GUNS & GEAR — As we touched upon in our discussion of the threat assessment process, the era of public order and personal safety some of us grew up in has passed. As my child recently observed to me, it sucks that she can’t walk home alone from the school bus stop, or take off on her bike with friends all day and “just be home for dinner;” she’s only heard of such things. Even in our rural, conservative community, these are things that cautious parents can no longer permit.
Today’s violent threats range from criminal activity for gain, across the unpredictable and irrational acts of the mentally unbalanced, and extremism based on class, race, religion or political differences, to terrorism, in a wide variety of shades, colors, and intensities. That is unfortunately a fact of life in modern America, and we can only be grateful that we do not live like much of the world, where the only alternative to such chaotic violence is a stifling police state, which often ends in a whole other order of violence.
In this unique and exceptional country, we have a third option. Free citizens exercise the most fundamental right of all – self-protection – through our constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. As we say again and again, a firearm is not a talisman – it does not provide magical protection by its mere existence, whether in your safe or on your hip. But when its potential is realized by training, awareness, and mental readiness, the armed citizen stands in sharp contrast to his fellows, who must move through the same threat environment in a state of fear, or of denial.