I finally turned 21 last month, and one of the first orders of business was getting my concealed carry permit (after going to the local watering hole of course).
The course I took is offered every moth at Gander Mountain near Roanoke by a certified and licensed trainer. She's an older lady but she knew a lot and taught the class well. Even if you don't want to get your concealed carry permit, I recomend going to this class.
It first started with her walking in wearing a jacket... in the middle of summer. She stared at all of us for several minutes and it was real quiet. I still had sweat dripping down my forehead from the heat outside, but she was cool, calm, and collected. She finally spoke. "In life there are the sheep. They sit around, they eat, they sleep, they shit everywhere in the field and they don't give a damn what happens. They just float through life and go on with their business. They don't care much about anything beyond their own concerns or affairs." We all just at there and were wondering where this was going. "And there are the wolves. Whenever the wolves come around, and they will... the wolves hunt and attack the sheep. They do this for food, for gain, or just for fun. They do this because they want something from the sheep, and they have the means to do it." We all just sat there, but at this point we realized she was talking about the innocent people of society (the sheep) and the criminals, murderers, and rapists of society (the wolves). She continued, "and then there are the sheep dogs. The sheep dogs protect the sheep, whether or not the sheep know they are there. The burden and responsiblity of defense and protection is theirs to bear. They are pacifistic and calm, until the wolves come around. When the wolves come around to attack the sheep, the sheep dog is the most violent, agressive, destructive son a' bitch on the field. Ladies and gentlemen, you are training to become a sheep dog."
After that kind of opening, she showed us the various different ways you can carry different kinds of handguns on your person. She had about five to six handguns on her person and in her jacket, ranging from a small Ruger LCP to a 1911 .45 ACP her husband used at Inchon. To be frank, this lady was from the badassery department. We were paying attention.
She discussed the levels of alertness:
-headphones in, listening to music, or distracted. Reading a paper while not paying attention to what's going on around you. Day dreaming or not paying attention, somebody could come up and attack you easily if you're in a hidden place or away from others.
-You know what's happening around you, you aren't distracted with texting, listening to music, or reading, you know what's happening around you, you have situational awareness.
-You are AWARE, but you realize there is a potentially dangerous situation that could develope. Your heart rate may pick up a little bit, you may get nervous. Somebody looks sketchy or looks like they are about to try to pull something. You realize there is possible danger that could be on the horizon very shortly.
-Danger is for sure present. Whether you want it or not, danger is upon you, and you must now act accordingly. You are not comfortable, you may be nervous, your heart rate is racing, and you probably have to make some serious decisions. In fact, most likely if you do not act by either tacking a stand and being an active responder, or by fleeing, you probably risk danger to yourself or others.
As a concealed carry permit holder, you must NEVER be UNAWARE, and you must ALWAYS try to avoid being in the ALARMED state, you must avoid placing yourself in dangerous situations, but sometimes danger comes to us no matter how much we try to prevent it, hence the concealed carry permit.
How do you prevent putting yourself in danger?
Try not to park in dark parking lots that are far away from the store or place you want to visit. Don't travel alone late at night. If you are going to a bad part of town, try to do it during the day and bring a friend. Always have your cell phone charged and on, in case you ever have to dial 911 to prevent or report something, I learned that one myself the hard way. If threatened or confronted by a criminal, don't try to be the hero, just give them what they want and call 911 after they go unless they are being violent and you don't think they'll leave you be and may be interested in kidnapping or harming you. Always be aware, never be in the "unaware" state.