EDITORIAL: This is Why You Need to Carry a Gun...

Do you carry a gun? Do you have a concealed carry permit, but leave your gun at home most of the time, because you’re going someplace “safe”? Yeah. I’ve done that, too. But a gun left at home does you exactly the same amount of ‘good’ as no gun at all. Need proof? Let me tell you about my morning…

I usually start my mornings going through emails, checking my various Facebook pages (I do a lot of networking professionally on FB), and I ran across a post from a FB friend, who’d linked to an obituary for someone I didn’t know from awhile back. I don’t usually read obits, unless I know the subject, but when they mentioned that this young man (22 years old) died a hero, I wanted to read more. Turns out this murder strikes a lot closer to home than I’d imagined.

I’m currently living in Shreveport, Louisiana. Grew up here, moved away and now I’m back (apparently, Thomas Wolfe was full of it). I’m a single dad, raising a teen-age daughter. I live in the house where I grew up. It’s a relatively safe neighborhood, in a relatively safe city. I have a girlfriend – someone I graduated with from high school – not really high school sweethearts, as we didn’t know each other well back then, but there’s a connection forged through common experiences and common friends, nonetheless. She lives in a newly-purchased condo, in a gated community on a bayou. Just across the street from her community is an apartment complex.

As stated in the obituary, on September 2nd, a 22-year-old kid walked into his friends’ apartment early that Sunday morning. What he found would make most people run like Hell. His friends were on the floor, hands on their heads, held at gunpoint by two masked thugs. He’d walked into the middle of a home invasion. Seems the two perps encountered the two residents sitting on their patio and forced them inside at gunpoint. The thieves were on their way out with the swag they’d stolen. Now most people would either freeze in panic or run away. But Noah Randle decided to fight back. It would be the last decision he’d make. After a brief struggle, one of the criminals shot Randle in the head, then both fled the scene. Randle was pronounced dead at LSU Medical Center. No one else was injured in the incident.

It’s frighteningly easy to play armchair quarterback in a case like this. There is literally no way to predict what might have happened if even one detail of the story had been changed. What if the roommates had been armed? What if Randle had been carrying a concealed weapon? What if the gun had misfired? You can drive yourself nuts with this kind of speculation. But while it’s impossible to say that had one of the victims been armed, Randle would not have died, we can say that putting guns in the hands of the victims would have, more than likely, changed the outcome to the advantage of the victims.

When you conceal carry, you have a completely different mindset. Because you are constantly aware of your sidearm and the enormous responsibility that goes along with carrying it (if only to keep within compliance of the law and not lose your permit), you constantly look at life through different eyes. You are (or should be) in a perpetual state of Condition Yellow, evaluating every situation, and looking for threats. This is not as paranoid or spooky as it sounds. It’s just a part of being consciously competent, and aware of your surroundings.

So let’s hypothesize that Randle had a permit and a gun. If he’d walked into a situation like this armed, he might not have been able to bring his gun to bear. But then again, he might have. We can’t know, but statistically speaking, those who carry have a disproportionately smaller risk of becoming victims in home invasions.

Why? It may simply be because they are situationally aware, and don’t put themselves in situations where they are at risk. It may be carrying makes them carry themselves differently – there’s plenty of research that indicates criminals prey first on the weak, and fortune favors the prepared (which isn’t necessarily researched, just common sense). Take your pick of aphorisms. Whatever the reason, the odds favor someone surviving a close encounter with a perp much better if the potential victim is armed.

Randle’s funeral was be held on that Thursday. His friends and family say he died a hero and I would agree: anybody that has the guts to defend his friends, especially if he’s unarmed, is a hero in my book. Sadly, he’s a dead hero. As an armchair quarterback, I’m completely unqualified to judge if Randle would have been better off not confronting the criminals or if he or his friends might have all lived had he not. I wasn’t there. But confronted with the same situation, I’d wager there are a lot of people who would have acted the same way Randle did, gun or not. Having a gun might have really come in handy.

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