Why do I carry a gun?
Technically I am carrying a pistol, not a piece of field artillery. In my day to day meanderings through life and the subsequent interactions with other homo sapiens that form part of civilised existence, this is a question that pops up every so often. The high-profile trial of the now infamous Oscar Pistorius probably contributed no small part to this phenomenon.
It is not an easy question to answer. This is not because my reasons are particularly convoluted or that they aren’t substantial enough, but rather that the amount of satisfaction the asker gains from my answer depends largely on their mind-set and personal value system. I can give an extended presentation complete with slide shows and enough statistics to frustrate an actuary, but if we have a fundamental difference regarding our individual outlooks on life, the other party will sadly remain cold.
Which is why, despite going off on a tangent there, I am going to keep this simple.
I carry a firearm because I do not defer the responsibility for my personal safety, or that of my family, to other people or organisations. I know that the police are incapable of guaranteeing my personal safety. I cannot depend on the SAPS to protect me. And I shouldn’t, because doing so would be grossly unfair to them. There are only so many policemen available at any one time, and they cannot be everywhere at once. It is simply impossible. Generally they arrive after the action has taken place to interview witnesses, take statements, collect evidence, and try to piece together just what the heck happened. “When you have seconds to live, the police are but minutes away,” or so goes the adage.
I carry a firearm because I believe in taking precautions. I drive the safest car I can afford. I have fire extinguishers in my home. I have insurance policies that cover my most valuable earthly possessions, my health, and my income. A firearm is similar to all these things in a way: I would rather have it and never be required to use it, than not have it when I really desperately need it.
I carry a firearm because I am the first responder to my own personal crime scene. I am fully aware that there are bad people out there who do harm unto others for their own personal gain. They are a mixed basket containing every combination of sociopaths, sadists and psychos that the criminal world has to offer. Hopefully I never encounter any of them during my lifetime. In the event that I am unfortunate enough to become their target, I will be the first person who will have to act in order to escape my predicament. I can submit and risk being executed like so many other innocent victims of crime in our country, or I can choose fight back and stand a chance to survive.
I carry a firearm because it is the most effective self-defence tool I can carry on my person. Handguns do not have stopping power; that is a myth. In the US about 6 out of every 7 shooting victims survive their injuries. None the less, having a compact and portable method for employing lethal force, which is always a last resort, is infinitely more effective than any other self-defence apparatus available on the market. Firearms allow the weak, old, and meek to stand a chance against the young, strong, and violent. This has been said before many times, but it warrants saying again, “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.”
I can go on and list more reasons why I carry a gun, but I am sure that you get the picture by now. If you don’t, I suspect it is one of those things we will fundamentally differ on. C’est la vie, and all that. No hard feelings. I am always available to discuss the issue further with whomever is willing.
In closing, it is worth clarifying something for the uninitiated reader: the firearm is merely a tool. It does not magically impart superhuman qualities upon its wielder. Like any other martial art out there, using a gun requires regular training to develop and maintain your skill and mind. Despite this it is still the most effective object for even an untrained person to use to defend themselves against violent attack. The ultimate responsibility for your personal safety lies with you. Give yourself the best chance you possibly can, and use the most effective equipment available: be legally and responsibly armed.
Photo Credit: Shaun Wessels