People ask if I’m paranoid. I carry a gun. I am more attuned to personal safety, general security, and self-defense and post about those topics with some frequency on Facebook. I can see how some might perceive that as paranoia. Actually I feel very safe. THAT has been the problem. I live on a quiet street in a low-crime area with good neighbors who look out for each other, are often home and who notice anything out of the ordinary that is going on. I have a husband, two dogs that act vicious if anyone approaches the house, keep my garage door down and doors locked. I rarely answer the door unless I know who it is and if I can’t see, I don’t open it. I rarely go out at night. I rarely go very far from my safe little environment. I have never been a victim of violent crime and don’t expect I ever will be. So … I feel very, very safe.
So how, you ask, if feeling safe a problem? Well, in the past I’ve felt so safe that I walked around unaware. Getting out of my car in the grocery store parking lot, I would be looking at my phone – either checking my grocery list or texting. I was NOT paying attention to anything going on around me. In short, I looked like an easy target. I was advertising that I had a cool phone, a nice Jeep and didn’t expect any trouble. Might as well as worn a sign on my shirt saying “Come and rob me – I won’t fight you, I’ll never even expect you – you’ll have me before I even know you’re there”.
At church I let my guard down – I was at church,, right? What could happen there. And if something ever did happen, somebody would take care of it. In fact, that was my attitude everywhere – “somebody would take care of it (or me)”. Either my dogs would, my husband would, or the police would. I never understood why every police officer I’ve ever known told me I needed a gun. I didn’t feel like I needed one. The police station is only a few bocks away from my house … and there always there just waiting for a call, right??
And then it all began to get through to me. Yeah, I have dogs and they ARE a good deterrent. If somebody was just looking for an easy house to burglarize, they’d pass us by for something easier. But, what if WE were the target? Or what if they were under the influence of some crazy drug and were determined to get in – dogs are great, but dogs can be eliminated.
In the end, I bought a gun, took a class, got my CCW permit and began learning a whole lot. In my class, which was taught by police officers, the point was driven home that “I”, that’s right I … am responsible for my own safety (and that of my family). “When seconds count, police are minutes away”. The sad fact is, that there are just not enough police officers to tend quickly to every call. They will come, but more often than not will be too late. THAT’s why every cop I know tells me I need a gun. In these days of cutbacks and layoffs, its even worse.
No, there is not a bad guy around every corner just waiting to do me harm. I don’t live in fear. But I do live with the realization that there ARE a few very bad people out there who would do me harm without a moment’s hesitation and I just might cross their path one day. Now I won’t do it unaware. I’ll be as ready as I can be.
No, I’m not paranoid. I’m retraining myself. I read and pass on info to those I care about as I learn. Every time I go out, I practice being aware. Sometimes I come across a creepy guy. Most of the time everybody is just a normal nice person wishing me a good day. Score one for the good guys.