"Why do I carry...?" you ask.
Why do I carry?
October 2006 - I couldn’t believe what was happening. This doesn’t happen in real life. This happens in the movies. Shots were being fired in all directions. I was right in the middle of it… and I didn’t have my gun with me…it was at home.
Present Day 2007 - Prior to 9/11, I never had too much of an interest in guns. I had contemplated many times about getting one for my home, but never followed up on the idea.
After 9/11, like many others, I decided to not only get protection for the home but I also decided to get a Concealed Carry Permit.
I am not one of these guys that go blindly into buying and using anything. I find as much material on an item as I can get my hands on and read, read and read. Most of the time that is a good thing but sometimes it can make your decision making process go absolutely bonkers. You get so inundated with information and reviews that you can lose site of your objectives. In this case it was about buying and carrying a GUN.
In 2001, I made the decision to purchase a gun for the home and one to carry; I easily got caught up in the hype of style and flash. I have a tendency to not only buy the best in quality but the best in looks also. Then I realized that albeit nice to have a “flashy” pistol and holster, I’d better take this more seriously than I was starting to.
I read everything I could get my hands on and also decided that when I purchased a gun that I would take as many training classes as I could. I am a firm believer in getting as much education as you can about anything you are involved in.
My first gun was a S&W 686 .38/.357 (7) shot revolver, for home defense. I wanted something that was reliable and strong since (I would imagine) if a home break-in were to occur, it was probably going to happen at night while sleeping and being groggy and lethargic, I didn’t want to worry about safety’s, gun jams, etc…just point and shoot.
But my carry gun was a Para Ordnance Companion .45. This has a 3.5” barrel and weighs in at 37 ozs. loaded. I felt that this was a normal weight for most guns.
I took many training classes with both guns and learned to use both well. The Para gave me trouble with jamming and I sent it back to Para. They seemed to have fixed the problem and although I have fired many rounds since then without a problem, it’s funny how you still worry about the initial jam problems.
Anyway, I carried the Para for about a year and I used both IWB and OWB holsters. I prefer OWB, under a jacket, because of its comfort but that is hard to do in the summer. Also there is the problem of taking the jacket off and you have an OWB rig showing.
Then I would use a Sparks VM2 IWB and although a great holster, I was beginning to get annoyed at the discomfort of sitting in a car, having to take it off at work, etc… I also felt the weight of the gun was annoying even though I had been carrying it for awhile. So what happens next? I began to NOT carry anymore. I would on occasion, but not like I used too. Then I stopped carrying altogether. I even stopped going to the range to practice. I took the attitude of ‘why bother, it’s probably not going to happen to me anyway’.
Move forward to October 2006 - I am a contractor in the Philadelphia area and was doing a re-model job in a row home in a South Philly neighborhood. 99% of all my jobs are in the suburbs (where I live) but I took this job since it was a recommendation. This was a very nice area and the house was located on a very small, quaint street. I was remodeling a bedroom for an elderly lady and had my cousin (female) helping me with the job. I had gone out to my work van to get a tool and to start pulling out the drywall I needed. I was glad that nobody had parked behind me since getting drywall out would have been almost impossible. I said hello to a young woman who was standing with a little girl on the front step, across from my van. She waived back. I decided to just bring the tool upstairs first, and then come back for the drywall. I left the front door open since I was going to go back and forth for drywall. When I go to the bedroom window, I notice a man in a white t-shirt running very fast past the house. This seemed strange to me because of the speed he was running. A minute later I saw a cop running past the house going the other way with his weapon drawn yelling “you’d better stop or I’ll shoot”!
Then all hell broke loose. Shots were being fired like a war zone. I couldn’t see anything and I dare not stick my head out the window. I got my cousin to go partially down the stairway thinking that this was the safest place to stay. I was worried about ricocheting and wandering bullets. I then went downstairs to get the lady who lives there away from the window. To my absolute horror, she was walking to the open front door to see what was happening. I yelled at her to shut the door and get down! I then ran back upstairs and the gunfire had stopped. But when I got to the window a few more shots rang out right below me. Then a few more. Then it was over.
Here’s what happened. There was an armed robbery at a bank a couple of miles away. There were three robbers who got away in a car. The cops were chasing them but were a few blocks behind them. I had just gotten the tool from my van and walked into the house when they pulled down the street and parked right behind my van (which I didn’t know at that time) one of them jumped from the car and ran past the house; that was the guy I initially saw running. The cops were then chasing him back up the street yelling “you’d better stop or I’ll shoot”! The crook turned and fired and that’s when all the shooting started. When it had stopped, a cop noticed their car behind my van and he approached the passenger side door and opened it. That’s when a few more shots were fired. One of the crooks was slouched on the front seat with his gun. When the cop opened the door the crook fired grazing the cop in the face. The cop went down. The crook exited the car from the driver’s side and used my van as a shield. He then ran down the street the other way, where they captured him. The first guy who ran past my window was shot dead. The other guy was also captured up the street. All in all over 95 shots were fired.
A couple minutes later I went outside and the cops were attending to the officer who was shot. They were yelling for someone to get a medical kit. There were no cop cars on the street so I offered my medical kit that I keep in the truck. I then saw the cop who was shot. He (and rightly so) was shaking holding his face. Hell, I was shaking. Blood was coming from the right side of his face. It just seemed to have grazed him Also, the girl that I had said ‘hi’ to on her front step ended up getting shot in the leg, accidentally, by one of the crooks. When he shot the cop from the front seat, one of the bullets went through her door and hit her in the leg. Luckily the little girl was not harmed.
About 15 minutes later all the news crews started showing up as did many detectives and other cops. The cop who was shot was okay and they took him to the hospital. The detectives were already marking all the brass on the ground with yellow markers. That’s when I noticed that my van took a hit in the back door.
We were all later interviewed by detectives. My cousin was still shaking and the elderly lady seemed to be pretty strong and stable.
After a couple of hours, things were calming down on the street. My van had been cordoned off and was part of a crime scene. I wasn’t allowed to leave and I wasn’t even able to work since I needed the drywall and the crooks car was right behind my van and I wouldn’t be able to get the stuff out. This happened about 10:30 am and we were finally able to leave about 8:00pm that night.
A few days later, when thinking over the developments of that day, it really hit me. We could have very easily been killed. Not only from wandering bullet, but from a possible hostage situation.
I realized later that when I brought the tool in, I had left the front door open. All the other houses, the doors were shut. The crook was running from the cops and had run right past the open front door, where he could have easily gained entrance to where we were. Also, when the other crook shot the cop, he got out of the car and hid behind my van which was feet from the front door. He then ran the other way since (I assume) when he shot the cop he fell (left) towards my area, so the crook ran the other way. Had he fallen the other way (right) the crook would have run towards me and possible come in the open door. Either way, they could have easily come into the house where we were.
And here I am, with my gun at HOME!
If they shot at cops, they probably wouldn’t have thought twice at shooting us.
And here I am, with my GUN AT HOME!!
When the shooting was going on and I ran downstairs to help the woman who was at the open front door, the crook could have run in right then and there.
AND HERE I AM WITH MY GUN AT HOME!!!
It made me think of another incident that happened to me years ago. I was at a red light behind another car when the car in front of me drifted back and nudged my front bumper. He went forward a little bit and drifted back again and hit me. I got out of the car and went to his front window and asked him what the hell he was doing. I could see that he was acting strange. Either he was high or had been drinking. Since there was no damage, I decided to leave (no cell phones then or I would have called the cops). At the next red light he does it again. This time I pull around him and go through the light and make a left turn. I look in my mirror and notice that he isn’t moving his car. Maybe he fell asleep? A few lights later, I am at a red light and there is a knock at my window. It’s the same guy, but now he is standing there staggering, with a knife in his hands, yelling at me to get out of the car. I had no weapons with me at all so I decided to just drive away. Which I did, quickly. Later I though to myself what would have happened if my window was down. He could have easily just come up behind me and sliced my faced or stabbed me, without any warning.
I now have a creed that I have read numerous times in gun magazines, “carrying is not supposed to be comfortable, just comforting”. Also, I will never think again how ‘it won’t happen to me…’ Guess what, it almost did, twice!
Now, when someone asks me why I carry…?