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Old September 26, 2005, 11:11 PM   #1
Garand Illusion
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It's amazing what people don't notice ...

Like most people getting in to CCW, I've always just assumed that the slightest bulge in your clothes created by a pistol is like a big, neon sign above your head that says "This guy is carrying a gun. POLICE -- come hassle him. CITIZENS -- Panic!!"

As time has gone on, I've come to realize that it might identify a firearm to someone who cares enough to specifically look, but no one is actively checking everyone out for guns.

Today I discovered it even goes a step further ...

I was getting ready to leave for the airport. I often go ahead and leave my pistol in the car when I go out of town -- it's a long drive, and this time I'm coming back late. My car is also in well monitored covered parking.

So ... I stuck my little auto into my belt in my IWB holster, not bothering to put my shirt over it because I was just going to put the whole works in the console anyway.

As I'm starting downstairs I hear my wife come home. Now ... obviously she knows I carry, but she's always been against it. I knew if she saw me with that gun openly sticking out of my belt she would give me a hard time.

But I decided ... what the heck. I'm not going to sneak out of the house like a teenager.

So I went downstairs to talk to the wife. Gave her a hug and a kiss ... and shes didn't notice! I made no attempt to conceal it, either.

We talked for a few moments, I kissed my daughter good bye, hugged my wife again, and headed out the door.

When I got to the car I heard her calling to me from the door to say good bye one more time. I turned, and she shouted, "Hey -- you don't have your pocket knife on you, do you?" because TSA has taken a couple of these from me.

I couldn't help but laugh. As I stood there with the butt of a 9mm auto sticking openly out of my belt, I assured her that I didn't have my pocket knife.

She's not a ditz ... she's not stupid ... but somehow she never noticed that black handle sticking out of my belt. Probably just noticed it out of the corner of her eye and thought it was part of my cell phone or something ... but in any case I thought that was pretty interesting.
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Old September 26, 2005, 11:19 PM   #2
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You're right. I carry a BIG folder in my back pocket--an XL Cold Steel Tanto. It makes a wear mark in my jeans that should be very obvious--some of my jeans even have holes where the wear has gone through the material.

In spite of that, when I pull that knife out and show it to someone for the first time, they're always surprised--even folks who see me every day and surely have had ample opportunity to see the wear marks.
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Old September 26, 2005, 11:33 PM   #3
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You should think about storing an extra girlfriend or two in the closet or garage.


If anyone can get away with it, you can!

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Old September 26, 2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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As a cop I consider myself pretty observant of people and my surroundings, but I was surprised to learn how many of my fellow officers carry a backup gun on duty and I'd never noticed it.
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Old September 26, 2005, 11:53 PM   #5
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So, do you also carry a backup gun?

Did you do so at the time you discovered that others engaged in the practice?

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Old September 27, 2005, 08:35 AM   #6
nug_38
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I have had an experience like that with my girlfriends sister. I was at the apartment open carrying and no one noticed. Ever since I started carrying I have been looking at folks attentively to see if I could spot packers. I notice that those that do pack are ususally more aware and confident when they walk. They observe alot. Most others could not care less about their surroundings. I used to be in that group too.
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Old September 27, 2005, 10:54 AM   #7
Derius_T
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I used to think carrying made me have a big flashing sign over my head too. After all, the sheer weight and size of the mighty .45 ( ) would surely send the populous running for the hills! I mean..I could see it sticking out a bit...SURELY they would too. But nope, knock on wood, not so far.

Even family members who ride me daily about carrying 'everywhere', often still ask me if I *have it on me*. I just smile and tell 'em, "I dunno, do something stupid..." (just kidding)
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Old September 27, 2005, 10:57 AM   #8
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I am surprised they even let you in the airport parking lot with a gun in the car. Thats why they are supposed to be searching every car and makes my life hell everytime I fly out of Charlotte.
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Old September 27, 2005, 05:17 PM   #9
chris in va
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Not sure about the other states, but they made it legal in VA to allow CHP holders to carry in the parking lots of Dulles. You just can't take it in to the terminal buildings.
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Old September 27, 2005, 07:43 PM   #10
butch50
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People see what they expect to see, or in some rare cases, what they are trained to see. Much of what we think we see isn't actually there, and much of what is there we don't see at all.

My Father was in Military Intelligence (no jokes about oxymorons please) and went through several training classes in being observant. Simply that, being observant. One exercise was to take the class by bus to a street corner, have everyone get out and walk one block and then get back on the bus at the next corner. Not talking to each other they then logged into a notebook everything they observed. Back in class they compared notes. Never did they all observe the same things, even though they were actually physically trying to.

He told me of this one exercise in observation that they went through...they were in classroom listening to a lecture when two men suddenly burst into the room struggling with a knife, as in a fight scene. The entire scene lasted until the first "student" started to get up from his chair, which was about 5 seconds. Then the instructor yelled freeze and everyone in the room froze except the two combatants who disengaged and walked out, leaving the knife on the floor. They were two men, one black and one white. This was in the late 40's or very early 50's. The class was then told to write down exactly what they had just witnessed.

Not two stories had the same details, but interestingly nearly everyone in the class observed that the black man had the knife and was attacking the white man. After they all described and discussed what they had seen - the two combatants came back in and re-enacted the struggle for them - and the white man was attacking the black man, and rather obviously at that. What most of them saw wasn't reality, it was what they expected to see by their cultural training.

People are fantastically inaccurate observers, and dangerous when made into eye witnesses. If someone is expecting to see you carrying a weapon, they will see it even if you aren't carrying - and if they are not thinking about it at all, then you could nearly have a pistol glued to your forehead before they cottoned on. I would hazard to guess that the average person is only aware of 1% of what they could be aware of if their minds were fully engaged in actual observation - and that doesn't take into account what they can be mis-directed into not seeing as a magician does - or as most advertising does.

One more for instance: Here in my area the construction industry is being raided on a daily basis by thieves who are stealing large pieces of construction equipment - in broad daylight and sometimes even while there are men working nearby. They drive up in a truck that looks like any equipment delivery truck, signs on the door and all, get out in hard hats and blaze orange vests, start the equipment up and drive it onto the trailer and sail away - takes less than 5 minutes and by the time anyone realizes that something is amiss they are long long gone -sometimes gone for a day or two. Afterwards if anyone saw it they can't remember any details about the truck or the men.
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Old September 27, 2005, 08:34 PM   #11
Garand Illusion
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Quote:
You should think about storing an extra girlfriend or two in the closet or garage.
Sadly ... women may not notice the butt of a gun, but I'm afraid they WILL notice my bulging gut. *sigh* If I'd known I would live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.
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Old September 27, 2005, 11:03 PM   #12
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butch50 ~

Good information, and you're absolutely right about how little people generally notice if they aren't paying attention.

Oddly enough, if they are paying attention, they might see even less.

Check out the following link: http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/media/ig.html

Near the top of that page, there's a link titled, "View the 'basketball' video." It'll take awhile to download, but is absolutely worth checking out. The video is from a scientific experiment about visual cognition which won an Ig Nobel prize last year, and it's very funny besides.

The video is fairly large (7.5MB) so it might take a while to finish loading. When you watch it, try to count the total number of times that the people wearing white pass the basketball. Don't count the number of times the people in black pass the ball, just the people in white.

Watch the video a second time, but the second time through, don't bother keeping your eye on the ball. Just watch the whole scene and see if you see something surprising that you missed on the first time through.

Please, please -- if you do download the video, don't spoil it for anyone else by posting anything else about it here. Do follow the links after you're done, and read the rest of the experiment.

It's amazing what people miss!

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Old September 27, 2005, 11:59 PM   #13
sm
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pax



That Basketball video was great!!

For dollar I will share how many times the star burst rotates on the Jave Sun Microsystems at 52.0 Kbps while you wait for 7.5 MB to dowload...

Agree, folks don't really observe. Nor do they really "see". Sometimes folks try to hard.

My best example is watching a Magician, adults are too busy trying to "see" how the trick is done. The kid...the kid was just watching the show, often times the kid "observed" the slight of hand.

Perceptions - I think a lot has to do with how one carries themselves. How they are percieved by folks.

In a way the Hollywood and Media Hype may have assisted CCW folks. J.Q.Public has been brainwashed as to guns and the folks that carry guns, call it stereotype, profiling, or perceptions.

I mean c'mon, A 50 year old guy attending College , wearing jeans, oxford shirt and tennis shoes , is about as likely to be CCW-ing as some Thirty-ish married lady with 5 kids.

Now if if it on the TV or the Movie Screen it has got to be true...right?

Back in '74 and dating a girl at JC Penny, the Security Guy ( who was really good) allowed some Criminal Justice Students to come in and "observe". My role was to be shoplifter. The garden center was adjacent to the Catalog Dept where my gal worked. I just walked over , grabbed a chain saw and walked out. About 15 minutes later I walk back in...Security Guard shaking his head...laughing.

Another time I was asked to run into a CJ class, snag the Professors brief case and run out. I am a WM, 6', 170# with dirty blond hair and moustache.at that time I did not wear glasses.

I was described by the class from everything from Female, black, asian, hispanic, short, fat, gray hair, dark hair, glasses ( both scripted and sun)...you name it- and I have never owned a print dress, much less worn one.
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Old September 28, 2005, 12:44 AM   #14
SAXD9
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Quote:
So, do you also carry a backup gun?

Did you do so at the time you discovered that others engaged in the practice?

-blackmind
I carry my Beretta 21A either in my hip pocket or in an ankle holster. And yes I carried at the time I found out others did. I knew some did, because we qualify with every gun we carry, on or off duty, and I knew some guys qualified with several weapons. I was just amazed I had never spotted them. There are a couple guys carrying Glock 19's in ankle holsters that I hadn't noticed. I know another that carries a Beretta 92 in a holster that attaches to the straps of his body armor for a weak hand draw, incase his gun hand is incapacitated and he can't get his duty gun out of the level III holster.

The main reason I carry my Beretta is to have something small for dispatching injured animals and such, without using more bullet/power than necessary. It's also a lot quieter in town. It's less paperwork if I use my gun and my bullet. If I use my duty weapon to put down a deer that's been hit by a car, I have to write a report AND fill out a 'use of force form'.
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Old September 28, 2005, 09:13 AM   #15
Robert Hairless
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Pax --

I saw it first time around while I was counting the number of times the people in white shirts passed the ball. (I went through the video a second time to see if there might be something else that I missed. There wasn't.) Am I not focusing properly or does it indicate any other potential problem of which I should be aware?
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Old September 28, 2005, 09:39 AM   #16
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I think that people can be culturally trained, to put it one way, NOT to see things, while others not yet so oriented, will pick up on something. A child can be like this and to an extent, it is a little like the emperor's new clothes. It can be easy to overlook the obvious.

I am not in law enforcement but I understand it happens with policemen, too, though I suppose it happens less and less as experience accululates.

But sometimes a person carrying a firearms overdoes it. I have the impression that some people have the idea that you have to dress a certain way if you are wearing a gun or carrying a gun. You know, the vest, when everyone else is wearing a t-shirt. I have also spotted armed individuals, and I certainly assume they were plainclothes policement, by the obvious bulge made by their .38 revolvers (this was a few years ago). However, it goes without saying that it is one thing for a plainclothes policeman (as opposed to an undercover man) for allow his firearm to be seen and quite another for a person not a policeman to allow his to be seen. I almost said civilian but policemen are civilians, too.

Locally a year or two ago, there was a big to-do over a few people carrying pistols openly (Fairfax County,Virginia). That is a whole 'nother story it kind of spoils everything if you ask me. But concerning the concealed carry permit, one of the local papers--and it wasn't the Washington Post--started listing the names of people applying for permits, which also spoils everything. It was long enough ago not to remember how much they published and I don't remember how long it went on. But it was rather nervy of the paper.
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Old September 28, 2005, 10:04 AM   #17
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Butch50, great post. I have taken somewhat similar training years ago, but very briefly. (2 classes for security firm) I would have loved to be 'trained' on observation though. It would definately be useful to get your mind conditioned to 'see' what most people miss. And thanks for the basketball link Pax, GREAT LINK.
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Old September 28, 2005, 11:11 AM   #18
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I think your average person is just plain unobservant. I've open carried my Taurus 24/7 carried out on popular nature trails in my area, and dozens of people have passed by without noticing. Even when I'm in a group with four other friends, one of which was carrying an 8-inch barrel .44 mag in a shoulder holster. One time last summer, I went down for a 10-day hike in the Seirra Nevadas. I sat just 50 yds from the trail, wearing a bright blue shirt, and not one of the 16 hikers who passed noticed me.

I'll try that basketball link sometime, but my chemistry class is about to start...
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Old September 28, 2005, 11:15 AM   #19
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Robert Hairless ~

Answered via PM.

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Old September 28, 2005, 01:19 PM   #20
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LOL! Great video!
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Old September 28, 2005, 07:19 PM   #21
butch50
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Quote:
Good information, and you're absolutely right about how little people generally notice if they aren't paying attention.
Oddly enough, if they are paying attention, they might see even less.
Check out the following link: http://viscog.beckman.uiuc.edu/media/ig.html
Excellent example of how people can miss so much that is so easily seen!


Quote:
It would definately be useful to get your mind conditioned to 'see' what most people miss
Actually you can train yourself, do it for 10 minutes per day at first, just observing for 10 minutes then make notes and then look again to see what you missed.
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Old September 29, 2005, 07:06 AM   #22
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When I pack at any crowded place, I still sometimes feel like people can tell, I carry a P99, and it's kind of big, makes a big bulge, but I have yet to get any remarks.
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Old September 29, 2005, 09:28 AM   #23
Derius_T
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I always think people can tell. I still haven't gotten over the fact that they really don't see it at all. It just amazes me that no one sees! Sometimes I think you could glue it to your forehead and nobody would notice....
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Old September 29, 2005, 09:43 AM   #24
Vitamin G
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for a really nice demonstration, go grocery shopping in a full size 1911 OWB, with a somewhat tight-yet longer plain white Tshirt. Make it a printfest.
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Old September 29, 2005, 09:17 PM   #25
Walter
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Not sure about the other states, but they made it legal in VA to allow CHP holders to carry in the parking lots of Dulles. You just can't take it in to the terminal buildings.
For some reason I always assumed "carrying" in an airport was regulated by
federal law. I guess not. It's not illegal to "carry" into the terminals here in
Texas. You just can't go into the "secure" area. I always carry when I pick my wife up at the airport from one of her weekend visits to the kids. I just meet
her at the baggage claim, outside the secure area.

Live and learn.

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