The Secrets of Carrying a Firearm – Part 2 – Starting Fights and Finishing Them

By | February 14, 2012

There’s an old saying: “If you start a fight, I’ll finish it!”  It’s a good saying even for us firearms folk, but as with most things fights of any kind do not go well with firearms.  That is why we have two rules that go with fighting:

  1. I will never start a fight (verbal or physical) while armed no matter how right I may be.
  2. If I realize I have started a fight I will retreat and do my best to prevent it from escalating even if it involves losing face.

Let’s examine the very good reasons for these rules.

It kind of goes without saying that you shouldn’t start fights, something most of use are pretty good at, if you mean fist fights.  But this rule covers more than just fistfights; verbal fights are included too.  Why?  Because every fistfight starts out as a simple and (relatively) harmless argument.  Having an argument with someone is not the end of the world but it puts you in a position one step closer to trouble and makes explaining that trouble that much harder even if it isn’t your fault.

Think about it.  Your out a dinner with the Mrs and the couple at the table next to you are having a heated argument, but you remain silent.  The husband starts screaming obscenities at the woman to the point that you can no longer keep silent.  What do you say?  “Hey, @$$hole, keep it down, I’m trying to eat here!”  Now you could say he started it by his actions in your vicinity, but I doubt a court of law would see it that way if the ensuing argument ended in a shooting.

This is where this rule comes into play.  While I would never tell you that you shouldn’t say something, I will say that WHAT you say will make a huge difference.  “Sir,  It’s not my intention to be nosy but your conversation is intruding on my dinner.  Please calm down or take it outside.”  This gives you the advantage of having said something without saying anything inflammatory.  If the other person chooses to pick a fight with you, it’s his fault and no one in earshot can say your were anything short of diplomatic.

Now lets look at part two of this rule:

  1. If I realize I have started a fight I will retreat and do my best to prevent it from escalating even if it involves losing face.

You should never let your pride put you in a situation where you may go to jail.  Even worse you should never let your pride keep you from getting out of a situation where someone may loose their lives.  Carrying a firearm is a life and death decision in potentia as you have the power to cause great harm and even death with the decisions you make while carrying it.

Back to our scenario:
You have let your temper get the best of you and told that idiot to shut up, he’s ruining your dinner.  He’s still just as angry as he was before but now he’s mad at you! “Oh, yea? Tough guy, what are you going to do about it?”  He’s goading you into taking this further, should you keep it going?  Of course not!  In this scenario you have started this incident, you have only one option: retreat.  Now, it goes against anyone’s grain to retreat from an argument, especially when they are right, but think of where this may be heading.  Any argument you start that ends badly is YOUR fault legally, and thus you MUST retreat from the argument or face the consequences.

Now you do have options on how to retreat.  It could be a simple as leaving if you are able.  Or you may have to apologize and loose the argument in spite of being right if leaving is not an option.  “You know sir, I’m sorry, I lost my cool and I should have stayed out of this.  Your right, my mistake. Truce?”  while offering your hand.  Now you have attempted to retreat.  With any luck he’ll accept and the incident will be a footnote, else you should not try a physical retreat and make it known that is what you are doing.  “OK, sir. I really am sorry I started this with you but I’m going to leave now.  Sorry again.”  You are still retreating and made it obvious.  If your now-adversary comes after you in this situation you are in the right – even though you started it.  That is not to say that you may have a difficult time explaining to the police but morally you are covered and hopefully the law will follow.

Why do all this if you may still end up taking the rap if the law doesn’t do you justice?  Because if you follow these rules you MAY still go to prison,  if you do not you WILL go to prison!  I’ll always take a fair chance in my favor against a guarantee of not in my favor.

Next time:  The Secrets of Carrying a Firearm – Part 3 – Responsibility

2 thoughts on “The Secrets of Carrying a Firearm – Part 2 – Starting Fights and Finishing Them

  1. Pingback: The Secrets of Carrying a Firearm – Part 1 – Threats | I'm widdiful! How are you?

  2. Pingback: Question of the Day: Firearms Code of Conduct? | The Truth About Guns

Leave a Reply