Hello everybody, I wish to start this thread as an off shoot of one of the threads I read at BOG. Some people have a tendency for knocking on people, things, or philosophies they don't understand. Particularly, a lot of people knock on those of us who carry our knives, batons, flashlights, handguns, etc. as if we were "warfreaks" or "just looking for trouble". After reading the post, it got me to thinking. One of the things I thought about was that people will always have their opinions , whether good or bad, and it's up to us to use these opinions constructively to better ourselves. I have lived part of my life overseas (I've served in the USMC). As such, my PARTICULAR experiences in life have shaped the way I view my surroundings and the way I conduct myself day in and day out. As an LEO, I always hope and pray that I don't get into situations that I can't handle and that I go home safe each and every night after a long, hard day at work. In some instances, days can be long and boring, at other times, fantastic and adrenaline-filled. I carry what I carry because even though I am usually faced with uneventful days, I want to be secure in the knowledge that I have the proper tools with me in case the situation does go to sH!*t! Believe me, there are days when I wish I wasn't carrying so much gear because it sometimes gets in the way, especially since I don't do a good job of hiding everything (because of my size). However, as the old saying goes, "I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and don't have it." This is the reason I carry a handgun, a rifle (in the car), a knife, a multi-tool, a back-up knife, and a flashlight. On special occassions, I carry even more equipment as what is dictated by our current endeavor. This is also the reason I spend my hard-earned cash on the best gear I can buy. In my case, there are things that the government doesn't issue but which I feel I need. If they do issue a particular piece of equipment, it may not be up to MY standards. With regards to equipment, your mileage may vary. But if you do feel the need to carry some essential items, don't be ashamed and feel free to do so. In the world that we live in now, it's sometimes hard to not carry. Peace, although much desired, is rarely achieved because a lot of other people just want to put you down and keep you down. However, there is a caveat : Carry what you want but carry and use it legally, i.e., make sure that a) you can legally carry it; and b) you only use it as a last resort if other, less violent means of de-escalating the situation have not met with success (this applies especially to guns). Am I out to prove a particular point with this thread? Not really, just giving my 2 cents worth!