March 04, 2019
By Kevin L Schmadeka
The signs are everywhere. At workplaces, schools and campuses, theaters, businesses, drinking establishments, greater numbers of public places, and on and on, they announce to you, “No guns allowed.”
On any given day, the odds of something bad happening to you in one of those places are next to nothing. Over the course of your lifetime however, those odds go way, way up. On that one day out of thousands that the dice come up snake-eyes, if you are in that place unarmed, you’re one of many who has no realistic chance to fight back. There may be things you can do to better your own odds or mitigate the harm. Depending on circumstances you may be able to get some people out of harm’s way or into a locked down area. You may be able to throw things to distract or delay the shooter. You may be able to find a hiding place for yourself, where assuming you aren’t found, you will still likely have to listen to the dying screams of those who didn’t find one. But actually stopping what’s happening will be a dream out of reach.
You will have walked into a death trap.
Oftentimes you have little to no choice. You have to work. If you’re not an adult yet, you have to go to school. In the workplace, while “carrying anyways” is an option, the price of discovery can be the end of your career. The results of asking for an ok from management can be just about as bad, even when there are threats looming. You can get yourself tagged as a risk that way, and shown the door. I’ve experienced that myself so I can’t really recommend that approach either.
People in authority come in many stripes, including government officials, various administrators, business owners and management. They all have the same tendency toward control; they want the monopoly on power. Nothing happens without going through them, and that includes your protection. If they provide security, which may or may not do the job of saving you, they’re ok with that. But if you protect yourself or others with a weapon, with no special authority, then it happened without the say-so of those in charge, and to them that’s a problem. A problem of greater importance to them than your actual safety. The Parkland students learned the folly of depending on police to save you, even if they’re right there on the premises. Numerous teachers and staff had the chance, if they’d only been armed, but administrators and politicians in power fight tooth and nail to ensure that never happens despite the clear price.
In these cases, the responsibility lies with those who denied your right of self-protection, or at least a substantial alternative form of security. But that does little to change the level of risk you have to live with. So what to do?
There’s necessary risk and there’s unnecessary risk. You have to get around, but if you choose to do so on a motorcycle, you run the risk that something much bigger and heavier will collide with you, without a chance of getting out of the way. (Been there and done that a couple times.) The feeling of freedom and wind in your hair is great, but is it worth what you might be giving up? Is that feeling important enough to warrant any such risk? Statistically that will happen, the only question being when and how bad, and when that day comes you will have walked into a death trap. You may have actually given up your entire future for it.
On the other hand, when driving inside of something with four wheels and an exterior shell, the same thing can still happen, but it’s far less likely and your exposure to injury and death is a small fraction of what it is on a motorcycle. You’ve only taken the necessary risk and not the unnecessary one.
Going out to have a drink and socialize seems entirely harmless, and to many necessary. But typically it means walking into a gun free zone where an attack could happen, small as the odds might be on a given night. But as has been learned at the Pulse Nightclub, the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks California, and many others, it can happen. With no weapon, you have no realistic chance to fight. If you’re drinking alcohol, you have voluntarily surrendered your sound judgment, coordination and motor skills, and you and those in your company are at even greater risk. You have walked into a death trap.
Conversely, if you’re fortunate enough to live where concealed carry in a bar is legal as long as you don’t drink, you have a real fighting chance to stop the shooter. Being armed is no guarantor of success, training and circumstances will decide a great deal. But with the ability to fight back, and your wits still about you, you have at the very least not walked into a death trap.
So am I saying you should never go to a gun-free bar and have a drink with friends or a date while unprotected? Well, yes, that’s what I’m saying. Same with businesses or jobs or schools or any other place that doesn’t allow your right of self-protection, at least when you have a choice. If they’re that unconcerned about your life and safety, they don’t deserve your patronage.
Instead, be the one who gets it right. Don’t walk into places that are posted as being vulnerable targets, not even gun-free theaters, and don’t lead others into those places either. And if it happens that you are in a place where you and those in your company could be at risk, so long as you’re able to be prepared and clear-headed, you can be the one who’s looking out for them as well as yourself. That way none of you have to be in quite so much of a death trap.