I have an IWB holster for my XDS, but I rarely wear it. It’s a Comtac MTAC I picked up on sale. I wear it in the 4-5 o’clock position. It’s great when standing or walking but jabs me in the back when sitting or driving. So I don’t carry very often. Mostly I carry in the console of the car – and the gun stays in the house or in the car. But that is a subject for another day.
Yesterday I got a wake up call. I ran into a friend at a social event on Saturday and he shared with me that he’d been mugged: pistol whipped and robbed in the parking lot where he lives. He wanted to talk with someone who wouldn’t freak out and would be empathetic. I was flattered by that. I hope that I was supportive in a way that was helpful to him.
It was a wake up call for me. Bad things can happen anywhere. As a single adult, I often do activities solo and one of them is walking. I headed out to Umstead Park today to hit Sal’s Branch Trail. I took the time to wear a belt, holster and gun.
They have the park office and the public bathrooms posted “No Firearms”. Yes, the bathrooms. So I have the right to protect myself on the trails but not in a isolated room with only one entrance and exit. I went through the list of options: pee on the trail if I got really desperate, remove the gun and leave it in the car then reholster in the driver’s seat (which is problematic in several ways), or break the law. None of these are attractive options.
Once on the trail, I popped in my ear buds and focused on the ground, the blaze marks and the audio book on my phone. I’ve gotten turned around on this trail before so I was also was keeping an eye on the hiker in front of me with the large dog. At one point she stopped and turned around. I stopped and assessed the the blaze marks. I pulled out the ear buds and asked if she’d lost the trail as she approached me. She didn’t look threatening at all, just a bit confused.
She said, “I’m 6 months pregnant and I just realized this is a dumb idea. A slip and fall out here could have serious consequences.” We started a conversation. I told her I thought it was always a good idea to listen to your gut. And of course to let someone know where you have gone and when you are due back (which I will admit I really don’t do). After a bit of conversation, she asked if I minded if she walk with me so she wouldn’t be alone. I agreed. We had a nice chat. She, her dog & I all got our exercise today and I feel like I made a small difference in someone’s life.
The conversation made me realize I have some follow up to do however: I need to find someone to check in with when I take off to go walk.
The reason this is a blog entry: I never volunteered to her that I was armed. I really didn’t see the need. But I felt prepared. And this will encourage me to make the effort more often in the future.