my apologies too, Observer. i've been in a number of situations i would never have liked to be in. since i travel overseas a lot in a decidedly non-military capacity, i've only had knuckledusters and keychains to rely on. most of my aikido training tends to be non-applicable to the assualts i've had to endure from various nutcases. as such, i've learned to rely on *trained instinct* and my short range of experience in my still limited years of life.
there are instances where if i'd had a CCW it would NOT have improved the situation at all. such as when the police arrive, find me and the BGs, then sort out who is responsible for what ... conversely, i've had people dear to me assualted, raped, and worse. i've also had several situations where i've been tailed by multiple BGs with a VERY unhealthy interest in my date ... when it comes down to the wire, i'd rather have the best protection possible and end the threat immediately.
i think LASur5r is right: draw and fire doesn't have to be the first option. heck, i haven't even had the luxury of a CCW in the places i've lived and traveled and still come out more or less alive. Observer, i'm sorry that your store got robbed and that you've been in your fair share of scrapes. but if i do choose to carry a CCW, i won't do it coz i want to look *macho*. i'll do it coz i don't want my loved ones to endure rape and murder. i judiciously avoid fights, don't go after people in revenge, and abide by the law (well maybe except for those concerning traffic) ... i'm sure a lot of TFLers feel the same way. as LASur5r said, a gun is only another tool; a trained M.A. has more options. but given multiple BGs, where i have to worry about what will happen to my gf in the minutes during the fight, i want it all to end fast. if that means i have to carry a CCW for years and years to be prepared for the contingency, so be it.
sorry about the rant, everyone. life in SoCal looks mighty attractive by the way ...