The Self-Defense Mindset

The author Robert Heinlein famously said, “An armed society is a polite society”. If you think that is not true, just go to a gun show. Those folks are NOT armed in that building, yet most of them carry a gun every day, everywhere else. The Constitution has given us the right to be armed for self defense, and the State of Texas has wisely extended that right for trained and vetted citizens to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

Do you have a license to carry (CHL)?  More to the point, if you do, do you actually carry a gun every day, or just when going somewhere dangerous? (NOTE: going someplace dangerous is asking for trouble, anyway.) Besides, criminals might expect a citizen to be carrying a gun in a dangerous place; they will cause trouble in “safe” places.

A number of recent events have driven home the wisdom of the saying, “carry every day or guess right”.

June 21. Two men leaving a Japanese restaurant in North Dallas are acosted by two armed robbers. One of the victims produces a gun and kills one robber; the other flees.

June 21. Three men stage a “push-in” robbery of an apartment in Dallas. After a gunfight, one robber is wounded and arrested; two others flee; the head of the victim family is killed. If he had not fought back, do you think the outcome would have been better? Read on.

June 10. An armed robber robs a convenience store in The Colony, a suburb of Dallas. The owner, alone in the store, gives him the money and offers no resistance. He kills her just for fun.

June 17. A white visitor to a Bible study class at a black church in Charleston, SC, opens fire, killing 9 people.

Sep 26, 2014. A female employee of a small food processing plant in Moore, OK, a suburb of Oklahoma City, is beheaded by a recently fired worker. He is shot by another employee.

None of these locations would be judged “dangerous”, yet all of theme were. Could all of these had better outcomes with more armed citizens on the scene? Not necessarily. Not everyone is physically or emotionally capable of carrying or discharging a firearm, but many are.

The most tragic of these events, because it was so avoidable, is the church shooting in Charleston. Avoidable, because churches in SC, by state law, are “gun-free zones”. There is a provision for churches to opt out of that, but as of this date, there has been no information to suggest that the church did that. Our experience in Texas has been that businesses that must take an affirmative action to allow guns seldom do. The number of people in that Bible study was small enough that there still might not have been a gun there, anyway, but if there had been, we would be talking about one or two dead instead of nine.

John Lott, the economist and data-geek, has demonstrated that since 1950, the overwhelming majority of mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones.  James Holmes, the theater shooter in Colorado, avoided one theater because it was not a gun-free zone, and chose another one further away because it was.

When will we ever get this right?  And when will you start carrying daily?