Recently, I was shopping at a local Walmart when I noticed a young man who was visibly armed to the teeth with multiple firearms and ammunition. In my generation, we would have compared him to Yosemite Sam, a cartoon character that was always armed with multiple pistols and belts of ammunition draped across his body. Although I know that citizens in this particular state have right to open carry as long as they possess a state license, it struck me as an oddity that I wanted to explore further.
I recognized a young lady who appeared to be shopping with him, and I thought that perhaps this would be a non-threatening opportunity to start a conversation with him. I approached them, and I was recognized by the young lady which allowed me to engage the man in conversation.
I asked why he would go out shopping in a public place while clearly exhibiting multiple firearms and ammunition all over his body. It certainly drew attention to him, and I was curious as to why he would intentionally do so.
He explained that when people saw that he was armed, they would not "mess with him." I was not sure if he was actually fearful of being accosted, or if it was more of display of dominance. However, I told him that perhaps he was "thinking like a good guy." He was thinking that a normal person would not intentionally start an altercation with a heavily armed individual. He seemed to agree that this logic was sound.
This brought to mind the Archie Bunker theory of how to stop airline highjackings. Archie, a character from a television sitcom, suggested that when people board an airplane, each individual should be given a loaded .45 caliber pistol. The logic: No one would highjack an airplane full of armed passengers.
I asked the young man to consider another perspective. If I was a "bad guy", I would immediately identify him as the greatest threat to my safety, and a source of weapons and ammunition. Consequently, I would kill him first. This would assure my safety, and provide me with additional weapons and ammunition. As many readers will recall from various news stories, this has actually happened on more than one occasion when someone openly carrying firearms has been robbed of his/her weapons.
I asked if from a tactical standpoint if it would be a better idea to conceal the pistols from public view. It would advantageous for the "bad guys" to have no knowledge of the firearms, and if the guns were needed for protection, they would be a surprise for the offenders. The young man immediately agreed that it would preferable and safer to conceal the firearms.
I have always believed that it is advantageous to be underestimated when it comes to self defense. The same principles apply to martial arts training. Many instructors teach this to their students and prohibit students from wearing martial arts gear outside of the dojo. It gives you a tactical advantage when people underestimate your skills and abilities to defend yourself. A "bad guy" may feel that he has to test his skills against a martial artist, or he may escalate the level of force with weapons to level the playing field. Again, it is preferable for you to be underestimated if a confrontation or altercation begins.
In crime control, one of the problems that we have faced, historically, is assuming that "bad guys" are reasonable, logical human beings, and they think the same way as "good guys." I have found over the past 40 years of experience that thinking like a "good guy" can get you killed, and "thinking like a bad guy" can better prepare you for real life confrontations. You can "think like a bad guy" without becoming "a bad guy..."
Be safe and protect the ones you love!