The idea has been floating in my mind for years. It was a natural progression;
First, in 1997, a friend and I had the pleasure of being stalked for several miles and finally pounced upon by a large male cougar. Fortunately the cat changed his mind and sauntered off, leaving me with a ripped hiking boot and a new respect for Nature. A few weeks later a sow grizzly rose up out of the bushes in front of me causing me to wet myself for the second time in less than a month.. bought my first serious handgun (.45LC) and began to OC on the trail.
Next, in 2002, I was followed through the backcountry by a man with a gun. He left the trail to follow me and made every attempt to hide in the trees when I looked back at him. I had foolishly left my sidearm in my Jeep and beelined back towards it before he could shorten the distance between us. Made it to my Jeep but he hid from me when I was forced to drive back through the area he was in. Spooky stuff... started to consider getting my CHL.
Then, in 2005, a man called the local PD to tell them that he would be wandering the streets with a knife looking to stab someone. He walked past my front door, bowie knife in hand, and was met by the PD two blocks away and subdued with bean bag rounds after holding the knife to his own throat. Thankfully my children weren't playing in the yard... once again I thought about that CHL.
Last year, a nice guy opened a jewelry shop two blocks from my home. This guy was polite and kind, and busy fulfilling his dream. Then, around Christmas, a gunman shot him three times and made off with over a million dollars in jewelry and diamonds. The victim lived, but his store was under-insured and he lost everything and is slowly trying to regain his physical health... once again I remembered that I was meaning to get down to apply for that CHL.
Last week was the clincher. A Shoshone friend of mines cousin, "Uncle Skizzy", went out to shovel snow. He was in his fifties and lives on a Reservation located a few miles from our home. When his family realized that he hadn't returned, they went out to look for him, only to find him dead. He had been eviscerated and was being devoured by a pack of feral dogs. No one is certain of the cause of death yet, but it is certain that the dogs were devouring him in his yard. The "Rez packs" have been killing pet cats and dogs for a while, but this is the first time that they have been suspected of involvement in a human death.
So I figured that between armed robbers, mall-shootings, cougar, suicidal knife-wielders, grizzly, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and man-eating packs of feral dogs : I need to start carrying a firearm on a more regular basis. My little Idaho town just isn't the same any more, and simply carrying in the mountains is not going to ensure my families safety.
Last week, I drove down and took the 15 minutes to fill out the form and get fingerprinted. Now I have four weeks to wait to do what I should have done fifteen years ago.
I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.
-- Edgar Allan Poe