A Reason to Carry

As much as I enjoy the shooting sports, I’ve never held a concealed carry permit. When I lived in Montana, I was not technically a resident of the state, so I was not eligible to apply.

When I lived in California, well….California.

To be honest, I’ve never really been put in a situation where I thought it was necessary. Open carrying in Montana was no big deal when out hiking, and the small towns aren’t exactly hot beds of violent crime. California pretty much banned everything, so why bother?

Since moving to Virginia recently, I’ve been thinking about applying. Recent events may move that timetable up.

The Moment Chooses You

Most of us are affected by a form of normalcy bias. Because things have generally been okay, we assume that they will continue to be so. Until they are not. Those of us who have been “woke” to the facts of this keep our heads on swivels. We keep track of our surroundings and are on constant search for possible threats. That’s not to say we are paranoid or live in fear. We are just…aware.

Higher population density areas bring a greater probability of interacting with troubled people. While out on a family walk around the multipurpose trails today, an individual was approaching from behind us. With two adults, a dog, and a toddler in a stroller, we aren’t exactly low profile when walking around the trails. He didn’t appear threatening at all, so we acknowledged his presence and moved to let him pass.

He stared at me intently and asked, “Are you the devil?”

My presumption was that he was joking because I was having my wife do exercises on the walk (she was actually rucking for fitness), I was wearing a red shirt, and a multicam hat. I smirked and said, “Yep.”

Apparently, he wasn’t joking. As he passed me, he snarled, “I am the light!”

He must have sensed my confusion at the statement, and continued to become more aggressive. He muttered comments about his duty to destroy evil, and got louder and louder. At this point, the alarm bells in my head were tripped. My posture stiffened, I shifted weight to the balls of my feet, I began further evaluating him for a fight.

Six feet tall, overweight, probably a low level of fitness, but still outweighing me by at least fifty pounds. If he had crazy on his side, he would not likely hold back or be easily deterred. I made sure to stay between him and my family, and prepared myself for conflict.

Luckily, he kept walking down the path. He would periodically stop, turn around, shout more, and square up. But, overall, he kept walking away.

My wife and I decided to change directions and not continue the way we were heading (which is where he went). We circled back up the path and went home a different way.

While I’m glad that nothing ultimately happened, I find myself frustrated that I was left with so few options. Probability is on my side that I would have prevailed in a conflict given my higher level of fitness and moderate abilities in hand to hand fighting, there is no way to be sure.

Sometimes it takes a moment like this to remind us that the moment chooses us, and we really are responsible for our own safety when it does.


4 thoughts on “A Reason to Carry”

  1. I’m glad it worked out, this time. Like you, I’m often out and about with enough children in tow that “flight” might not be feasible. I’m glad I’m no longer in California, for the same reason you mentioned. My current duty station Florida, and previously Texas, seem more concerned with allowing us to take care of ourselves… Best of luck in whatever decision you choose to make regarding your application. Better to have and not need than the other way around. I wish I never get caught having to say “if only I would have…”

  2. In 2007 I left active duty and San Diego for a rural part of Utah. I would jog down to an outdoor park, and then back. It was fairly wooded, next to a lake and a boat ramp.
    I had my wife along one night, riding her bicycle, when just as we came to the thickest part of the woods, 3 gang bangers past us in pursuit of what appeared to be another of their own. They ran this guy down, and beat him senseless, but he seemed to have gotten away. We had to pass these thugs a second time, and I was empty handed, but had to put myself between them and my wife.
    This is all less than 4 months since I had returned from Iraq, and I was basically living in what Col. Cooper would’ve called condition white. Felt less than useless. I purchased a new handgun the following morning, & scheduled a CCW class at my home as soon as I could. I will Never be in that situation again. A decade later I still jog near my home, but have not done so without my handgun or a license to do so.


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