I took a quick scan of the area as I parked the car in the local Waffle House parking lot. Sensing nothing was amiss, I continued to lock the car and walk to the entrance of the business. Scanning my immediate area is just a habit with me. Some might say that I am paranoid. I say that I am being vigilant.
Stepping inside I quickly glanced around looking for a place to sit and while doing so quickly observing those already engaged in consuming scattered, smothered, and covered hash-browned delicacies of Southern cuisine. “Good morning! Welcome to Waffle House!” greetings filled the air as I moved to a window table near the back of the restaurant. From this table I could view the parking lot and the entranceway; I was strategically satisfied with my choice of seating.
Every now and then during my meal I would glance up when a patron entered and satisfied that there was no threat, resume eating. Prior to paying my bill, I would take another glance to the parking lot. Leaving the establishment, I take note of my surroundings and return to the car. The next stop was a local Wal-Mart to replenish.22 LR ammunition that I fired previously. Again, quick scans while I am driving; taking note of vehicles, places, and people. Entering the Wal-Mart parking lot is no different than has been done countless times in the past; quick scans and picking a parking spot where I could see my surroundings. While in Wal-Mart, I am constantly glancing quickly at people. Not their faces mind you, but their body movements, postures, and especially where the positioning of hands. The exit from Wal-Mart was no different after I paid for my purchase: A quick conversation with the door greeter (who I know) and a quick glance outside as I exit the building. I ext the parking lot and head for home base while again taking quick glances at the rear-view mirror, people, places, and things.
Driving into my sub-division, I look around for vehicles different from those normally parked. There is nothing to worry about here. Pulling into my driveway, I see my neighbor driving a backhoe toward the house adjacent to his. Knowing that he is a plumber, I surmise that he is about ready to do some digging to fix a broken water main. The dog’s bark at my arrival, I unlock the door and disarm the alarm system. I try not to take things for granted and set the house alarm, as I will be in my basement office. The dogs will alert me if anyone comes to the door (and UPS trucks. For some reason the lead dog can identify the sound of a UPS truck. I have not figured that one out).
I slip the Glock G36 from its holster, lay it on the desk, sit in my “Captain’s Chair”, and check my e-mails. There is more detail coming out on a recent restaurant shooting and I think to myself that I am glad I was not there. It is not that I am a hero and maybe could have taken out the shooter but, simply, glad that I was not there. However, I do feel for those who died needlessly and think about those who will suffer with the aftermath and fallout.
I recall reading about a deranged individual with a gun who wantonly slaughtered the parents of Dr. Suzanna Hupp (and others) who were helpless victims. Dr. Hupp could do nothing by watch helplessly, as she left her gun in the car; it was illegal to carry a concealed firearm, licensed or no, in the state of Texas at that time. It was October 1991 when an unemployed merchant seaman drove his pickup truck into a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Tex., leaped out and opened fire. He killed 23 people and wounded more than 20.
I also recall part of her testimony: “A gun can be used to kill a family, or defend a family,” Hupp said. “I’ve lived what gun laws do. My parents died because of what gun laws do. I’m the quintessential soccer mom, and I want the right to protect my family. What happened to my parents will never happen again with my kids there.”
“Responding to the massacre, the Texas Legislature in 1995 passed a shall-issue gun law, which requires that all qualifying applicants be issued a Concealed Handgun License (the state’s required permit to carry concealed weapons), removing the personal discretion of the issuing authority to deny such licenses. To qualify for a license, one must be free-and-clear of crimes, attend a minimum 10-hour class taught by a state-certified instructor, pass a 50-question test, show proficiency in a 50-round shooting test, and pass two background tests, one shallow and one deep. The license costs $240 to $290, depending on the added instructor’s fee.
The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the massacre where both of her parents were shot and killed. She later expressed regret for obeying the law by leaving her firearm in her car rather than keeping it on her person in an establishment that served alcohol. She testified across the country in support of concealed handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luby%27s_massacre).
Looking back at my own life, I see times early in my life before I started to carry a concealed weapon (legally) when I was not as vigilant as I am now. Carrying a weapon; however, had little to do with my complacency. Drilled into me was the fact that complacency kills while serving the public as an LEO and later when working in executive protection and private investigations. I had to fight complacency at times, being self-satisfied with my skills and abilities. A little bit too cock-sure and an incident cured me of that; however, and I try now to be as vigilant as I can even though I’m not placed in harm’s way on a daily basis.
Even as I write this, I am fully aware that somebody could come busting into the house intent on doing whatever they intend on doing and I have several plans for that should it happen. If home invasion and burglary are against the law, I should rest assured that they will not happen, right?
At what point do we give up the responsibility of being true to our own instincts and survival, if ever? At what point did we interpret laws meant to prosecute as protecting us? I do not remember delegating my natural right or my natural instinct to be vigilant of any matter to any agent in the government as so many have.
I try not to succumb to the many euphemisms regarding “why I carry”, as I feel no propensity to justify why; however, a line in the 1972 version of the Poseidon Adventure from Reverend Frank Scott, as played by Gene Hackman, reminds me why I am vigilant: “So what resolution should we make for the new year? It’s to let God know that you have the guts and the will to do it alone. Resolve to fight for yourselves, and for others, for those you love. And that part of God within you will be fighting with you all the way.”
Be ever vigilant and be ever armed.
These are my thoughts. I would like to read yours.