Seriously, is it really necessary to carry all the time? You bet it is. Photo by Corey Graff
Seriously, is it really necessary to carry all the time? You bet it is. Photo by Corey Graff

A fellow retired cop buddy recently asked me if I still carry every day after all these years. “Yep,” I replied, “Murphy’s law of inverse proportion still applies.” (The probability of an event increases in direct proportion to your lack of preparation for it.) Let me give you an example.

I was going for a quick little errand on my Harley recently when I decided to leave my gun home due to the hot weather. I passed a local park with a vehicle parking area elevated above a busy playground and, out of the corner of my eye, saw a guy open his trunk, take out a scoped rifle and get back in his car with it.

In cop vernacular, that was an official “Oh S—!” moment.

I positioned myself and the bike uphill behind the subject (still in his car), got dispatch on the cell phone and gave them, in this order; situation, location, description of the vehicle, description of the subject and description of me and then stayed on the phone with dispatch while keeping eyes on the subject. (I figured if he started to set up on the kids, a fifteen-hundred pound Harley made a pretty good impact weapon.)

Three units arrived. The officers made a professional approach, guns at high-ready and proned the guy out. I stayed back and let them do their thing. (Don’t ever approach officers who have their guns drawn or you will instantly become part of the problem.)

It seems he was just a regular guy with no priors — and no smarts — who’d bought an air rifle and couldn’t wait to get it home to take a look at it. After they sent him on his way with a stern admonition the cops came over and thanked me for “dropping a dime” as we spent a minute or so admiring the Harley. Then they left and we all went about our business.

Now, what would I have done had I been packing my pistol? Exactly the same thing.

That’s right. This dufus never presented a lethal threat to anybody and being stupid is not a capital offense. I would have begun my response exactly the same way with a “suspicious circumstances” call for uniformed officers.

If he threatened the kids directly prior to the arrival of the cavalry and I had to take action, at least they would know my physical description as the “good guy.” I would have made a stealthy approach (to neutralize the distance advantage of his rifle) got him at gunpoint and commanded him to drop his weapon.

But I wasn’t armed. And so I got lucky. This time.

Lesson learned? Carry every day — or just as sure as I write these words sooner or later Murphy’s gonna get ya!

Editor’s Note: Got a question for Joseph Terry about concealed carry not covered here? Log in and post your question in the comments below.


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  1. I don’t usually sympathize with open carry people but this story was a classic example of over reaction. The poor guy took a bb gun out of his car at a public park and carried it back to the front of the vehicle and reentered. For his crimes he had three armed men point loaded weapons at him and force him to the ground. All the while a fourth person made plans to run him down with a Harley Davidson. You do realize that his wife and children were possibly there witnessing all of this right? The fact that you refer to a the victim as a dufus makes me wonder your thoughts on private gun ownership in the US. I wonder how you would have responded, if while bending down to give his child a hug in that park, he had exposed his ccw.

    • Thanks for your comment “renmek” and I do appreciate your point of view. The point of the piece was that the preferred civilian response to this circumstance would be calling for uniformed help prior to use of gun or Harley. Your thoughts? Joe.

  2. Another thought… if you are not carrying every day it is probably because the original gun and holster you purchased is not as comfortable as you had hoped. Think about a smaller model of the same gun type and see if that can’t be your ideal “every-day” solution. Joe