By Dan Wos
When I was a kid, my Dad took me out hunting and target shooting. He loved anything having to do with guns. Me, not so much. It just wasn’t my thing. I tried, but I just wasn’t interested. I mean, I didn’t dislike guns and I wasn’t scared of them. I just wasn’t all that interested.
When he would buy a new pistol, he would show it to me and I could tell he loved these things. Of course I showed interest and they were actually kinda’ cool, but I was more interested in my guitar so I never really jumped on board with the whole “gun thing.”
My Dad would even build his own rifles. I remember going down to the basement where he would be assembling old muzzle loader replicas, oiling the wood, staining and working on those things with such passion. I would later come to recognize and understand that kind of passion. For me, cars would bring out the same thing.
I was always aware of an “anti-gun” niche of people and they never really mattered to me because I didn’t have a vested interest in guns throughout most of my life. I just thought, “Some people like guns and some don’t. So what?”
It wasn’t until later in life that I started to see the importance and value of firearms.
One night my wife and I were coming out of a late movie at the mall theater in Albany, New York. We were walking down the dark sidewalk to the back parking lot. Sue was in the center of the sidewalk and I was to her right (closest to the curb).
A guy was walking the other way, coming directly toward her, also in the center of the sidewalk. He was about six foot five, maybe two hundred and fifty pounds. He wearing a hoodie, so I could barely see his face, but somehow I could tell that he wasn’t happy and he would not be moving to the side.
When you’re in a situation like this, it’s hard to rationalize it away. The “fight or flight” mechanism kicks in. As much as some people will tell you not to judge people or assume they are bad and looking for trouble, I challenge you to quiet your internal alarm bells when your mind and body are reacting to perceived danger. I don’t care who you are, you get scared. Fear creates a visceral response, whether we like it or not.
As this creep got closer to Sue, walking straight toward her, I was boiling over with adrenaline and trying to keep calm. “He is not moving to the side,” I thought. “He’s gonna run right into her.”
When he got about three feet away from her, she quickly moved to her right. He bumped her so hard in the shoulder that she bumped into me and knocked me off the curb. We both almost fell over. The hoodie-wearing guy kept walking down the center of the sidewalk like he owned it. This was no accident. He was clearly looking for trouble and trying to elicit a reaction out of me.
I turned around still holding her hand and was about to lay into that asshole. But before the words came out, visions of my wife, my son, my beautiful life and everything I’ve worked so hard to build flashed before my eyes.
I had a moment of reality in a time of sheer anger and fear. To be honest, I didn’t want to get hurt. Most importantly, I didn’t want my wife to get hurt. And if something extreme were to happen, I didn’t want my son to be alone.
Back in the time when I didn’t have those responsibilities, I would have given that thug a piece of my mind. That very well could have escalated from there. But somehow I had that moment of clarity. We slowly walked to the car as I bit my lip.
Once we were in the car we were silent for a few minutes. I slowly put the key in the ignition, turned to look at her, feeling more shameful, irresponsible and incapable than I have ever felt.
I told her I was sorry. I was sorry I’d put her in danger. I was sorry I could not have defended her against that monster if a life-threatening attack had ensued. I was sorry I was unable to protect and defend one of the two most important people in my life.
I realized in that moment that life is vulnerable and it is my responsibility to take care of and protect my family. I didn’t and couldn’t have done that and I was ashamed.
Throughout my life, I’ve seen some wild things, done some wild things and been in some wild situations. Let’s just say it’s a miracle I’m still here.
But I’m older now. I’d like to think I’m wiser, too, and beyond the point in my life that I want to be rolling around on the ground exchanging punches with anyone, let alone someone who has six inches and a good 50 pounds on me. I told Sue that as long as she was with me, I would never let her be defenseless like that again.
I told her I was getting a gun. I was driven by fear.
As I discuss in my Good Gun Bad Guy books, fear increases or decreases in direct proportion to the amount and quality of available information you have relevant to your needs.
Without a gun, my fear of an attack is greater. I don’t have enough information as to how to survive an attack. With a gun, I have a great deal more information about how to prevail. It doesn’t mean I will. But I have enough to keep my fear in [relative] check. Carrying a gun reduces my fear of violent attack and makes it easier to defend innocent life.
But to make this leap, first you have to get over your fear of guns.
Anti-gunners and the media (BIRM) constantly work to instill the fear of guns in people. They manipulate statistics, wave the bloody shirts of victims of firearms-related crimes and portray gun owners as trigger-happy, emotionally unstable, white supremacist racist rednecks.
They want people to think that guns just “go off” all by themselves. That guns are dangerous just sitting there. That we are less safe just by having them in our homes.
They use fear to manipulate people into supporting their agenda. They do their best to keep information about the positive side of gun ownership out of the mainstream media and fight against genuine gun safety education. They don’t want people to have access to any positive information about guns.
Many people don’t know how ignorant they are about guns…until they suddenly discover that they need some hands-on information right now. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am. Not everyone lives to acknowledge and correct that ignorance. To see the importance of armed defense. To embrace its value, master its practice and promote it to others so they, too, can protect themselves.
Those who don’t find out the truth about guns until it’s too late risk dying in fear. And that’s no way to go.
Dan Wos is the author of the Gun Gun Bad Guy series of books.