A few semi relevant ramblings before I get to the point.
A few days ago, maybe a week or so, my middle son (age 12 6th grade) made a comment about wanting to be a policeman. Now, I'm not one of those firemen who looks down on cops. (except when I'm driving the engine and they pull up next to us) I really like most of the cops I've met. Like any group, there will always be assholes. But I have a lot in common with most of them; We help people, we see a lot of the same "evil" in the world on a daily basis, we like handcuffs....OK, too much information. You get the idea.
I told my son that being a policeman would be a great job and career, and asked why he thought about it. He said that he thought it would be cool to help people and to drive fast and carry a gun.
Mother Jugs and Speed, the boy has a point.
Fast forward a couple weeks. In order to make sure that oldest son has tuition paid in Jr. College, I am forced to go to said College and drop off check. Middle son goes with me.
Knowing that College campus is a Victim Disarmament Zone, I am forced to remove my legally carried concealed handgun. Because of the circumstances, I do this in the vehicle, in front of my middle son. This sets the stage for the talk.
Son looks at me and asks is that a real gun. I answer yes. He asks why do I have it. I tell him I carry it everyday. He asks "Why?"
Because son, there are bad people in this world. People that would hurt other people just because they can, or because they have something they want. Sometimes, those bad people kill dads, and moms and even kids. Now, most people are good. Most people would help you if you needed it, or asked. You don't meet bad people very often, sometimes never if your careful.
But, sometimes those bad people show up in places you think are safe. And, if they ever show up where we are I want to be able to protect you and mom and your brothers and me. You never know if the bad guy might be bigger or faster than me, or he might have a gun or a knife. If he does, I want to be able to stop him from hurting anybody.
By this time, we are sitting in the vehicle, and son is thinking. In just a minute he asks "So, you would shoot somebody?"
I look at him for just a second.
If you or your mama or brother were in danger, and somebody was about to hurt you, then yes. Yes I would shoot somebody. I carry that gun, or one of my others everywhere. I don't want to shoot anybody. I don't want to even pull it out anywhere. But it's a lot better to have it and not need it, than it is to need it and not have it.
Son sits quiet for just a second.
And we don't' talk about me carrying a gun, not in public. You don't tell your friends, you don't ask me about it in public. We can talk about it all you want at home, never when we are out anywhere. I have a license and it is all legal. But, if people know I carry it, and a bad guy finds out, he may shoot me first, so I won't shoot him.
Lots of people carry guns. You just can't see them. They keep them covered up. They want to protect their family too.
I ask if son understands. He looks at me and says "Yeah." Then he adds, "I guess that's kinda cool."
I think he understands, at least part of it. He can't really fully understand yet because he has never seen evil. I hope and pray that he never will, but that is a pipe dream. I don't want him to go through life thinking there is no evil, but I don't want him to be afraid of going outside either.
Maybe I'm wrong to tell him so young. But, I think it is better if he has some idea as he grows up. Then he can in some ways prepare for the day when evil strikes close to home. Maybe if he is at least aware of it before hand, it won't cause his world to crash.
I wish he could keep his child's outlook intact forever.