The decision to carry any weapon, lethal or non-lethal is not one to take lightly. To steal the headline from one of the L1F founders Frank Johnson and put things in perspective for you, you’re “Damned if you do, dead if you don’t”. The right to defend oneself is inherit in our being. Resisting oppression and fighting off a threat is a natural reaction. But so is running away. You might have heard the phrase “fight or flight” before and for good reason. It’s the two most basic primal instincts animals have other than feeding. Defending yourself is so righteous that it is reaffirmed not only in the Bible, but in our nations Constitution.
Our nation’s founding fathers fought oppression for years and even when they created the United States, the knew that any form of government could become tyrannical if not checked by the people that they were to serve. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written in such a manner as to limit the power of the government over the people, while giving the people as much power as needed to handle various situations. Among all the rights acknowledged in the Bill of Rights, the single most important above all others is the Second Amendment. There is no mistake about it. When you can no longer speak freely, practice religious beliefs, pursue life, liberty or happiness, or even petition the government without fear of punishment or reprisal, the Second amendment gives you a path to overcome those obstacles – but at a last resort, and possibly at a significant cost.
Nothing good really comes from having to use a weapon, whether offensively or defensively. There are three courts that will each try you separately and coherently. When the headlines start coming out about an incident involving a weapon, you will instantly and consistently be tried in the court of public opinion. This is usually controlled by the mainstream media’s bias and tends to not be in the favor of survivors. Your life’s dirty secrets will be put on display. You will be tossed around like a dog’s chew toy all before you ever appear in the courtroom. In fact, by the time you actually appear in criminal court, most jurors already have an opinion and facts seem to mean less. The last court to try you is the civil court. This is where regardless of actual innocence or guilt, you are tried on the responsibility of your actions, and there is always responsibility.
Fear of punishment and reprisal for taking affirmed action to defend yourself should not deter you from making the decision to carry a weapon. I’d rather be alive and broke than dead. But that fear of punishment could drive you to carry less than lethal options – which is fine for some situations. I’d never recommend bringing pepper spray or a knife to a gun fight, but hey, perhaps they only have one – seven round magazine. Are you willing to wait out the fury of bullets?
There are other factors to consider before deciding what you are going to carry. There are legal restrictions on what you can have in certain places, whether it’s a sporting event at a stadium, a school chorus concert, a beer fest, an amusement park, a mall, or bow season in a state park. It’s the responsibility of the carrier to know what, where, and how one can carry a weapon on their person. Another thing to think of is this: If you feel that the place you are going could pose a reasonable threat to you and you should carry, but you can’t carry a reasonable counter threat, then perhaps you shouldn’t go. I always have multiple types of weapons on me for a variety of choices if presented with a defensive situation. A gun is not always the best solution. A knife isn’t always the best solution. Sometimes pepper spray is more than enough to allow you to get away safely. Remember, self-defense isn’t about inflicting injury to another, it is about saving you.