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My wife and I had an experience yesterday that reinforced one of the hidden benefits of CCW: preventing unneccessary conflict.

We were driving slowly down a sidestreet when a guy backed suddenly into our path (toward our right front fender, actually) from an auto repair facility.

It was so sudden that I had no recourse but to swerve into an adjacent restaurant parking lot, blowing my horn on the way, in order to avoid an accident.

The man parked his car in the same parking lot, gave us an evil eye as he got out of his car, and seemed about to return to the repair shop.

I rolled down my window and told him he should be more careful to watch where he was going next time. In response, he assumed an aggressive posture and told me gruffly to watch where I was going.

I just shook my head at him and drove off. But as I did so my stomach was churning; I was on the verge of becoming quite angry.

Thinking about this, I believe I drove off for several reasons:

1. No harm was done.

2. It was obvious I wasn't going to change his mind by talking to him. Plus I could feel my own anger rising and knew further conversation could deteriorate into a confrontation of some sort, especially since he was already angry.

3. And most of all, I had a .38 in my pocket.

I can't remember how long I've had a CHL, but it's amazing how having one, how having the awesome responsibility of carrying a handgun, has made me much more careful to avoid silly situations that could get out of control.

In other words, I'm more apt to walk away, or drive away, from a confrontation than I might have been years ago. (Not that I was ever much of a hothead to begin with.)

I think this is one more aspect of gun ownership that that the anti-gun crowd fails to understand. As somebody around here says in his tagline: "An armed society is a polite society."

I have vowed to only pull my gun in a life or death situation that someone else has initiated. That vow has made me more a heckuvala more careful about my interactions with others than I was before.

What about you?

Have you felt a similar change in your own willingness to disengage/avoid provocation since you started carrying?

Max
 

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This is just my opinion mind you, but personally I think carrying a firearm in a way obligates us to "turn the other cheek" in situations like that. I say that because IF things went south on you there would be a perception that you escalated the situation AND were the aggressor. I don't think it unreasonable to believe that some politically motivated DA or ADA might see some political advantage to turning you, the demented gun-toting, road-raging vigillante, into TDC inmate No. XXXX.
 

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LelandRay has this quote in his signature here:

"The universal practice of carrying arms in the South is undoubtedly the cause of occasional loss of life, and is much to be regretted. On the other hand, this custom renders altercations and quarrels of very rare occurrence, for people are naturally careful what they say when a bullet may be the probable result." -- LtC Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, HM Coldstream Guards, 24 May 1863

I think it's highly relevant to your situation and to the topic we're discussing. Yes, I believe, that when you're armed you do have a certain responsibility to "turn the other cheek" as abninftr said. I always personally avoid conflicts, because I can never be sure who else is armed in our society, not just because I am armed.

-Rob
 

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Max, look at what you've said and try to imagine any number of other people saying it: "I can't remember how long I've had a CHL, but it's amazing how having one, how having the awesome responsibility of carrying a handgun, has made me much more careful to avoid silly situations that could get out of control. "

I think the responsibility of carrying on a daily basis builds a lot of tolerance in all of us. There is probably some small number of people who get a carry license so they can feel powerful, but in my experience those are the very people who end up not carrying anyway. Most states write their laws with the inclusion of special sanctions for licensees who abuse the privilege of owning the license, but I think those of us who take a hard look at ourselves are likely to be more effective in controlling our own behavior than any rule of law.

(RandomMan, if you saw the movie Gettysburg, you'll know who the good Colonel Fremantle was. In the movie he's something of a caricature, but he was a real person. After the War was over, Confederate General James Longstreet remembered that the Englishman watched Pickett's Charge through a powerful spyglass from the top of a tree on Seminary Ridge. The diary he kept for several months during the spring and summer of 1863 is called The Fremantle Diary and might be available at Books A Million. The local store had a copy in stock a couple of months back.)
 

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Hi there Max,

In SC, most of the concealed carry law is built around the legal definition of "a duty to retreat". In other words, faced and in the same situation, i.e. being in a car on a public road, the law dictates that as an armed citizen has a duty to retreat from situations that do not encompass a "imminant and deadly threat that would result in fatal injury or loss of life".

What you have demonstrated by the situational analysis that you have given us is that you acted in a reasonable fashion and did what any reasonable person would do if faced by the same situation.

I agree with you that carrying a firearm is a sobering responsibility and to answer your question: Yes, it does effect how I act and judge situations and avoid situations that could escallate into "provoked violence".


From Leland's Comments:


I think the responsibility of carrying on a daily basis builds a lot of tolerance in all of us. There is probably some small number of people who get a carry license so they can feel powerful, but in my experience those are the very people who end up not carrying anyway. Most states write their laws with the inclusion of special sanctions for licensees who abuse the privilege of owning the license, but I think those of us who take a hard look at ourselves are likely to be more effective in controlling our own behavior than any rule of law.
I agree wholeheartily with that statement.

Chris
 
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