For the past six weeks or so, the PT at the academy has been non-existent. Several cadets – notably Sig, GI Jane, Karate Kid, Welby and Pace (who work together on the force of a large university police department) and Allen (whom I haven’t mentioned, but who is 43 and has lost 20 pounds of fat and added ten pounds of muscle since the start of the academy) – and I have been running our own PT programs. And on weekends, I usually do two, five-mile runs and some of the DT stuff.
On Saturday the 16th I threw my stuff on and headed out the door. I’m something of a sight, because I always wear a fanny pack containing a range of stuff; like Nancy Reagan, I bring a cute little gun*, as well as some OC spray (I’ve been twice attacked by dogs on the running trail), money, my mobile phone, my iPod (yes, I know I could put all my stuff on one device, but I’m a firm believer that a combination anything does more than one thing poorly) and keys. The bag only weighs ten or twelve pounds. And I always carry it.
By the way, in the Southern US, where I am, only gay men and/or armed men carry fanny packs, so I’m confident I’ll be mocked, but silently and respectfully, from a distance.
So as I say, I throw on my stuff. It’s warm, still, and very humid, on this mid-October morning, so I take just gym shorts and a thin Under Armor-type shirt, no-peek socks and my running shoes, and head out the door. It’s a nice, slow five miler. Get back to the house, take all that crap back off and walk into the bathroom to shower.
Where I really, truly, never want to see blood.
So what had happened was that I wore the larger shorts, and the humidity and perhaps the weight of the fanny pack, and the up and down motion of the running have conspired to create a friction burn.
Well, shit. Now I have to hope that we’re not going to PT this week in the academy, because I don’t want to have to explain this. There’s no PT on the schedule.
* Some people have asked me why I carry a gun while I run, and it’s the same answer as that to the question, why do I carry a gun when I travel to a bad neighborhood in a strange city at night, or to a shopping mall: because I believe that, if you’re going to take on the responsibility of getting a gun, you must a) know absolutely how to use it; b) understand the laws governing its use; c) be highly proficient and trained in its use; d) always keep it securely and safely stored when you’re at home; and e) always carry it when you legally can. Shit, if you’re going to go through the trouble of a state and federal criminal background check, a long, boring concealed carry class and written and practical examinations, then you have made a commitment to carrying the damn thing. And you can’t determine in advance whether you’ll encounter a deadly force situation in your life – if one could, they’d have stayed home from Georgia Tech that morning, or not gone into that Luby’s cafeteria.
In the same way that you maintain car and accident insurance whether you’re driving to the corner store or to California, your gun is the insurance policy you’ve chosen – no one has forced you to carry the damn thing, but if you’re gonna carry it, do it right. That means you never leave the house without it, or you always leave the house without it. For trying to carry it sometimes, or only when you think you might need it, leads to carelessness, bad training, lack of practice, loss of proficiency and foolish and deadly behavior and mistakes.
What are you, five? Look, if you want to carry a concealed gun as a citizen, there are no acceptable “accidental” exposures – no flashes of the holster while reaching for the Cocoa Puffs in the market; no bulges in the clothing. The license says, “concealed” and that’s what it means. If you want to wear a badge, get your fat ass into the police academy, get hired on at an agency and wear a badge. And don’t do me any favors, thanks. I’m fine.
But I tell you, if, God forbid, the day should come when you shoot a mugger, after you’re arrested (and you will be) and you’re sitting in that courtroom, imagine the look on the juror’s faces when the Assistant District Attorney thrusts aloft, with great dramatic outrage, your little badge, in a Ziplock evidence bag, and in his best, thunderous, stentorian boom demands to know whether your peers would reasonably infer from seeing the badge on your belt that you were a police officer. That is the day your “No Bill” for a self-defense shooting becomes a shining example of how our society treats a citizen who acts like a freelance cop, like some vigilante on the prowl for trouble.