My daughter’s college held a Christmas Gala last week where she was a member of the chorus. It was a beautiful show celebrating the season’s good will toward men (and women). The audience was filled with festively-dressed folks, many of them smiling seniors. Was it wrong for me to be thinking about radicalized violence?
A Christian event drawing over a thousand people could be a prime target in these particular times. Once seated, I discreetly checked out the tactical options. Should something go down, where were the exits people would attempt to funnel through? What would constitute cover and/or concealment? How could an attack unfold, given the layout of the venue?
I dare not get into the Christmas spirit until I had all the angles worked out in my head. It is an occupational habit to assess for a potential critical incident, even when off duty. Decades of SWAT have corrupted my focus. Sometimes I wish I were a normal person.
My concealed carry was a Kahr PM9 and spare mag. The thought, “Battlefield pickup,” came to mind. In short order, I was able to enjoy the musical. I was surrounded by people who should not have to worry about their safety at a concert event. Most didn’t, I’ll wager.
Yes, the show went off without conflict. My concerns for the day were, fortunately, unfounded. But I cursed my professional paranoia, while simultaneously acknowledging its modern practicality. Were there other white hats in the audience who were also armed and observant? I hope so, but I’ll never know for sure.
The kids’ performance was wonderful. Once I had contingencies committed in my head, I thoroughly enjoyed the night’s songs and skits. A few moments of sober assessment followed by a couple hours of holiday spirit. Yeah, it was good.