It’s a common question we get and it isn’t limited to non-gun-people: Why do you carry a gun every day? Having your EDC as an actual, honest-to-God EDC is a foreign concept, even to some people within the gun world.
Sure, they go plinking or they hunt, but they don’t carry. If you carry every single day, you’re either paranoid or looking for trouble, right?
On Friday evening, a man visited my local Walmart within hours of my own trip to the store that day. His behavior at the Wichita Falls Walmart was neatly summed up by one witness:
“This guy had a purpose; I knew he had a purpose when I looked into his eyes,” Walmart attempted theft witness Jamie Pruett said. “He wasn’t there to rob or steal something—he was there to hurt and kill people.”
TexomasHomePage.com described the incident:
According to WFPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Harold McClure, officers responded to an attempted theft call about 11:20 p.m. Friday to a possible theft.
McClure said store surveillance footage showed a Comanche County [Oklahoma] Sheriff’s Office unit dropped San Antonion Ken Esparza, 38, off at the Walmart Friday night.
When they arrived, officers were told a man was attempting to break into the gun cabinet and was armed with a baseball bat. They were also told it was possibly an active shooter situation.
So here we are at nearly midnight on a Friday night at a popular Walmart in a reasonably large northern Texas town, and there’s a guy using a baseball bat to break into the gun display. A guy who was apparently dropped off at the Walmart by an out-of-state deputy.
LEOs arrived and confronted Esparza:
Officers said when they reached Esparza, they say broken glass from the gun cabinet and a gun missing from the cabinet and Esparza holding a baseball bat. That was shortly after Pruett came face-to-face with the suspect.
An unstable guy with a bat. Check. Unstable guy who now has a gun. Check.
Let’s back up a second. Remember how he reportedly got to the store in the first place, courtesy of a Comanche County deputy? Here’s how that happened:
As for why he was dropped off in Wichita Falls, Comanche County [OK] Sheriff Kenny Stradley said the deputies were called to a Lawton [Oklahoma] mall about Esparza allegedly stealing a knife.
Stradley said no charges were filed from that incident, and he said Esparza didn’t meet the criteria of a threat to himself or others at that time.
Stradley said Esparza told deputies he was headed to a Texas city, so Stradley told deputies to drop Esparza off at the Walmart in Wichita Falls instead of letting Esparza walk on the road.
So they did. To be clear, a Lawton, Oklahoma LEO picked up an apparently disturbed robbery suspect, put him in a cruiser, got on the interstate and drove him almost an hour south, just over the state line, before dumping him in front of the nearest Wally World. My local Wally World.
WFPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Harold McClure released this “no duh” statement regarding the incident:
“A person in Esparza’s mental condition should have never been brought in from OK and dropped off in Texas at a Wichita Falls Walmart, placing our citizens in extreme danger and forcing WFPD officers to deal with this highly volatile situation, which they handled with professionalism,” McClure stated.
Thanks, Oklahoma. Nicely played.
In the end the man was arrested and is being charged with everything from aggravated assaulted with a deadly weapon to making a terroristic threat.
In case it needs to be said, this is why we carry. I’ve been questioned why I tote a gun if I’m just running over to Walmart. This Walmart. You know, the one where the guy hell bent on hurting people was dropped off by none other than Oklahoma law enforcement (we’re just over the
Red River state line here, in case you’re wondering).
This is why we carry all the time not just when it’s convenient or when we feel like it. This is why we dress around the gun not the other way around. You have no way of knowing when something bizarre like this will happen…when an apparently lazy Okie LEO will dump a violent criminal into your jurisdiction. Come on, who could have predicted that?
If you’re among the crowd who rationalizes and tells themselves they don’t carry every day because it’s hot or uncomfortable, get over it. Make it work.
There are a number of gun guys working in non-permissive environments who find a way to carry, whether it’s using belly bands, ankle holsters, whatever. They make it work.
I carried for years in scrubs. You can do it, too. After all, isn’t your life worth the minor inconvenience of holstering up before you leave the house? It isn’t paranoia when they really are out to get you.