Countering Violence: ‘Being Prepared Is Better Than Not Being Prepared’

As a law enforcement expert teaches students, 'Carry a firearm for insurance, hope you never have to use it'

by Chris Wagoner | Updated 27 Jul 2017 at 12:35 PM

Recently, Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano wrote a piece called “When it Comes to Gun Control, Listen to Reality and Not Hysterics.” I am not sure what reality he is living in, but it’s not the reality of the everyday law-abiding citizen in Florida, or any state for that matter.

Maybe the author should research his material better before making comments. A simple Google search makes his entire premise for the article look very foolish.

Let’s see: “Unless I’ve missed something, we are a long way from being a war-torn country. For the great majority of Americans, I’ll bet the only violence we ever see is on a television screen.” So maybe a few facts to counter that?

"Eighty-three percent of 12-year-old children in the United States will be victims or intended victims of violent crimes at least once in their lifetimes, the Justice Department reported today. Fifty-two percent will be victims of such crimes more than once," according to the DOJ.

What Romano says about murder is true: It has decreased over the past 20 years or so. But what he fails to add to the equation is that firearm ownership has skyrocketed — more Americans are carrying a firearm than ever before. Is that the cause of the decline in the number of murders? Maybe not the only factor, but one must consider it.

The biggest factor in the lower murder rate is advances in modern medicine. Injuries and wounds that would have killed a person 10 years ago have become survivable when treated properly. That is a fact. So when looking at the numbers, don't just look at murder — look at violent assaults and attacks. The DOJ has those numbers available: "In 2015, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 5.0 million violent victimizations, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics."

This equates to about 2.7 million violent crimes against people 12 and older in 2015.

Romano stated, "You, on the other hand, should feel free to start packing heat."

If he truly feels this way, why even bother to write the article and try to disguise it as a pro-firearm piece when it's anything but?

He goes on to say that murders in Florida, specifically his area, have decreased. What he fails to include is that Florida has more concealed carry permits than any other state. We are the leaders in this area. Is that why murders have gone down? Probably not the only reason, but it must be factored into the equation.

Related: Guns Save Lives, but Media Largely Ignore

Then he makes his biggest mistake in the entire article: "But it's important to recognize that highly publicized acts of terror — whether foreign or domestic — do not mean we are a more dangerous society than we were 10 or 20 years ago." Actually, we are more likely today than any time in our recent history to see or be a part of a terrorist attack or mass casualty incident of some kind. Being prepared is better than being unprepared and suffering the consequences.

In his closing remarks, Romano states, "It's the kind of decision that should be made only after careful consideration of one's circumstances. And certainly not because of a headline, or sound bite from a politician." Well, maybe people should take his advice and not make a decision based off some headline or misleading information.

Related: Good Guys with Guns Stop Bad Guys with Guns

Just as I tell my law enforcement students to whom I teach concealed carry classes in Florida, you buy insurance for your car in case of an accident — you carry a firearm for insurance and hope you never have to use it. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

One results in your serious injury or death; the other probably doesn't. Which would you prefer?

Chris Wagoner is a U.S. Army veteran and senior OpsLens contributor. He has been in law enforcement the past 35-plus years. He specializes in LE Firearms Instruction and is in charge of a large police academy in North Florida. This OpsLens article is used by permission.

Read more at OpsLens:
Learning to Shoot: How Much Training Is Enough?
Trying Juveniles as Adults: New Solution to Old Problem

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