Combat Readiness, “D” Grade

ggg2016-03-30 22.21.25 Yes, that’s me on the left. No, it’s not for show. Yes, I have a Concealed Carry permit. I use it.

And yes, I’m smiling in the picture but guns are not fun and games. I classify them to be as serious as a heart attack.

Nevada is also an “open carry” state but as to that, if I were to carry openly it’d be my Colt-style .357 Magnum … it’s simple, fail-safe and the ultimate point-and-click device. Problem is, it’s huge. A blonde t-girl walking around town with a massive gun on her hip might just help inspire the sort of animosity that makes the gun more necessary.

And yes, I have a speed-loader but if I can’t defend myself with six bullets that’s probably the sort of situation I should have better avoided anyway.  So while believing in vigorously exercising my right to self-defense, I try to be at least minimally conscious of psychological factors.

For example, while bad guys might be less enthused to harm me if they can see that I carry a big gun,  it would also not be tactically smart of me to divulge what it is and where it is, in plain sight of my adversary. Hence, plan B: a nice garter belt thigh holster, holding my Beretta whose caliber size starts with the digit “3” to the right of the period. Being a pistol, it’s more compact, but also less simple.

I try to balance my risks so while I’m trusting of the gun’s “safety” mechanism and I’ve gathered enough intel to conclude it’s reliable as to staying on when it’s supposed to, and coming off and staying off when it’s supposed to … it’s tempting for me to add ever more additional levels of defense to prevent accidental discharge. If you shoot someone without justification in Nevada, you probably end two lives — whom you shoot as well as your own. Saying “oops” or “I’m sorry” doesn’t undo things. But even without any legal repercussions, I’d never forgive myself for shooting someone else by accident.

As I found out on Friday, my focus on safety of one type was at the expense of safety of another type — fast-enough combat readiness. I’d give myself a grade better than “F” (fail) or “E” (minimal credit for effort) … maybe a “D” … but not worthy of even a “C.”

I was mentoring a t-girl friend and was taking her around town to friendly-enough places. Without her initiating any hostilities, someone else did: someone who looked like they were a mess, and who later admitted to being on crack.

This hostile person tried to engage my t-girl friend in a hostile situation. I’d offered to run a particular small errand for my t-girl friend (something as harmless as getting, for her, a to-go box at the counter of a fast-food restaurant where we’d just had lunch, in a decent-enough neighborhood) but my t-girl friend had thought that an unnecessary inconvenience to me, and assured me that she was fine with getting it herself. Off she went towards the counter.

At the counter, things started to go sideways. Next to her, by the salsa bar, stood the on-crack woman. She was maybe in her 40s or 50s or 60s. She looked … bad. In Western US culture one would say she’d been ridden hard and put away wet (horse culture analogy for having had a rough life — presumably self-imposed).


Cover art by Burton Silverman, uploaded to Wikipedia by Jasper the Friendly Punk, Fair Use as per Wikipedia

She had a mean, hard face, and stood hunched, slouching. The cover art of Jethro Tull’s Aqualung (good sound, harsh lyrics) shows the look I mean. She listened to my t-girl friend for a few seconds, then turned and glared.

My t-girl friend is a 6″ tall, slender blue-eyed blonde t-girl in her 20s. She looked pretty even while being new at being out in public as such.  Her face and figure had recently been waxed, she’d done her make-up … she looked good though clearly a t-girl.

The mean woman looked her up and down and then loudly said “you have a mustache, you weird girl-boy” or words to that effect. To her credit, my t-girl friend didn’t say anything, just got her to-go box and left the area.

She relayed to me whatever I hadn’t heard personally. I kept listening to the mean woman, who stayed at the counter, and seemed to have moved on to the next conversation of sorts, with another customer. The dialog included the mean woman loudly admitting that she’s “on crack.” That explained a lot. I don’t think she was kidding — she meant it.

I got my t-girl friend out of there quickly but assertively and calmly. She seemed calm but as she stood outside by my car she seemed shaken. She needed nicotine immediately, she said, and lit up one of the electronic cigarettes she carried.

She used to smoke cigarettes and had stopped for health reasons and had researched as to which electronic cigarettes and juice were the most safe, and had regaled me in detail. Anyway, she’s still fond of nicotine and needed some, right then and there.

I normally disallow this in my car but I nicely told her that this time it’s OK and to get in, shut and lock the door and enjoy her nicotine inside my car. I didn’t explain why but the reason was that I saw the woman-on-crack walking towards my car … maybe because trouble was brewing or maybe because her own car was parked nearby.

I like politeness, but not the premises of political correctness. As an American, I’m perfectly clear that someone can say whatever they like, nicely or rudely, and they’re still perfectly within their First Amendment rights. For example, if someone loudly proclaims their hatred of t-girls, even in great and offensive detail, that’s no reason for me to start thinking of firepower. For me, the issue was not what the mean woman had said. She could have said a lot more and I wouldn’t have gone on high alert.

What DID have me on alert was that she seemed to be out of control, unstable, and hostile, with no qualms at having initiated hostilities at someone who had been totally peaceful. That sort of thing gets me wondering what next such a person might do, as to possible physical violence. To be blunt, I don’t plan to stand there and sing “Kumbaya” while some nut is swinging a tire iron at me.

I kept track of where she was, where she was moving, and her attitude, while I quietly went to “action stations” as in, I was very focused on the Beretta on my thigh and I was in readiness mode as to its potential use, in case it was needed. It wasn’t.

The mean woman bumbled past, a car-width away, got into an old Ford minivan and seemed preoccupied with starting it. I started my own car, and I drove away while keeping the mean woman’s vehicle in view.


Did I need my Beretta? No. Did I show it or remove it from its holster? No. Was my “readiness mode” adequate? No, probably not. That’s the problem.

I’d made my “steps to fire” sequence plans while presuming that going from holster to ready-to-fire would be quick and easy. Out of context, it would have been, but to do that while also keeping an eye on my moving adversary at the same time … would not be so quick and easy.

In planning and preparation, I’d presumed more time than I conveniently and safely had when the hostilities came close to potentially needing the gun. At the critical time, I needed to focus on where my adversary was, what she was doing etc. with very little time or focus remaining for me to go through the too-long process of getting my gun ready to fire, based on my overly conservative starting point. Not that I needed to use it … but it would have taken a longer time than I’m happy about.

Nothing violent ended up happening, but it was a necessary-for-me wake-up call. So today I’ve spent a significant time practicing and preparing better so that, all in all, I am more safe than I was on Friday. And indeed, I’ve come up with a better-optimized level of combat readiness.


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