An Argument Against Open Carry That I’ll Accept

On the November 28 episode of The American Warrior Show, William Aprill talks with Mike Seeklander about the criminal mindset, weapon disarms and a bunch of other topics. Interspersed with all of that information is a casual mention of two people getting assaulted and robbed of their open-carry pistols. Aprill points out, quite rightly, that guns along with drugs, are two of the items worth more to a criminal than cold, hard cash is. Therefore, to a crook, the benefits of stealing your gun might outweigh the risks of him getting shot by said gun.

And he’s right.

I support open carry, always have, always will, because it makes concealed carry a lot easier. However, the reality is, when you or I open carry, we are essentially walking around with an expensive watch on our wrists and money coming out of our pockets. We are advertising to the crooks that we have something they want, and that is a bad, bad thing indeed. When we open carry, we need to be aware that we have made ourselves a much more attractive target to the bad guys, and act accordingly, while still acting overly polite.

Failure Is Always An Option

I hate dry-fire practice with my strong hand only and weak hand only*, because it shows just how much I suck at such things. But I do it. Not as often as I should, but I do it nevertheless. I’m ok with sucking at something for a while if I know I can get better at it with effort and practice. It’s the sucking at something and not improving that I hate (and I do that far too much for my liking).

Which is why I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t want to do a night shoot. There’s a very good chance you’ll need to defend yourself at night, so why not get good at it now, when the stakes are just 17th place in a match, not your life? Better a bruised ego now than deep penetrating trauma later.

*Go ahead. Tell me there’s no such thing as “weak hand”, just “support hand”. I dare you.

The Stupidity Triad.

I know trainers who poo-poo the idea of situational awareness, preferring instead to concentrate  on dealing with the after-effects of being ambushed. While I understand the idea (they are, after all, firearms trainers, not zen awareness trainers), but the fact is, you win 100% of the fights you don’t get into.

I’ve some more ideas on John Farnam’s classic dictum on avoiding bad things before they happen over at Ricochet.com.

It’s A Family Affair

“De l’audace, encore de l’audace, toujours de l’audace” – Georges Danton

The paradigm of the personal protection/bodyguard might not be the right one for people like me who want to keep our families safe. Maybe it is all about winning by being on the attack, not on defense.

On this episode of Ballistic Radio, Melody Lauer talks about stopping the threat to our families by… stopping the threat. Not shielding our kids, not putting ourselves in between them and the line of fire and dealing with things, but making stopping the threat the priority, as that’s the safest and quickest solution for everyone involved.

*thoughtful pause*

There’s an element of truth what Melody talks about on which I need to ponder, because it squares nicely with what I’m learning about individual armed self-defense. However, I can’t help but wonder how such ideas square with the methods used by people who are paid to protect people for a living, rather than myself, who does it for free, as part of my job of being a Dad. Is their training wrong, or is it focused more on large attacks by a group on one individual, and not keeping two or three people safe from street crime or an overzealous ex-spouse?

If nothing else, this proves that the science of familial protection is not settled, but rather, it’s just beginning.

I Support Open Carry but…

If that’s your argument, then you don’t support open carry.

For example, I don’t want to muzzle the morons who spout off in favour of Marx or Mein Kampf, I want to drown out their nonsense with better ideas. I don’t want to ban morons from open-carrying SKS’s at low ready into a Jack-in-the-Box, I want to drown them out with people who carry great pistols in nice leather holsters.

After all, when was the last time you heard someone say that sticking a fork into a toaster was a good idea? Eventually, time and evolution work together to weed out the dumb ideas and the dumb people. Open carry is normal in Arizona because normal people act normally while carrying their firearm in the open.

EVERY firearms owner should support open carry because NOTHING integrates guns into a culture more than the sight of guns on the hips of friends and neighbors whom you trust without guns on their hips. Don’t make the open carry argument about the gun, make it about the people who carry guns.

And I got to be honest, that’s something we’re not good at right now.

A Feeling of Safety. First.

It’s been percolating in the back of my mind for awhile now that the majority of  “Gun Culture 2.0” isn’t about guns, it’s about what guns do. More specifically, it’s about how having a gun near them makes them FEEL, and what they want to do is “feel safe”.

Look, let’s address the elephant in the room. 99.5% of legal gun owners were safe BEFORE they got a gun, and they’ll still be safe now that the own a gun. This is a good thing, because people who have only a 60% chance (or less) of being safe at any moment are living in a war zone and/or Chicago, and that’s something that nobody wants, no matter how good the pizza is there.

When I got my first self-defense gun, I bought it because my wife and I no longer “felt safe” in our home in the metro Phoenix area. We took steps along the way to make ourselves feel safe, and more importantly, thanks to things like firearms training, increased awareness, first aid kits, flashlights, gas cans, etc, we ARE safer. Buying a gun is just part of a “safe” lifestyle: It’s a waypoint along the journey towards personal security, and thankfully, it’s a waypoint that some, (and quite frankly, probably MOST), will never need.

Let’s face it: If you want to live a longer, happier life, reducing your risks of heart disease and a stroke are probably the  #1 and #2 things you should do. Dying in a shootout with a gangbanger at the local Golden Corral is waaaaaaay down the list, so plan accordingly. Not that gun skool isn’t fun (it is) and not that have a concealed carry gun on you isn’t a comfortable presence when you gas up your car late at night, (it is), and not that there isn’t an increased risk of terrorist/drug mob violence in our country (there is), but it’s a well-rounded plan that focuses on mindset that keeps you safe, not just a pound and a half of metal and plastic on your hip.

Feeling safe by BEING safe is our goal.

Stretch It Out.

Taking Michael Bane’s advice, I paced off the distance between the front door of my local Wally World and the nearest cover and was surprised to find out it was over thirty yards from the entrance to the cover of a concrete planter. That’s… not close, so I wrote some training tips for dealing with the new reality of dealing with an active shooter over at Ricochet.com.