I know the routine –– it has been done over and over again. Someone gets involved in a provocative situation of some type and then tells the world what they should do in the event they face one similar, despite the speaker not following that course of action his or her self.
That being said, I feel somewhat obligated to tell this short narrative.
I was just at the grocery store, and apparently some girl trying to steal items was being stopped by a security guard just outside of the doors. In retaliation to this exchange, she responded by discharging her firearm once. How close it was to the guard's proximity, and whether or not she intended to even hit him remains unknown to me, but the round itself went through the glass of the window –– possibly near customers. I had just walked away from the area; having been told that there might be coupons in the back for the items I was purchasing, I left the area where the incident occurred instead of walking out the same door the shooter was near (which I would have, had I not been prompted during my purchase to instead find the illusive coupon).
Either way, I did not have my firearm on me. I didn't even hear the gunshot while I was in the back, but once I saw people huddled down for cover in the aisles of the cash registers, I asked a gentleman who was calmly standing what had happened.
He told me what I am telling you now.
I was surprised at how little I cared about the incident, despite watching friends and relatives embrace each other for comfort and safety. I have, however, become increasingly disparaged at the idea that I did not carry my firearm on me.
Even more disparaging was when I finally got to check out (again). I found what I believed to have been a small fragment of a bullet's tip. Like a complete idiot, I decided to ensure this and inspect the object by picking it up and touching it. Others near me did the same, including the gentleman who I had spoken to, and the cashier who was checking me out. It turns out that, what might have been a relative of the before-mentioned gentleman, had been hit by the fragment. Fortunately, she showed no signs of any injuries whatsoever.
Still, I hate the feeling that I might have killed any chance for officers to have uncovered the identity of the would-be thief. Having been both a gun owner and firearm message board lurker for the past few years, I feel a level of responsibility for not having left the item alone. Maybe it is arrogant to assume such "titles" would give me precedence in knowing what must be, and is now to me, an obvious truth.
Regardless, it goes without saying that during such incidents, no matter how distant or engrossing we find them to be, we are caused –– purposed even –– to reconstruct them in our minds numerous times to figure out what the best approach in the future might be. Maybe the purpose of my presence there was to advise any who might listen to this anecdote.
One thing is for sure –– I will never return without my Colt, Seecamp, or other tool, whenever possible. I thank God for at least instilling a bit of knowledge within this 22 year old, as it is apparent others facing the same reality would choose a different path.