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Subtle And Interesting Psychological Impact of CCW

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Cosmoline, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I've been packing off-and-on for many years now, and since the advent of Vermont carry in Alaska I've been packing even more. I've noticed my attitude towards the world and its dangers has slowly changed, though I don't know how much of it is due to CCW and how much to other factors.

    For one thing, I find I don't worry about being mugged. This sounds pretty obvious, but over time it has an impact. I carry a lot more cash now than I ever did before. Sometimes I'll cash my entire check and carry many C notes around in my wallet. There's no atm out in the sticks where I live so it's more convenient.

    For another, I find I have less interest in the "thin blue line" that I used to view as protection. When I lived in Oregon and was an anti (yes, I was an anti) I had a great deal of tolerance for police arrogance because I viewed them as my protectors. Now, I'm so far away that there's simply no chance they'd be there in time to protect me. They'd take hours finding my unmarked road. I accept this and it's fine, but on the other hand I find myself questioning why I need to pay for all these troopers and LEO's cruising around. I'm not sure I have an answer, and in a society where most everyone is already armed I'm not sure there is a good answer.

    I find I'm less suspicious of strangers. I'm not picking up hitchhikers or anything, but I do find I'm less nervous around strangers than I used to be.

    Anyone else notice psychological changes along these lines?
  2. George Hill

    George Hill Well-Known Member

    To quote a certain cigarette ad.... "You've come a long way, Baby!"

  3. Correia

    Correia Moderator Emeritus

    This is gun related, so I'm moving it out of RT.
  4. dev_null

    dev_null Well-Known Member

    What I've noticed is that now I feel naked when I don't carry.

    - 0 -
  5. DesertEagle613

    DesertEagle613 Well-Known Member

    I have not carried yet, though I intend to if I ever get the chance, and I feel disturbingly vulnerable on city streets. I am rather distinctive to anyone wanting to start trouble, and not physically impressive, so if problems started I'd probably be screwed. It causes me a great deal of tension, which I'd be happy to get rid of.
  6. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    Over the last couple of years I've noticed the effects of GunZen.

    I find that when I carry I'm more relaxed, less irritated by bad drivers, rude sales clerks, obnoxious children etc. Not that my gun has anything to do with any of those things, its just that I think that knowing you have an option if the S hits the F can have an extreme calming effect overall.

    In addition, since my choices now carry the weight of life and death I think I find myself less easy to anger more patient and in generally a more positive, yet serious, mood.

    I know it'll sound stupid but when I'm carrying I feel like an adult ... or more to the point, I feel like I thought I would feel as an adult when I was a child (if that makes any sense).

    Now when I'm not carrying I feel pretty much the same way I feel if I forget to wear a watch ... or more like if I am barefoot (I hate going out of the house barefoot ... in fact I generally don't walk around the house barefoot or just in socks).
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam


    Some trashy types have moved into my neighborhood. When I lived in the People's Republic of California, there was nothing to be done but a.) contact the landlord, who was interested only in rent checks being turned in on time, or b.) call the police, who were interested only in serious crimes involving deaths, fires, major thefts, and the like.

    I just walked down the street and had a brief conversation with the fellow about cranking up his 8,000-Watt car stereo at 10:00 Sunday morning. I didn't have to be afraid a half-dozen others would pour out of the house in a confrontational mood. Not being afraid, I could "afford," as it were, to be mild-mannered and reasonable. I could see he wanted to get mouthy about it with the old guy, and was prepared to mention the possibility of calling the local police, who do respond to noise calls here. He backed off and turned it down.

    I don't still worry about individuals who look like they might have trouble in mind, and it's occurred to me they can sense I'm not worried. Part of the difference, to be sure, is that I'm in Colorado, where the police actually enforce the law much of the time, and criminals know they're outnumbered. There's an enormous cultural difference that goes hand in hand with the difference in my personal situation.

    The strangest change is that I hardly ever speed any more, and even when I do, I'm rarely more than five miles an hour over the posted speed limit.
  8. lee n. field

    lee n. field Well-Known Member

    You don't have to play those games anymore.
  9. reagansquad

    reagansquad Well-Known Member

    I realized that police weren't there to help as much as you think when I was 14 years old. There was a guy in a car parked in front of my house staring at my while I mowed the lawn. I called the cops, and it took them 2 hours to get there. By the time they did, he was long gone.
  10. Lupine

    Lupine Well-Known Member

    While I feel far less helpless and anxious, I actually am far more aware of the chances I take now that I am a "gun nut" with CCW.

    I'm a bit more observant of those around me. If that makes me a bit more suspicious, it's all relative to how I was before.

    I go to ATMs less and carry less cash. I'm more cautious about having people see me with money, because I never want to have to shoot them. Before, I just didn't think about it at all until I was mugged at an ATM.
  11. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Well-Known Member

    It's better that you feel safer with a CCW, but this is a really slippery slope. A CCW is NOT a license to do anything besides carry a weapon. Using it for the wrong reasons under the wrong circumstances will still get you just as dead or incarcerated as not.

    I don't do ANYTHING while carrying that I wouldn't do unarmed. It doesn't matter that I've got 13 rounds of 357sig on my belt, I'm still not going to an ATM in a bad part of town at 2:00 in the morning to withdraw a ton of cash. If someone's eyeing me, I still move to the other side of the street. I'm not going to get into any sort of confrontation that can be avoided, and I'm sure as heck NOT the law. It's still my responsibility to avoid trouble, and if shots are fired, I want to be sure there's no grey-area about what I was doing or how the situation started.

    The only thing that changes is that, if trouble comes to me, I've got a better chance of coming out of it alive. Do I feel safer and more confident? Heck, yeah--my life's much less likely to be jeopardized. But there's a difference between that confidence and the type that could get me into trouble.
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I've noticed my attitude towards the world and its dangers has slowly changed, though I don't know how much of it is due to CCW and how much to other factors.

    Phil Shoemaker, in an article in Rifle on "What handgun you should carry in bear country" points out that one major benefit of carrying is the psychological effect it has on YOU. It makes you more confident, and the bear senses that.

    Through your calm, confident behavior when you HAVE a gun, you will usually not NEED a gun.

    Carrying also makes me aware that I have a responsibility to behave in a rational, mature manner and NOT get people mad at me.
  13. sendec

    sendec member

    You're all Wrong

    With a couple of exceptions.

    Carrying a gun is not a reason to relax, feel more at ease, less suspicious or to be less bothered than when nekkid. If anything one should be more cued in. If your gun becames a talsiman upon which your feelings depend, what are you going to do when you dont have it, or its empty or broken?

    A gun is just baggage. Your mind is the weapon. Complacency kills. Be relaxed, but never relax.

    Thus endeth the sermon

  14. fistful

    fistful member

    I notice a lot of people around here like to quote Robert Heinlein. (sp?) The only Heinlein I've read is a book called Tunnel in the Sky. It's about high school kids being dropped off on different planets as the final exam of thier survival class. The instructor suggests they not take firearms, unless they are "salty"-meaning experienced, I guess. The teacher thinks a gun will make them overconfident, and they will endanger themselves needlessly, thinking they can shoot thier way out of any situation.

    Selah. (Think about it)
  15. Wildalaska

    Wildalaska member

    Ive been carrying so long I dont feel any different

  16. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    Cosmoline, what you described is rather sad. You put on your gun and turn off your brain. Basically, what you are saying is that since you carry a gun, you can now carry large amounts of cash on your person and not worry about strangers or anything else like that. You seem to have the impression that because you have a gun, you will be protected. This is certainly not substantiated by other real life events.

    You carry large amounts of cash now? Somebody will notice and so now you are making yourself a target. If somebody does notice, you seem to be counting on being able to stop them if they try to rob you. Nice idea, but poor planning. They may just shoot you first without warning. Even if they don't and even if they attempt to rob you and you win, you will have managed to subject yourself to an unnecessary amount of danger by carrying around a wad of money. Of course then you will have to explain to the cops for which you now don't feel you should be paying taxes, and maybe a judge, just what your justification was for having to shoot somebody.

    Having a gun does not mean you are in a safer situation. It means you have another tool by which to use in your defense or in the defense of another. Having to enter a defensive situation means your person level of risk increases dramatically. And now that you are not suspicious of strangers, you are apparently lowering your situational awareness. That is too bad.

    Sendec is right. Complacency kills and it even kills people who have guns.
  17. sendec

    sendec member

    Uh, I was trying to be a little more diplomatic for a change...........
  18. juggler

    juggler Well-Known Member

    More polite, more aware, more thoughtful... yep.

    More confident of my ability to protect me and mine....kinda. Sometimes I feel that carrying restricts my options. Unarmed I have more latitude to react to a situation without fearing that I will get drawn into a life-death situation. If I have to pull/show the firearm chances are I will be spending a lot of time/money on the legal system. H2H would be easier in some situations. Not to say that I am going to stop carrying, just an observation.

    Fistful, you got the name right (Robert Heinlein). I started reading his books over 30 years ago, and still go back to them occasionally. I think many people enjoy his writings for the same reason I do.........he is a proponent of personal responsibility. His characters exhibit honor and ethics that I find admirable, and his stories make you think. Pick up Farnhams Freehold for an EOTWAWKI scenario with a twist. Then there are the Lazarus Long stories.........good reading!!
  19. gbelleh

    gbelleh Well-Known Member

    I've only had a CCW license for a few months. I do find myself more situationally aware, but it's a more confident awareness. Having more choices is what I find calming about carrying. If something did happen, I now have many more choices about how to deal with the situation. But, with the increase in choice comes increased responsibility. The last thing I want is to shoot anyone, but it's very nice to know that you have options other than helpless groveling at the hands of a sociopath.
  20. Ktulu

    Ktulu Well-Known Member

    I've been carrying for a few years now and, personally, I'm more sensitive to the world (especially people) around me then ever. I've noticed an increase in confidence that comes with the feeling that no matter what happens I'll be able to handle it but I also carry a tremendous responsibility to avoid trouble as much as possible.

    My wife admits that she feels much safer when she's with me and she knows that I'm not only carrying but a highly honed fighting machine and master of the deadly art of Gun-fu. (Shsssssss don't tell.)

    I also feel naked when I don't have my gun. Much like on the rare occasion that I forget my watch or cell phone. My awareness without my gun is much more heightened then it used to be. I now know that avoiding trouble is a MUST if I cannot return fire.

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