When I first became a police officer I could not wait to get my hands on my new department issued gun. Once I received it, it was very rare that we would separate. Then one day I left my trusty gun at home. “It’s ok,” I thought, “I’ll carry it next time.” I got in my personal vehicle and drove away. Then, over time, not having my gun happened a second time, then a third and so on, until finally, I stopped carrying it.
The complacency of not having my gun turned into normalcy for me. I mean, how many times have I been out in my lifetime and had to draw my gun? After all, nothing is going to happen to me, right? Road rage shooters, mass school shootings, grocery store shootings, restaurant shootings these things do not happen when I’m around.
Then I think of Virginia Tech – 33 dead. Luby’s restaurant shooting in Killen, Texas – 23 dead. And more recently, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Congresswoman from Arizona who was holding one of her many constitutes meetings at a Safeway grocery store where 17 people were shot, 6 killed including a nine-year-old child. And the main question for me is, why don’t I carry more often?
The fact is complacency seems more sensible than a mass shooting. We go about our daily lives, day-in and day-out assuming that bad things happen to other people. But where will you be when things break bad? Are you among the masses cowering down behind a bench praying that the shooter doesn’t see you? Or are you taking aim on the shooter ready to stop his reign of terror?
We walk with people in society who choose to be oblivious to the realities of life without truly understanding that we are free, but that freedom comes at a cost. Your freedom only lasts as long as someone with greater free will like a Jared Lee Loughner, who will visit your quiet little society, like the Grim Reaper, and take your most prized possession, your life. Having your gun may have thwarted his advance.
I know cops who don’t carry because it feels like “too much like work.” I also know people who do not carry because the novelty of their gun wore off. But understand the day you decide to disarm yourself is the day you join the ranks of the provable sheep or what I like to call the “walking dead.” You’re just going with the flow, oblivious to the walking dead around you and the moment you come to the realization that you’re in a bad spot is about the moment when the bad guys are blowing the heads off the zombies you’re walking amongst.
Do not let complacency win. Be aware of the possible dangers that lurk around you. You can start by never leaving your gun at home.