Are those firecrackers?

I had originally thought to begin my articles on holster comparisons for AIWB carry.

I received some holsters from Alan Bogdan of Remora for inclusion in my comparisons that included a couple of new designs which are interesting. But, that changed while I was mowing the lawn last Sunday.

We live in a very small Colorado town. It is in a rural area and I would guess that at least half the households in town, and more than that outside on the farms and ranches, have at least one firearm. So, it's not unusual to hear shots off in the distance. However, while my trusty mower was hacking at the grass, someone opened up not more than two blocks away. A group of shots. Then a few more. Right in town. Got my attention.

Considering the times we live in and the fact that bad things can happen anywhere at any time, and being the cautious person I am, I stopped the mower and went into the house to trade my LCP in for the Ruger SR9c loaded with the 17-round magazine. I strapped it on, clipped a spare magazine to my belt and went back outside.

More shots.

"Are those firecrackers?" my wife asked.

"No. Gunshots," I said.

She looked at the black Ruger poking out from under my shirt.

"Don't worry," I said. "Probably nothing. Just being prepared."

She went back to weeding the flower bed. I went back to mowing and listening. After a while the shooting stopped. Someone shooting targets, I thought.

I mowed all of the front, and most of the back, carrying the Ruger all the while. Now, many people I know, some from my "former life" in California, and some here in Colorado, would consider me paranoid. I consider myself prepared.

Then, over the next few days I read about things like this:

A man jumped into a woman's car at a busy carwash in broad daylight and started to drive it away. She jumped on the hood as he pulled out and, hanging on for her life, was carried away toward a busy street. A bystander who was a concealed carry holder, drew his gun, chased after the speeding car and shot the carjacker through the driver side window, causing him to stop and saving the woman who was still hanging onto her car. People at the scene felt that she was in danger of being killed if the carjacker had managed to get out into the busy traffic.

The Chicago Tribune reported that a Uber driver and holder of a concealed carry permit in Chicago (that must be a rarity...) shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd of people in Logan Square thereby saving a number of innocent people from injury or death.

In New Holland, Wisconsin, a man drove up to a busy fire station where there were also women and children present, got out of his car and pointed a gun at them. After getting people out of the back door two firefighters who have concealed carry permits, put the man at gun point, finally convincing him to put his weapon down. He was arrested, but unfortunately, released on a relatively low bond. He needs help and one hopes he doesn't return or try this somewhere else.

Orem, Utah, Macy's parking lot. A fugitive from the police, after wrecking a stolen pickup truck he was driving while fleeing from the law, tried to steal another car in Macy's parking lot. He dragged a woman out of her car but before he could drive it away, an armed bystander with a concealed carry permit, stopped him and forced him out of the stolen car at gunpoint. The fugitive then attacked the citizen, trying to wrest the gun from him, and was shot by the citizen. He later died in the hospital. Who knows how much more damage and possibly death might have been caused had the fugitive gotten the citizen's gun and continued his rampage?

There are many incidents like these that happen every day. How many make the "national" news? How many get compared to the anti-gun stories that flood the outlets and television shows when a bad guy uses a gun, or, sometimes, when the police use weapons to do their job and protect themselves and us?

Seldom, if ever.

This brings up an important consideration for those of us who elect to legally carry a concealed weapon in public.

There may be times when we are faced with a frightening physical and ethical situation: other peoples' lives are at risk and we have the means to effectively intervene and possibly stop that threat.

It seems to me that we have signed up to do more than just be able to defend ourselves when necessary. We have also implicitly signed up to protect those who are not so prepared, even those who would gladly deny us the right to carry a gun in order to defend ourselves and them.

Most times we are concerned with and interested in such things as holsters, carry positions, caliber, ammunition characteristics, sights, lights and automatics versus revolvers. We don't spend enough time talking about or thinking about the responsibilities and implicit social contract we have taken on by carrying a concealed weapon. This is not a good thing, for when the shit actually hits the fan, we will be dealing with a life-changing crisis that unfolds in seconds and doesn't allow time for reflections or second thoughts.

You have to think about this hard, well in advance, and prepare yourself for what may happen, even if you happen to be mowing your lawn on a sunny day.