by Keith Coniglio
Statistically speaking, the overwhelming majority of us will never need to display, much less discharge, our defensive firearms. That is a good thing – period, full stop, no question.
What is not good is how often knowledge of this leads many of us to complacency. Our normalcy bias whispers in our ear about how uncomfortable concealed carry can be; how we have to change our attire or actions to prevent printing or accidental brandishing; how foolishly paranoid we might feel, carrying at mundane events or performing simple chores.
Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?
"I stay out of bad neighborhoods and don't associate with criminals. I'll be fine." "I'm just making a quick stop – I'll be back in five minutes." "I've been there a hundred times, and nothing's ever happened."
We relegate carrying to places and times when we feel "we might need it," as if we get to choose when trouble will find us (tip for the day: if you know in advance that you'll need to be armed, you can plan in advance to be somewhere else). We take for granted the ability to exercise our right to bear arms, a right that has been reduced to a privilege – and a rarely granted one at that – for millions of our fellow citizens.
We get complacent.
But consider recent high-profile acts of violence. The victims of the 2012 Aurora Theater shooting were attending a screening of a highly-anticipated action film at an upscale suburban mall. The victims of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino were gunned down while attending a work-related Christmas luncheon. In September 2017, congregants in Antioch, TN, found themselves under fire while leaving a church service. In November 2017, eight people enjoying a beautiful fall day on a well-traveled public bike path in New York City were murdered by an Islamic terrorist who ran them over with a truck.
These people were hardly engaged in high-risk criminal activity in bad neighborhoods. They were people just like us, doing mundane things done countless times before without incident, who found themselves unexpectedly facing a deadly threat. Having been armed during these incidents would not have guaranteed a better outcome – but it would have offered them the option of a fighting chance.
November 2017 also saw another senseless act of murder, but with a slightly different twist. In Thornton, CO, a man walked into a Wal-Mart and, by present accounts, randomly gunned down three shoppers in close proximity, then abruptly fled. It soon came to light that many patrons – some of whom were undoubtedly "just making a quick, five-minute stop" – drew their own firearms at the sound of the gunshots, prepared to defend themselves and others. I can't state for a fact that this is what prompted the murderer to break contact and flee, but I can surmise with confidence that those armed citizens felt grateful for the option of meeting force with force.
If you can carry, please do carry, despite those nagging, negative whispers. Having options is always preferable.
Keith Coniglio is a father, software tester, NRA-certified pistol instructor, and devoted Second Amendment advocate. He is also the editor-in-chief of Descendants of Liberty Press, a site dedicated to rekindling Americans' passion for - and defense of - their Constitutional rights and personal liberty.