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Re: [at-l] Itinerary/Safety

Jim Owen wrote:


> >What I'm talking about
> >here is removing a variable, however small it may be, by being prepared
> >for that very defined situation when that force would be necessary and
> >realistically feasible.  There are a lot of variables that we have no
> >control over, fix the ones you can.
> OK - let's go back and redefine the conditions we're talking about.
> I'm talking about a thruhike - nothing else.  Weekends, dayhikes,
> 2 week vacations - those are a different subject.  And I'll be happy
> to talk about them if you want.  But for a thruhike - even ignoring
> the legalities - a gun is physically too heavy to carry.

I don't know what an "acceptable" weight would be for a thruhiker;
I'm sure it varies from person to person. However, you greatly
overestimate the weight of a suitable gun and kit in your previous

With the proper load, lighter calibers such as .380 ACP and .38 spl, 
have enough penetration to reach vitals, and will do the job if you
do yours. There are several handguns available in these calibers
which weigh between 11 and 14 ounces.

While on the trail, your weapon will be carried much and fired
little. All you'll really need is enough ammunition for two
loads (10-12 rounds total), a dozen or so cleaning patches and
a half-ounce of gun oil. If the gun is kept out of the elements
(as it should be), you'll only need to wipe it off and lightly
oil it every 3-7 days.

Live-fire practice can be planned near towns where you can buy
ammunition. Previously-carried cartridges should be fired and
replaced with fresh ones. Small amounts of powder solvant and
extra patches can be included in mail drops.

If it's raining out, put it in a ziplock bag. If you want to
carry on your person when away from your pack (e.g. while in
town), a quality concealment holster weighs no more than three

A perfectly adequate defense firearm with accessories can weigh
less than 24 ounces no sweat. If you're willing to go down to a 
"rule one" gun (still useful, though not confidence building),
you could get it under a pound.

>                                                           And the
> mental attitude involved in carrying one is even heavier.  Yes,
> I've carried one, and I still do in some situations.  But not on the
> trail.  And yes, there are other viewpoints about this.

Indeed, this is a very personal subject. One size does not fit all.

However, I do not understand how the will to resist with deadly
force can be turned on and off. How can you be willing to defend
your life with a gun in "civilization", yet not be on the trail?

By your writing below, you seem to keep a sense of awareness and
caution around others. This, to me, is 90% of the mental burden
of carrying a firearm. The rest is just the resolve to use it
should that ever become necessary.

In my experience, and in that of everyone else I've talked to who
carries for personal protection, the biggest behavioral effect from
carrying a gun is that one becomes *less* confrontational and *more*
aware so that potentially bad situations can be avoided in the first

Ironic, isn't it? To those who've never carried I know this sounds
counter-intuitive, but that's how most people react.

Surely this is behavior you want to maintain when unarmed, so
where's the burden? If anything, I'd think that it would become
lighter with time, as familiarity and routine sets in.

Not a flame; just curious.


> Ginny suggested yesterday that faced with this situation, you
> might want to simply stop for a drink - or at most, to cook dinner -
> with the attitude that you haven't decided whether or not to stop
> there for the night - that you just might move on.  Then you can
> use that time to evaluate the situation.  If you don't like what you
> see, you can quietly move on (so you can make a few more miles)
> and nobody's feelings are hurt.  If you come into a shelter and
> immediately setup for the night, it makes it a lot harder to
> justify packing up and moving on an hour later - just because
> you weren't smart enough to evaluate the situation before you
> committed yourself .
> We did this in PA at one time - we pulled into a shelter and
> didn't like the company.  So we stayed long enough to get a drink
> and refill the water bottles.  Then we left (at 5 PM) and walked
> another 8 miles to the next shelter.  It turned a 17 mile day into
> a 25 mile day, but it was better than staying someplace we didn't
> want to be.

mfuller@somtel.com, Northern Franklin County, Maine
The Constitution is the white man's ghost shirt. }>:-/> --->
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