There are times when I am out in the world, unarmed but for my wits and a few thoughtfully placed knives. I can't carry a gun to the library, I can't leave it in the car, and I often have to stop at the grocery store after work. Sometimes even at night.
The dark parking lot always seems the most ominous - there are a great many shadows between me and the brightly lit store. But because I know the truth of bad things happening anywhere (even here), I make the best of my 60 inches, remind myself to be alert, and walk with a purpose to the door.
On my way out - and it doesn't matter if I have one bag or ten - I will push a cart. Saves me the pain in the neck (literally) and leaves my hands free. If a stranger approaches I will keep it between us like a shield. I also imagine it - with me hanging on like a rabid, cursing monkey - would be difficult to stuff into the back of van.
Everything's a tool.
Have a plan.
Fight like hell.