The first time I stood up to a bully was in fifth grade. I defended a friend of mine against a very popular (and nasty) girl who was berating my friend for how she dressed. After that day, standing up to bullies came pretty easy to me. I don’t shy away from confrontation, and quickly intercede when I perceive an injustice occurring. This is probably why my father many years ago told me to carry a handgun and get my concealed weapons permit.
His advice was reiterated by various mentors of mine, but I have been rather lackadaisical about personal security. I did get a concealed weapons permit about 10 years ago, but for various reasons, I haven’t carried. I haven’t kept up with my gun-handling skills, I tend to lose things, and we live in a very safe community. These are all terrible reasons not to carry, and an encounter I had last week made clear the error of my ways.
I was early for an appointment and I pulled over in a parking lot to read an ad. The lot wasn’t full and I wasn’t blocking the flow of traffic. Despite this, I heard a horn blaring and looked up to see a truck pulled up behind me. I thought I would simply move forward and head to my appointment. So I moved forward. The driver pulled to the side of me, and then angled his truck to block my vehicle from moving forward. The driver exited his truck, stomped over to mine, banged his fist on my window and demanded that I roll it down. Since the hoodlum was all of about 23 years old, I gave him the “you have got to be kidding me” look. The hoodlum appeared impaired and was enraged. I couldn’t move my car forward to escape, and calling 911 would be ineffective due to delay in response time.
Just then, a cowboy came over and redirected the hoodlum’s attention to him. He told the hoodlum in no uncertain terms to leave me alone and if the hoodlum was prepared to fight, the cowboy was happy to take him on. The hoodlum retreated and drove off.
I am eternally grateful to the cowboy that came to my rescue – a stranger who could have simply minded his own business but recognized a damsel in distress and chose to step in without regard to his own safety. I do regret, however, that I needed the cowboy’s assistance. I learned two lessons last week. First, I won’t leave myself vulnerable again as my concealed weapons permit is being put to its rightful use. Second, parental wisdom and caution are ageless; I’m 42 and have to admit my dad was right.
Tammi Fisher is an attorney and former mayor of Kalispell.
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