Estimates vary, but it would be fair to say that Americans own 300 million guns. About 13 million citizens have licenses to carry a concealed firearm. I believe Texas leads the nation in both.
In recent months, I have read about several instances involving licensed concealed carry gun owners; some good, some not. The key element in each case was judgement. Poor judgement yielded poor, sometimes tragic results. To me, a lack of training & practice was a big part of the things that went wrong. Staying safe is everybody’s responsibility, armed or not.
Use Your Mind
The mind is the ideal concealed self-defense weapon. All weapons, especially the mind, require knowledge, training, & a lot of practice to be safe & effective, & to function when your body is flooded with adrenaline. In many cases, common sense precautions will reduce the chances that a criminal will choose you as a target.
Be aware that you are most vulnerable when you are in transit from one place to another. You must be especially alert when driving, riding, walking, jogging, biking, etc.
Your cell phone can be your worst enemy or your best friend. If you are absorbed in your cell phone, you are extremely vulnerable. Criminals choose the least aware, most distracted people because it gives them the advantage of surprise. If you remain alert & use the features of your cell phone, you can avoid being an easy target. If you are armed, you can avoid situations that could require lethal force.
Here are a few ideas:
- Have 911 programmed on your cell phone.
- Pay attention to your surroundings.
- Pay attention to people & vehicles you encounter.
- Wait until you are safely at your destination to take or make phone calls.
- Trust your instincts if a person or a group of people disturbs you.
- Notice people’s appearance as if you were planning to describe them to the police. If need be, record your descriptions on your cell phone.
- Use your cell phone to take pictures of anyone or any vehicle that seems suspicious or out of place.
- Distance is your friend, put as much space as possible between you & those that concern you. Cross the street or just turn around & go another way.
- Choose where you go & when you go there. Some areas are safe in the daytime, & not safe after dark.
- Invite a friend or partner to go with you. Two or more people are less attractive to criminals.
- Keep your valuables concealed. Leave your cellphone in your pocket or purse until your reach your destination
- If you think someone is following you, move quickly to any open store or restaurant or public building.
- If you feel threatened, yell “fire, fire, look out!” instead of “help,” & run to safety.
- Lock your car immediately when you get in it.
- Take whatever time is needed to find a well-lighted place to park your car at night. Use valet parking when available.
- Do not talk to anyone you do not know in the parking lot, especially if they approach you for help.
- If you are near your car, use the alarm button on your car key remote, or at least push the lock or unlock buttons several times to flash the lights & beep the horn.
- Always lock your car, & keep your keys in your hand as you walk away from & return to your car.
- If someone robs you, give up your property—don’t give up your life.
- Carry a “throw away” wallet with a small amount of cash & old or expired credit cards. If you have the opportunity, throw it behind the robber or drop it out of reach & escape.