It’s been a weird holiday. First one without my dad around, which has affected me more deeply and profoundly than I ever would have expected. First one with my life in this much chaos. And first one that I’ve been resolutely carrying concealed as much and as often as possible. And the mechanics, strategies, and tactics for getting my gun accessible brought to mind one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite movies of all time, Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead . . .
The Player: We’re more of the love, blood, and rhetoric school. Well, we can do you blood and love without the rhetoric, and we can do you blood and rhetoric without the love, and we can do you all three concurrent or consecutive. But we can’t give you love and rhetoric without the blood. Blood is compulsory. They’re all blood, you see.
Guildenstern: Is that what people want?
The Player: It’s what we do.
You see, when I carry, I have the peace-of-mind thing nailed. I know, carrying a concealed weapon, that I’ve covered the bases as far as being prepared (as much as one individual can be) for the bad stuff that can happen to good people. I also have the safety thing down. I’ve trained myself to be consciously competent regarding gun safety. And then there’s the anxiety thing…conceal carrying (especially outside your home state) is a challenge. I’m in a constant state of apprehension, as I don’t want to do ANYthing that violates a law, and risk getting my CHL pulled. THAT would be a bad thing.
Case in point, my New Year’s Day Night. (Sidebar…my daughter is brilliant. As a young child, she’d coin words all the time, many of them incredibly useful. For instance, one day she was talking about something that had happened the previous evening, and she said, “Well, Daddy, yesternight I said…” I stopped dead in my tracks. Yesternight? Then I thought, “I wonder why that’s not a word? We have ‘yesterday’…why not yesternight?” So I think we need a word for ‘New Year’s Day Night.’ I’ll get her working on that, pronto.)
I had a gig scheduled with my band, Agents Provocateurs, that evening, at a local watering hole. Like many clubs, this place has been through a number of name changes over the years, and along with it, a number of changes in the types of bands they book and the types of people they attract.But one thing has been consistent over the years – alcohol + people who drink (a lot) eventually = trouble of some kind or another. And I’m not a fan of trouble.
I’ve learned, over the years, that the best place to be when trouble starts is…somewhere else. So a bar would be the first place I’d want to be concealing my handgun. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s the one place that I CAN’T carry, at least in Louisiana. That leaves me with relying on the heavy prayer method of self defense.
Now, I’m a Christian and proud of it. I believe in prayer. But I also believe in the words of one B. Franklin, who opined that the Lord helps he who helps himself. To me, that means either keep your Alice B. Tookas outta harm’s way, or do a bit to even the odds and level the playing field so that the Lord Almighty doesn’t have to work a miracle to keep yo’ wuthless ass alive. In short, I’m thinking that intentionally putting myself in a potentially dangerous situation and relying only on prayer is the equivalent of relying on the rhythm method for birth control. (Planned Parenthood has a name for those who rely on the rhythm method to prevent pregnancy. They call them “parents.”)
Actually, it’s not the inside of the club I worry about. (As much.) It’s more getting from the club to my car with my gear. Nothing says “jack me up while I’m defenseless” like some guy in an alley, late at night, with both arms full of expensive musical equipment. One solution – keep the gun in the car. That would be marginally workable, except I drive a soft-top Jeep Wrangler, a vehicle synonymous with “lack of lockable storage.” And if you’re gun is locked up (as we’ve pointed out here on TTAG so often), it’s not readily accesible. And in a mugging situation, “not readily accesible” = “might as well not have it.” Sigh…
So I ended up trusting to the the rhythm method…um…the duck and pray method to get me home without harm. Ugh. But since New Year’s is a time when we turn our minds to thinking about the past and planning ahead, I’ve come up with my own list of resolutions that pertain to my personal defense initiatives. I’m sharing them here, to spur discussion amongst yourselves, as well as to get some feedback to see if I’m missing anything.
- Lose weight. Love handles are a serious impediment to concealing a handgun on your person. And I’m figuring an additional dividend to losing weight might be to find some comely lass to be a range partner, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
- Get to the range more often. There’s just no substitution for keeping your skills up.
- Join an outdoor range. This will let me train in other situations that don’t have the same kind of restrictions that indoor ranges have.
- Join IDPA or IPSEC. Their training/practices aren’t a perfect solution, but they are far more real-world than just standing there, shooting at stationary targets.
- Buy a .22LR pistol. While a .22 just doesn’t duplicate the recoil you experience with a .45 (duh!), it does allow you to shoot lots and lots of rounds without a trip to the poorhouse. And it’s fun.
- Buy more ammo. Guns are useless without ammo. And if you’re gonna keep your skills up, it’s best not to be caught without, if supplies tighten up again. Which they will. Eventually. It’s inevitable.
- Invest in a reloader. I’ve resisted this so far, but I think it’s time. Either that, or find someone who’s selling reloads. Even with a .22, I’ve got to run some practice ammo through my conceal carry gun, and it’s getting way too pricey to shoot factory loads.
- Invest in a variety of carry options. More on this later, but the short version is I’ve determined that there is no one-solution-fits-all-situations for carrying.
- Buy more guns. I’ve also determined that sub-optimal situations call for alternatives to my main carry gun.
- Relax. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not trying to get you. Sometimes they are. But most of the time, you’re just being paranoid. Stop it. The whole point of conceal carry is to NOT live your life in a state of fear. If carrying’s gonna make you paranoid about it, you’ve already lost.