On Friday, I went into a UPS store to ship something and make copies. While I was making copies, a little boy - maybe 6 or 7 years old - was in there with his mom.
This kid was kitted up. He had a child's plate carrier tactical rig on, complete with a toy pistol, toy survival knife and backpack. He was ready.
Bored with whatever his mom was doing, he struck up a conversation with me. He told me about his chest rig. "I have bullets in here," pointing to the magazine pouches. I then said, "I have bullets, too," and showed him the two magazines seated in my brand new Safariland magazine holder on my belt.
"I have another gun in my backpack," he said, pointing to the bright orange rifle barrel pointing out of his tiny backpack. Since Texas is an open carry state now, I pushed back my jacket and said, "I have my gun, too," exposing the Glock in my holster. The kid's eyes got big...."Mister! Are you a cop?"
I smiled, and assured him that I wasn't, but that I was just a citizen who had a license to carry a gun. I then asked him whether he had any first aid gear on him. Doing so, I pulled up my pants leg to show him the ankle rig I had on, complete with tourniquet, chest seals and quick clot gauze.
"Why do you have THAT stuff?" he inquired, not really sure why anyone would want first aid gear. I told him I have it in case I see someone who is injured and needs help. That way, I can help others.
His response? "When I get home, I think I am going to put some band aids and other first aid stuff in my backpack." I told him I thought that was a great idea!
His mom, finished with her business, told the boy it was time to go. We chatted for a moment, and he told his mom about my gun. She chuckled. "We just came from Wyoming. Everywhere you go, you see people carrying guns out in the open!" He made sure to tell me bye, and his mom smiled, no doubt thanking me for entertaining him while she finished her business.
We in the gun community need to be setting a good example. Take advantage of opportunities to engage young people about preparedness. It's not simply about having a gun in your waistband. It's about encouraging others of all ages to be better prepared for a wider spectrum of perils. Don't be hesitant to share what you know!
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