By Dan S.
My wife was in the hospital (again, she has a frequent flier card). The power was out at my house for the third day now. I figured I might as well go to work since the nurses were sick of seeing me and at least the office had heat and light. And oh yeah, I had work to do. I was grumpy . . .
I was driving my normal route to work in my own little world, thinking about my wife in the hospital, the cats at home, what I was going to eat for dinner, etc. After a while, I noticed I was behind a car going about 15 MPH below the posted speed limit. The rest of the street was vacant and devoid of traffic. I gave the driver of the car friendly toot on the horn to let them know that they were driving a little slower than was acceptable. It was early, maybe they hadn’t had their caffeine yet, I don’t know.
We came to a red light, and that’s when the occupants of the slow vehicle all got out and started to walk up to my car. They did not look friendly. Crap.
I had a lot of (supposedly) good reasons not to get a CCW permit. It was a huge hassle. I had to take a course (of course). I had to make an appointment with the county sheriff. Cops would give me an extra hard time if I got pulled over. A gun was one more thing I had to carry around with me everywhere. Would I ever use it? Of course not, so why bother? What if I did something wrong by mistake? Boom! Instant felon, just add gun. It wasn’t worth the aggravation.
I didn’t really have time to evaluate my life choices; the people walking up to my car weren’t coming to welcome me to the neighborhood. My stomach had taken up residence in my big toe. Fortunately for me, there were no cars behind me, so into reverse I went, and away I sped. I was lucky.
Once I got to the office, I calmed down a bit and did some thinking. That little incident was a wake-up call for me. What if I hadn’t been able to drive away? What if they had attacked? What if they had weapons? What if my wife had been with me? There were half a dozen ways that situation could have gotten much worse, and all over a little horn honk.
I thought back to my days in the Navy. As a nuclear operator, we were constantly training for situations and casualties that would almost certainly never happen. Almost. The almost was what we trained for, because sometimes s**t happens that we have no control over. You better damn well be prepared, keep cool, and think fast. I wasn’t adequately prepared.
That little incident quickly changed my entire mindset. I had a responsibility to protect the lives and safety of myself and my family, and I needed to start taking it seriously. As I was sitting with my wife later that night, I signed up for a CCW class on the upcoming weekend. I made an appointment with the sheriff to get my license the following Monday.
Now, just a few short months later, I feel naked if I go anywhere without my gun. I try to “keep my head on a swivel” as they used to say on the boat. I read, I learn, and I practice. Because sometimes s**t happens.