Last week, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Sheriff Chuck White made the news by saying,
Sheriff Chuck Wright opened his news conference by saying, "Our form of justice is not making it."
He said, "Carry a concealed weapon. That’ll fix it."
… and continued by repeatedly exhorting people to get concealed carry permits and lawfully carry firearms for their own personal self-defense.
In a perfect world, any one of those exhortations would serve as the quote of the day for today, and maybe I should overlook what came next, but then Sheriff White went on to say:
At one point, Wright held up a fanny pack and said, "They make this right here where you can conceal a small pistol in them. They got one called The Judge that shoots a .45 or a .410 shell. You ain’t got to be accurate; you just have to get close."
On the one hand, the underlying assumption of "closer is better" for handguns is correct – if your attacker is within arm’s reach of you, "accuracy" is something of an irrelevant concept. On the other hand, "you ain’t got to be accurate" is about as wrong as a sentence can possibly be, and serves as absolutely horrid advice from a public servant.
Unlike the Sheriff, you, as a private citizen, are individually and wholly responsible for every single round to come out of your firearm, whether that round hits dirt, hits your rapist, or hits little Suzie walking her dog down the street, and if you were to hit little Suzie, you can pretty much be guaranteed that you will either be up on charges or face a civil suit or both. For most handguns, you only have to worry about the one round at a time, but for the Judge with shotgun rounds, you have anywhere between "3" and "many" rounds, any of which could injure or potentially kill someone, flying out in a pattern I would not exactly consider consistent. So, yes, you do only have to be "close" to hit your attacker… and whatever is behind him.
As FillYerHands says, and this is the quote of the day:
Sheriff Wright needs to be sure women in Spartanburg, and all gun owners for that matter, understand that carrying a gun brings with it a responsibility to practice. Now, South Carolina’s concealed carry permit program does require training and a proficiency exam, but shooting is a perishable skill, and we all owe it to ourselves to stay up with our skills.
Contrary to the myths of anti-rights cultists, a firearm is not a magical talisman, and it is not an autonomous shield; hell, even simply displaying a firearm and pointing it at your aggressor may not sufficiently "discourage" a wholly dedicated or chemically intoxicated individual. For your own safety, both during the situation where you are defending your life and afterwards, and for the safety of those around you, you must be capable of accurately and effectively engaging your targets, and it is wholly incumbent upon you to ensure that your hardware and wetware are up to the task.
In the end, if your idea of "accuracy" is "getting it close", I would much rather, for everyone’s sake, that you simply left your firearm at home.