I cruise around some of the firearms related sub forums on Reddit.com, and one of the “redditors” posed an interesting question. (Thanks /u/kheiland)
Where do we draw the line between “prepared” and “paranoid?”
After seeing a lot of different opinions across many forums, I’m looking to start a meaningful discussion about the CCW mindset.
Fellow Redditors, what is your opinion on the difference between being prepared for an encounter and being paranoid of an encounter occurring? For example, I’ve seen a few instances that have struck me as interesting, so I wanted to see what you all think:
-Carrying around the house. -Answering the door armed. -Taking your CCW into the bathroom with you. -Sleeping with the CCW under your pillow (as opposed to on a nightstand/in a drawer). -Carrying while working out.
I am not calling anyone out for being "paranoid"; instead, I am interested on building a discussion. In my personal opinion, however, I believe some people seem to be looking for a fight, rather than being prepared for one. So what do you all believe is the line (as blurred as it is) between being ready and being afraid of everyday life?
That really is a great question. Very often those who are opposed to firearms claim that those of us who carry are just paranoid. For the sake of argument, here are the definitions of each.
Prepared: properly expectant, organized, or equipped; ready.
Paranoid: baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others.
Well that’s telling in an of itself. I’m not afraid of anyone I interact with on a daily basis. I have no need to be. For the most part, everyone I interact with throughout my regular day are happy, peaceful people, going about their business. So is someone who carries a firearm prepared or paranoid? Let’s break down that definition and see how it applies.
Properly expectant: A key word here is “properly.” I don’t expect that everyone I encounter needs to be under government surveillance. I don’t expect that everyone I encounter is a bad person. I do understand that a bad person may be among those people that I encounter. I don’t suspect anyone is “out to get me.”
Organized: I don’t casually toss my firearm into my back pack and go merrily along my way. I have a holster for it, and it always goes in the same place. This also leads into;
Equipped: Should the need arise, I have the tools necessary to defend myself and my loved ones. It is not something that I simply assume would be effective, or something spur of the moment, it is the proper tool for the job. I didn’t just go out and buy a Desert Eagle and say “alright, I’m all set.” My choice of firearm was carefully thought out, for various reasons.
Ready: I train. I practice. I don’t practice enough, but I practice. I learn. I know that regardless of what is thrown at me, I will be able to address it in an appropriate manner. I know what the consequences of my actions, or inaction are, and I accept that.
So, at least in my own personal view, I’m prepared. What about paranoid? Well I don’t constantly suspect anyone of anything, regardless of who you are or what you look like. I may disapprove of the fact that you wear your pants under your ass and think everyone should know that you wear SpongeBob Underoos, but that’s your choice, and it really doesn’t affect me one way or another. I might disapprove of the fact that you have a gauge in your ear that I would be very tempted to take a Master Lock padlock and close it through your earlobe for you, but that’s your choice, and it really doesn’t affect me one way or another. How you treat your children, is between you, your children, and Child Protective Services, but really none of my business.
If you look at the definition of paranoid, and then listen to what those who don’t support gun rights constantly claim, suddenly something becomes very clear. I’m not the one who’s paranoid, they are. “What if you decide to shoot up a Dunkin’ Donuts?” That’s not going to happen, even though I prefer Shipley’s. “I’m afraid to be around someone with a gun.” Why? I am absolutely not a threat. I have absolutely no desire to shoot anybody. My gun is not going to spontaneously go off. In psychology this is called projection, where you project your own irrational beliefs on to other people.
So at what point does a person who carries become paranoid? Is it when they carry around their home? Home break ins do happen when residents are home. If someone is brazen enough to break into a home while it is occupied, there is a good chance they are armed. Would you call the police and wait? Is it when a gun owner answers the door armed? How do you think many of those daytime robberies happen? Is it when a gun owner takes their gun into the bathroom with them? Incidents don’t happen when it is convenient. There is no warning from criminals stating “I’ll be at your house today at 4:00.” To me all of these are just different levels of preparedness.
Am I a tinfoil hat wearing lunatic for carrying a firearm for self defense? Are you a tinfoil hat wearing lunatic for thinking that people like me are a threat to you. May want to rethink the whole “paranoid” argument.