Being a Gunfighter in an Outlaw World

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by David LaPell

Previously by David LaPell: What Happens If They Try To Take OurGuns?


Imagine what life was like in the old West, a time when in most cases the only help you had was the gun on your hip or in your saddle scabbard. You were expected to defend yourself back then because you couldn't rely on others to do it for you. Even if you were a lawman in one of those rough cow towns there was no back up. No SWAT teams, no phones, nothing fast, nothing easy.

Perhaps it's my age, but when I think of the term u201Cgunfighteru201D I get images of Wyatt Earp, Bill Hickok, Bill Jordan or even James Arness on Gunsmoke and I believe that we can learn things about the nature of self-reliance from the way these mythical gunslingers responded to a world of danger and unpredictability, as real then as it is today. Indeed, I believe that thinking like a gunfighter (who had to rely on themselves and no one else to save hides) is one great step towards preparing for the reality of self-defense scenarios in this imaginary world of instant technology.

You can count on me

If you're asking me, I think people today rely way too much on the promise of help from others when they are in danger and it is one of the most perilous things people have grown accustom to in 2013. Everyone – children, adults, security guards? rape victims? – has been instructed to call 911 first rather than address the problem and when the worst happens, these people wonder why help did not arrive fast enough.

I remember after I got out of high school my first job was to work overnight at a convenient store and every cop who knew me told me to get a pistol permit because they would not get there in time in the event of an armed robbery. That was the first time I saw the safety illusion of 911 and having police who I knew and respected tell me flat out to get a gun because of their response time left an impression on me you can see to this day. In fact, everybody should be so lucky as to work at a convenient store at some point in their life: working overnight, dealing with drunks, druggies and all the other flakes that come out at night taught me pretty quick that when push came to shove, I was only going to have myself to rely on.

Employer-employee relations

There was one store I worked that had such poor regard for the safety of its employees, not only did they advise you to call 911, if you needed to call anyone you had to go outdoors and use a payphone. There were no security cameras, no panic buttons – nothing. The reason? Simply, the company that owned the store was too cheap to invest in the basic safety of the people who worked for them.

One January night a nearby convenient store was robbed and the clerk was shot and killed. It was big news. The clerk opened the register and gave the robbers all the money, but they weren't satisfied so the robbers ordered him onto his knees. They shot him in the head for no reason other than they said they wanted to kill someone.

As you can imagine, such senseless violence striking so close to home put me on edge and even more so when, after talking with two clerks at other neighboring stores, I found out my store's security was the worst. They both had cameras and alarms and one clerk was packing a pistol that her boss had given her u201Cthe go aheadu201D to carry on the job. Realizing I was in the worst shape and expecting very little support from my employer, I decided that I had to take matters into my own hands to keep myself safe. I was eighteen and at the time only had two guns, a full size Enfield rifle and a Model 94 .30-30. I decided that under the counter at my shop was a good spot for that Winchester.

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