Focus On The Situation, Not The Tool

An anti-gunner walks into a bar, err, a restaurant. He sees somebody there minding their own business. That person happens to be openly carrying a firearm and doesn’t have a badge so the anti-gunner feels the need to write a lengthy piece of hysterical nonsense. I’ll save you most of the crap and cut right to answering the questions he puts forth:

How am I, just an average person, supposed to know if the person with the firearm is a “good guy” or a “bad guy?”

How am I, just an average person, supposed to know if any stranger I meet is a “good guy” or “bad guy?” Most anti-gunners only freak out when they see a person without a badge openly carrying a firearm. Truth be told I could just go buy a police uniform and one of those completely asinine “concealed carry badges” and most anti-gunners would be perfectly fine with me openly carrying a firearm (and violent individuals do that specifically because it assists them in approaching their target).

There is no sure way to distinguish “good guys” from “bad guys.” This is why so many of us carry firearms. While 99.99 percent (number pulled out of my ass to illustrate a sizable majority) of people are good, or at least good enough not to be a direct threat to my life, there is that tiny percentage of the population that may decide shooting up the restaurant I’m eating at sounds like the makings for a fun afternoon. Since I can’t tell who they are I can only ensure I have the tools necessary to defend against them if I should encounter them.

Generally speaking though if the person with the holstered firearm isn’t shooting at random people there’s a very good chance they’re one of the “good guys.”

Suppose that I am armed, too. Should I fire preemptively at the other person with the gun just in case that person is a “bad guy,” and take the chance of killing a “good guy,” or should I hold my fire and take the chance that the other person will not be a “bad guy” or be a “good guy” and think I am a “bad guy” and fire at me first?

Is there a secret handshake that “good guys” use to identify each other? If so, what if a “bad guy” uses that secret handshake to pretend he is a “good guy” and then performs his nefarious acts?

It’s very simple actually. Hold your fire until there’s an immediate threat that you reasonable believe could kill you or cause great bodily harm? If the person in the restaurant has their firearm holstered they are not an immediate threat because holstered firearms can’t hurt anybody.

I’d be more concerned about the random person walking up to me asking to borrow a lighter for their cigarette (because I don’t smoke and one should therefore not assume I have a lighter) than an openly armed person sitting at a restaurant eating a meal. The former is creating a situation that gives them a plausible reason to close distance, which means they could be a deadly threat if they have a conceal knife, whereas the latter isn’t approaching me or trying to involve me in their business.

In my experience anti-gunners are poor risk at risk assessment. They focus on the tool as the threat instead of the person. People don’t need firearms to be dangerous but having a firearm greatly increases your odds of survival if you’re attacked by a dangerous person. Focusing on individuals openly carrying a firearm is especially poor risk assessment. Most violent individuals try to conceal the fact that they’re a threat until they get close. They want to appear friendly and unarmed so you let them get close enough to take you by surprise.

If you are worried about identifying “good guys” and “bad guys” pay attention to the situation and your gut instinct. Threats will try to create a situation that is favorable to them. As a human being you a gifted with a great ability to read other human beings. If a violent individual is creating a situation that favors them they are likely doing other things that will make the little voice in your head say, “I think he’s bad, you should flee.” Learn to identify those situations and don’t dismiss that little voice as mere paranoia. Those two things, which many of us refer to as “situational awareness”, will do more to increase your odds of survival than focusing on tools such as firearms.