12 May A New Tribe
For the new gun owners of 2020, being a gun owner is hard enough. The media portrays us as degenerates with a single agenda. You now have a secret that some of your co-workers and family members would cringe at, as they ostracize you from their politically correct social circles. This might have even been you prior to your purchase, simply because of your interest in firearms. This is hard enough, but some of you carry for self-defense. This decision and lifestyle come with an entirely different kind of baggage.
To carry for self-defense is an acknowledgment of your own mortality. We know the threat is present and willing, we have made the decision for our safety and families to have answers to those questions. We battle plan different scenarios throughout the day imagining the worst ones possible and gauge our options. We buy gear to accommodate our readiness in any situation, from flashlights, belts and concealed magazine carriers, to the very shoes on our feet. Some of our family members or friends may accept our view, but do not share, or understand, the deeper importance of this mindset. They see it as a hobby akin to a videogame, or pick-up basketball–something nice to do on an afternoon before picking up the kids, or weekend activity to blow off steam. To us, at least some of us, we are training for life.
As response times get slower and slower, the dependence on outside protection is becoming less, well… ‘dependable.’ You are the first responder, your boots are on the ground, and it is you who must have eyes on the situation. In the 10, 20, or 30 minutes it takes for someone to help you have to make a plethora of decisions that have real and possibly irreversible consequences. This is stressful. This is hard. This is a truth that looms in back your head every day, at all hours of the day. To quote Ian Strimbeck of Runenation LLC, “No one is coming to save you.”
But, some of us already know this and have decided to carry that weight. Let me tell you from personal experience that it can be lonely. I was at a camping trip with friends and their mutual acquaintances. As the night carried on the campfire roared and flickered, their talk about mortgages, stocks and recent news echoed around the trees and rocks surrounding us. This itself was not a problem; after all, members of our tribe come from all backgrounds: sales professionals, bankers, coders, electricians, lawyers, teachers, real estate brokers, medical personnel, bus drivers, stay at home mothers and fathers, and so many others. You do not have to be current or prior L.E. or military to take self-defense and preparedness seriously. What sent me over the edge this evening, what instilled a righteous shock—and even slight anger–in me was one specific situation. At a certain moment, one of the people we were sharing the campsite with felt the need to answer the ‘call of nature.’ As she looked around by the fire she frowned slightly, then sat back down, slightly uncomfortable. Her husband, a prior service member, asked her what was wrong. She told him she needed to take care of some urgent “business”, but that it was dark, and they hadn’t brought a flashlight. I sat silently as they asked everybody– one by one–if they had brought a flashlight and the resounding “No..” from each camper echoed through the wind as it did in my head.
I thought over and over again, “You all knew you were going camping. Hence, darkness! How is it even possible that bringing a reliable source of light didn’t cross your mind?” As she walked over to me all I could do was look blankly at her husband. My friends, this wasn’t my best moment, but it’s what happened! I stared at him with all the quiet anger and disappointment I could muster as I gave her my flashlight. I non-verbally shamed him, communicating with my eyes and body language, “why am I providing for your wife?” What bothered me even more is that the message was not received. For the rest of the night I sat staring into the flames pondering what just transpired. It was a simple light, I didn’t expect anyone to bring a shotgun or battle rifle (which I did in fact bring)…just a light. If I had gone camping with my training buddies, the only response she would have heard is how many lumens did she want. 500? 1000? Having a light would not have even been a question; indeed, she could have taken her pick!
This lifestyle of preparedness can be lonely, and eventually you will feel the anger that I did. Know that at least within the walls of a small building in the corner of Bellevue, there are likeminded individuals of all sorts. I have seen complete strangers at this range become buddies over a few conversations. Our staff, like those of all close-knit workplaces, will have their squabbles but beyond any of them, we all care for and appreciate each other. Veterans, musicians, watch aficionados, video gamers, construction specialist, motorcyclists, fisherman, hunters, artists, and avid meat head weightlifters all mix here, yet despite the diversity, share one thing in common: We care deeply about our own personal protection and that of our families. Because we can do this, we care about each other’s protection as well. We are a tribe of likeminded individuals from different creeds, backgrounds, and religions.
You are not alone. Welcome to the tribe, Bellevue Gun Club.
See you on the high ground.
By: Josh Sandoval – RSO and Firearms Instructor at Bellevue Gun Club