In the Army, the only time you are "safe" is when you are "in the rear with the gear". Every time you go to the field, every time you deploy, you have to have security. Every movement you make, you had better be thinking about security. You can't stop what you're doing and just eat lunch, nor can you get a full night's rest because someone must always be on guard. Every FOB, every COP has to have Observation Posts, manned and ready, every entry point tightly controlled and whatever barrier between the base and "outside the wire" must be constantly checked. This is something that I think most civilians do not understand about military life, and a constant vigilance that does not go away until you are at last safe and sound in the good ole US of A.
At least that's what I thought. The problem is that it just doesn't seem like America is all that safe anymore. Recruiting stations are getting shot up, and bombed. People are trying to bomb Times Square, Major Nidal Hassan shot up a supposedly "Safe" SRP site, and a few months later Nasser Abdo nearly blew up a cafeteria full of soldiers. Border Patrol agents are getting gunned down, and a near state of civil war in northern Mexico is spilling over into Arizona. The most recent shooting in Colorado by a Grade A whack job, at first seemed like it was out of the blue, but now that I've had time to do my research, it seems more like part of the pattern than a truly random act.
The most terrifying thing of all is that, once I felt safe, like I never needed a firearm in my home. I never used to feel the need to be vigilant. I'll admit that I used to be hyper-vigilant post-deployment, but that's natural and to be expected, once I felt that I was safe, sound and secure, so long as I was on American soil. The crime statistics, however tell a vastly different story. Not even three months ago I arrived at work to hear of a grandfather emptying two full magazines into his soon to be ex-Daugher-in-law, before calmly surrendering to the police. All of this within sight of the granddaughter he was trying to protect. This happened at a Walmart for crying out loud. But its more than the "back parts" of West Virginia, which has some truly shocking statistics, no, while doing research post Aurora, I came to find out that the streets of Chicago are actually more dangerous than the streets of Afghanistan. They have multiple shootings every weekend! New York isn't much better, and DC. . . Well one has only to look at one weekend's worth of rap sheet for a city that is laughably small, to realize that you almost need a Marine Detail if you want to go into certain parts of the city.
All of these facts make me miss my M-4 more than ever, and seriously make me contemplate getting a set of plate carriers. I would go to work with my M-4 back slung, and body armor if I could somehow get away with it. No doubt before I even got out of my car everyone would panic and call the police on me. This leaves the far less desirable option of a CCW and a small hold out pistol. To be honest, pistols are fun to shoot but I like rifles for their accuracy and ease of handling. All this brings to mind the fact that in my native state it would be almost impossible for me to get a pistol that's in anyway decent, and even more impossible to get a CCW. At some point I wish the country would respect that being an NRA certified basic instructor for Rifle Pistol Shotgun and Muzzle Loader, and a 6 year Army Veteran with two combat deployments, might give me some perspective on how to handle guns.
But you see its all about trust. I will trust and armed citizen that is not standing in a threatening manner, as much as I will trust an unarmed citizen. Indeed when I first met Jonn Lilyea, the head of This Ain't Hell, he was armed, and not only did I respect that but I tried to avoid giving that fact away to anyone else, it being DC and all. If I went to work and everybody there had an AK-47, I still wouldn't panic, because I trust them. That, really is what it comes down to. I would rather have literally every citizen with an open carry (with some restrictions to violent offenders, and events with alcoholic consumption) than just a few people who don't obey the law anyway, ready to ambush whomever they please whenever they please. It all comes down to trust. I trust that if a citizen is legally buying a gun, they will do everything they can to educate themselves, on its proper use. I wouldn't even mind if class and range time were manditory, but I do expect my Government to trust that I a citizen of this country, would know how to properly discharge a firearm.
It fills my hear with a kind of sadness I really can't explain, the thought that I really do need to buy a gun. In fact that is going to be my next major purchase. To be honest I do not care anymore where "gun free" zones are, or even the laws of whichever state I may happen to be in. I believe the right to protect myself far outweighs any pointless legislation that will not do a damn thing to protect me after I've been wounded or killed. When I get a gun, yes I will take it to class, hidden in my books. The Virginia Tech shooting has made that need painfully obvious. When I get a gun, I will cross state lines in the conduct of my business, with it readily available should I need it. When I buy a home there will be a firearm ready to use hidden near all exits. The only time I will disarm is when I fly, for rather obvious reasons, but if I could I would carry an asp with me. You know the saddest part of this declaration? People will just pass it off as me becoming just another "gun nut" and completely miss why I feel a need to become one.
I once felt that America, my home, which I poured my heart out for was a safe place, where I need never fear. I do not believe that anymore. If the Police can not protect me, it is doubtful that any Law passed will prevent future acts of violence. I believe every citizen has a right to safety, and thus I believe my right to be secure in my person superseded any law for or against the use of firearms. I can only weep at the thought that I once held America as the place where I could rest from the state of constant vigilance, I endured in a war zone, but it has become clear that our society has decayed to the point it might well be just as dangerous as any war zone. Oh my beautiful Country, how have I failed you?