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Today’s email blast from got me thinking . . . “You spend money building your survival food and gear stockpiles. You take months, even years to build up your knowledge of survival skills. You may even leave the city for a safer home in the country. You may be up at 5:00 AM seven days per week, working hard gardening, building, fencing, raising livestock and a hundred other tasks required to become self-reliant on your own land. You’re doing all that work while balancing the needs of your family and the other things in your normal daily life. You work. You wait and you wait and… And then something happens…


No disaster. No collapse. No end of the world as we know it. To your surprise, the crap never hits the fan. The starving refugees never show up at your door.

It feels like you’re just been pissing in the wind all this time, but have you wasted your time if nothing ever happens…

So, for the first time since packing heat in public, I visited my local Stop and Rob (a.k.a., Crook Convenience Store). Sam was Jonesing for a pack of American Spirit Yellows. When I got inside the door, the place was empty. Nobody. No music. Nothing. Uh-oh.

My first thought was “what are the odds of entering an active crime scene on my second day of concealed carry?” That would be . . . surreal. Once I got over the potential freakiness of it all, I unzipped my coat and started to back out.

I was almost out the door when I caught sight of the cashier by a refrigerator down the end of one of the three long aisles. She was chasing her toddler. I swear the kid looked at me like he knew I was carrying.

At least someone was security conscious. Like the bank next door—which has been held-up more times than Lindsay Lohan—the mini-mart is in prime position for an armed robbery. It sits in the center of a grid; a robber or robbers could disappear towards any point on the compass on nice, wide roads.

Does the owner have a defense plan, should the worst case scenario come strolling through his door? No. Does his staff. What’s less than no? Playing hide-and-seek with a one-year-old at 8pm on a Saturday night? Do I have a plan if I found myself in the wrong place at the wrong time? Yes I do. Well, now I do.

As I walked home down one of those tree-lined avenues, I realized that I wouldn’t have acted that way before tonight. I would have called out or waited. Stupid, I know. It’s certainly true that you don’t need a gun to be situationally aware, or sensibly cautious. But carrying a gun had— I mean “has” made me more wary, more alert, more . . . paranoid?

I put that thought in the back of my mind (as one does) and ran though the evening’s non-scenario.

If someone unfamiliar had emerged from the store’s back room or one of the aisles and seen me, it would have triggered a decision tree of mental processing. Was the man on the move a stranger—a new cashier I didn’t know—or foe? If it was a foe, was he armed? Even if he was a deadly threat, was he headed for me or the door behind me?

If I was knee-deep in deadly doo-doo (to use law enforcement terminology), I wouldn’t have had enough distance to draw a gun. So . . . what? Elbow? Palm strike? And if the [non-existent] bad guy or guys hadn’t see me, then I could have removed my weapon and found concealment. And then waited to see if the situation escalated.

It’s no wonder I backed away. Who needs that shit?

I know that gun control advocates see concealed carry permit holders as Dirty Harry fantasists: amateurs aching for a chance to prove their gunfighting chops. It izzint me. Inspector Callahan was fictional (otherwise he would have been deaf). The only chops that interest me are served at the Capitol Grill; at my age, they’re deadly enough.

Sure I can imagine heroic confrontations involving an exchange of gunfire. Mental rehearsal is a key component of any effective training regimen. But I have no desire to be a hero. I simply want to live a long healthy life. A concealed weapon is a means to that end. A tool that gives me the wherewithal to defeat evil should I somehow wind up in its midst.

As a former hypnotist, I know that phobics secretly long for a confrontation with the thing they fear most, to end ceaseless feeling of dread. They see the arrival of the “bad thing” as vindication for their endlessly energetic preparations and fatalistic fascination. That’s the dynamic that explains the survivalist’s obvious exhaustion and frustration, and his inability to leave the survivalist world behind.

Again, that’s not me. I’m not clinging to my guns like the embodiment of Barack Obama’s elitist slur on the average American’s love of God and firearms. Nor do I scour the net for local crime, like a die-hard (with a vengeance) survivalist looking for an indication that world as we know it is played out.

Yes, I’m ready-ish and somewhat able to deal with a life-or-death threat. But I’m not willing. No sir. I am not willing events to occur that will provide me with an opportunity to brandish or use my gun. When it comes to disasters, natural or man-made, I am pro-nothing.

Twenty or thirty years from now, I’d like to be able to answer a grandchild’s question “Did you ever shoot someone?” with “Nope. Not even close. Never.” Would that mean that all those years of concealed carry were a waste of time? Nope. In fact, I’d call CCW a gift of time. Now, I wonder if emergency generators go on sale after winter . . .

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  1. In the early 80s, I saw a surprisingly good movie with Robin Williams and Walter Matthau called the Survivors.
    They play two wildly mismatched men thrown together by a chance encounter with a semi-competent criminal (Jerry Reed).
    While temporarily subduing Reed, Williams gets a hold of his weapon (1911 style pistol , IIRC) and days after the encounter ends proclaims, “I sure do miss that gun.” (a not uncommon reaction by anti-gunners and “neutrals” when they are given the opportunity to shoot).
    He then proceeds to purchase a lot more ammo and guns and joins a survivalist camp. Both Reed and Matthau follow him there, and a bizarre multi-party shootout/chase ensues.
    No one really gets hurt, but as the hostilities cease, Matthau addresses all of the participants, chastising the survivalists in particular, delcaring that,
    “You men are waiting, no… HOPING for the worst to happen.”

  2. Confessions of a Concealed Phaser Permit Holder: Stardate 31292.7 — Shot a Klingon in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.

  3. You know I’ve ctually had this conversation with my dad. He felt I was being paranoid for carrying all the time. I told him there was a big difference between paranoia and preparedness. Carrying a gun concealed comes with a lot of responsibility and with that should also come a more fine tuned sense of situational awareness.

  4. I’ve had fire insurance on my house since I bought it. I’ve never had a fire. I don’t consider that my money was wasted. I don’t want a fire. I just want to be prepared in case of one. Same reason I carry a gun. I hope I never have to use it. But I’m ready if need be.


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