Granted, we are not all the same. Even though we may train the same, our actions are individualized. I’m sure most of us believe that we can pull the trigger or not to pull the trigger when “that” time comes, do you?. If you are lucky, you will not have to experience “that” moment. There are several degrees to the training that we receive. By that I mean, for example, during basic training as a soldier – I was taught to kill (between the second and the third and twist – Ooh Rah). During AIT (advanced individualized training) as a MP – I was taught to wound. And there was a time that I was ordered (in advance) not to return fire even while being shot at. (It took me several years to understand that one – you had to be there.) But when you are caught up in the moment and shit is hitting the fan, hesitating for a brief second could get you killed. Do you have time to process the way you respond? – That’s part of owning a gun… being a responsible gun owner.
One thing we don’t train for is being pulled over (traffic stop) by a cop. I know I still get “nervous” when I see a cop behind me. If they turn the lights on … do they want me to pull over? I haven’t done any thing wrong … have I? Do you automatically think that? – I used to make most of my traffic stops during the rain/snow. Lots of folk drive during inclement weather without their head lights on or their sight of vision impaired because the windows were not properly cleaned from snow … do you? That gave me the opportunity to check out the occupant(s) of the vehicle while I was promoting safety on your behalf. Do you inspect your lights before driving? I didn’t think so. Do you remember the road side checks? (if you do, you are showing your age.) But have you ever been behind a vehicle and think – where are those damn road side checks when you need one? Times have changed, law enforcement officers may be thinking of several scenarios when making traffic stops. Nothing is routine any more. Do you ever worry if you’re going to make it back to your family every few minutes? Probably not, unless you are wearing the uniform of the United States, or stationed in a theatre of war or a first responder, or a hostage of today’s world. Seems like everyone has a gun whether or not it’s legal, CCW, being trained or not, or using one’s best judgement or not.
Do you ever think of how you are going to react when you see those lights behind you? I do. I want to make sure that I and the cop both get to leave safely, do you? How are you going to put those odds in your favor? … Let me reflect to my last traffic stop with me as a civilian. I was driving in a neighboring state. I seen the cop get behind me after leaving a three way stop sign. I began to get nervous as the cop got closer. When I made a turn to enter a busy popular grocery store – safety in numbers – and sure enough, before I got in to the lot, the lights and siren came on. I put down all my windows (they are tinted) so the cop could see that it was just me and my dog. What the cop couldn’t see was that I had a gun on my person. Turning off my vehicle, putting on my four way lights and placing both hands on the steering wheel (in plain sight) I waited for the cop to make the approach. I could tell that the cop wasn’t as anxious as one could be in this situation. Could have been by the way I presented myself or the cops training, or the combination of both. The cop didn’t automatically ask for my paperwork, instead was trying to feel me out by shooting the bull (maybe the wrong word gathering), which also gave me the chance to feel out the cop and lessen the nervousness I was initially feeling. The cop then asked for my paperwork, I replied it’s above my visor. I handed the cop my paperwork with my CCW license on top making it very visible to be seen, then replacing my hands back on the steering wheel. The cop looked back up at me and said, Thank you, I will be back shortly. After a few minutes the cop reproached me, still appearing calm, (the cop and myself) the cop handed me my paperwork back. The cop then explained why I was pulled over… You know you don’t have any lights, no brake lights, no turn signals. I could feel my mouth dropping and my eyes getting bigger. (I prepare for everything – but didn’t see this coming). I said son of a bitch and apologized to the cop for having to pull me over. The cop responded as I would have, just making sure you are safe. I asked the cop where I could get them looked at immediately. The cop responded with a business and directions on how to get there. I was wished a good day and reminded to stay safe before the cop got back in their vehicle.
I sat there a few minutes after the cop left the scene. I was thanking my dog for being a good boy and started thinking about getting him hurt. I went to get my vehicle checked out. A simple fuse that blew could have changed three lives that day.
I think about those things … do you?
Please respond by leaving a comment. Never know how you might help someone by the way that you respond. Or by the question you may have. -Kim