Friday, April 12, 2013

Why?

Those friends and family who’ve known me most of my life may have been surprised by my sudden jump into gun ownership, but the reality is, I was never against guns, I'd just never felt the need to keep a gun in my home if I wasn’t able to carry it on my person on a daily basis.
I never saw the point of keeping a loaded gun in the home with children around, the risk vs reward factor, for me, was too high.  Some of the thoughts that went into that decision were based on, in no particular order – An irrational fear of the weapon itself (as I had never had any training,) fear of the consequences of one of my children somehow getting a'hold of the gun and flat-out ignorance of the mindset and training of the gun owner who takes on the responsibility of keeping a firearm.  Add the fact that I have always lived in relative safety in towns that had low crime rates and thus, in my mind, someone breaking into my home was the only reason for me to keep a gun – and that probability was very low, nearly non-existent.

Now forward many years.  My children are grown, my wife and I have five grand kids, life is good.  From out of nowhere comes the news that the U.S 7th Court of Appeals has ruled that Illinoisans shall be allowed to Conceal Carry in self defense both in the home and in public... and now I had reason to buy a gun.

I worked for 20+ years as a delivery driver on the south side of Chicago.  Through all that time, delivering to some of the worst neighborhoods - not just in Chicago, but the country - I carried a boot knife, a small bat in the cab and a meat hook that hung on the rails of my truck for emergency use, if I needed it. 

Although I never had an altercation, being alone in an alley, after dark or before dawn with nothing but the above mentioned tools to protect me was more than a little nerve wracking at times.  There were bad situations that took place within our company - one of our drivers was attacked by a man with a knife (the driver took it away from him, the attacker much worse for the wear) - another where my Brother had to huddle down between the cab and trailer of his truck while a running gunfight took place on the side street where he was delivering concrete - and another where one of our drivers, caught in the crossfire of several men, ended up face to face with a gun wielding thug who looked him in the eye - and then turned and ran, firing blindly back over his shoulder at his enemies.

So, the reality was, even with laws in place that forbade individuals to carry a gun, the bad guys still had them while the law abiding lived or died at the whim of the gunman.  With the ruling by the Courts, this changed in an instant - and I am going to make full use of it.

I believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (not Bill of Wants as many think of it) and for the first time since I was born, Illinois was being forced to allow me my rights (as if they had the right to take them in the first place.)

Now I have the right to Keep And Bear Arms in self defense of my loved ones and myself.  I believe that anyone who is confronted with lethal force should be able to defend themselves in kind and for a long time, in Illinois, this was not the case. 

I hope to God I never have to pull my pistol in self defense.  I pray I can avoid the situations that lead to lethal force - hell, the truth be told, I would just as soon run.  But in the end, boxed in and with no other outs, I will not be a victim.

And now you know why I will carry.

Hipshot