by The Usual Suspect
One thing that still sticks with me is my distrust of people around me, and the diminished sense of safety that comes with it. I see malice in people that are probably very nice once you start talking to them. I see car thieves and muggers. I see psychotic drivers of large gas-hogs that will turn a road-rage altercation into a Mad Max death run. I've stepped into a wasteland that only I can see.
So I did what I've wanted to do since I first got back. I bought a gun.
I haven't fired it yet, and still haven't even applied for a concealed carry permit. I hardly ever put it in the car when I go somewhere, and it's never actually on me. But it's a little peace of mind.
For fourteen months I was always armed. Everywhere I went. It was within arms reach when I slept. It followed me to the shitter. To the laundry point. The PX. The chow hall. The phones. The motor pool. Always on me. Out in sector, it was always ready. No matter what happened, I had that rifle. I had what I needed to give myself a fighting chance.
Once that was gone, I felt like a walking bullseye.
For most people, just the sight of a handgun is enough to make them think twice. I think everyone should be armed. See how many college kids someone can massacre when the students return fire. Guns are for people who don't assume that nothing bad can happen or that there will always be someone to bail you out. Levels the playing field. Peace through superior arms, just like that novelty t-shirt.
People fear guns. The thought is almost something to gasp at. Walk around your house and start counting all the objects in it that you could use to kill someone. Quite a bit huh? But the word "gun" tightens the sphincters of the general populace.
The upside is that most people are generally good, non-violent, and just like you, they just want to do their things. Get to where they're going. I just don't think I'll ever stop looking for the small percentage that isn't so passive. You need to be able to protect yourself.
Then again, my trunk is full of first aid and survival gear, to include surgical bandages and a tourniquet, so maybe I need to lighten up. Bullshit. Better to be prepared and untested than caught with your pants down. We're domesticated over here. We send the young men elsewhere to become a little more animalistic. There is a degree of isolation to being a vet it seems.