By Mitch from DFW
My wife and I both grew up in Canada. As such, we always had a strange curiosity with America’s embrace of firearms. Canadians are inculcated by our school system from an early age that America is full of “gun nuts” and you’ll just get shot walking in broad daylight for no apparent reason. I was always skeptical of said shibboleth, as I viewed the Second Amendment as a check on an overreaching government. When we moved to the US fourteen years ago, we first settled in Detroit. We saw firsthand that owning a firearm isn’t such a bad idea. That being said, as we were on visas at the time, we couldn’t own handguns. It was something we’d think about down the road . . .
Several years later, events would happen that ensured that once we got our permanent residency status, and we would become firearm owners. These events happened in Charlotte, North Carolina.
First, my wife was deliberately driven off the road in an apparent gang initiation. The police told us as much, but then advised her not to pursue the issue as being a witness, because the gangs would have access to our name and assess. The second event occurred when my wife was at the local playground with my two-year-old and infant sons. A man attempted to approach my oldest son with the intent of snatching him. If it wasn’t for the fact that another car drove into the parking lot, the results could have been tragic. Once again, the police were dismissive. The man in question was subsequently charged a year later with the attempted kidnapping of a young girl (the charges were eventually dropped on that for various reasons). We learned the hard lesson that the police are of little help when seconds matter.
We later got our permanent residency and shortly thereafter moved to Las Vegas. We purchase our first guns there. My wife bought a SIG SAUER P238 and a Walther PPQ. We took introductory safety courses and spent a fair bit of time on the range. Both guns are a joy to shoot. Both are accurate and feel comfortable in the hand.
Liking the ergonomics and the trigger on the PPQ so much, I later bought a Walther CCP as my carry piece (note: it shoots very well with minimal snap. Feels wonderful in the hand. Trigger isn’t as smooth as the PPQ, but not bad once it is worked in. Disassembling it is not difficult after a few tries. Just wish there were aftermarket night sights for it). We agreed we would take the conceal carry course and get our permits, but we weren’t in a hurry. Once again, events accelerated our decision.
My wife operated a small business in a strip mall. While finishing up her day, she heard a kerfuffle in the barber shop next door. Later, three men walked out, one of them with a face that looked like hamburger, and got into a car right in front of my wife’s shop and left. A minute later, another man walked out and, in plain sight, drew a revolver and started shooting at the departing car. He then turned and stared at my unarmed wife. She was on the phone with 911 at the time and was fearful for her life, to put it mildly. Luckily the shooter took off, but the lesson was reinforced: When seconds count the police are minutes away.
We started the CCW paperwork shortly after that. We also ended up moving to Texas (for work reasons, not due to this incident). I now carry every day and my wife will, once her permit is processed.
We now accept that we cannot control when “crazy” will happen. It has happened to us before, and in all likelihood, will happen again. However, the next time we will at least be able to have more say in the situation. We shall not be helpless. Accepting the world as it is, not how we wish it would be, is a cornerstone of wisdom and maturity. In a similar vein, we appreciate our freedom to be prepared for the world as it is.