By Chuck Klein
Okay, you’ve secured your concealed carry permit, studied and selected a go-to gun and … there it sits, in your bedside drawer or car glovebox or sometimes….
Back when I was attending the police academy one of my fellow recruits asked the OIC if we should carry our handguns while off duty. His answer was so succinct, obvious and made such complete sense that not only have I lived it, but I’ve taught it in my classes and written it into my books and articles. The Norwood, Ohio police lieutenant said:
“One either never carries a firearm, or one always carries, but one never sometimes carries.”
In other words, if your mindset is that you are carrying, then you project a different aura than one who is mentally seeking a run & hide or a please-leave-me-alone attitude. It naturally forces you to be in condition yellow at all times – aware of your surroundings. This personal persona of confidence is telegraphed by your posture, and who you are not afraid to look at.
When I moved to the downtown portion of Cincinnati, as a civilian and after 17 years of country living, I was saved by my projected image. On a warm summer evening, I decided to walk to my son’s home, about 8-10 blocks away. What I didn’t realize was my route took me through a high-crime neighborhood—one where tennis shoes hung from phone line wires every few buildings. The streets were lined with rowhouses that only had a sidewalk between them and the curb. I was dressed in shorts and a loose-fitting, button shirt covering a Colt .38, 2 1/2” Diamondback in a strongside holster. It was 1994, years before concealed carry became legal in Ohio. Sensing this was not a good plan, I walked down the middle of the narrow street. Approaching a cluster of drug-seller types, dressed in butt-crack exposing, prison-type garb, I looked them over—eye to eye. One of the gang-bangers stepped away from the group, smiled, showing a diamond studded tooth, and said, “What’s shakin’, officer.” I returned the smile while putting my finger to my lips in the classic “shhh” expression. Even though the hair on my neck was standing on end, and my back was now to them, I never broke stride. I hadn’t been an LEO for years, but my character said I was and that was enough to keep them at bay. Could I have had the grit and gumption to act as I did if I wasn’t carrying a gun? I don’t know as I always carried. My son drove me home later, using a different course.
Going about unarmed the natural tendency is to avoid confrontational situations by never looking directly at strangers. This demeanor, or an attempt to bluff strength and bravery, ofttimes is discernable by criminals with animal-type instincts. Not only do cops have that 6th sense—the innate ability to “read people”—but many criminals do also. The only possible advantage to never carrying is not having to worry about being in a place that forbids possession of a lethal weapon – such as police stations, airports or schools.
“If you believe that psychological tough talk will enable you to bluff your way out of a dangerous situation, you might be wrong…dead wrong. Super-predators – losers with nothing to lose – can’t be bluffed.”
The worst situation will find the sometimes carrier conflicted―not knowing what face to put on and of course, reaching for a gun when one isn’t there but is needed. Consider the person who straps on his protection, goes about his daily routine, comes home, stores his gun and then … a thug crashes into his home while the gun is upstairs and in the bedroom under lock and key. Or, he forgot to pick-up the milk on the way home and, with his young daughter holding his hand, slips out for a quick run to the local stop & rob, sans his gun. “It’s just a quick trip, honey—I’ll be right back”. At the S&R he walks into a robbery/mass shooting in-progress where the robber/shooter is coming after him and his child….
“If you are permitted to carry a firearm and don’t—you’re part of the problem; and if you think it best to pass laws making it tougher for law-abiding citizens to own/carry guns—you are the problem.”
Other than statutory restrictions, there is only one condition when you should never have your firearm on your body (or very close at hand) – when consuming alcoholic beverages, or drugs that may impair your thinking. Yes, even in your own castle, it is best to carry, not only for the actual protection, but because it keeps you mindful that this power to protect is right where it should be.
“If you’re ever in a situation where another person is about to murder you, at that moment, you’d trade all your worldly possessions for a firearm. And, if that threat was to kill your child or your grandchild, you’d sell your soul for a gun.”
Summary: If you can carry, do, because all the rules, statutes, restraining orders, 911 calls, hand to hand combat technics, aerosol spray Mace, run & hide or other pseudo protective measures will never equal the effectiveness of a firearm when faced with an unwarranted and deadly criminal attack.
“There’s lots worse things than being killed by some thug—one is: watching a family member die at the hands of this thug because you were a fool for not carrying a gun.”
Chuck Klein is a former LEO an author of Guns In The Workplace and other firearm related books. He may be reached at his website: chuckklein.com.