This past week I had to travel to Chicago for work which meant 4 days of powerpoint slides, note taking, breaks every 90 minutes and other mandatory fun. To put it succinctly: I gotta pay the bills and it is what it is. As all of you are aware Chicago has some of the most draconian gun laws on the planet which meant that before leaving home I locked my pistol and spare magazines in my safe. I would be traveling unarmed and the old phrase “I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6” simply did not apply. If you disagree (or endorse becoming a felon) remember that we often cite the fact that ridiculous gun control laws only serve to remove guns from law abiding citizens (which it did in my case). But how can we be law abiding if we pick and choose which laws apply to us? There was absolutely no way I was going to walk around Chicago for 4 days carrying my gun, nor would I store my gun(s) in my hotel room or car. I did have my survival bag with me and a few tools but that was the extent of it. The fact that I was unarmed most certainly impacted my ability to defend myself but it did not render me completely helpless.
A gun is a tool and it’s an effective one, but if you believe that the ONLY way you can be a Sheep Dog is when carrying a gun you need to take a hard look in the mirror. Does the suit make the man or does the man make the suit? Does your chest only stick out and does the strut in your walk only happen when you have 5.11 gear on and a 1911 on your hip, or is that confidence a result of a MINDSET?
While in Chicago I still followed many of the same TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures) which I normally do even though unarmed. I maintained my SA (Situational Awareness) while moving through crowds, I sat facing the door while in restaurants, I didn’t keep my head buried in my phone while out and about. In essence I paid attention to what was going on around me and was STILL prepared to react to most situations depending on how they might have unfolded. As you might expect there would have been a difference in how I would have reacted because I was unarmed, this versus the feeling of having my trusty Glock 19 on my hip.
I don’t want this post to trail off into a handful of “what if” scenarios where I discuss reacting to a myriad of situations while armed and unarmed. What would I have done, what actions to take, draw and fire or pick up a chair and toss it etc. The fact of the matter is that a time could come when I AM armed and still end up NOT using my gun to de-escalate a situation or defend myself. There are simply too many variables at play and I don’t want to go down that road. What I want to emphasize is that when was impossible to carry I still maintained the correct mindset: the Alpha Dog, always watching, plan having, ready for just about everything, forward thinking and calculating individual who is prepared to do what it takes to survive. Would I have been more comfortable carrying a gun? Absolutely. Does a gun define who I am or what I am capable of? Absolutely not. Just something to consider…