Far too many CCW holders are situational carriers. They decide whether or not to tote a piece before leaving home based on where they’re headed and their expectation of the danger level there. I’m just running down to the store for a loaf of bread, I don’t need my heater. Except when you do. There is, of course, no way of knowing what can happen or who will approach you, even in the best of neighborhoods or on the shortest of trips. While I haven’t experienced it, I’d imagine thinking about your pistol back home while someone holds you at gunpoint can be a pretty empty feeling. I have no idea whether Karolyn Browden has ever even seen a gun, let alone is licensed to carry one, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t expect trouble when she dropped her kids off at school last week…
Browden had evidently gone all Mr. Mom and violated the school’s drop-off lane etiquette in some way that got Claudia Flowers-Vassell a little hot under the collar. As ajc.com reports, that’s when Flowers-Vassell pulled her car up alongside Browden’s and made her displeasure known.
“’Are you ready for this? Are you ready for this?’” Browden said Claudia Flowers-Vassell, who is now in DeKalb County sheriff’s custody, repeatedly asked her around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday.
The woman, driving her 2008 Honda Civic toward Browden’s vehicle, had suddenly stopped next to Browden before leaving the Lithonia school’s drop-off area.
“I got something for you,” the woman then told Browden, who said a heated exchange ensued. At one point the woman said something about “staying in your lane,” said Browden, whose vehicle was the last of four or five cars in the drop-off lane at the time.
Flowers-Vassell then showed Browden a gun inside some kind of wrap, Browden said. “I asked her what she was going to do with it.”
Flowers-Vassell took the gun out the wrap and repeated, “I got something for you,” Browden said.
Fortunately for all concerned, Flowers-Vassell was only out to scare Browden, which she did with aplomb. Now the aggrieved car-pooler is facing three counts of pointing or aiming a firearm at another person and now resides in the DeKalb County jail.
“She didn’t look like she was in her right mind,” Browden told the AJC on Saturday in looking back on the incident.
Browden and her children have been traumatized by the incident, the kids not wanting to go back to school. Not that kids ever really need a reason for that. There were so many ways this situation, on a busy morning in front of an elementary school, could have turned into something truly horrible it boggles the mind.
Browden obviously wasn’t prepared for anything like what happened to her. She lives in Georgia, so she didn’t need a CCW license to have a gun in her car to protect herself and her kiddies. She was last in line in the drop-off lane and apparently never thought to throw the car into reverse when she realized she was staring down the barrel of a gun. This may have been a learning experience for her.
Long story short, though, you never really know when and where you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation. Statistics confirm that only a small fraction of people who are licensed to pack a gun actually do. In most states you can have a handgun in your car, licensed or not. Do yourself the favor of never having to wish you’d holstered your heater before heading out. Just carry it.