Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Personal Fable

Personable Fable: Psychological term applied to tweens and teenagers used to describe the development cognitive limitation that each experiences. One believes that he or she is so uniquely special and unlike anyone else. It becomes dangerous because the adolescent thinks that nothing bad could possibly happen to him or her. 

While psychologists argue this is experienced by teenagers, I might argue twenty-somethings and even older adults feel this way at times.

It’s why some don’t think they need a seatbelt, or a helmet riding a motorcycle, the parachute will always open, that our home will never the one broken into, or that we will never be the one assaulted.

If we were more cautious, wouldn’t we take more precautions? Get a better home security system? Listen to those advertisements that have the corny fake actors and burglars we mock?
I was 17 years old and had this infallible complex. Bad things don’t happen, certainly not me and especially not in little old Cayce, SC. Nonetheless, my parents were the typical worrywarts “Text me when you leave, text me when you get there! Who is going? Will parents be there?”

                   I’m sure no one else can relate to the feeling of having overbearing parents.

It’s funny how the older you get, the more you recognize your parents might’ve been right about a couple things. Shhh! Don’t tell my mom I said that though!

Working as a food runner and sometimes hostess at a restaurant in downtown Columbia made my parents slightly nervous, not to mention the hours I kept which meant I often didn’t finish until past midnight.

Despite the annoyances, I did try to listen to my parents if for nothing else than so I didn’t have to listen to ONE. MORE. LECTURE.
                        1. Park in a well lite area
                        2. Don’t take your purse, just take your ID and keys
                        3. Have a guy walk you out
and so on.

I did all that, feeling silly each night I had to grab a guy to walk me out but I did it anyway. Sometimes, it just isn’t enough though. It’s funny how certain events have the ability to be defining moments for the rest of your life.

It was a Tuesday night and late when I finally finished. I grabbed a kitchen guy to walk me out because the bouncers were busy. (Note: I didn’t get paid in cash, I got a paycheck, no tips=no cash on hand). I was parked under a street lamp in the back parking lot and I had my keys in one hand and ID in my back pocket.

We reached my car and I turned to say goodnight to the guy when a man approached us from the side. He asked for lighter at which I chuckled and said I didn’t smoke nor did the guy with me. From which the guy responded by pulling out a gun and pointing it at my head. He demanded my wallet which I didn’t have and asked for the guy with me for his wallet. Neither of us could provide anything which made him very angry.

At this point, some of you are probably thinking, hey why weren’t you carrying? Aren’t you a big proponent of concealed carry? Isn’t this the exact type of situation you crazy gun carriers long for?

Let me clear something up (besides the fact I was 17 and couldn't even have my concealed carry)
This is the most important I want to get across. At this point under NO CIRCUMSTANCES am I about to get into a gun battle with some random stranger. Not over $20, not even if I had $200 in cash and three credit cards and debit card I could hand over to the guy. I can get a freeze put on those cards in less time than it takes for them to dress my body for a funeral. Not to mention the $200 in cash loss wouldn’t begin to pay said funeral home to dress my body.

and No 
I don’t think I’m going to decide who can be faster, the guy with a gun out already, or me who has to pull out the gun and aim and pull the trigger before the other guy.

Let’s continue the story. After having emptied my pockets and offering up the keys to my ’94 Ford F150 pickup truck (or should I say my dad’s truck) as incentive to go away and being turned down (damn, I had really hoped for another car too)

Not my truck, but you get the idea
the lovely stranger/gunman turned a little violent. He wasn’t very happy to hear I had nothing of value and the kitchen guy had no cash and no credit cards either. (Newsflash to muggers: restaurant workers are usually broke, we after all, do work at a restaurant. Try the financial district next time). He became irate and started screaming at us, asking if we were stupid, did we not take him serious, etc, etc. He then did something I had only seen in movies. He chambered a round and put it directly to my head.

This is the point if I had my concealed carry I might’ve considered going for it but you have a lot of things that you have to think very quickly through in a matter of seconds.
1. Can you get to it before he realizes what you are doing? Will he be distracted long enough for you to reach for it?
2. What happens if his or your gun goes off and you accidentally hit someone else, i.e. the guy who walked me out? Are you prepared to take that chance?
3. If you by some miracle, get it out and shoot the guy before he takes a shot, are you mentally prepared to deal with taking someone’s life.

You’re probably thinking of course, it’s my life or his. Let me tell you from experience, I had nightmares for almost two years about that night. My roommate my freshman year of college told me I woke her a couple times screaming in my sleep. If I had that experience when I did nothing, I can’t imagine waking for years to seeing the face of someone I killed.

So what am I saying? I’m saying you should be prepared. It can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

1. Women! Get off your cellphones when you are walking out to your car at night or in a parking garage. You’re distracted and a prime target.
2. Have your keys out and ready to go. Fumbling for your keys in your giant Mary Poppins luggage purse is one more distraction that makes you vulnerable.
3. Lock your doors the minute you get in. Not after you fixed your hair or situate your purse. Immediately.
4. Walk widely around your car. This way you can take a peek if anyone is in your backseat and prevent someone from hiding on one side of your car to pop up and grab you.

THIS IS NOT MY GUN NOR WOULD I EVER OWN A PINK GUN...but some women seem to love them
Concealed Carry: If you have it, know how to use it. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people (typically women) come in to get their concealed carry and have NEVER SHOT A GUN BEFORE. Then they proceed to never practice. Take lessons. Take classes on defensive shooting. Learn how to quickly draw and practice doing so. If possible, DON’T CARRY IN YOUR PURSE! Your purse is the easiest thing for a mugger to grab and go. You can’t exactly say, I’m sorry Mr. Mugger, you can have my purse but do you mind if I grab my $600 pretty shiny gun out first? Not only do you lose an expensive investment, the paperwork that comes with it is a needless headache as well as you just put a gun in a criminals hand and took away any defense you had if the altercation does turn violent. 

In the off chance you are abducted, by keeping the gun concealed on you, you at least have a chance of keeping it because most likely, the abductor isn’t going to throw your purse in the trunk with you.

I am not a police officer. I am not even old and wise. I’m just passing along some solid advice I’ve been given as well as preaching on common mistakes I see and hear.

Don’t be a victim. Try to prevent it. You might not be able to avoid it, but you can at least say, I did all the right things.

 As always, I’m still a proponent of all women learning to shoot, taking lessons, and going to get your concealed carry permit. At the very least, take a self-defense class.

I'm off my soapbox for the night.