Sunday, July 31, 2011

Self Defense Mindset

I was reading an article last week about a woman who had been held up in two robberies and decided to take action and get permission from her employer to bring a gun to work.  She brought a small .22 caliber handgun to work, in preparation for the possibility that she could be accosted a third time.  Well, that opportunity came, and after all was said and done, another criminal ended up on a metal table at the local morgue as a result of her resolve.

I read stuff like this all the time.  Someone either gets robbed or mugged, or is just proactive like me, and they decide it is in their best interest to purchase a firearm just in case something like the above scenario happens to them.  Most of the time, it's no big thing.  I bought my gun of choice.  I carry it, practice with it, and prepare myself mentally for the day that I may need to use it.  By no means do I ever hope the day comes, but should it happen to me, I'll be ready... again.

What?  Again?!  What's this all about?

Well, it has happened to me before, as a matter of fact.  I was 22 years old.  I had just obtained my first CPL about a year earlier, and bought my first pistol as my 21st birthday present to myself - a stainless Beretta 92FS.  Back in those days, I prided myself on my ability to carry a full size Beretta around concealed.  It wasn't much of a chore to me then; of course, I was a lot thinner in those days.  But even as young and idealistic as I was, I decided that I wasn't going to become a victim at the hands of some lowlife who wanted to rob me of my hard earned money or life just to get their next fix.

I recall that I was walking home from the store; I lived about two blocks away and back in those days, I actually enjoyed walking around the city.  About a block away from home, I noticed three guys standing in the shadow just past this gas station on the way home.  At first, I didn't think much of it because lots of folks liked to stand in that exact spot for one reason or another.  Plus, it was a busy street.  Still, I decided to take precautions and switched my grocery bag over to my weak side hand so that my strong hand was free to grab my Beretta if I needed it; I would indeed need my gun more than anything that night.

Just before I got to the people standing in the shadow (this was at night by the way), all three of them walked out to block my path on the sidewalk.  They approached me and demanded I hand over my grocery bag.  Knowing better than to think they would just leave me alone, I tried to diffuse the situation verbally first by saying I had nothing of value and that I was just on my way home.  I even asked them if I can leave, if you can believe that.  They wanted nothing of it.  They got closer to me (within arm's reach) and started to surround me, cursing at me for my ethnicity, style of dress, the glasses I wore, etc.  I just knew I wasn't getting out of this situation without a fight.  To run would be hopeless because three well built guys could eventually overtake me, and in the end, I'd just get robbed and have my ass kicked while tired.

After what seemed like forever, I gave up on trying to get them to leave me alone.  At this point, my adrenaline was coursing through my veins and I could feel my body getting ready to fight these pricks.  I gave one last ultimatum in an attempt to get them to leave.  I told them that nothing I had was worth their lives.  They laughed and the leader got in my face and started yelling at me.  At that point, I dropped my grocery bag and put my weak hand out and stepped back so as to put some distance between us.  I then reached down and threw my jacket back to reveal the Beretta and drew it from the holster.  Faster than he could react, I brought that gun up and leveled it right between his running lights (that's eyes for those who don't know).  I then told him that I didn't want to shoot him, but was damned ready to ventilate this skull if he didn't leave me alone.  Mr tough guy suddenly got really friendly and played it all off like it was all in fun and they didn't mean to hurt me.  I told them all to get lost and they promptly left.  After I got home, I called the police and filed a report.  I never heard of or saw those three pricks ever again.

Along with articles that I read of people exercising their rights to protection, I read as many articles of people falling victim to burglars, drug addicts, sexual predators, and murderers.  While I'm reading these articles, one of the big questions that goes through my head is, why wasn't the victim armed?  You'd think that in this "enlightened" society of ours, people would understand that the world can be a very dangerous place and that it is in their best interest to arm themselves for protection.  You'd also think that those who do "gun up" would take the time to train with their weapon and prepare mentally.  Sadly though, neither situation is true in many cases.  People are still in denial about the reality of life and choose to bury their heads in the sand and won't arm themselves.  Worse still is that some who gun up won't make the effort to train and familiarize themselves with their weapon.  They just buy it and hide it away, hoping the day will never come.  And their are those who, even after they arm up and even train physically with the weapon, won't prepare mentally. 

That night, when I had three thugs in my sights, I was prepared to do the unthinkable.  My finger was on the trigger, and the gun was hot.  These three people represented a real threat to my life and well being, and should they all beat on me, I could have died that night.  But I prepared.  I bought the gun, learned the laws and situations on when it was, and wasn't appropriate to pull a gun, and how to use it.  I also read up on the subject of killing and how it affects those who have done it, and to the best of my ability and circumstances, I was as ready as I ever was to do the job that may have needed to be done that night if the situation continued to degrade.  Fortunately, for them and, more importantly, for me, I didn't need to pull that trigger that night. 

The most important thing to understand about this kind of thing is that you may or may not choose to react, but having the means to do so gives you options that you would not have been opened up to hadn't you armed yourself and prepared to protect that which was most dear to you.

"Just because I can doesn't mean I will, but I can't do anything if I don't have the means." - 41magfan


-James

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