Close Encounter?

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Close Encounter?

Postby DLBConductor » Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:48 am

After one robbery and another dangerous street encounter with a BG last year, I now conceal carry 24/7. Because of age (69) and severe arthritis, I, of necessity, move rather slowly these days. I work hard at keeping an especially high level of awareness when going to or from my car.

Today at 3:30 p.m.[sic. 4:15 p.m.], after eating a late lunch by myself, I approached my car, which was parked fairly close to the entrance of the restaurant. Scanning the parking lot, I saw two rather seedy individuals loitering at the far end of the lot. One of the individuals started towards me in a run while starting a typical handout story. His partner began moving towards me from a different direction, which would have put me between the two of them. As I hurried to my car, I held up my hand in a stop gesture and yelled, "I can't help you!" I jumped in my car, locked the door, and started backing out of my parking space. The first individual was not deterred and came right up to the car aggressively yelling at me that their car had broken down and they needed some money. By this time, the second guy was at the passenger side of my car. I drove off and left them standing where my car had been parked.

Some observations:
  • I was shocked at how quickly the first guy was able to run almost a half of a city block. When he started to move, I was only ten feet from my car but barely had time to get into my car and lock the door before he was right next to my car. When I first saw the two guys loitering, I thought about going back inside the restaurant but it was almost 40 feet back as compared with the ten feet to my car.
  • I hate to say this but when talking to the police after my first robbery, they said the BG targeted me in the parking lot and followed me into my gym because I was older and drove a Mercedes. Today, I got the definite impression that the two guys made their concerted move on me after they saw I was headed to the Mercedes. I hate this. I really enjoy driving my Mercedes but I told my wife, "Perhaps, I should drive her Ford in town and use the Mercedes for highway driving."
  • Afterwards, it came to my mind that the two guys were nowhere near any "broken" down car.
  • During the course of this 90 second [sic. 25 second] event, I kept my hand ready to draw my XD9sc. If necessary, I felt fairly confident in my ability to defend myself. At the time, being able to flee to my car seemed the best option and given that it was successful, I was fairly happy with the results. A year ago, not wanting to be rude to people, I would have stood dumbfounded and let them come right up to me.

Some Questions:
  • Were the two guys just panhandlers or was I being interviewed for a robbery or a carjacking? I don't know the answer. They did not have the shabby look of the typical panhandler. Instead, they both looked extremely fit as if they spent a lot of time in the gym. In my opinion, they looked and acted far more like recent parolees than panhandlers. They were also aggressive from the first moment of eye contact. It also bothers me the way they situated themselves to arrive on both sides of my car.
  • Is a Mercedes a "BG magnet" in my particular town? I hope not but the evidence is starting to make me a little concerned.

Conclusions:
This whole incident took less than a minute and a half [sic. 25 seconds], I felt good that my self defense training kicked in. The second I spotted the two suspicious guys loitering, my alertness went to Level Orange. Within 3 seconds, I evaluated whether to return to the restaurant or get to the safety of my car. Although my mind was racing a million miles a second, I felt a deep sense of calm and confidence. I aggressively yelled at them in a loud voice while keeping my right hand near my firearm and simultaneously taking action to get in my car. If they were only panhandlers, perhaps their feelings were hurt but if their intentions were to rob me or steal my car, my decisive action took me out of harm's way without the need to escalate the encounter.

I am so thankful for my training and the education I have gotten here on Texas CHL Forum. You really do make a difference!

[EDIT: Excaliber was correct that probably the whole event took no more than 20-25 seconds rather than a minute and a half.]
Last edited by DLBConductor on Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby drummer » Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:49 am

i think you did the right thing, glad to see your ok :tiphat:
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Jumping Frog » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:01 am

You were definitely being targeted for a robbery.

The two predators splitting up and flanking you is pretty telling.

Glad you were able to get in the car and lock it. That is the best outcome.

If they had been closer and I had assessed they would reach me before I was able to get fully into the car and the door locked, then I would have drawn after my verbal commands to stop had no effect. If they keep coming after I draw, then I shoot. Vulnerability increases dramatically if attacked while in the act of physically getting into the car before the door is shut.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Excaliber » Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:57 am

No doubt about it - you evaded a robbery.

Panhandlers don't operate in pairs, and they don't run up on you from two directions.

Yes, your age and nice car fit the profile they were looking for and as soon as they saw it they moved in.

Although it may have seemed like 90 seconds to you with all that the BG's were doing, and your analysis, decisions, and tactical execution of plan A with plan B ready to go, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it took only 20 - 25 seconds by the clock.

Your situational awareness and efforts to think through a solid plan ahead of time paid off.

You didn't just do well - you did VERY well.

I hope you also called the police and described the incident as soon as you were at a safe distance. Since they missed you, they would have immediately gone on the hunt for new and more compliant prey.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby jmra » Wed Dec 12, 2012 6:33 am

Car could be part of the issue. We recently replaced my wife's car. Really liked the Lexus but went with the loaded Highlander instead. Same car, basically same gadgets just less money and a lower "status" profile. I believe this makes both the wife and the car less of a target.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby DLBConductor » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:08 am

Excaliber wrote:No doubt about it - you evaded a robbery.
Although it may have seemed like 90 seconds to you with all that the BG's were doing, and your analysis, decisions, and tactical execution of plan A with plan B ready to go, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it took only 20 - 25 seconds by the clock.
...I hope you also called the police and described the incident as soon as you were at a safe distance. Since they missed you, they would have immediately gone on the hunt for new and more compliant prey.


Excaliber,
I think you are correct that the whole incident probably took about 20-25 seconds at the very most. However, at the time, it seemed a lot longer. Everything was happening in slow motion.

Unfortunately, I did not have my phone with me, so I didn't think to call the police. If there ever is another occurrence, I will put that in my action plan. At the time, I actually felt relieved that I didn't have to draw my gun and then HAVE to call the police. It just didn't occur to me that I needed to call to protect others. One of my problems was not knowing whether I was over-reacting to two aggressive panhandlers or was really facing two robbers. After reading various comments on my thread, I think probably I did avoid being robbed. [Reading that just now caused a little tingle to go down my spine, which is ironic because I felt not the slightest bit of fear during the incident. Reflecting on the encounter now makes me realize how lucky I was.]

If there is anything I would have done differently, I would have yelled, "STOP! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!" instead of, "I CAN'T HELP YOU!" This is something I will practice so it is second nature to me.

Thanks for your comments.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Excaliber » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:12 am

DLBConductor wrote:
Excaliber wrote:No doubt about it - you evaded a robbery.
Although it may have seemed like 90 seconds to you with all that the BG's were doing, and your analysis, decisions, and tactical execution of plan A with plan B ready to go, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it took only 20 - 25 seconds by the clock.
...I hope you also called the police and described the incident as soon as you were at a safe distance. Since they missed you, they would have immediately gone on the hunt for new and more compliant prey.


Excaliber,
I think you are correct that the whole incident probably took about 20-25 seconds at the very most. However, at the time, it seemed a lot longer. Everything was happening in slow motion.

Unfortunately, I did not have my phone with me, so I didn't think to call the police. If there ever is another occurrence, I will put that in my action plan. At the time, I actually felt relieved that I didn't have to draw my gun and then HAVE to call the police. It just didn't occur to me that I needed to call to protect others. One of my problems was not knowing whether I was over-reacting to two aggressive panhandlers or was really facing two robbers. After reading various comments on my thread, I think probably I did avoid being robbed. [Reading that just now caused a little tingle to go down my spine, which is ironic because I felt not the slightest bit of fear during the incident. Reflecting on the encounter now makes me realize how lucky I was.]

If there is anything I would have done differently, I would have yelled, "STOP! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!" instead of, "I CAN'T HELP YOU!" This is something I will practice so it is second nature to me.

Thanks for your comments.


The perception that time slowed down is called tachypsychia and is caused by the involuntary release of chemicals into the bloodstream in response to a stressful event.

You didn't feel afraid because you had already thought through how you would respond to a situation like the one you faced, and when you were faced with the stimulus of the situation you reacted by implementing your plan. Panic happens when one is confronted by a threatening stimulus and, when the brain goes looking for the plan for that situation, it comes up with a "file not found" error.

After action review of an incident like this, no matter how well or how badly it turned out, is always a great thing to do. While you did enough things (practically everything) right to end the encounter without any negative impact to yourself, there are still a couple of small things that could be done better and they should be incorporated into the plan for the next time it's needed.

I'm not surprised that thinking about calling the police to alert them to a robbery team operating outside the restaurant wasn't the first thing on your mind when you made it out of there. It wasn't essential to managing the situation, and you were no doubt enjoying the sensation of relief that you had just dodged a bullet (figuratively if not literally). However, it's a good thing to do because by getting the LEO's looking for the pair right away, you might well save a less well prepared individual from a really nasty encounter.

Incidentally, it's still not too late to make that call. Investigators looking into robberies in the area may well be able to pick up information they don't yet have from the information you could provide on descriptions, BG tactics, time of day, location, etc. that could help lead to an earlier arrest.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Kythas » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:56 am

onl
DLBConductor wrote:If there is anything I would have done differently, I would have yelled, "STOP! DON'T COME ANY CLOSER!" instead of, "I CAN'T HELP YOU!" This is something I will practice so it is second nature to me.


That would have been the only suggestion I had for you. Make your command to them an actual command, not a simple "I can't help you". People respond differently to a command forcefully spoken and someone saying - even shouting - that they can't help you, and this response is at a subconscious level. While in this case you made it to your car safely, shouting the command may have either paused or slowed the BG, giving you an extra second or so reaction time or allowing you to psychologically take command of the situation.

This is why a police officer will forcefully issue commands upon arrival at a chaotic event. He is establishing his dominance and authority to all people present. Even without the uniform, badge, and other outward symbols of authority, a forceful presence would establish authority.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby carlson1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:08 am

This something we can all learn from. You did a superb job. It is a lot better not to have to pull your firearm.

Thanks for posting.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby koolaid » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:33 am

DLBConductor wrote:Unfortunately, I did not have my phone with me, so I didn't think to call the police. If there ever is another occurrence, I will put that in my action plan.


I would definitely recommend always keeping your cell phone on you. They are thin enough now that it isn't inconvenient and payphones are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby PUCKER » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:19 pm

You did well, as others have said, definitely sounds like you avoided what could have been a nasty encounter. :tiphat:

What you drive, the clothes you wear, the jewelry, the way you carry yourself, your age, etc. all can make you more (or less) of a target. Best to keep your head on a swivel. :tiphat:
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby TexasCajun » Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:54 pm

Glad it all turned out ok. I can't find any fault with the events as you've described them or any of the follow-up responses. The only thing that kind of irks me is the idea that in order to be less of a target, you'll need to give up your Mercedes. I understand that all actions come with consequences. But to work your whole life to be able to afford nicer things and then not be able to enjoy them because of some degenerate punks just doesn't sit well with me. It just seems like good, responsible, hard-working guys are being forced to give up more & more ground as each day passes.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Excaliber » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:38 pm

TexasCajun wrote:Glad it all turned out ok. I can't find any fault with the events as you've described them or any of the follow-up responses. The only thing that kind of irks me is the idea that in order to be less of a target, you'll need to give up your Mercedes. I understand that all actions come with consequences. But to work your whole life to be able to afford nicer things and then not be able to enjoy them because of some degenerate punks just doesn't sit well with me. It just seems like good, responsible, hard-working guys are being forced to give up more & more ground as each day passes.


There's no coercion here - just risk management decisions. The OP recognizes that driving a nice Mercedes is significantly more likely to attract the attention of bandits than an old Toyota. One needs to evaluate how much risk that carries against the pleasure of driving that machine, and decide if the increase in risk is worth it.

Risk can be managed in 4 ways:

1) Avoid it ( by doing something different e.g., driving an older car)
2) Transfer it (buy lots of insurance so a loss has less impact - applies to things, not people)
3) Mitigate it (keep driving the car, but make adaptations - don't drive it into sketchy neighborhoods, increase situational awareness, don't go back to the car when suspicious persons are nearby, etc.)
4) Accept it (decide the pleasure of driving the car everywhere you go is worth the increased risk it carries)
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby TexasCajun » Wed Dec 12, 2012 3:47 pm

The coercion comes from the thugs. I get that the world is what it is and that having nice things can make you a target. But I don't have to like it.
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Re: Close Encounter?

Postby Excaliber » Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:33 pm

TexasCajun wrote:The coercion comes from the thugs. I get that the world is what it is and that having nice things can make you a target. But I don't have to like it.


Agreed - we just have to live with it.
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