In another life a long time ago, I was honored to be able to lead one of the finest group of men ever assembled. I spent 25 years on my department’s Emergency Response Team (I. E., SWAT). For 13 of those years, I was the team commander. While in the team, we attended the SWAT Round-Up in Orlando, FL many times. We always did well and even managed to beat teams from Los Angeles and Dallas one year and placed 4th out of 50 teams. I mention all this to tell a story and wanted you to understand the actors were not ‘wallflowers’.
The evening of the last day of competition, we were headed out for dinner and a few ‘adult beverages’. We had a ‘tight’ group of guys and we looked out for each other. After dinner, we decided to visit one of the local establishments that was nearby. There were nine of us and we had a volunteer designated driver, so we were in good hands. This group consisted of all veteran officers and there was possibly even a gray hair or two.
As one might expect, we were all well armed with everything from .38 snubbies to 1911 .45 ACP. As we parked the van and got ready to go inside, I felt a little uneasy and wanted to be sure we were prepared, just in case, so I double checked with one of the senior team members with a question. I asked, “You carrying?” “What do you think?” was the answer.
I think I had an ‘AHA moment’ as he asked, “If you have to ask that, do you really think we need to go in there?” It just didn’t look like the kind of place we’d be welcomed. I said, “You know, you’re right.” So, we regrouped and told everyone to get back in the van and drove back to the hotel where we secured our guns and enjoyed a trouble free evening in the hotel bar.
So, what’s the point to the story? Well ... had anyone of us had been alone or with our family, I can guarantee, no one would have gone into the club, without a gun. So why should we go in just because we are armed - even with eight of our closest friends? Being armed should not be the lone determiner of whether you conduct your normal business or not.
My friend and mentor, John Farnam, is fond of saying, “if you don’t go to stupid places, with stupid people, and do stupid things, and if you'll be in your own bed by 11:00, you’ll stay out of trouble “ There is a lot of wisdom in those words.