Right before leaving for church about 6:45am, I checked CNN on my iPhone. There was the main story of a shooting on the home page and the Breaking News banner across the top has a number that just jumped out at me. “50.” That was a big number. The headline said “shooter” not “shooters” and I just thought “how could one guy kill 50 people before being stopped?” A soft target like a club combined with a distracting environment and intoxicated individuals only magnified the chaos for those trying to escape.
Terrorism and active shooters are now an ever present reality in my mind. From my years working in restaurants, to being a parent, to doing so much traveling in recent years, my mind now has been conditioned to scan my environments and identify potential threats, potential escape routes, and potential weapons. When Mindy and I go to movies, I carry a bright flashlight to blind a shooter and perhaps use as a weapon in the event it’s needed. Sporting Events, malls, and church. All are soft Targets and I’m aware of suspicious individuals. I’m always conscious of my children. After every terrorist attack, there’s a general sense of uneasiness that sits with me.
Some might say “you’re letting the terrorists win” if you alter your mindset or peace of mind. Well, unfortunately, as a husband and father– my concern is not myself as much as my children and my wife. I don’t fear for myself but for them. My soon to be 3 children can’t defend themselves from a Terrorist. They can’t reason with them. They can’t “win them over with love.” They can’t fight back. That’s my job as a parent to protect them.
But I was surprised to find my emotional reaction was different after this attack than every other event before. I had fewer feelings of stress and anxiety. My mind was not rushed with any fear or concern over other attacks, but a peace of mind that things would be okay. So why was this attack different? Well, the attack wasn’t different. I was different.
12 hours before the shooting, I was walking out of the Cabela’s in Glendale, Arizona with the very first firearm that I have ever owned. I’ve lived in armed homes and shot firearms pretty well for the last 9 years or so, but hadn’t purchased one simply because of all the different laws in different states and my travel with Chick-fil-A. But now that I’m settled and figured out what would work best for either Mindy or myself – I had made my purchase. A powerful defense weapon that’s also extremely concealable. I haven’t taken Mindy shooting yet, but after the kids had went to bed, I had showed Mindy the specs on the pistol, the different rounds, the different mags, and where it’s kept.
The reason I felt more at ease after this terrorist attack, is because I now felt that I could defend myself, my family, or others in the event the same thing happened where I was at. If I never have to use it, then the peace of mind and lack of anxiety is enough to make it worth it. If I do have to use it – then the shots I fire will at least slow the assailant enough to save a life – if not stop him completely.
Filling out the paperwork to make the purchase was more or less clicking buttons on a computer screen that said “No, I’m not a drug user or have a history of violence.” They obviously run a background check and partly depend on the buyer being honest about their mental state and their behaviors. The Orlando shooter bought his guns legally. He had went through the same process I did but only days earlier.
I have many friends and family who favor gun control. I mean, we all favor gun control to some degree. But for most people who want stricter gun laws, they’re saying “I’m a responsible person and I don’t trust others to be responsible with guns.” So my question to them is – “If you truly believe that irresponsible people are currently purchasing unnecessarily dangerous firearms with the intent to harm you, and you’re a responsible person, wouldn’t it make the most sense to arm yourself along with the other 99% of responsible people to prevent the 1% from doing harm?”
Because if 1 man can kill 50 people and injure another 50 – he’s the 1% that controlled the 99%.
Don’t be a victim. Your loved ones might need you one day to stop 1 guilty person from injuring or killing 100 innocent people.