moi, who has it as an electronic leash. I have the greatest wife in the world, but getting her to think like this has been a slow process. At least we’re past the point of 1000 questions. It’s no longer “Do you really think they would….” The headlines this week tell us the answer is yes.
As I pound these thoughts out at the bar, I’ve spotted more than one person packing. None of them seem to fit the LE “type.” One patron says I’m working way to hard and we broach the subject. This is Florida, not New York is his first retort. “True but the rules are….” His response was, “If that had happened in a biker bar, how many dead? — Two, the first biker and the shooter.”
Based on the GLOCK 43 and or LCP that appear to be in some front pockets, some people aren’t leaving this up to someone else. That leaves some of my faith in humanity intact.
There may be rooms of black-clad armor-wearing private contractors waiting to go should something erupt, but thousands of people are are more than content to act as if nothing has changed, that Shrek, the Minions and Harry Potter really exist. Yet over 100 people were just shot, about half of them killed some 48 hours ago on the other side of town.
I feel for the people who were murdered. And the hypocrisy of the left on this will be left for another column. But one thing has been reinforced since early Sunday morning. We are responsible for our own safety and self defense. The circumstances here are less than ideal; no carry piece, no truck gun, no backup, or friend close by to phone. Nothing more than a multi-tool and a pocket knife (and my 16-year-old argued with me about putting one of the Surefire lights in his pack).
I feel like MacGyver.