To the Woman in the Grocery Store

While standing in line at the grocery store, I hear you on the phone. Based on what I hear from one side of the conversation, it is pretty clear to me that there must have been a shooting, maybe a carjacking, in your neighborhood. You complain about “all those guns” and talk about the tragedy of “so many people” getting killed. You just do not understand why people need guns. You say, “It just scares me with all those people carrying guns.”

You cannot even put your phone down to pay for your groceries.

I stand there behind you, waiting with a gun concealed beneath my shirt. The gun I carry is in a secure holster. It cannot just go off. I am trained. I am alert to signs of danger. If the need arises, I am ready to use my training to protect my life. In doing so, I would also be saving your life because if the attacker has to focus his attention on me, he will not be focusing his attention on you. I ask nothing from you for this, but it would be nice if you understood, even just a little bit, what was really going on around you.

I pay for my few items and head toward the parking lot as you still chat mindlessly into your phone, lamenting all the problems caused by guns. You drop your keys and do not even notice the creepy guy watching you all the way to your car. As I head to my truck, I see a guy my age getting out of his car. As he heads to the store, I can tell by the way he adjusts his pants just behind his right hip that he is very likely also carrying a gun.

Guns scare you because you know nothing about them. Worse than that, you know virtually nothing about personal safety. You are distracted and unaware, and you believe that your SUV and good neighborhood insulate you from those who would do you harm. You would be robbed or carjacked before you really knew what was happening, and you would blame the guns.

You blame the guns despite the fact that you are completely oblivious to the number of people you pass by who are carrying guns each day. We deal with the extra effort, discomfort and liability of carrying a gun for personal defense every day. We have gone out of our way to study, train and prepare. We hope that we never have to use our guns, but we also know that hope is not a strategy for effective defense. We have made the conscious choice to do our best when faced with a deadly threat. We make no guarantees about the outcome, but we know one thing: It is better to resist aggression than to acquiesce to it. We will not go down without a fight.

What you do not seem to know is that we will never hurt you with our guns. We have no malice. We do not suffer from hero syndrome. We are just people, no better or worse than you, who carry guns because police cannot be everywhere, and we would not want to live in a country where they could.

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