By: “Frank Woods”, NYPD
I have something to say. I will try to keep this short and simple.
If you are in Law Enforcement and thus have the authority/ability/permission to carry a concealed weapon on your person when in plain clothes off duty, and you don’t, you are either lazy, or you have your head up your ass.
On at least three occasions in the last two weeks, I have spoken to coworkers of mine that choose not to or otherwise refuse to carry their weapon off duty. Reasons I have been given upon asking why have been:
“I live in a safe neighborhood.”
“It’s uncomfortable, there will be uniformed cops around, I haven’t needed to carry it off duty.”
“Our lives are pre-destined and if God wanted for me to carry my weapon off duty on a particular day, then I would feel compelled to do so. What if something happens and I get shot because I have my gun on me and now I’ve become a target?”
I’ll tackle these one by one. The first example is naive. Sandy Hook/Newtown was considered a safe neighborhood. Just because things are calm and quiet on the regular, doesn’t mean you’re not going to ever see a need or reason to have your sidearm on you.
The second example is a combination of both being lazy and having one’s head up their ass. Just because you’ve attended a crowded event or area without issue in the past, or know that uniformed LE personnel will be around, is not a guarantee that you won’t have shit luck next time and find yourself in a pinch, or in a position where you could’ve helped but shortchanged yourself and left your weapon home because you had your head up your ass, and gave yourself no choice but to either A.) Panic and seek cover, B.) Run away, or C.) Die without affording yourself the opportunity to fight back. Comfort is not the highest priority in carrying. Carrying is a matter of function over form. Make it your business to find a way to carry your weapon concealed, in a way that you can easily access your weapon if it’s needed. Then find a way to do that comfortably. Carrying a weapon concealed is always less comfortable than not at all. Deal with it.
The third example… is probably one of the most irresponsible and moronic things I’ve ever heard another police officer say. I don’t give a flying fuck what your faith is, and by no means do I intend to disrespect it, but let’s be adults here. We live in the real world. We are responsible for the choices we make. You can believe what you want about our walks in life and whether or not we’re destined to do certain things, go certain places, meet certain people. But your means of protection and self defense are on you, all day, every day. I told that person, if I found myself in a situation where I was confronted by an active shooter, and I was armed, I would rather get shot in the process of neutralizing the threat and saving the life or lives of others, than get shot because I was a helpless, easy, soft target, or get away alive thinking, “Fuck, I could have done something back there but I left my piece home.”
My point here is not to say one should carry their weapon and then go looking for trouble. We all know that more often than not, you won’t find yourself in any sort of trouble necessitating the use of a firearm 99% of the time anyway. But even then, if you find yourself in that kind of trouble, sometimes the best tactical decision you can make is to hold and dominate the space you’re currently in, if running to the sound of gunfire is unfeasible or ill advised given a lack of sensory input required to make an informed decision based on where you are relative to what’s happening. Sometimes it’s just you, other times it’s just you and yours. But in order to grant yourself these choices to make to begin with, you have to afford yourself the tool(s) needed to follow through and carry them out. Otherwise you’re as useless as any other passersby that are running and yelling in a state of panic.
In all three of these situations and absolutely fucking unsat, shitty excuses, there is a theme that threads them all together: This is a mindset thing, pure and simple. And the mindset you have to have is just as simple, though it might require an effort if you’re not used to thinking this way: You don’t get to pick the fight, the fight picks you. Better to have and not need than need and not have. Plan accordingly. Especially if you chose a career path that puts you first into the fight before anyone else would be obligated. If you can, but you don’t, you’re either lazy, or stupid. Don’t be.