Friday, January 30, 2009

Concealed Carry

One of the things that finally got me into blogging was an exchange I had on a newspaper comment thread about concealed carry in National Parks. Several commenters made rather snide remarks about my genitalia, my sexual preference, and my masculinity when I talked about why I carry. For me it all started 6 years ago.

I originally got my CHL so I could carry my hunting pistol, a Ruger Blackhawk in .41 mag, without fear of getting in trouble from the Game and Fish Dept. A couple of months later a young lady was taking out the trash from a fast food restaurant when she was attacked by a man wielding a knife. A coworker, another young lady, witnessed the attack and came to her defense. Both women were stabbed repeatedly, with one (the young lady who came to assist) dying from her wounds. This happened 4 miles from where I live. This stopped me cold. Had either of these two women had the means to stop the assault, both would still be alive today.

A lot of soul searching ensued, and I came to the conclusion alot of folks have come to. I am responsible for my own safety. Since that day, there have been exactly two occasions when I have been glad I had my carry piece.

The first occurred the night before my Aunt passed away in 2006. I stopped at a convenience store to get some supplies before heading home from my watch at my Aunt's bedside. When I pulled up to the store, there was an Asian man blocking both doors and from what I could see, was acting rather odd. I slipped my carry gun at the time, a Walther P22, into the holster in the small of my back and went inside. Walking back to the coolers to get me a soda, I watched as the guy started berating the hapless clerk about a carton of cigarettes. Waiting behind him in line, he was getting more and more agitated. As his agitation increased, I found myself itching the small of my back, just above where I had the Walther holstered. Then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone. Just like that. When I go to the cash register, I tried to calm the lady down by making small talk. Finally I said "It's times like this I'm glad I carry a concealed weapon." Her reply stopped my in my tracks. "You do? Thank you." The relief in her eyes will stay with me for as long as I live.

The second occasion happened the next year. I was heading home from a trip to the funstore here. As I made my way onto the feeder for the interstate a car passed me and almost took my front bumper off. As this was rush hour and wall to wall traffic (there's no gridlock here, just a bunch of people who got their license from the back of bubble gum wrapper) it irritated me, but I let it go. As soon as the car was safely back in my lane, a hand flashed out of the passenger side window holding what appeared from its silhouette to be a Beretta 92. Talk about getting your attention! I placed my carry piece in my lap, now a Kimber Ultra Carry, and called 911 to report the incident. In order to give the cops a decent description and license plate number, I had to follow them at a pretty good clip to get the information. I'm sure whoever listened to the tape afterwards got a good laugh at the dispatchers expense. When I was finally able to give the license number, after chasing them at speeds approaching 80 mph (this in a 65 mph zone) the dispatcher asked me "Sir, are you following them?" To which I replied "Duh, how do you think you got the info on where they are?"

Turned out the car I was chasing was full of high school kids and the weapon they pulled was an airsoft gun.

I am grateful that I have never had to use my carry piece. I hope I never have the occasion to, but that doesn't change that if I need to, I will.

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