Some people don’t like legally armed South Africans carrying guns. Just casually browsing the comments sections of various news media websites attests to as much. Most of the time when I try and converse with the people holding these sentiments, I find it difficult to get a comprehensive or reasonable answer from them as to why they feel this way.
Generally they explain that it makes them uncomfortable thinking about thousands of their fellow citizens carrying concealed firearms around them as they visit the shops, pick their children up from school, and go out to watch a movie or catch dinner.
What is harder for them to explain, is why exactly this makes them feel so uncomfortable.
The answer to this question remained elusive until a friend had a similar discussion with one of his associates about this very subject a few days ago. The person in question felt uncomfortable with legally armed citizens carrying to the mall, because they are afraid that the citizen would start a gunfight should a robbery occur.
A valid concern, but this definitely isn’t something that anyone should be worried about.
Should I find myself in a shopping centre that is currently experiencing a robbery, I am not interested in investigating and potentially becoming involved in a shootout with armed robbers. If I hear shots being fired, my primary interest is making my way to the nearest available exit and getting the heck out of there. This is incidentally the same answer my friend gave to his associate, and I reasonably believe it to be an attitude shared by gun owners in general.
None of us are remotely interested in putting our lives on the line to save the iStore’s stock.
Our firearms are not there to protect the commercial interests of others: we carry them for use as a last resort should our or our loved ones’ lives come under threat. If a criminal attempts actively to murder me, somebody I care about, or another person’s child or loved one, would it not be reasonable for me to intervene under such extraordinary circumstances in order to preserve the life of the innocent?
I hope your answer is a resounding “Yes!”
Such extraordinary intervention does in fact happen; I spoke about it extensively in two previous articles. Suffice to say, good people with guns stop bad people with guns all the time…without resulting in extended Hollywoodesque firefights in crowded public places. The greatest threat to citizens are from robbers shooting random people, as happened during the Bedford Centre robbery in January, and not from lawful firearm carriers protecting themselves.
You see, when citizens defend themselves or others with a firearm, they don’t really have a choice.
We do not carry our guns to the mall, or anywhere else for that matter, because we exclusively expect to be attacked there. We do know that violent crime is omnipresent, and as people who take our own personal safety very seriously, we understand that we are the first responders to our own personal crime scenes. We cannot expect the police or security companies to keep us safe at all times; doing so is unreasonable and foolish.
Any person who has nearly run out of petrol on the N2 between Cape Town and Somerset West will very clearly understand the feeling of helplessness experienced only by people fully dependent on the State for protection.
So to those who are concerned about us concealing firearms on us as we go about our daily lives I would like to say, fear not. We are not the gung-ho action heroes you think us to be. We have no interest in being them, either. And we are not going to shoot you while you drink your cappuccino.
But if our lives are imminently threatened by a dangerous criminal, we will not willingly accept their bullet to our brains because we don’t want to offend you.