I was recently involved in a conversation with a gentleman who wondered why I carry a concealed weapon everywhere I go with me. Among the usual questions, he asked me a question that has remained in my mind for the past few days: "Does carrying a gun make you feel safe?"
I answered the question with another question: "Does wearing your seat belt make you feel safe?" He said that, of course, it did. "Why?" I asked. He then made the point that while he doesn't anticipate getting into a car accident, it's just good insurance to put the seat belt on just in case. I asked him if he did anything in the car that would warrant wearing a seat belt, like driving really fast, cornering as hard as he could, stopping quickly or just following cars too close for safety. He answered an obvious "no" to my question.
Satisfied, I answered his original question. "My gun is like a seat belt. I carry it, not necessarily because it makes me feel safe, but because it is good insurance. I don't go wandering into bad neighborhoods, or go making trouble for myself. I'm pretty low key. Most people don't know I have a gun, and those who do don't know if I'm carrying it or not, or even where I might be carrying. I don't go to places where I will need the very protection I have. Just as I instinctively click a seat belt on as soon as I get into my vehicle, I holster my weapon as I'm putting my clothes on.
First off, concealed carry isn't a macho thing. It's not a way for me to walk around showing everyone how much bigger my... "member" is than theirs. The whole point of concealed carry is to keep the weapon concealed. I personally don't want anyone to know I'm carrying a gun.
Second, just because I carry a gun on my person doesn't mean I take the liberty of being reckless or stupid. If a neighborhood is an area that I wouldn't walk through unarmed, I'm certainly not going to walk through it armed either. I'm just going to avoid it completely. Why? Well, in all likelihood, if an area (neighborhood, bad part of town, wrong side of the tracks, etc) is bad enough that I wouldn't feel safe their in the first place, why would I risk going there, even with a gun? There are plenty of other places I'd rather be in the first place. Just because I have a gun doesn't mean I'm invincible.
Third, carrying a gun doesn't make me feel safer than if I wasn't carrying. I only carry half the time anyway. I can't carry a gun at work; it's against company policy. Granted, there are places that my job requires me to go to in which I'd like to have a gun, but it wouldn't make me feel any safer. The best way to feel safer is to avoid those areas that would make you feel unsafe to begin with.
I was listening to news radio the other day, and it was reported that a man was shot and killed in a neighborhood I used to live in. This neighborhood is one of those hoity toity areas where the median income is no less than $175K annually, everyone seems to drive a BMW, Mercedes, Volvo or other car worth no less than $45K, all the houses are newer and larger, and the kids either attend private schools or the public school is well funded. Yet even in that neighborhood, some guy was murdered. No one knows why, but who really cares? If someone can be murdered in a neighborhood like that, what makes it any better than my neighborhood, where the median income is less than $50K annually, the average car is more than 7 years old, the houses are 90+ years old, and the schools are underfunded and no one can afford to send the kids off to private school?
The reason I brought this up is because it doesn't matter where you live, what you drive, or where you choose to spend your time. People are still people and criminals are still criminals. Crime knows no neighborhood. It doesn't care if the neighborhood is rich, poor, or somewhere in between. Sure, the type of neighborhood may determine what kinds of crime occur, but it doesn't matter. Crime happens everywhere. Concealed carry is insurance. It is protection from the possibility that the crime may come to me.
When I drive down the street, I don't gauge my chances of getting in a car accident based on what neighborhood I'm driving through and then determine if I'll wear my seat belt or not; it would be silly to do so. Car accidents can happen anywhere. If you wear your seat belt, getting in a car accident may not be as bad as it could be. The same goes with carrying a concealed weapon. Yes, being put into a situation where you may have to draw your gun is going to suck. It just doesn't end well, whether you carry or not. But for my money, for my life and the lives of my family, I'd rather have to draw my gun than submit to the will of a criminal.