I have a confession to make. My gun accompanies me every day in every place it’s legal. No surprise, right? Different folks carry for many reasons. There’s a reason I pack my heater — aside from the fact I worked my tail off for nearly twenty years to help bring right-to-carry to Illinois. I carry because I don’t like bullies.
In my childhood, I got picked on a lot. I suffered a lot of abuse from bullies. In my first few years of school my parents forbade me from hitting back.
In those days, both of my parents leaned towards the peace and love end of the political spectrum. Neither believed that violence solved problems. They tied my hands and told me to reason with my attackers.
The bullies knew that and, looking back, I believe my reluctance to fight back made me a target.
To make matters worse, the house I grew up in sat away from the rest of the subdivision. That made me sort the odd kid out at the bus stop. I regularly found myself on the receiving end of intimidation. On really special days I got knuckle sandwiches as an after-school snack.
By about the fifth grade, my parents told me I could start fighting back. As a skinny, clueless, glasses-wearing geek, you can probably guess how well that worked out against the older, bigger and stronger kids.
I quickly learned the benefits of “stacking” the opponents when they ganged up on me. Yes, I learned that and many other hard lessons. Over time, I got better at fighting when I absolutely had to. What’s more, I grew to appreciate the taste of my own blood. I certainly tasted it enough.
Things began to change early my freshman year in high school.
It started one morning with a kid a couple of years younger than me putting a wire hangar around my throat and choking me with all his strength. This happened as I sat directly behind the bus driver who was supposed to “protect” me from abuse.
I managed to turn around the keep the wire off my neck. Meanwhile, the kid still tugged hard on the hangar, which now pulled against the back of my neck. I reared back and hit the kid solidly in the nose.
I connected well. Something cracked under my fist and blood poured out of his nose and mouth like a faucet. Of course, he howled.
Minutes later at school, I went directly to the assistant principal’s office. I told him what happened and said I couldn’t ride that bus any more. Later I saw the ligature bruises on my throat in the bathroom mirror. I had a bigger problem though.
My attacker had an older brother. Far worse, the older brother earned his reputation as the biggest bully on the bus.
In the end, my old man and the assistant principal had a little pow-wow. I have no idea what was said, but I never saw my attacker or his older brother on that bus again.
Frankly, I didn’t ride that bus but a few more times during my school career. After that day, my mom or dad usually dropped me off an hour or two before school and spent that time in the computer lab. Or later, I drove myself.
Looking back, other incidents happened occasionally including a couple of baseball bat attacks. They hit me and when I had a chance, I hit them back. It seemed only fair. The bullying pretty much ended as a direct result of the judicious application of fisticuffs and “unfair” fighting techniques.
In adulthood, I’ve worked for many years to sharpen my skill sets and add to them with training. I can paper walls with all the training certificates. Years of work means I do okay with handguns, rifles and knives. About three and a half years ago, I took up Krav Maga earning my yellow and orange belts and will soon probably test for green.
While some people take golf or tennis lessons, I train to improve altogether different skills. Those other people can play golf. I prefer to study the art of self-protection. In doing so, I’ve become a hard target for bullies. And what stops bullies also stops criminals.
I don’t hide my skills under a bushel basket. I share them. For twenty years now, I’ve shared my passion for self-protection. My fellow instructors and I have taught thousands how to protect themselves against attack and I find it incredibly gratifying. Not only have my skills kept me from falling victim to bullies and criminals, they’ve done the same for more than a few of our students.
One student used his pistol to thwart a drunken knife-wielding thug in his living room. Several more dealt with home intrusions successfully. Others have avoided or survived criminal attack in public. Helping good people avoid becoming victims gives me a great deal of satisfaction. We’ve helped save good peoples’ lives. That’s a noble and gratifying endeavor.
So now you know why I love gun ownership. Now you know why I fight so hard to defend your right to defend yourself. Bullies respect force, not stern words or finger-wagging.
What do I carry? First off, I carry a strong survival mindset. I avoid trouble, and if it finds me, I will never submit or stop fighting using the tools and techniques I’ve learned, practiced and mastered. Yes, I carry a pistol that shall remain nameless. OpSec demands discretion today. I also carry an impressive folder and sometimes a fixed blade as well.
In addition, I’ve traded my karambit for another gun. While the karambit has great versatility and looks fearsome, a (second) handgun deploys more easily.