If you ever wanted to bring up a controversial subject that brings out peoples’ ire tell them you are thinking about purchasing a gun. I have recently created a firestorm in my circle of non-gun friends. I had no idea I had that many non-gun friends. I had no idea the opinions I would get when I asked different people about the subject.
A little background: I was raised with guns. No my family and I weren’t gun nuts. We didn’t have a gun safe but we had several guns. My parents were extremely strict with the weapons and taught me a deep respect for them. We had an extremely safe place to shoot and enjoy these guns. We are very close to a family who might be classified as borderline gun nuts who often shot with us. I mean if you have a gun safe you must be a nut right? For those not used to the sarcasm of my writing the answer is no you are not a gun nut if you have a gun safe. In scouts we often times went to the gun range and shot skeet and trap. I got a bb gun for my 12th birthday and spent 5 years shooting the hell out of everything in my neighborhood with my best friend Robert.
After my mission I used to shoot guns with many of my mission friends. My MTC companion’s family was your typical Utah family of hunters. They had guns up the wazoo. We often went hunting and shooting. It was fun. I remember when living in Los Angeles going into the unpopulated edges of the county and shooting an assault rifle that had a 50 round clip. We would buy K-Mart pop in cans and shoot them.The SKS rifle would make the can vaporize with its large round. It was good clean fun. Not one of my friends with guns has shot or killed anyone: an amazing feat since the anti-gun nuts think that all gun owners are on the verge of going on a killing rampage and its all just a matter of time. After all these people think guns kill people: they don’t. People kill people. You could take a loaded Glock and chamber a round with the firing pin read to release with a simple pull of the trigger and leave that handgun on the kitchen table for 5 years and unless someone touches it, it will not fire. People kill people not guns.
Denmark has extremely strict gun control and they still have murders. Again let me re-emphasize that I am not some NRA card toting gun nut where Charlton Heston was my president and you can peel my gun from my cold dead fingers. I simply believe in one’s right to bear arms but that’s about as radical as this gun thing is for me. As a side note I even went through a period were I was possible anti-gun but I think it was un-due influence from my ultra-liberal girlfriend at the time. Hell she even convinced me to vote for some local democrat bozos that I am still ashamed I gave my vote. But that is a blog confession for another time back to the subject.
Since getting married 6 years ago I have been concerned about protecting my family. It turns out I enjoy having a wife and now a kid and a foster kid. In the last three years things have changed even more as I have had an awakening to crime. Almost three years ago I got a job doing IT for 911 in Salt Lake City, Utah. My center handles 911 calls including Police and Fire dispatch for 1.2 million Salt Lake County residents from 2100 South to Utah County line from the Ocre Mountains to the Wasatch Mountains.During this time I have learned a thing or two about Utah. Crime is rampant or at least a lot more prevalent than the news reports. The news barely scratches the surface of the scary things out there. Its bad enough that I try not to see any of the 911-call information. I think that if the average Joe citizen were to see the information that I see on a regular basis that they would move to BFE, buy a gun and put in a war bunker and never come out.
Over time crime has become a concern of mine: I don’t want to be a victim and while you can’t 100% secure yourself from crime you can limit your liability. Be aware of your surroundings, be confident, don’t go into bad areas etc etc. But my biggest concern is what happens when crime comes to your house?I know the Mormon mentality of it won’t happen to me because I live righteously won’t fully protect me. Don’t get me wrong here. I guess I am a product of the Boy Scouts where the motto was “Be Prepared”. I think if I prepare God will also help keep me safe.
In the last year because of my job I have been privy to information about some horrendous crimes. Robberies where the criminals (I have noticed in my training that most cops call criminals â€œ$#@%bagsâ€) use woman to get people to open their doors before the $#@% bags bust in.One of these types the criminals shot the dogs and then tied up the family up, lead the dad around the house gathering up valuables and then the robbers decided they were going to kill the family so the dad goes nuts and gets the gun away from the robber and kills one and wounds the other. There have been several similar events. All of these things have been adding to my worry about keeping my family safe. I have been thinking about security at the house and how to protect my self from becoming a victim.Criminals look for easy targets of opportunity.
While contemplating my options and speaking with as many police professional as I could about the subject, my work started offering low cost or even free training for getting your Utah Conceal and Carry Weapons Permit. I would estimate that 90% of my coworkers have attended this training and or have their CCW I had spent the last two years thinking about this after a couple of road rage incidents that really scared me. On two different occasions I was chased for miles by angry motorists, and I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t been able to run away. Another incident was while driving home from my work I had someone approach my car and try to get into while the top was off the jeep. If the light hadn’t turned green I could have been in real trouble. I don’t work in a very good part of the Salt Lake Valley. These incidents scared me and I thought I need something to defend myself from the wackos in the world and especially my wife and kids. Other events that have recently increased my worry include my next-door neighbor having their truck stolen from their driveway, a break in at one of the units across the street. I also believe that one of our neighbors might have a drug problem judging by sketchy people coming by and tracks on her arm. If for no other reason meth addicts are a reason to buy a gun.These are some of the scariest people in the world who while high seem to have incredible strength and a limitless threshold of pain.All from first hand police accounts.
The polarizing moment for me came last summer: when I decided to get off the fence and take action. I was invited to The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Salt Lake City conference. One of the classes offered was a break down of the Trolley Square Shooting. The class discussed what happened from a 911 Call center and Police Dispatch point of view.The APCO class was taught by Salt Lake City Police Officer Sgt. Andrew Oblad, Officer Kenneth Hammond of the Ogden Police Department and his wife (I can’t remember her name) who is a dispatcher for Weber County. Officer Hammond and his wife were at Trolley Square when the shooting started. Hammond is credited with saving lives by engaging the shooter until the police arrived. Hammond was carrying a concealed weapon and was able to step up and save lives. His wife had completed the CCW course and was carrying her weapon as well. She talked about how she was hesitant to take the classes and to train. She was nervous about carrying a weapon and that maybe it was just too much. The incident at Trolley Square changed her view. The couple gave one of the best heartfelt testimonials about the choice they had made to carry their weapons with them that night. Hammond and his wife were not bragging heroes but average ordinary people who took upon themselves to step up and help not knowing that they were heroes. I wish I had a video of this presentation because it was amazing and the packed room was silent as they retold their story. It was amazing. This presentation sealed it for me that I would get off the fence and sign up and take the CCW class through my work.
The whole Trolley Square Shooting was over in less than 7 minutes from the first shot until the shooter was dead. Hammond had more than 20 rounds fired at him. Oblad who didn’t say it but we later found out was the officer who killed the shooter. I am not looking to be the hero, I am not looking to be a vigilante, I hope to never be a victim of a violent crime but I also can’t stand by and do nothing to protect my most valuable possession my family.
After I took the class and I applied for my permit my wife finds out by finding my application and is none to pleased. I guess I should have told her and have been more upfront than saying I am attending some training and I will be home later. I am not sure why she was mad but she was pissed.She has since come around after I explained myself.Lately she has been gathering food storage in preparation for what ever might come our way.I think a gun is just as important. How do we protect our selves, our property and our food storage without a tool to do it? My wife was my first negative backlash.
All of my coworkers in my department have taken, applied and have received their permits. I would describe my department of 6 as a varied mix of males and females from ultra conservative to ultra liberal from lifetime gun enthusiast hunters to absolute gun newbies. We run the spectrum of society. All of us have belief that we have the right and the need for protection. We have gone to the gun range several times as a department.
On to some of the backlash: My father-in-law who is one of the nicest people on the planet gave me this advice.”I try to live so that if I am killed I am worthy to live with my Heavenly Father”
While this is good advice I believe that God also states that faith with out works is dead.I take this to mean that that advice is all well and dandy but that I should also do something to protect myself other than saying my prayers.
My very own mother freaked out and stated, “I don’t think you should buy a gun. Its too big of a liability. Too many times the criminals just take the homeowners gun and kill them.”
Ok maybe but 100% of all criminals arm themselves whether it’s knives, guns, clubs, fists or what ever.My CCW instructor said that in a fight with a criminal it’s ok to cheat to win.He meant that do what it takes to survive.If walking away will work do it, if running will work do it, but if you need to use more force to save your life use it and don’t play fair there are no rules other than make sure you win.
I plan on buying a gun in the next few weeks. I plan on taking as much training as possible.I plan on practicing with my weapon as much as possible so that if I ever need to use it I am prepared.I plan on joining a club like Utah’s Polite Society so that I can gather the skills necessary to protect my family. I also plan to teach my wife to use a weapon and hopefully find one right for her. I also plan to up security in my house. Install alarms and cameras as well as locks to keep the criminals moving on to easier targets. I am not some paranoid basement dwelling creep. I am an average person living an average life who doesn’t want to be a victim. Instead of being the sheep I will be the wolf.
From my work experience criminals don’t want to be caught, most crimes are crimes of opportunity and the vast majority of crimes are committed to feed a drug habit.