Monday, May 7, 2007

the burden of responsibility.

This is what I carry on my person every time I leave the house. (Actually, the cell phone is missing from the lineup, and sometimes I tote around a Palm handheld as well.)

There's the carry gun (a S&W Model 13), the holster (DeSantis Speed Scabbard), speedloader in its pouch (DeSantis Second Six), two speed strips for the right front pocket, slimline wallet for the left front pocket, and a red Kershaw Blur in the corner of the right back pocket.

Carrying a weapon is a pain on the best of days. The gun is made of two pounds of steel, and the spare ammo and carry leather add another pound or so. This gear has to ride on the belt, in a manner that's bearable for an entire day if necessary, and it has to be concealed from view at all times. You have to dress around the gun, move and bend over with the gun in mind, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. You have to anticipate and deal with people bumping into you, friends or relatives giving you an unintended patdown via hug, or your cover garment riding up when you pick up your toddler on the playground. Yes, carrying a weapon is a big pain in the ass on the best of days, and it's a downright burden when the temperature outside tops a hundred degrees.

Still, it wouldn't occur to me to leave the house without all that gear any more than it would to ride a motorcycle without helmet and armor, or to drive the car without using a seatbelt. It has nothing to do with machismo, or paranoia--it's just another piece of safety gear. There's a fire extinguisher under our kitchen counter, there's an airbag in my steering wheel, and there's a revolver on my belt. It's as simple as that.

Some people say that the likelihood of an incident requiring the use of a gun is so small as to be insignificant. My answer to that is usually that it's not the odds that bother me, it's what's at stake. If I make it to old age without ever having to clear leather in self-defense, I'll die a happy man--but that doesn't mean I'm willing to place a wager in that particular game of chance.

There are others who say that the gun is evidence of a "violent mindset", and that carrying one means you're out looking to shoot someone. That's a load of crap, of course--does having a fire extinguisher in your house mean that you're looking to have a fire?

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