It seems to be a common theme today; the politically correct talking heads, who are often the most intolerant, demanding that citizens ignore their intuition so that a certain group of individuals is not offended. “Use generic pronouns so that transgender individuals aren’t offended,” they say. “Have dinner with multicultural races of people frequently to ensure you’re not racist,” they insist. “Go ahead: undress in front of and shower with boys, young ladies,” they demand.

If for no other reason than it’s liberals telling me I must do these things, I simply know better than to ignore my intuition. One of the first things we teach in concealed carry class is to ‘trust your gut’. If you are in a situation you don’t feel comfortable in or sense that a particular area is unsafe, get out. However, we do sometimes have to be in places that could potentially put us in harm’s way.

Like a local Walmart.

Just this summer, a Milwaukee County judge sentenced 21-year-old James J. Gill to nine years in prison and another seven years of extended supervision after he plead guilty to two counts of armed robbery as party to a crime. Although two additional counts were dismissed, it struck me that two of the three armed robberies took place in the parking lot of local Walmart stores. With a family of five, I frequent our local Walmart once (if not twice) a week and I can’t help but notice just how sketchy its beginning to look these days.

Recently, I witnessed a group of young men walking through the store as a pack, following individual young women and talking about them loudly from behind. Not one of these young ladies went to Customer Service or turned around to confront or reprimand the men in public, which more than likely would have drawn attention to them from other customers and shut down their behavior. At one point, I left my cart in the store and followed the pack of men out to the parking lot when they were trolling a young woman pushing a rather hefty (and pricey) cart to her car to ensure her safety, but I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘what is she thinking?’?!

Why would you walk out to your car alone while a group of men follows you closely talking about the fit of your jeans and the contents of your cart? At a minimum, you ask a store security guard or employee to escort you to your car, that’s just common sense. I’m glad I was carrying and aware of her situation to be there for her should she need protection, but what would prompt her to put herself in a potentially dangerous position?

It’s my intuition that tells me to stay away from high crime areas like the north side of Milwaukee. It’s my gut that alerts me to the potential danger in a roving pack of young men with baggy shirts covering their waistbands and observe their hands protecting an area within it. It’s second nature for me to be hyper aware of everything and everyone around me, to always be looking for the closest exit, to take in as much information I can on people I sense may be dangerous, and to always know my options.

It’s also my right to carry a gun in order to protect myself in those situations. While I encourage all men and women to be aware of their surroundings, I also encourage and support more citizens arming themselves with not only situational awareness, but also protection whether in the form of a gun, or pepper spray, or whatever they are comfortable with carrying.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again, and again): concealed carriers don’t carry firearms to incite violence or put others in danger, we carry in order to end violence and protect ourselves and other’s safety! While I hope I never have to pull my weapon, I am prepared to do so in order to protect myself and those around me. Please brush up on what you can do to protect yourself and do consider carrying for protection!

The bottom line is, I just want you to be SAFE.

Stay away from strangers
Aware of potential danger
Follow your instinct
Evaluate your options