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As the father of a recently-minted teen and a (relatively) recently-divorced OFWG, my social life is a little on the thin side. Between budgeting for school uniforms, paying bills and working my Alice B. Tookus off, “Date Night” is a rare pleasure. When I get a night on the town with my girlfriend, it’s got to be something special. When asked about the evening’s agenda, My Lady Fair requested we dine at a local establishment that’s a bit geographically-challenged. Translation: it’s in a bad part of town. As I’ve noted elsewhere here on TTAG, just this past week, two men were shot in a well-lit, well-patrolled parking garage in a relatively safe part of my home town. Not good . . .

The restaurant in question for the evening’s repast has a history, too. The owner of said establishment (Herby-K’s) was famous for his “Shrimp Buster” sandwiches, a concoction made by butterflying four jumbo shrimp, beating the crap out of them with a mallet, then breading and frying them. Delicious. (Take my word for it.)

The careful reader will note my use of the past tense, when referring to Mr. K. One evening, he was closing his eponymously-named establishment when a criminal decided to rob him. According to police reports the owner was cooperative, doing everything they tell you to do. Give the man the money. Save your own life. That sort of thing. Didn’t do a bit of good. The thug shot him in cold blood. Since then, the restaurant pays for protection, as in “off-duty policeman in a squad car” protection.

I love the place. I love the food. The neighborhood? Let’s just say that it’s our little slice of Detroit-style urban blight, right here in Louisiana. Even the film crews shoot in the area, because it can double for just about any wreck of a downtown area on screen. Travelling down there is one of those “take your life in your hands” experiences, where you realize dinner may come with a floor show, and you may be doing the audience participation thing in the parking lot, willing or no.

As I saw it, I had three choices:

  1. Conceal carry, and hope my GF didn’t notice.
  2. Conceal carry and tell her, and hope it wouldn’t upset her/spoil the evening.
  3. Leave the gun at home and hope a disaster didn’t occur.

Now as our resident Tr0lls are so quick to point out, carrying a gun does NOT make you invulnerable, and does not assure that you will survive, thrive, or win a gun battle. What they fail to grasp (among other things) is that carrying a gun responsibly will accomplish two things:

  1. It forces me to be (more) situationally-aware.
  2. It levels the playing field, should we encounter a robber, mugger, rapist, or other thug.

All in all, I like my odds much better with a gun than without one. So I went with “door number two.” But that’s not the whole story.

Over dinner, conversation turned to the two unfortunate victims in the El Dorado parking garage incident. I mentioned that because of that, I was carrying, and I hoped that wouldn’t offend her. She indicated she was cool with it. I felt as though I’d done my “full-disclosure” thing, and that would be the end of it. Not so.

When we got back to her place, I removed my concealed gun/holster and put it on the counter. Her eyes grew wide and she said, “when you said you were carrying, I thought you meant in the car. I had no idea you had it on you.” I explained that a gun not within reach is every bit as useful as no gun at all. She seemed to accept that (although she’s still a little squeamish about having a gun in her condo).

We reached a milestone tonight. She was surprised at how easy it was for me to conceal my handgun, and how effortless it was to get through dinner with her none the wiser (at that point, anyway). I think part of her reluctance to deal with guns has as much to do with dealing with the gun up close and personal. If it can remain out of sight, I think she’s cool with that.

For the record, nothing happened tonight in the way of my Spidey Sense tingling. Nothing made me feel as if we were about to get jacked. I had no reason to think we’d have anything but a lovely evening, which we did.

Part of that is due to fortune smiling on us. But realistically, part of it is because I was as prepared as I can be to handle bad things happening to good people (that would be US). And the fact that I had nothing to worry about (as it turns out) is a happy thing. That I was prepared if that wasn’t the case, is a responsible thing.

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  1. Good on ya! Soon enough she will be checking to make sure you have it.
    As a divorced YFWG dad I can relate to your challenges.
    If I go on a date I pack. She can take it or leave it. Whatever. Yeah, Its like that…

    • Slow down there, cowboy! One step at a time. Teach her gun safety with a .22 in private, on private property, way-away from civilization. (Some people are very self conscious about their first time shooting and would prefer privacy.) Once she is comfortable and safe punching holes in paper. Then you go up in caliber to what she feels comfortable in shooting. After you find what caliber she is preferring, then you take her to a gun shop to try several different pistols to get proper hand fit. (Tell her it is like trying on shoes. You’re looking for what fits her hand.) THEN you take her to the range once a week to practice (and improve the good habits.)

  2. I’ve broken up with a several girlfriends over the years who hated that I carried. I can’t say that I ever had a hard time choosing when given the ultimatum: “It’s me or that damn gun.” Love me, love the Second Amendment.

  3. Been to Herby-K’s. Had the shrimp sandwich. Kozak’s right on all counts. The neighborhood is atrocious. And I didn’t see an off-duty constable when I was there. I was in town on business and dearly wished I’d had my mohaska with me just driving there.

    Oh, and the sandwich is a thing of beauty.

  4. Fascinating story, Brad. Thanks for posting it.

    You said deciding to pack the gun accomplishes two things.

    “It forces me to be (more) situationally-aware.
    It levels the playing field, should we encounter a robber, mugger, rapist, or other thug.”

    Well, I don’t know about that. It seems to me you can be as situationally aware as you like, with or without a gun. I guess a concealed carry weapon could remind you , and in that sense I guess that one’s OK.

    But that second thing, you say it as if it definitely levels the playing field. You don’t know that. It depends on how the bad thing goes down. To be more accurate (more honest) you’d have to say “it might level,” or “it could level the playing field.”

    My main objection to what you wrote is this. Even dining in iffy neighborhoods once in a while, the chances of your needing that gun to save the day are very small. Greater is the possibility that one day you’ll have a mishap with the gun. There are many ways that can happen even if you’re sober and trained and alert and well-rested every single time you go out.

    • You write as if gun owners butter their hands before handling a gun. Have you no idea how careful we are *because* we know how potentially dangerous it can be?

    • Mike, I stand by my statements. First, because I carry, it makes me constantly aware that I have a gun on me. THAT makes me situationally aware – am I printing, is the gun secure in the holster, can I draw smoothly if needed – and that naturally makes me attuned to others, and anything that would raise things from a “condition yellow” situation to something worse. Second, I say “level the playing field” with the assumption that I would encounter a situation where the difference between having a gun and needing a gun would equalize things. Let me give you an example…

      My ex was in a Starbucks one afternoon when it was robbed. I asked her, “would you have pulled your gun on them if you’d had it with you?” She replied, “No, because it would have made the situation worse. Too many people. Nobody was threatening me directly. Only if they’d herded us into a freezer would I have considered shooting.” That’s the RIGHT answer.

      Similarly, had someone come in to rob the place, I would likely have done nothing, unless they threatened me or my date. Parking lot – same rules apply. Only if I feel my life is threatened (or the life of my GF) would I even consider getting out my gun. Playing the hero is NOT a consideration. It just doesn’t enter into it.

      As far as a mishap with the gun, it’s certainly possible that I might someday join the ranks of the “Irresponsible Gun Owners of the Day.” But I don’t think so. I’d like to know where you get your statistics, both with how often I might need my gun, and that the possibility of a mishap is greater than that need. Got some data you’d care to share with the class?

      From the stuff I’ve read, it’s every bit statistically as likely I’ll be eaten by a Great White or struck by lightning. I like those odds. On the other hand, while the chances of me needing a fire extinguisher in my house are small, I still have several. And, oh, by the way, having one saved my house from burning to the ground, once upon a time. So if given the choice between having and never needing, and needing but not having, I’ll go with option #1.

      • Instead of making the discussion about statistics, I’d rather it be of principles. Either you agree that an individual has the right to defend him/herself or others from harm through the use of deadly force or you don’t. This is the fundamental
        principle. If you want to use statistics to guide you for when, how and if to carry then that’s fine, it’s your perogative. The important thing is that the individual gets to make that decision, not some judge or congressman or Mike.

      • You did mention TROLLS in the post – seems they come when you call them.

        FWIW – I agree with both point 1 and point 2 in your article

  5. “Greater is the possibility that one day you’ll have a mishap with the gun. ”

    Prove it. Prove it. Stop repeating it and prove it.

    Show the figures that indicate accidents have gone up as CCW laws have been liberalized. Show me the figures that CCW holders have “x” number of accidents per capita as opposed to “x” number of defensive uses. And if accidents are so common then why aren’t we burying cops on a daily basis?

  6. I haven’t been to Herby-K’s since Jimmy the waiter died years and years ago. He WAS Herby-K’s to a whole generation. ‘Course the neighborhood wasn’t as bad back then as it is today. When I worked nights, a group of us used to go there for shrimp busters and schooners of draft on a regular basis.

    Gotta point out one thing, Brad. Unless the law in Louisiana changed, it’s illegal to carry in an establishment that serves alcohol for consumption on the premises. I’ve seen some debates on percentage of alcohol sales to food sales but I’m still not clear on how to figure that so I just don’t carry in restaurants. Hell, I don’t even go to restaurants much anymore. Confusion over the carry laws is part of that reason. After all, the supermarket where I buy beer and wine for consumption on the home premises has a big sign on that aisle telling me it’s illegal to carry a firearm in that area of the store. Well, no it’s not. It just adds to the confusion.

    • If the establishment take 50% of its revenue from alcohol sales then it would be illegal…

      A law that by its very wording seems dubious to most readers. How can one know how much of a restaurant’s revenue is taken from alcohol sales?? And of course how is this even enforceable unless you are caught with your piece??

      – Louisiana resident

  7. Not to be indelicate, but why did you remove your gun in her apartment? Did you have any way to reasonably secure it or did it just sit on the counter as you finished your date? Not criticizing, but just hoping that you only did that because you had to, and that you used it as an opportunity to teach a little about keeping a weapon safely stowed when it is not on-body.

    • Not to be indelicate, but if a beautiful woman wants to kiss you, having a gun impeding her ability to wrap her arms around you (or her enthusiasm for doing so) is a non-starter. I took all reasonable precautions with the firearm, especially considering that we were the only two people in the place, and the cat does not have opposable thumbs.

        • Epic fail on my HTML skills.

          Ahm, this is what I meant to post.

          “and the cat does not have opposable thumbs.” THIS is where those “mishap with own gun” things that MikeB is always talking about happen.

  8. Good on you to get back in the game. I almost got divorced and when we were separated I dated. It was the most challenging thing I had ever done up to that point. Didn’t have to worry about carrying as I am up in Alberta. Still had to worry about crime though.

  9. As far as situational awareness goes I carried when I owned a business in an edgy part of town. I found the increased sense of responsibility galvanizing in that I began to alter my 5 block long walk to my parking space to minimize the chance that I’d need a weapon.

    Everyone needs to make their own decisions with regard to personal safety, my number one rule is to stay out of the tall grass in Indian country.

  10. Brad,
    I didn’t know you were living in Shreveport… I assumed it was Houston or somewhere else in Texas.

    P.S. Boo on Shreveport. The best place to live in Lousisana is Lafayette. Best food in the country according to Rand McNally and company.

    • I’m in Shreveport because I returned to take care of my dad, who passed away in September. I’m still here, trying to get his estate probated. (Don’t ask.) I hope to be returning to the Lone Star State ASAP. And you’re right, Lafayette IS awesome. And some of the friendliest people on the face of God’s Green Earth live there.


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