Violent crime is down over fifty-percent across the boards in the last fifteen years. America is, statistically speaking, probably the safest place it’s been in my lifetime. On average, at least. I haven’t had a carry permit for decades; I am careful, have good situational awareness and avoid situations where violence is likely. So why consider getting a permit now? Well, lots of reasons.
First and foremost I hate waiting periods. I think they may actually help in that they give people time to cool down or suicidal folks the opportunity to reconsider. But I don’t like waiting, and if I have a permit I don’t have to. I hand them money, they make a phone call and I walk out greedily clutching my latest toy. It’s convenient.
I am 6’4″ tall, physically capable and have good situational awareness. I am seriously not the victim that street criminals are looking for. The chances that some random thug will decide to pick me as a target are slim. I’m also known around the neighborhood for being helpful and charitable. That and the fact that I am ‘the crazy sword guy’ and we have dogs helps too. In short we get left alone by the local criminal element.
But lately even though violence is significantly less common things have changed. The level of threat is dramatically reduced but the scope of the threat has broadened. That means that while violence is less likely overall you can no longer reliably predict when or where it’s likely. Situations that used to be reasonably safe aren’t so much anymore. More violent emotional disturbed people are on the streets, and since I live in an urban area I see this all the time. Then there are mass shootings; by this I mean single-incident events where the purpose is to produce the most casualties as quickly as possible. While these don’t even account for a blip in crime statistics they are increasingly common, and Paris showed us they can happen virtually anywhere. Paris also showed us that terrorists have finally figured out that these require minimal preparation, are easy to coordinate and hard to prevent. They can happen any time in any crowded public space, and odds are they will.
No, I don’t fantasize about being the hero in one of these situations. The odds of me being caught in such an event still aren’t very good, and the likelihood that being armed will help is not huge. Think about it- there will be innocents- men, women and children– panicked and running in every direction. Opening fire is probably not going to be prudent. Then there’s the chance that since you aren’t obviously a cop the good guys might shoot you. If I am ever caught in such an event my plan is to take cover and then escape, hopefully taking as many innocent people with me as possible. Being armed just expands my options and gives me the ability to go down fighting if I am cornered.
I don’t live in some paranoid fantasy where I think that I will get in a full-blown firefight; I’m not going to carry multiple guns, a crap-load of extra ammunition and a flurry of tactical knives just waiting for some micro-apocalypse to break out around me. Probably if I can’t get the job done with five shots I’m screwed anyway. Sure, I’ll carry a reload, and I always carry a pocket-knife but that’s likely to remain the extent of it.
I am still, thankfully, wildly unlikely to ever need a gun for self-defense. But as someone that is capable of employing a firearm effectively and responsibly I feel it is a benefit to my community that I do so. So there it is- the answers to the question of why I want to get a permit again after all of these years.