Civilized society is merely a thin veneer that conceals something entirely different beneath. Many emergency situations in our nation’s history, and certainly many more worldwide, prove that any disruption of the status quo can lead to civil unrest. During frightening times even the average citizen is more apt to do things they would not otherwise do. Tensions run high. Also of great concern is the ever-present criminal element that hides in plain sight during stable times, then often erupts in an unmitigated way during a crisis. We have witnessed this in previous emergencies: consider our history with the LA Riots, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and a myriad of other situations.
Currently, during this epidemic of COVID 19, we are seeing an escalation of interpersonal violence on a national scale. Certain forms of crime are up significantly in certain locations. For the most part, people are still acting civilly, but those prone to bad action are taking full advantage of the strain on law enforcement and other resources. Crime is up by twelve percent in New York City, the hardest-hit locality, and home invasion is up across the board. Also of significant concern is the sheer tension in the air, leading to confrontations between people who otherwise would not be acting so aggressively. Both of these heightened risks should factor into your own security plan in the home and when out in public. Now it is particularly important to stay armed at all times and to avoid trouble at all costs.
Consider Your Carry Routine
I urge you to consider your daily carry habits. And if you are only an occasional carrier perhaps now is the time to become a daily carrier. I don’t subscribe to the notion of only carrying a concealed handgun during times of heightened threat, real or perceived. I believe in carrying all times legally possible. For many people, one of the few good things that might come out of this pandemic scare is a new-found appreciation for the unpleasant realities of the world. Carrying a handgun is part of preparedness for the unknown and the unexpected dangers that can rapidly materialize. Now that criminal activity has spiked, what better time to turn this occasional habit into a daily routine?
Another area in which to up your carry game is in the home. There are those who believe in carrying all the time, even when home. And there are many who find this practice unnecessary or too inconvenient. I always home carry as I simply carry all day, regardless of where I am, home, or out. I find that no matter where a gun is kept, the balance of accessibility and safety demands that a gun is secured in a quick-access safe, and there is simply no way a gun can be as quickly accessible in any location other than on your person. As a parent of small children, the gun is safest, and most accessible, on my person. Therefore, I simply carry all day long at home or when out and about. With a significant rise in home invasion, I would encourage you to consider this practice if you do not already do so. Staying armed during this emergency should indeed apply to the environment you are probably spending the most time in: the home.
Avoid Known Problem Spots
Any amount of time watching the news will enlighten you to the heightened tensions in which people are clashing over the acquisition of commodities. If you can avoid going to certain places that are rife with unrest, by all means, do so. As armed citizens we should strive, above all else, to not put ourselves in situations that can get heated. Obviously, if we must venture to certain places due to necessity, we have no choice. However, there are many alternatives available for many of the things we need. Online ordering and delivery from a variety of venues can keep you stocked with most items you may need. This may be a far better option than putting yourself in a position that can compromise your safety or set you up for conflict over a parking space, a spot in line, the last roll of toilet paper, or other such nonsense.
De-Escalation is Your Obligation
If you roam the world armed it is imperative that you do everything in your power to avoid trouble, and if conflict does arise, to de-escalate if at all possible. While certain threats justify an immediate response of force, such as an armed robbery or an active killer, many incidents of violence start as a heated argument and escalate into physical violence. During times of high stress, like this current pandemic, we see such escalation happening at a more common rate.
As an armed citizen, it is your obligation to calm any situation that can turn hostile, if it is possible to do so. It is human nature to defend our ego and reputation above all else, and allowing someone to speak to us rudely, or scream at us in public, is a hard pill to swallow. Well, I remind the concealed carrier that you go armed with a tool that allows you to deal with death, should you have to. If you escalate a situation to the point where you are then left with no choice but to resort to that tool you are going to experience harsh legal fallout.
Many of the usual issues that we are relatively likely to encounter in public are all in place but amplified during this time. People are getting into fights over parking spaces at crowded retail venues. People are fighting over their spot in lines in stores with limited supply. Road rage incidents are quite common due to the stress of the situation, even though people are driving less than usual. People are getting into confrontations while walking in public due to some folks overreacting to fears of spread. Be willing to apologize, be willing to find another parking spot. Deal with people in a calm and collective manner. Give the other party every opportunity to walk away from a problem, and walk away yourself whenever possible.
During this period of increased tension and stress, be sure to avoid trouble at all times possible, and be ready to de-escalate a heated situation. However, as you well know, there is a criminal element present that cannot always be avoided and will now fall back with de-escalation, and that element is currently unchained. Stay armed and take care of your people.