Paranoia vs. preparation

Where exactly do we draw the line between paranoia and preparation? I live in an excellent area of town with low crime, and I carry a gun. I don’t feel like that’s paranoid, because I’m not constantly thinking about how I would defend myself from a violent attack. Conversely, I train regularly with the gun(s) that I carry so that in case of a violent attack, I can defend myself well. I don’t feel like that’s paranoid, again because I’m not living my life around the fear of a violent attack.

So, again I ask where is the line between paranoia and preparation? Personally, I look at preparation as “being ready for a situation that may never occur”, and I look at paranoia as “living in fear of a situation that may never occur.” Obviously, the difference is apparent to a reasonable person like myself; but it might not be so obvious to someone else.

My greatest concern with paranoia amongst gunnies isn’t its existence, but rather its use as a pejorative label by the non-gun types. “Paranoid gun-owner” conjures images of militia types in camo plotting their eventual rebellion against the evil government ninjas. That image isn’t exactly beneficial for those of us that aren’t doing that (aka the majority), but it’s a common image. It’s exactly that image that has led states to start to order psychiatric evaluations for people who arrested with large “caches” of firearms. The reasoning is that “you don’t need that many guns, so you must be up to something”.

While I’m generally all for new shooter education, and can frequently been hearing beating that drum on these pages, I’m also of the opinion that the best way to combat the “paranoid” gun owner image is pretty much the same. Education.

I have a lot of guns, and several thousand rounds of ammunition for those guns. A stranger from California would probably think I’m “paranoid”; education can fix that. At the same time, I don’t go yelling in the streets that I have X number of guns and X,000 rounds of ammo – because that doesn’t do anything to help fight the image of the “paranoid” gun owner.

We’re all ambassadors of our sport; and whether or not realize it people are making value judgments of all shooters based on you or me. Our ability to comport ourself with dignity, courtesy, and intelligence can go a long way towards fighting off the “paranoid” gun owner image. Like I’ve said before, when we get Suzy Soccermon on our side, that’s when we win this thing.