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View Full Version : Parking Lot Bum Encounter... could have handled it better.


azredhawk44
August 21, 2009, 11:52 AM
I joined a softball league a few weeks ago and ran into WalMart to pick up a bat for practice.

Walking out of the store I go up to my truck with bat in hand, key the door open and a semi-toothless fella hollers to me to wait for a second.

Sigh... exasperated by panhandler bum, I wait for a second, toss the bat into the passenger side of the truck.

Alleged bum says, "Don't worry, you won't need that."

I almost actually start laughing. Damn straight I don't need it, I'm thinking. Aside from the .45 concealed on my hip opposite from you, I also have 19 years of martial arts training. Didn't even consider the bat as a weapon.

I get the typical parking lot panhandler sob story about the Salvation Army can't help him until Friday, and his family is "somewhere" in the parking lot and they are living out of their car and could I please help them out with something...

But the guy was too close for my comfort by a fraction of a foot. I was standing in the open door to my truck, right foot slightly forward to him (I'm left handed). He was probably standing even with my gas cap, about 3 feet away.

He was so close that all my attention was on him, and I got a feeling that he was looking behind me occasionally. Wasn't certain if he had a buddy or not, but I wasn't comfortable taking my eyes off of him to check.

I told him that no, I wasn't going to help him and I wished him luck, but shifted a bit more for a potential draw and brought my left hand up to my pocket, closer to the pistol on my hip. Pretty much prepared to strike at him with the right side of my body while drawing with the left.

I just got the most hinky feeling from him, you know? The pre-emptive "you don't need that bat", the crowding of me so I didn't feel safe, monopolizing my attention.

Anyone know of any criminal trends to mug people along these lines?

Or was my mall-ninja-fu too strong this day?

In retrospect, keeping the bat in hand would have been smarter... it was a legitimate purchase with receipt still in hand, documentable alibi for using it for sporting purposes, so carrying it would not be brandishing at all in this instance. Would have kept bum more off balance and precluded his closeness, I think.

Having my back covered by the open door was also probably good, though it eliminated one avenue of retreat if necessary.

Verdict?

Tamara
August 21, 2009, 11:56 AM
The interview phase always begins with social transgressions to see how the prospective mark will react.

Whether or not they actually have any violence in mind or not, the person who wants something from you is going to push your comfort zones to look for fear or excessive compliance. He may have had no intent to physically harm you, but he sure would have been willing to take anything you gave him, and making you uncomfortable enough to essentially bribe him to go away is part of that.

If I am trying to get somewhere, I maintain a level gaze and give a flat "Hey, sorry, buddy..." while continuing on with my business, my theory being that I am obviously acknowledging their presence and therefore averting a "Hey, I'm talkin' to you!" response, but also showing that I'm not rattled and am not going to stop what I am doing.

Sixer
August 21, 2009, 12:01 PM
In retrospect, keeping the bat in hand would have been smarter... it was a legitimate purchase with receipt still in hand, documentable alibi for using it for sporting purposes, so carrying it would not be brandishing at all in this instance. Would have kept bum more off balance and precluded his closeness, I think.

Just this... :)

azredhawk44
August 21, 2009, 12:18 PM
Lol... so just buy a bat everytime I go to WalMart... got it.:)

Tamara
August 21, 2009, 12:21 PM
Well, you could use the same bat, but the old receipt would be kind of a giveaway. ;)

Slopemeno
August 21, 2009, 12:33 PM
A pre-emptive "Hey, No thanks" before they start their loop always gives them a little pause. After that, interrupt with "Hey, tell me what your gonna tell me from over there". Interrupt and deflect.

Sparks2112
August 21, 2009, 12:43 PM
"Hey can I talk to you for a second?"

"No."

That's how I usually do it. The one time someone didn't take no for an answer sure got turned around quick when I started giving off "Maybe I have a gun" vibes...

hogdogs
August 21, 2009, 12:43 PM
I am a crass ol' redneck that has also done my time as a biker (not to be confused with an enthusiast) thus I have a tendency to not mind to use verbiage that offends many but also gets across my lack of concern with the financial dire straits of the bum. I also know many that make over 50K per year tax free. My reply usually starts with a term that implies a female dog, backed by the announcement that I am as broke or moreso then the bum..
Brent

scottaschultz
August 21, 2009, 01:06 PM
If I see any more posts like this, I AM GOING TO STOP GOING TO WAL-MART!

Scott

patriotthad
August 21, 2009, 01:09 PM
Sounds like you handled it pretty well and were in "condition orange". (Aware of your surroundings and on guard) But I wonder what would have happened if you were open carrying?

Sparks2112
August 21, 2009, 01:09 PM
If I see any more posts like this, I AM GOING TO STOP GOING TO WAL-MART!

Scott

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=322063

Skans
August 21, 2009, 01:17 PM
If you spot a bum approaching you, you quickly walk up to him, violate his comfort zone and ask him for a handout before he has the chance to ask you. I have an acquaintence who likes to do this.:D

Kyo
August 21, 2009, 01:41 PM
im gonna do that next time someone asks me for money. can I have a dollar?

azredhawk44
August 21, 2009, 01:52 PM
I like that...

Damned bums. Not even real bums. Fake bums.

I've seen news exposes on them in Seattle where they tailed highway panhandlers after they left their "shift" at an exit, back to Jeep Cherokees and back to 4 bedroom homes.

Yeah, I think the next bums that come to me for money are gonna get a different response. Make their lifestyle as difficult and unpleasant as legally possible. Perhaps start tailing them around the parking lot for 5-10 minutes, ruining their ability to approach anyone.

GeauxTide
August 21, 2009, 02:06 PM
We've had a few people mugged in the Wal-Mart parking lot and one kidnapping. I don't wait for them to follow me. I walk up to them and turn the tables on them.

Yankee Traveler
August 21, 2009, 03:57 PM
If I see any more posts like this, I AM GOING TO STOP GOING TO WAL-MART!

I already have!! Just because the name TARGET has a better ring!!!

Brian Pfleuger
August 21, 2009, 06:06 PM
I've seen news exposes on them in Seattle where they tailed highway panhandlers after they left their "shift" at an exit, back to Jeep Cherokees and back to 4 bedroom homes.

Yep, 20/20 or one of those shows did an episode where the panhandler (a women in this case) actually fully co-operated with them. She showed them her apartment, I believe she even filed tax returns IIRC, she even wore a hidden camera while she "worked". She dressed like a business women all the rest of the time and put on a nasty old carhart type thing over her regular clothes when she "worked"


To the OP, I think you did just fine. Others with less hand-to-hand may be better off with other tactics but after 19 years, well, you should be OK I would think.

Walter
August 21, 2009, 08:35 PM
It happens around here, too. My most successful method of fending
them off is, as I see them approaching, I raise my left arm out stiff,
hand up, about chest level, and in a stern and loud voice say...
"I'm sorry, bud, I'm in a hurry and I don't have time for chit-chat.".
And I keep on walking to my vehicle, seemingly paying them no mind at all.
Of course I am keeping tabs on them peripherally.

So far it has worked every time.

Walter

Xyas
August 21, 2009, 08:36 PM
Another thing you can do is keep moving. Walk to the other side of your truck, look in the back (all while paying attention to him). Walk briskly and fast so he'll have a hard time keeping up; change directions often and just seem like you're busy (doing whatever it is that makes you not crazy). This way you can keep your distance from him and can try to keep the truck between you and the bum.

vox rationis
August 21, 2009, 10:23 PM
I am a crass ol' redneck that has also done my time as a biker (not to be confused with an enthusiast)

that's good!

My uncle uses his Eastern Euro sour look and a tough guy Eastern Euro accent, and when a bum starts to approach, he preempts them by looking at them and saying "HEY GUY YOU GOT DOLLAR?" before they can even get a word out. They stop, look slightly befuddled and quickly change direction, works like a charm for him :D

Glenn E. Meyer
August 22, 2009, 11:31 AM
While it is funny to engage the bum for handout and it may be a joke post - Dad here has to say it is a bad idea. You have no idea the mental stability of the person.

Two stories:

1. A friend tells me this one. He and a buddy to the restaurant in semi-seedy neighborhood. A bum comes over - asks for a buck. The buddy tells the bum to work for a living - blah, blah. Bum coldcocks him.

2. I needed a typewriter for school. My uncle says he can get me a real cheap but good one if we could to a real shady neighborhood on the lower East side (hmm). Uncle is a tough guy as my Dad. So off we go. We get the typewriter in a grim place. A bum comes up to my uncle's driver side. Wants a buck - my uncle sez - Get out of here - get an honest job (makes my father crack up - :D). Anyway, the bum reaches into his pocket and takes out a big fish and rubs it all over the windshield. Fish goo everywhere and runs off the. Wipers just smear it. Dad and I die of laugher. Tough guy, tough guy - Dad teases Unk all the way back to Brooklyn.

So you need to disengage politely but firmly like Tam said.

So you have a bat - guy comes over and you bat him. What does the parking lot see if he didn't have an overt weapon. Nutso bats old bum. Why didn't you just run away? It's my right, blah, blah. Call your lawyer, Batman!

You have martial arts skills - that's all well and good. Nutso bum pulls an edged weapon. Are you so confident that you won't take a serious slash?

Nothing like a block that gets your arm opened up. Of course, that won't happen to you.

So as many folks teach - a firm and polite disengagement and moving away is the plan. Funny stuff sound good. Hope it is only a fish.

Dad lecture over.

tomgun
August 22, 2009, 11:54 AM
keep a bucks worth of change in your pocket,at first approach toss it behind the bum,watch him dive for it and drive away.

T. O'Heir
August 23, 2009, 03:03 AM
Was putting a whole bunch of beer(6 or 8 cases. Camping beer run.) in my truck one time, long ago. Black guy(on something.) comes up and asks if I needed any help. 'No thanks', says me. My hair weighed more than the guy. I'm 5' 6" with wide shoulders(I claim I'm built for comfort). He sees the number of cases and says, "Are you gonna drink all that?" "Most of it.", says me. "God dam.", says the guy. And he walked away. Thought he was a rather pleasant guy. Asked me for nothing.
The point is how you carry yourself makes a difference. Bats aren't required if you don't conduct yourself like a victim. Being polite and giving a bit of respect helps too.
"...Dad teases Unk..." Unk being your da's brother. Brother's do that.

Lawyer Daggit
August 23, 2009, 03:22 AM
I think you handled it fine- yes you could have hung onto the bat, but you had an alternative way of dealing with the situation- martial arts skills and firearm if things escalated.

Remember- hind sight is a perfect science- life is not.

BlackFeather
August 23, 2009, 03:26 AM
You have martial arts skills - that's all well and good. Nutso bum pulls an edged weapon. Are you so confident that you won't take a serious slash?

You had to say it... In martial arts its not just a "block" or "deflection" its usually a couple of different options that open up depending on his body position and yours. I dont know what his specific "style" is but im sure after 19 years of it he feels confident that he will live through the experience. Any martial artist, and anyone that knows self defense, should know that if you get in any confrontation there is a very VERY good chance that you will be hit, cut (or possibly shot in a fire fight) or maimed by your attacker. I dont know why everyone thinks we are the action heros in old kung fu films that never get hit by their opponents.:cool:

BlackFeather
August 23, 2009, 03:28 AM
Aside from my last rant/post...The OP did a decent job in my opinion, though it may have been safer to get in your truck and pull out of the parking space before answering him. I know there may be a chance that what I said would have been impossible, but I dont know all of what was going on. Just a thought.

Glenn E. Meyer
August 23, 2009, 10:02 AM
About old men with knives. I was an expert witness in a case. Here's the deal. Three young studs get into a fender bender with an older man. He is stoned. They get out of the car and one stud (football, tough, big, manly) goes up to the grizzled and stoned old guy to berate him in his righteous studness.

Old guy pulls out a paring knife - the little short thing you use to cut up veggies. He sticks it into Studmeister's chest - who proceeds to drop stone cold dead. Geezer hit a sweet spot and cut a major vessel.

Feet - the first defense for the thinking man - do your stuff.

Win73
August 23, 2009, 01:08 PM
Reminds me of an incident that happened to me. It happened in my company parking lot which at the time was in a bad area of town. I was transferring equipment from my company vehicle to my personal car after quitting time. I noticed a rough looking character coming down the sidewalk toward our gate. Something told me he had me targeted. Sure enough he turns into our gate and comes toward me. I was carrying a .32 ACP Davis Derringer in my pocket. I would have liked to have had something more potent on me but it meant my job if anybody could detect that I was carrying. That little derringer simply disappeared in my pocket. Anyway when I got the feeling that he had me targeted, I took the derringer out of my pocket and pushed off the cross bolt safety. With my thumb curled around the half cocked hammer and my finger on the trigger, I put both hands on my hips and turned to face him. The derringer was completely concealed by my hand so that he could not see it. As he approached me, he said in a rough voice "Know what I want!" I was looking him in the eye and answered in just as rough a voice "No, what!" This seemed to set him back. It wasn't what he expected. He stuttered a bit then lost the rough tone to his voice and asked if I could give him 50 cents to get something to eat. Continuing to look him in the eye with my hands on my hips (concealing the derringer), I told him no. He then started talking almost crazy talk. He told me that he could tell where a car was going by looking at its license plate. He said that the Federal government was paying him $1,000 a month to spot drug cars for them. That immediately made me wonder why he would need 50 cents from me to get something to eat. Three times he acted like he was leaving but turned around again. I think if I had reached into the company vehicle to get another piece of equipment, he would have been all over me. Or if I had put my hand into my pocket to get money when he asked for it. However the whole time he was there I stood with my hands on my hips staring him in the eye. I'm no tough guy but I am 6' 1" tall and weigh over 200 pounds (need to lose some of it!) When he finally did leave, I stared at the back of his head till he was out our gate and well down the sidewalk. Only then did I finish what I was doing while keeping a watch in case he came back.

I did not have to use or even show the gun, but I think having it in my hand instantly ready gave me the confidence to stand up to him. I am confident that his original intent was to mug me if I didn't give him my money voluntarily. If he had tried anything it would have taken about one second to put two .32 Silvertips in his face. I think that would have worked a sufficient attitude adjustment on him.

Those people are predators just like any wild animal and like any predator they prey on the weak and vulnerable. If I had shown any weakness I believe he would have carried through with his original plan. Also when I get one of those feelings in the future, I will trust it.

Pbearperry
August 23, 2009, 01:42 PM
I just tell them I am sorry but I am out of work.Usually they turn around and say Good Luck.It's smart to be aware,but I feel too many of us are making too big a deal out of these things.

thawntex
August 23, 2009, 02:04 PM
Those people are predators just like any wild animal and like any predator they prey on the weak and vulnerable. If I had shown any weakness I believe he would have carried through with his original plan. Also when I get one of those feelings in the future, I will trust it.

Perhaps this is true with certain individuals, but not with panhandlers in general. How do you define "those people"? Certainly you don't mean that every bum on the street compares to a lion or tiger, right?

If I had to make an analogy, I'd say that bums are more like squirrels. But I digress.

These stories are usually very anticlimactic. Of course I could get mugged someday, but 100% of my numerous panhandler encounters have ended just like many of the stories here. I decline to donate, bum goes away. No need for me to post a fantasy about a potential robbery that was never going to happen in the first place.

I don't mean to downplay the very real threat of mugging, but I think that a considerable disparity exists between panhandlers and muggers. Some of these stories deal with simple begging that happens all over the world every day, yet they are portrayed as these "Thank God I had my gun" moments.

Of course, it's up to you to determine the level of threat in every "can you spare a dime" moment. Experience has taught me that very few of these encounters warrant any sort of excitement.

-T

thawntex
August 23, 2009, 02:06 PM
I just tell them I am sorry but I am out of work.Usually they turn around and say Good Luck.It's smart to be aware,but I feel too many of us are making too big a deal out of these things.

Yeah, my point exactly. You just said it a lot more succinctly than I did.

-T

Win73
August 23, 2009, 05:35 PM
I wasn't implying that all "bums" are predators. But I definitely felt at the time and still do that this guy was. What he said to me as he approached me and the tone of voice he used until I threw it right back at him. Just his overall manner. Also the fact that he pretended to be leaving three times before he actually did. These all convinced me. I believe he was a predator. This was a bad area of town. Just half a block down the street someone had been murdered and left behind a building.

I have been panhandled by "bums" before. Even have helped someone occasionally. This fellow just didn't fit the, for lack of a better word, profile of a "bum" or someone just needing temporary help.

Even though I didn't have to use or even show the gun, I was and still am glad that I had it instantly available. Those who are predators can detect weakness and vulnerability. I think he could detect the confidence that having the gun gave me and just decided to find an easier target.

BlackFeather
August 23, 2009, 06:50 PM
...Yeah, a football player tackles people with pads on, I never look at any football players and go "hes tough, bet he could stop guy with a knife". There is a difference in thinking you could stop someone because of your arrogance, and having simple confidence that through practice, experience, and technique you can disarm the situation, and/or the opponent. We have always had a rule book, and the first rule to self defense is "run".

Nnobby45
August 23, 2009, 07:30 PM
The interview phase always begins with social transgressions to see how the prospective mark will react.


I agree.

Not even the 'ol "you got the time" or some other common interview starter while Pandering Willy sizes you up.

Redhawk lost the first part of the battle as soon as he held up when ordered to do so.

In Farnum's class we were taught to memorize such phrases as "can't help you" (as we keep going), and "don't move, drop your weapon (real loud to attract attention).

rantingredneck
August 23, 2009, 07:47 PM
Redhawk,

I had a similar situation about 10-12 years ago. Happened in the parking deck of a large mall in Durham, NC.

It was near Christmas and I had a couple of bags in my hand, presents I'd bought for my fiance and a couple of other folks. The mall was a posted no-carry zone so I'd left my gun behind in the car, in a nylon holster I had rigged to the bottom of my seat for just that purpose. It was kinda up and out of the way, so I thought there may be a chance that a smash and grab guy would miss seeing it.

Anyway I come out of the mall, walk to my car and lean across to put the bags in my passenger seat. I was driving a '91 Chevy Cavalier convertible at the time and my back window was fubar'd. Couldn't see through it for the fogging that was typical of the cheap crap tops they put on them.

I kinda get this feeling that somebody's coming up behind me and at first I thought it may be the passenger of the car parked beside me and I'm blocking the way in to their car. As I pull my head out to see what's going on the guy is even with my trunk and startles like he's been caught in the act. His right hand is out of view and he starts stammering. When he startled, I dropped into a crouch and put my hand on my weapon, under my seat. Didn't draw.....

He's stammering that he needs gas money to get back to VA and he was just robbed in that parking lot yesterday "RIGHT OVER THERE!!!" yelling and pointing behind me. I notice the guy has a car parked right behind me, blocking my car in with an accomplice (I can't think of this situation in anything other than those terms....) behind the wheel.

At this point he's within 5 feet of me, with his right hand out of view behind him on something. I'm crouched with my left hand out of view on a 9mm. He's repeating that "It was right over there, look!" and I said to him in as loud a voice as I could muster "STOP!!!. GO BACK TO YOUR VEHICLE, SLOWLY. I HAVE NOTHING FOR YOU THAT YOU WANT". At that point the lightbulb went on and he took his hand off of whatever he had and backed away. I stayed in that ready crouch until he was back in his car and they were gone. Then I got in my car and got a serious case of the shakes as the adrenaline started to wear off.

I've run through that situation over and over and I'm convinced he had a knife. I'm also convinced that had he been determined to stab me and take what I had, I would have been in trouble (and he wouldn't have got much!). He was literally 5-6 feet away at best and my gun was holstered. I may have escaped with only a cut or one or two stab wounds, but odds are I would have been badly hurt if he'd know what he was doing and was determined to do it.

Had I seen him coming I wouldn't have let him get that close, but I let my guard down while putting my purchases away. I'll never do that again. Now if my door is open, I keep the shopping cart between me and the end of my vehicle. When I can I park further away from the store, where it'll likely be less crowded, with a good chance of my truck/car having no one parked beside it when I come out. That way I'm not trapped in that V created by the door and vehicle.

Just thought I'd share............

..........Oh, and I've got many years of MA training too.........I'd have kept the bat...........:p

azredhawk44
August 24, 2009, 12:57 AM
Redhawk lost the first part of the battle as soon as he held up when ordered to do so.

Yeah... I'm normally better about that; must have been off that day.

Glenn E. Meyer
August 24, 2009, 10:53 AM
One would be hard put to justify shooting a bum, even if they grabbed your arm.

Might I suggest that an OC spray might be a good thing to have as compared to standing there, cocking a gun.

One should also study up on the use of force in your state.

But the right attitude and movement - as Tam suggests, usually carries the day.

azredhawk44
August 24, 2009, 11:06 AM
You're right Glenn...

I wasn't amped up so much to shoot the guy as I was to knock him backwards, then possibly draw and shoot based on his reaction to getting knocked back.

There is a wide spectrum of justifiable force but I'm not going to carry something to match every potential level of justifiable force.

The pistol is my peak of force out and about in town, but it's possible to justifiably need more force than a single pistol... The LA Riots being one example.

Neglecting to acknowledge a person is the bottom threshold of force. Used often by me, but failed to use this last encounter.

I don't trust pepper spray or mace. I see it as a confrontational use of force that is still gonna get me with assault charges if I fail to justify use in the eyes of the law, but more likely to fail than a solid strike to a vulnerable spot with hands or feet (same assault charges, higher standard of success in protecting me).

Lots of people wear sunglasses here in AZ and the wind can be an interesting thing here. I'd just as soon not get backsplash off his glasses or wind blowing OC spray back in my face.

Glenn E. Meyer
August 24, 2009, 11:11 AM
OC sprays have the advantage of some distance response. They also have a distance threat usage which is not as legally troublesome as taking out a firearm.

Despite the anecdotes of the crazed biker on drugs, DOJ reports suggest about an 85 to 95% success rate.

Also, if you strike someone and knock them down or discombobulate them - might I suggest that gives you a heard start and run! Why wait to see what they do?

azredhawk44
August 24, 2009, 11:18 AM
Also, if you strike someone and knock them down or discombobulate them - might I suggest that gives you a heard start and run! Why wait to see what they do?

'Cuz I was wedged in with my door open. I'd have to push past or jump over the bum to get out by foot, or close the door to the truck (which means getting closer to the bum.

Leaving by means of vehicle would mean getting in, closing the door, fishing my keys out of my pocket, starting the car and putting it into gear. Lots of steps. Lots of time to allow someone to close on me while I'm in the car.

I was in the strongest position that I left available to myself. No real way out other than winning or facing down the threat. I did the latter while preparing for the former.

I realize now I limited my responses by being caught off-guard and allowing a breach of my personal space.