Well… Are You?

I’ll give you a pass if you make mistakes now and again, or write a ticket you might lose in court, or be a bit lazy with checking for evidence on the next burglary report you take. I’ll even forgive you for not taking the next sergeant’s test, for not working out when you know you should and for using a bad word — by accident, I’m sure — during a traffic stop last week. But there’s one thing I won’t give you a pass on: carrying a backup gun.

If you don’t, you’re … um … uh … er … an idiot.

Not only that, but if you have a spouse and kids, your lack of common sense in this particular category is especially selfish, unthinking and, simply put, unforgiveable. You’re in a dangerous profession, one where you can easily get killed or hurt driving cars, struck by a vehicle while on a stop, poisoned at a crime scene, burned in a fire, injured in a fight, fall from a roof — the list goes on. You can also die from stress, heart disease, being overweight and drinking too much. All this pretty much goes with the job. But many of us do what we can to help sway the odds in our favor in most of these categories.

Yet, even in today’s often chaotic, bloodthirsty and unforgiving streets, too many of you don’t take the simple expedient of carrying a backup gun. It’s like going on a dangerous call without a cover unit, driving your patrol car without wearing a seatbelt, shooting without ear protection or going on-duty without wearing your vest. I’d like to think you’d never do any of those things willingly, but every day tens of thousands of you go on duty without a way to protect yourself, citizens or partner-officers, if your duty gun is suddenly taken out of the fight for whatever reason.

I vividly remember an incident where a K-9 officer on my agency was in a fight for his life with a suspect. As I recall it was on the side of the freeway, and ended up with the officer being knocked over a railing — and he was losing the fight. He clawed his backup gun out of his ankle holster, put it against the bad guy’s head and pulled the trigger. It saved his life. Let me say this clearly: Having a backup gun at-hand — and the wherewithal to use it — saved this officer’s life.

On my agency, it was never mandated we carry backup guns, yet many of us did. Then again, many of us didn’t. “If they don’t buy it for me, I’m not going to spend my own money on it.” As Forrest Gump says, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

It can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, hard to manage, an unwanted expense, yet another thing to keep track of, you’ll likely need to qualify with it (likely with your own ammo) and you may never need it — ever.

Then again, it just may save your life tomorrow.

Or tonight.

And what would your family have to say about that?

Carry a backup gun. Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t pause to think about whether you need to or not, don’t be mad at me because I called you an idiot — just carry a backup gun. I don’t care what style, what caliber or where or how you do it. Just do it. Figure it out.
Protect yourself. Your family has likely gotten used to that person they call mom or dad.
By Roy Huntington