There have been some unpleasant turns in life lately, so while I'm sitting around hospital waiting areas writing a long post, here's something I've been meaning to talk about.
If you ever get into honest conversations about self-defense and concealed carry with people who are moderately interested but not rabidly anti-gun, the question of why you carry will come up. The gun bloggers pass around a wonderful story, said to be true, about a sheriff in a party or semi-formal situation being asked by a nice old lady, "I see you have your gun, Sheriff. Expecting trouble?"
To which the sheriff replies, "No, mam. If I was expecting trouble, I'd bring my rifle". The vast majority of concealed carriers know you don't carry because you're expecting trouble. You carry for the same reason you have a spare tire in your car. It's better to have one and not need it than need it and not have it.
Katrina is the seminal moment for me. I live in the hurricane zone and all my life, every stinkin' year, at the start of hurricane season some somber commentator would predict what would happen if a big storm hit New Orleans. All my life they were saying what would happen and they were exactly, 100% right. And what did we get? The result of 50 years of planning and practice, going into smooth motion, like an NFL team doing an off tackle run, or a dance troupe doing their best routine? No, we got an enormous cluster, er, um, .... charlie foxtrot... with out of town looters taking everything they could grab; police abandoning their post to protect their families; local looters taking, not just food or water but also TV sets; police joining the looters; out of area police disarming citizens who were fully prepared for the storm and armed to protect themselves from the looters, and much, much more.
Leaders? These guys couldn't lead a bunch of dysentery-racked gringo tourists in Tijuana to the bathroom.
It was because of Katrina, Ike, and to lesser degree the three or four hurricanes we had here, that I decided I'd better get armed and learn to defend my family and myself. My house survived three hurricanes in a single season without a dime's worth of damage (I did lose a wood fence, but that doesn't matter much). The area was full of toothless guys with chainsaws driving around in pickup trucks offering to do work for you. Stories went around that if you didn't answer the knock, they came back after dark and helped themselves - especially in the areas where even more people evacuated than around where I live.
Another saying the gun bloggers pass around is "I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy". Or "when seconds count, police are minutes away".
Fundamentally, people arm themselves because they are self-reliant, and don't want to depend on an all-too-undependable government to protect them.
I think you may have already been upstate when Andrew hit South Florida. In Boca Raton, we were spared damage. But in Hollywood, where my Dad lived, they had some damage an lots of power outages. I loaded my generator in the back of my pickup and headed for Hollywood before my Dad's freezer thawed out.
Generators were going for big bucks after Andrew. There were massive power outages and every big box store was sold out of plywood and generators.
At a traffic light in Coconut Creek three guys in pickup offered to buy my generator for $500. I politely declined, to which they answered they would just take it.
There were three of them and one of me. Well, not really, I had Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson with me. All three of them were out of their truck when I retrieved my S&W 645 from the glove box. You wouldn't believe how fast their attitude changed.
Often, when I am asked why I carry, I simply answer, "Because I can."