It’s important to remember any and all alternatives in a self-defense situation, for those times when the use of deadly force is justified.

During a recent multi-state road trip, I spent a few days in a state where my concealed carry permit was not valid. Not being able to carry left me feeling rather naked and vulnerable. I had become comfortable and quite secure knowing that I had a sidearm on me if the smelly stuff got into the fan, but as the reality of being unarmed sank in deeper I started to question my dependency on being armed. Then I started to recall statements I’ve heard from people I know and meet who also carry that also seem to be dependent upon their sidearm for self-defense. Oh, I hear people talk about alternatives, options and the law, and what they think they would do in a violent or potentially violent situation. But it’s almost as if some people who carry, (I’ve been guilty of this line of thinking to some degree), aren’t quite as diligent to avoid a situation, or aren’t quite as quick to remove themselves from it as they really should be as responsibly armed citizens. They may not be cocky and arrogant about it, and may not be spoiling for a fight or an excuse to use deadly force. However, there should be a conscious effort to avoid any sort of nonchalant attitude. You must not become emboldened by carrying and allow the standard or level of what you will tolerate to get lower because you know that you can defend yourself and simply explain yourself to investigators and avoid any trouble.

Fortunately, I had not lowered myself to that level but I did notice that I had forgotten about some of the other options and resources that might be available to me in a confrontation. I realized I needed to run three lines of thought at the same time. At some time they may need to converge and separate again, but until they do, they need to run parallel to each other.

The first line of thought in self-defense is to think like you have no self-defense but escape. This line of thought requires you to think and act as if you have no sidearm and no other means of defense at hand, and to think of alternatives and options that you might not normally think of. For example, routes of escape, the potential route of approach by a threat, how far you would need to go to be out of harm’s way, and who’s around you and what they are doing, to name a few. Not forgetting of course that part of what you are trying to protect and remove from the confrontation is your sidearm. Even if no one else brought a gun to the fight, you did.  And if it gets deployed, you want to be the one deploying it…

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