John and I have taken at least a little flak over the years for not putting our full names, photos, videos, etc., out there. I have personally taken some flak (including in some comments right here on this site) for admitting that I do not “always” carry a gun. One recent event shared by a fellow blogger/YouTuber has vindicated my decision to stay at least somewhat incognito and to not always carry a gun.
In case you were not aware, The Suited Shootist recently posted a video where he divulged how, despite his best efforts, he got “made” at work. In this quite poignant video (if I was making the same admission, I would have dispensed with the booze and rocks glass, but I digress), he outlined how it was that he got “made” and the repercussions and ramifications that followed (losing his job, strain on his marriage, etc.).
Let us consider my own situation. I am a teacher. The teaching field is, by and large, populated by the more liberal in terms of political affiliations. Ah, but I am not just a teacher. My sub-field is special education, which, by its very nature (“equal educational opportunities for all!”) tends to be an even more liberal subset of the teaching profession. While I have never publicly revealed in which state I reside, I am sure many of our readers have figured that out by now (East coast liberal haven). At work, I am truly DEEP behind “enemy” lines.
Also consider the fact that, while The Suited Shootist lost his job, he has since been able to find employment, and at no time faced any sort of criminal charges. If I was “made” at work, I would face criminal charges, and would also be guaranteed to lose my teaching certificates. Thus, even if I “beat” the charges, I would have to make a true career change. And since I have a combination of many credits from my B.A. and all of my credits toward my M.S. geared toward this career and the associated certifications, it would truly be like flushing 25 years of my life down the toilet.
My school is located in a not-the-worst but far-from-the-best neighborhoods in one of the most violent cities in the entire country. Even with that information, “playing the odds”/doing a cost-benefit analysis has meant that I do not carry a firearm at work. I also do not leave it in my car (cars in the lot or the street outside my school get broken into often enough). Because I tend to run most of my errands on my way home from work, I (gasp!) go about a good portion of my day without a firearm. And yet, even living where I live, I have managed to stay alive this long. Imagine that.
Claude Werner, “The Tactical Professor“, once made a challenge to fellow instructors out there. Specifically, he was addressing those instructors who insist that everyone should carry a full-sized service pistol ALL the time, how they can actually be easily concealed, etc. To summarize the challenge, Claude suggested that these instructors actually go and get a real job, carry their full-size service pistol, and see how well it works for them.
While my work attire can be quite casual, I do not really get to wear Hawaiian shirts or hoodies that are a size too large. I also do not get to hide in a cubicle or office all day. In essence, I spend virtually all of my time at work “performing on stage” in front of students and fellow staff members. If I was carrying a firearm each day, sooner or later someone would “make” me.
It should be noted, however, that The Suited Shootist did not get made because someone saw his gun, but rather due to an off-hand comment made by a work associate. In short, people at work knew that he was “into” guns and self-defense training. I must confess that a few people at my work know the same about me. One or two even know that I have a blog, though they do not know its name. (If I had to do it all over, I would make more of an effort to keep all of my hobbies a secret, and instead limit “water cooler” talk to the game last night, the weather, etc.) However, unlike The Suited Shootist, even if something similar happened to me, I would survive the search of my body and my belongings because I do not bring a firearm to work. I also do not put my full name or my face all over the internet talking about guns, shooting guns, etc. In a way, getting completely booted off Facebook has been a blessing. The Suited Shootist referenced his own ego (“ego is not your amigo!”) motivating him to possess a gun at all times. No one will ever accuse me of having a big ego.
I have almost reached the half-century mark without ever needing a firearm. Though Tom Givens, an instructor I revere, often says that we have about a 20% chance of being the victim of a violent crime at some point during our lives in the U.S.A., that 20% is spread over the entire population. And while bad things happen to good people in good neighborhoods, there is little doubt that such events occur less often to such people in such areas. That is what makes those heinous crimes that do occur in such areas stand out in our minds. The fact is, through following certain life rules, I have found it pretty easy—to date—to stay out of trouble. My focus lately has been on avoiding trouble rather than on shooting more drills. As our readers will soon see in another post, avoidance, de-escalation, and preparing for those times when I cannot be armed with a handgun (or knife, or OC spray, etc.) has served me well of late. It may be cliché, but being armed does not mean I must always carry my “tools”.
Strange attitude for “civilian gunfighter”? Maybe. But I must say that seeing what The Suited Shootist has gone through has, at least in my mind, vindicated my own position on this. Let us know your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below, as we always appreciate and welcome civil discussion.