Why I carry

We’ve been discussing self defense a lot lately, and while the advice was targeted specifically for women, the general concept of “be aware” and “don’t be stupid” makes for pretty solid advice for everyone. One of the questions I was asked in an email was an honest inquiry as to why I carry a gun. Not in the 2nd Amendment sense of the question, because then that answer would be pretty easy, but rather an every day answer as to why I choose to arm myself.

I live in a pretty safe area, I work in a pretty safe area, and my commute goes through a pretty safe area. Statistically speaking, the odds of me ever needing my gun are just about slim and none; and I do confess that I sometimes feel a little silly about carrying. That hasn’t stopped me from carrying, but it has made me honestly evaluate exactly why I’m carrying a gun.

First off, here’s not why I’m carrying a gun.

  • I’m not carrying a gun because I’m paranoid. I don’t worry about someone jumping out of the bushes and demanding my wallet, or accosting Mrs. Ahab and me while we take a stroll through the neighborhood. Living my life in that kind of paranoid fear would be a pretty miserable way to go about things.
  • I’m not carrying a gun because it makes me feel powerful. My personal feeling of power isn’t at all connected to how well or poorly armed I am at any given moment. My feelings of empowerment would generally stem from my ability to control what’s going on around me, coupled with my ability to react appropriately to things out of my control. That can only come from being alert and aware.
  • I’m not carrying a gun because I want to shoot someone. Honestly, the people that spout stuff like this are just morons. I don’t know anyone who carries a gun that is excited about the concept of ventilating another human being.

That covers the broad strokes of silly things that people believe about folks that choose to arm themselves. Now let’s look at some reasons why I am carrying a gun.

  • I’m carrying a gun because I’m responsible for my safety. Not the police. Not the government. Me. When you get right down to it, the only person that is ultimately accountable for my safety is me; it is up to me as an individual to protect myself from bad thing that may happen. While I prefer to avoid and escape dangerous situations, I may be confronted with a situation where force is my only option.
  • Humans use tools. If you think about humans as “hairless, upright monkeys”; our evolution and adaptation as a species has been allowed by our ability to use tools to adapt our surroundings to us. My personal opinion is that since I am responsible for my own safety, and am not equipped with claws, sharp fangs, or the ability to dispense fireballs out my ass; it would probably benefit for me to find a tool for which to protect myself in the event of an emergency. A gun is the most effective tool available for me.
  • I’m carrying a gun because I’d rather be prepared. I have a first aid kit in the house. With that first aid kit, I can apply immediate emergency aid to a variety of injuries. However, I’m not sitting around my house, first aid kit in hand waiting for my wife to cut herself in the kitchen. Just as I hope that I never have to open my first aid kit, I hope that I never need to draw my gun.

Those are big picture concepts. I’m not trying to convert someone who doesn’t carry a gun into an NRA life member. What I want is for people who are serious about taking responsibility for their own safety to see into my head and hopefully understand exactly why I make the perfectly rational decision every day to carry a sidearm. I also want them to understand a lot of the popular conceptions of people who carry guns just aren’t true. I seriously doubt that Sebastian, Uncle, or Bitter (to name a few) are carrying guns because they’re excited about maybe getting to shoot someone.

Most concealed carry holders make an educated, adult decision to carry a firearm. It’s not something that we take lightly, because no matter how you beat around the bush, defending your life is a very serious matter. It’s not about the gun, it’s about the personal decision that I made to be responsible for my own safety. A gun is just part of a means to and end, it is not the end in itself.