Living your life armed is very different from living your life unarmed. Chances are good that if you are armed, you are more aware of the risks in your daily environment and understand that bad things happen to good people every day. If you are living armed you are in a state that allows concealed carry, and you have met the requirements of your state for a permit to carry (or you have a non-resident permit from another state and only care where it is lawful to do so).
You have made the choice to let the little things fall away, the driver who cuts you off in traffic, the shopper with 20 items in the 15 item express lane, the smart mouth in line who is looking to stir up trouble…you walk away or just let it go. These little things, that you might have responded to in the past, are simply not worth the risk of instigating a confrontation. You know that when you pull the trigger, two lives are changed forever.
You accept that you must make changes. You need to know and follow the laws of the state you are in. Where can you carry, and more important, where can’t you? You adapt your clothing choices to maximize concealment. You accept that you may not be able to go everywhere you used to because some establishments ban firearms. You may be able to go to dinner but forgo the glass of wine or beer with the meal because alcohol and firearms do not mix. You accept that you probably won’t go out of the house without your gun secured in its holster. I was getting ready to go to the grocery store with my husband once and ran upstairs to get my gun. He asked why I needed it since we were just going to the store. I pointed out that if we were going somewhere I thought I would need it, why would we go there? He never asked me again.
You understand the need to teach your family and friends what to do if something happens while you are out together. Their instinct may be to get behind you, but if they do, your attention is divided between protecting them and facing the threat, they need to move away from you, at an angle, and stay out of sight if possible, so you can focus on the threat, protecting yourself and them.
Don’t be fooled. Carrying a gun is a tremendous responsibility. You need to know before you ever walk out of the house that if you are in a life or death confrontation, you will do what you have to. You also need to know that if it isn’t life or death you will not over-react. Make those decisions before you ever leave the house wearing a gun. If you can not, don’t carry. When you are confronted is not the time to make the decision.
Living an armed lifestyle means taking the metaphorical “sand in the face” sometimes and walking away. It means rising above the petty snubs and rudeness of daily life. It means being a responsible citizen.
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