In the course of my average day, I make hundreds of decisions based on my sense of right and wrong. Do I go shooting with my BFF or take my teenage step-daughter to a concert in Boston? Do I tell a writer his work is a PITA to edit, or do I correct his copy and thank my lucky stars that someone with knowledge and passion is willing to donate his time to TTAG? More prosaically, do I let that car back out of that parking space or do I drive past? These are not moral dilemmas. Like operating software, my foundational ethics are up and running somewhere in the background. But there is at least one moment in every day where I contemplate my true nature: when I put my gun into my holster . . .
When you wear a gun, you’re giving yourself the power of life or death over others. It’s a huge responsibility that begs a simple question: can I handle it? Do I have the wisdom and skill needed to use this weapon effectively in a life-threatening situation? Do I have the courage to do what needs doing—and nothing more?
Equally troubling: whom would I act to save? Would I intercede on behalf of a stranger or would I apply a more literal definition of self-defense, only protecting myself and my loved ones?
What kind of man am I?
Despite what the gun grabbers would have you believe, despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary, concealed carry license holders do not carry their weapon lightly. In fact, less than 10 percent of people who have an LTC holster a gun on a daily basis. Somewhere deep inside, most licensees aren’t ready for the responsibility of lethal force. They’re scared.
That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. But they need to get over it. They should carry a gun to protect themselves and the ones they love. To serve as a deterrent to those who would rip the fabric of our otherwise peaceful society for their own criminal ends. To protect my gun rights by exercising theirs.
As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, fear is the mother of morality. Whenever I carry a gun, I’m frightened that I may have to use it. I’m frightened that I won’t be up to the task. But I am not afraid of my fear. It forces me to check my moral compass and remember my responsibilities to myself and others.
I’m not proud to carry a gun. I’m wary. And cynical. And determined. If you carry a gun, what kind of man (or woman) are you?