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The Messages We Send

The Messages We Send

I met the complainant at a local motel where his truck had been burglarized and several guns stolen out of it. In the course of my investigation it quickly became clear that, while the parking lot was full of vehicles, this was the only one broken into. The citizen was understandably upset and told me he couldn't understand why he was the only one to be victimized. So I walked him around to the back of his truck and pointed to the gun club sticker on one end of his bumper and the 2nd Amendment slogan on the other end of the bumper. In police work, we call that a clue.

Whether we know it or not, or whether we like it or not, how we dress can send the same messages to criminals. Unknowingly, we might dress like their perception of a victim or we might be dressed like a person who seems to be able to take care of him or herself.

People who choose to wear tactical clothing in public or shirts with gun slogans are saying a lot to the bad guys who are looking for victims. Obviously, the wearer is making some sort of statement like, "I am not a person to be messed with." He dresses that way as a warning to others, or in hopes of looking like something that he wants to be. However, crooks (especially when there are several crooks together) may see it as a challenge. It certainly tells them, should they decide to commit a crime, this is the first fellow that will have to be neutralized.

I once saw a young policeman at a fast-food place. He had a police department T-shirt on and his badge clipped to his belt, but no gun. He was clearly proud to be a cop, and I applaud that, but he was also making himself a target. I've often wished I'd taken the time to have a word with him.

Now, let me be perfectly clear, it is none of my business how you choose to dress. I have a lot of things to worry about, and your clothing choice is not one of them. I simply want to point out that we should all be concerned about the messages we are sending in the way we choose to dress. For the armed citizen, this is critically important.

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