Interesting tale of your own journey and no one should ever take up a weapon with which they aren’t comfortable, mentally, morally and physically.

I had a friend who was robbed at gun point. After he took my friend’s willingly surrendered wallet and other belongings, the robber then shot my friend, hitting him in the throat.

Fortunately, my friend survived, although with permanent damage to his vocal chords.

At that time, Texas did not have a concealed-carry permit. A state law passed to keep guns out of the hands of blacks in 1871 was still on the books and it was absolutely illegal for a private citizen to carry a handgun. So my friend didn’t even have the option of being armed.

That changed after a madman slaughtered two dozen people in a Luby’s Cafeteria in 1993. A woman who did have a gun in her car, locked away as the law required, lost both of her parents. She began to advocate for the repeal of the old Jim Crow law and was elected to the Texas Legislature. Two years later, the legislature passed Texas’ first-ever concealed-carry permitting law. Texas was the last state in the union to provide a method for a citizen to legally carry a firearm.

By then, my friend and I had moved on down our different paths. I don’t know if he ever got a concealed handgun license or if he even wanted one. But I can’t help but think he should have had the choice.

I first began carrying a gun nearly 50 years ago. It was part of my job with a university police force. What I found was that after the “new” wore off of carrying a gun, it didn’t really affect me. I didn’t feel like a predator and riding shotgun with friends on a larger city police force let me know that a gun wasn’t a magic device that turned me into some sort of superhero.

Even today, though I rarely carry anymore, I am not so conscious of the gun. I know it’s there but I don’t obsess about it. I also don’t fiddle with it, or touch it. I am accustomed to the holster and where is is and that’s pretty much it. Frankly, I don’t even really think about it. I learned long ago that being aware of what’s going on around me is a far better defense against trouble than a gun, a knife or a club. I don’t want to save the world; I just want to avoid problems.

But you and I are different people. My way is obviously not yours, but I don’t think either way is superior to the other; they’re just different.

The failure to respect that distinction is one of the things that makes this whole issue so divisive.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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