It’s Not About Need

Last week, I had an opportunity to catch up with a friend and former colleague, whom I had not seen in nearly two years. As we sat chatting for a bit, he asked me an interesting question. He asked, “Do you carry every single day?”

Bear in mind, this friend is not an anti-gun zealot, by any means. We have gone shooting together, and he has a concealed carry license himself. Naturally, I felt perfectly comfortable telling him that yes, in fact, I carry every single day. No matter where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what I’m wearing, I generally find some way to carry a loaded firearm for self protection. Imagine my surprise, when he responded by shaking his head and saying, “That’s not necessary.”

Upon picking my jaw up off the floor, I began organizing my thoughts around how I should go about convincing my friend that he was wrong. And that’s when it happened – I realized he was right. I have been carrying a firearm every day for years. And not once, not one time, in the course of thousands of days, has it ever proven necessary for me to have a firearm to defend myself. For those now worried that I’m about to recommend selling all your guns and emptying out that drawer full of holsters you’ve been accumulating, bear with me for a bit.

We all do things every day that have never proven necessary – not once. Yet not doing them would seem unthinkable to us. When I pulled out of my driveway to go to work this morning, I had zero thought in my head that my house might burst into flames and burn to the ground in my absence. In fact, not once in the more than ten years I have owned this home has this occurred. Still, I pay a homeowners insurance premium designed to offer financial protection against just such an event. Day after day after day, for nearly four-thousand days now, my choice to pay the premiums for this coverage has proven completely unnecessary. And yet I continue foolishly paying those premiums anyway.

To the average hoplophobe, the mere fact that I have carried a gun for thousands of days, without ever once finding myself in fear for my life, is prima facia evidence that my choice to carry derives from some sort of irrational paranoia. When presented with incontrovertible proof that my self-defense preparations have never proven necessary, I am supposed to feel foolish, apologetic, and silly. And yet I don’t feel silly at all. Instead, I feel a sense of personal accomplishment. Why? Consider this Nike advertisement, which has to be one of my favorite commercials of all time.

Okay, that commercial isn’t a perfect analogy, but Michael Jordan’s understanding that every one of his failures was a necessary step on road to success has broader implications.

Every day I have armed myself unnecessarily represents, not a cause for embarrassment, but a hallmark of success. God forbid I ever need to use a firearm for self-defense. However, should that moment ever come – days, months or years from now, it will almost certainly happen on a day when I feel absolutely certain I don’t need a firearm. The fact that I arm myself on all the days that I don’t consider it necessary is the very thing that my save my life or the life of someone I love on the one day I am finally proven wrong.

Today, I’m carrying a Walther PPQ, and I have no doubt that it’s completely unnecessary (from my friends lips to God’s ears).


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