On Begging and Requalifying

My new home, New Mexico, is one of the poorest states in the U.S. Practically every Albuquerque (ABQ) street corner is staked out by a “Homeless and Hungry” individual. There’s no obvious age or ethnic profile: men and women; young and middle aged; white, black, Hispanic. None appear to be malnourished although that’s rarely an obvious condition.

The “Land of Enchantment” has its share of do-good liberal lawmakers looking after these people. SJW politicians here pontificate endlessly about caring for the poor, all the while pocketing public monies by the truckload and whining about everything American — especially guns.

A healthy young panhandler at Comanche Road NE and Interstate 25N in Albuquerque. His sign says he is “ashamed and embarrassed” and has a pregnant wife. The blue sign behind him offers food and shelter simply by calling 311. Panhandlers are everywhere in ABQ. Are they truly homeless and hungry, down on their luck and needing a bit of Christian charity, or are they bums who refuse to work for a living? Are they mentally unstable, drug addicts or gang members? At an intersection, you simply cannot know. Perhaps it is best to keep the window up and door locked, one hand near your carry gun and one hand on the wheel. Instead, donate to the Salvation Army, which has an excellent reputation for working with the homeless and hungry.

SJW politicians hate guns … well, your guns. This, despite ABQ’s extraordinarily high crime rates and heavily armed American and Mexican gangs. In fact, ABQ’s police force — the largest in the state — is understaffed by 350 sworn officers. Open carry is legal, but SJW politicians made concealed carry difficult, or at least peculiar. (I’ve noted already that in moving from Florida to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico, my Georgia permit was recognized everywhere except New Mexico.)

Concealed carry, as negotiated with Santa Fe’s SJW politicians, requires two days of classroom and shooting range qualification. Then, every couple of years, a permit holder has to do it all again … or almost all.

Qualifying at 3 and 7 yards is easy enough, but New Mexico requires qualification with the largest caliber you might ever want to carry. Scoring 100 percent with my .40 Walther PPS or my new .380 Kel-Tec P-3AT wouldn’t have been good enough. My wife’s S&W .38 Special wasn’t enough, either. Of course, if we were certain we would never ever carry a .45 or .44 Mag, we could have qualified with the smaller rounds, but then our permits would, in writing, have excluded anything larger.

You must also qualify with the type of firearm you intend to carry. If you want to carry a semi-auto, you must qualify with a semi-auto; to carry a revolver, you must qualify with a revolver. If you only qualify with a revolver, for instance, you cannot carry a semi-auto concealed.

So when my wife and I attended the required course taught by Dale and Linda Perkins of Perkins Protection Training (www.perkinsprotectiontraining.com), we rented their .45s and purchased 4 boxes of cartridges.

Now I wonder about the folks staking out street corners here in ABQ. This city of a million or so people has a reputation for violence and gang activity that the police do not control and the SJW politicians do not recognize. Is there some accommodation with the gangs that is not publicized to the general citizenry? Some, “You stay on your side of the tracks; we’ll stay on ours?” Who knows. Our family is one of several I have spoken with who called 911 and got no follow-up by a patrol car.

This makes me cautious when I stop at a traffic light. As of this writing, our official concealed carry permits haven’t yet arrived, so I keep the windows up and doors locked. I’m not so much concerned about an individual who might actually be homeless and hungry as I am that corners are allocated (with quiet political consent) by gang boundaries and that the folks soliciting might be on-duty gang initiates assigned to work that territory.

Back in the day I gave money to panhandlers. No longer. Opening the window and handing money to a beggar is dangerous.

I honor the Good Samaritan. I want to be sensitive to needy people, but I don’t want to be a mark, either. Handing money out the window of a car one hand with cash, another on the wheel, a third hand on my pistol? — closer than qualifying distance for a carry permit seems like an unnecessary no-win situation.