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Old November 2, 2005, 01:14 AM   #1
Strike Penguin
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Eye-opener at the gas pump tonight

Hello, longtime lurker, 1st-time poster!

Here's something that happened to me tonight that made me re-think a few things. I don't have a CW permit yet because I haven't been in-state long enough (6 mos. residency requirement in TX) but I have been "practicing" in anticipation of getting the permit next month. I've been paying more attention to my surroundings, Mexican-carrying my Glock 30 with a full mag and empty chamber around the house (I don't have a holster yet), and reading forums like this one. Now tonight there was a scenario that made me think a bit. I have some ideas about what I did wrong, but please tell me what else I might learn from this.

Tonight my S.O. and I went out grocery shopping, and then we stopped at a small gas station, one of these little strip-like stations affiliated with a large grocery store chain. Time was about 7:30, but dark because of the time change. The station was well-lit, and quite busy, with lots of people going in and out of the small store, and as we pulled up I saw an employee coming out to help a Mexican guy fill a jerry can at the pump, etc. The point being that this wasn't a dark, secluded, "scary"-feeling place. It is on a shady side of the tracks (south of I-30 at NW 19th street in Grand Prairie, if anybody knows the area) but it wasn't anyplace lonely. There were probably twenty-five people within the space of this small lot, all going in and out.

We pull up at the far right pump on the outside pump (others were full) facing the store. She's driving, I'm a passenger; I can't drive at night because of eyesight issues. I stayed belted in because I felt lazy and, again, this place didn't feel dangerous, although as usual I kept my head on a swivel as best I could. GF is now outside the car on the left rear, about to start pumping gas.

I look up - my head was down in the cockpit for some reason, I think adjusting my wallet - and I see this young Hispanic guy with a light gray hooded sweatshirt on coming right at the front left corner of the car, maybe five yards away max. He sees me look right at him, I size him up, I have my hand behind my right hip, right about where my G30 will be next month purely by coincidence, and he says, very friendly, "Whasup" and waves. Then he walks past the left side of the car, right up to my GF as she's about to lift up the gas pump, and I see he's got his hands full with some kind of yellow flyer, I figure for a nightclub or something. She sees him, he says a few words, then she waves him off and he quickly walks back the way he came, out into the parking lot, and meets up with another young guy who is NOT wearing hoodlum clothes. They walk over to the front entrance of the store and continue trying to hand out flyers to passers-by.

When GF got back in the car, I asked "What were the flyers for?" It turns out they were for a church event. I said that I saw him coming when he got close but he was TOO close for comfort, and (hypocritically!) I wanted to chastise her for being taken by surprise. I'm trying to butter her up to get herself a CW permit as well, because we're both not physically intimidating, and we're both a bit, shall we say, "geeky". I figure we're both targets, and we also live near some crummy areas. She said that she saw him coming too but there wasn't much time to react. We discussed things and she said that I should have hit the horn on the car to alert her, which is our warning signal for when one of us is in the car and another is at the ATM. Better yet, I shouldn't have been inside the car and belted up the first place. We also realized that she was armed, in a sense; she had the gas pump in her hand.

Now, here's what I take away from this:

1. I shouldn't have been in the car. Normally when we gas up somewhere, I'm outside with her, keeping watch. No half-measures ever again; I was lazy. Keeping watch from inside the car with my belt on just means I'm a spectator, not an actor, should something bad happen. It was pure Complacency on my part.

2. This guy should have never gotten that close to us without either one of us laying eyes on him early. "Lose sight, lose the fight". I think he came from behind the line of gas pumps, which is why he was blocked from both of our views, but this issue probably would have been negated if I was following point #1 above.

3. I wasn't prepared to warn my GF, or do anything about this guy at all, should his intentions have been hostile. His body language was non-hostile and his hands were full, but regardless, he still walked right up to my girl without being challenged or noticed.

Also, if I'm ever going to hand out church flyers, I'm not going to do it at a gas station, after dark, wearing a hooded sweatshirt. A few minutes later this guy wised up and took his hood down in exchange for a hat. It is cool here in TX right now, but he was dressed like a BG. If he had been intent on harm, I couldn't have ID'd him other than "Hispanic, mustache, between 18-25", light gray sweatshirt".

What say you Paranoid Soldiers of Darkness? Sometimes you can't totally avoid being vulnerable, and pumping gas is one of those times, I think. I'm interested to hear what strategies people may have for this situation.
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Old November 2, 2005, 01:34 AM   #2
Garand Illusion
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As the quote goes ...

Quote:
A coward dies a thousand deaths; the valiant taste of death but once.
There are always going to be BG's out there and random acts of violence, and if you let their presence leave you cowering in your thrice locked home or afraid to venture out without your hand on the butt of a .44 magun then they've won.

Sure, you should keep your eyes on those around you and your SO, but it's not like every stop to pick up gas is a tactical situation requiring a plan and converging fields of fire.

Start carrying that piece as soon as you legally can, and try not to freak out everytime someone approaches. With or without a gun there's nothing serious you can do until someone makes their intentions known.

A brain is your most important weapon. Every kid in a hood isn't a thug, and not every white guy in a suit is a good guy.

Go wherever you want, carry whenever you can, and keep your eyes open.
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Old November 2, 2005, 02:15 AM   #3
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Maybe you should work on yourself as that would improve your confidence in your ability to handle a situation without the fear you experienced or the need to rely solely on a firearm for defense. I would suggest you and your GF get a gym membership and maybe check out some self defense classes.
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Old November 2, 2005, 02:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Maybe you should work on yourself as that would improve your confidence in your ability to handle a situation without the fear you experienced or the need to rely solely on a firearm for defense. I would suggest you and your GF get a gym membership and maybe check out some self defense classes.
Fear I experienced? Where did I say I was scared? I was surprised at somebody popping up close to us at a gas station, not cowering in fear or paralyzed. I was thinking in terms of situational awareness, and my lack thereof. I guess my talking about the situation like it was potential combat is misleading you. Isn't that what we're supposed to do here? What-ifing?

I am working on losing weight and strengthening up, but for health reasons, mainly. Nothing in the world is going to change the fact that we're both 5'9" and under, with glasses.

Quote:
A brain is your most important weapon. Every kid in a hood isn't a thug, and not every white guy in a suit is a good guy.

Go wherever you want, carry whenever you can, and keep your eyes open.
That's exactly what I'm saying. I'm just pointing out that I didn't have my eyes open, and got surprised. I've seen several posts here about incidents at gas stations, and I figured I'd put this hypothetical situation out there to see what could be learned from it, if anything. I should have made it more clear in the original post that her and I were talking in hypotheticals. We didn't think he was actually an attacker (Well, I wondered about it, for about half a second when I first saw him). I have a responsibility to be a Responsible Person, especially so with a CHL and a .45 in my pants, and part of that being Responsible is being aware of my surroundings.
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Old November 2, 2005, 09:46 PM   #5
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Penguin, . . .

In a way, I have a hard time getting in your shoes, but I'll try.

First off, if my wife and I are together, . . . 95% of the time, I am the driver, . . . and I am the one that gets the gas. I do it by lightly surveying the station before I get out, . . . and by making sure the station is not in a "bad" area. She stays inside, . . . generally belted in, ready to leave.

I always put the nozzle in and lock it back, . . . then I just keep observant. If you were near me, . . . you would probably think "girl watcher" or something like that maybe, . . . I try seriously to keep it low key, . . . but I know who is in front of me, behind me, and on both sides.

Paranoid? No. Observant? Definitely. Armed? Most of the time.

The other thing you can do, is improve your image. Ditch the geeky clothes, and grab something a bit macho. You are very much 100% correct that it is easy to spot an individual who appears to be an easy mark. You may still be one, . . . but you don't have to advertise.

May God bless,
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Old November 2, 2005, 10:11 PM   #6
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I guess fear was the wrong word replace it with "apprehension" which is more a akin to the reaction you described, I was NOT trying insult you. Also, I am 5'11 and I wear glasses as well, but from training and experience I am VERY confident in my abilities to handle myself in a confrontation. I keep my body in exellent shape because I enjoy doing so as a hobby and I have sought out opportunities to train in martial arts because I enjoy that as well. You might want to consider what you would have done if an unarmed BG had attacked you and your wife while you were carrying. Shoot him? It is my opinion that is it very dangerous to carry if you cannot defend yourself without a firearm against an evenly matched opponent(court's view not yours). You cannot shoot him without murder charges and if he overpowers you he now has your gun. Just something to think about.
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Old November 2, 2005, 10:12 PM   #7
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Went to a gas station a few nights back. Inside were several males one was looking around outside like he was looking for something. Just sat in the truck for a few minutes to observe. They went outside to pump gas and I went in. They didnt speak any english. The guy was saying cerveza and the clerk kept trying to ring up ice.....lol. she was then informed the guy wanted beer not more ice....lol
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:17 AM   #8
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No offense taken, I'm just sensitive to the whole "fear" thing. That seems to be the first phrase that gets thrown against gun owners (I've seen it happen at this forum and others plenty of times), the whole "how can you live in fear?" angle, which is not what it's about IMO... Not in the slightest. It's a tool, like a fire extinguisher, not a crutch or a fetish object. But I'm preaching to the choir here...

I've been making an effort to straighten up, buy decent clothes, look sharp, look confident, etc. It's something I've always struggled with, like my waistline, but I've had some success in that area. Working behind a computer can be a problem though, health wise.

If this guy had been unarmed and looking to hit my GF or something... Let's say he wasn't just a guy handing out church flyers, but somebody drunk or crazy... I would have to come around the front of the car, but no way would he get away with that without a reaction from the both of us, gun or no. I have taken courses on defensive subjects in MA before I moved (I was planning to get my LTC there but the way things panned out, it wasn't worth the time and effort, and it probably would have arrived in the mail a week after I left the state). She knows enough to kick for the sensitive spots and do her best to fight back, too. We both plan to have a spectrum of force options available as well.

Indeed though, having a gun is one thing, being physically capable of self-defense is another... We both have to work on that, her and I. A friend of ours here is learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (I think) right now and he's invited me to go along, which is an offer I can't refuse.
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:29 AM   #9
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I think before you allow her to pull into this type of gas station again you should don a black suit complete with baclava and do a slow roll out of the car with your AR15 (accessorize according to taste and tactical needs). Once you have taken up a concealed sniper position approximately 15 yards away radio to her she is clear to maneuver into the station and begin refueling.

Seriously, next time get out and pump your lady's gas for her.
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:30 AM   #10
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hmm you gotta get a grip on your fear...I am not knocking you..as everybody has some now and then..you gotta learn to use it better though..the right dose can be healthy and give you the edge..But I think perhaps you are waiting and expecting and attack to occur? You mentioned you cant see at night? Is it the fear of suprise in the dark? Also your size is irrelevant..i know plenty of short fat people who can really dish it out. I would advise you to start lifting some weights..get physically fit..the excercise will improve your confidence for starters.

I guess I just dont see how carrying a firearm wouldve improved your situation as you described...maybe might have even worsened it?
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:48 AM   #11
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take a deep breath and relax

This is about tactics and training, and yes you're right to bring the hypotheticals for us to kick around with you. Thanks for posting this; seems that lots of us find gas stations to be potential problem places.

Before I got my pistol, but when I was seriously considering one, I stopped one afternoon at the convenience store for gas. NOticed an old guy standing around in front of the place, looked pretty down and out. Aaron, my youngest son (16 at the time) got out and was going to pump the gas. He went in to pre-pay and when he came back out, the guy followed him over to our car. He wanted money, had a long story about brain surgery and how he couldn't work now. Aaron gave him some as did I and then he looked at me and said "nice car, what year is it". Mind you, Aaron, who is over 6 feet, was standing right there, but I too had one of those "what if" moments and without even thinking, reached over with my right hand to my left side as IF there were something there. He backed up pretty quick. Said thanks turned, went into the store and bought cigarettes with his "I'm starving" money. He was probably harmless from the get go and I just scared him because I was acting weird! But still, it was one of the things that tipped the scales toward getting a gun at all.

Now, for your scenario, and reflecting on my own (and other things like it): part of what we have to do is be really calm, cool and collected when we are carrying. For ME certainly that means not making any assumptions too quickly about another person based on appearance, etc. I have the advantage of having a teenage son (same one as at the gas station) who has an assortment of friends whom, well, you would be nervous about at the gas station if all you knew of them is how they sometimes look. Hey, you might even be nervous about my kid. But it wouldn't be necessary, and it wasn't with the kid at the gas station you met.

I wouldn't worry about "watching out for her" when she pumps her gas. She's a big girl. You're there if necessary, but getting out and guarding her when she pumps the gas is unnecessary. If the neighborhood's THAT bad, plan to get gas at a nicer place. I myself need to just watch my surroundings, not be quite so on edge as what you're describing.

One other question: if you can't see well enough to drive at night, why in the world would you carry a weapon at night? How could you see well enough to aim and ENSURE that your bullets would hit what you wanted them to? Just a thought to consider.

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Old November 3, 2005, 12:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackwater OPS
Shoot him? It is my opinion that is it very dangerous to carry if you cannot defend yourself without a firearm against an evenly matched opponent(court's view not yours). You cannot shoot him without murder charges and if he overpowers you he now has your gun. Just something to think about.
That's one of the best ways I've yet heard it put.
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Old November 3, 2005, 01:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strike Penguin
It's a tool, like a fire extinguisher, not a crutch or a fetish object. But I'm preaching to the choir here...
I'll be honest. For me it's a tool, and sort of... well not a fetish object exactly, but a very beloved object. You know what I mean? It's hard to explain...
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Old November 3, 2005, 01:54 AM   #14
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I think people are making the wrong assumptions here... Some of them way over the top. Fear of the dark? My eyes are physically defective... I wasn't very clear in my intentions when I posted, I admit. I should have put a big fat "HAD THIS GUY BEEN BAD..." at the beginning. Can I clear this up?

1. I didn't think the person was a BG or assume he was a thug and get all freaked out. I was just surprised at somebody appearing out of nowhere, very close, without me seeing them. It was some kid from a church wearing a hooded sweatshirt... He said "What's up" to me, he was friendly. Just surprisingly forward. We both thought it was almost funny that he was dressed a little bit like he was getting ready to rob the place... Body language, tone of voice, etc. was all completely non-hostile.

2. I certainly wasn't going to shoot him. I didn't think about shooting him, nor if I had my gun on me, would I have drawn on him, absolutely not. It was nowhere near anything where I thought to get forceful. Had I been outside of the car, I would have seen him earlier and greeted him first. Situational awareness and being in something other than "Condition White" is always discussed here, what I'm trying to say is that I wasn't very aware, gun or no gun. I'm not edgy, but like I said, I've been practicing things I've read about here, and giving thought to things I hadn't before. You know how there's lots of posts here about what people DON'T see? I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

3. I am not blind at night, but on the road my eyesight gets washed out. It's hard to describe, but glare from lights contrasted with the general darkness makes it too hard for me to judge distances and speeds to drive safely. Often I can't make out the markings at the edge of the road. I asked my opthamologist about this and he said it's very common for people with severe nearsightedness. Basically I don't drive at night. It wasn't as big a deal up north, but here in TX with every main road being 40mph+, I can't risk it at night. As for low-light scenarios, the Glock is going to get a set of Meprolights as soon as I've got the spare change for them. That was a given already. Not that I plan to be anywhere dangerous in the dark at all. General vision isn't a problem at night for me, just driving.

I'm wondering what I wrote that makes people assume I'm paranoid and scared and was about to blow this guy away with the accessory-clad $2,000 Lego-Rail-studded Tactikewl M4 I carry under my seat and polish every hour... I'm not... I was considering this Real Life situation as a hypothetical case.

As for who pumps the gas (or wears the pants!) we have a 21st Century non-traditional relationship. She does the 9-5 thing, I work at home (self-employed) and do "domestic" things during the day. We trade off on the little stuff. It's not that I watch "for" her, or vice-versa, just usually we both Watch, capital W. Unfortunately our nearest grocery store is two blocks down from an apartment complex full of drug dealers, and there's a big cluster of registered sex offenders in the same area. I've been harping on not going there anymore for a while, but sometimes it's just more convenient.
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Old November 3, 2005, 02:34 AM   #15
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Strike, if it makes you feel any better, I didn't have a problem understanding your point of view the first time and I did not peg you as an aspiring ninja. Nor did I think you were overly paranoid. If a dude came up to my car and my girl at a gas station at night, I'd feel the same way, and you already said that you should have been out there with her so there's no need to point that out.

Not much I can tell you, except that until you have your CHL, carry a good fixed blade knife where you can get to it. And, if you're trying to get in shape, that's a good thing too.
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Old November 3, 2005, 02:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
I think people are making the wrong assumptions here... Some of them way over the top.
welcome to tfl. a hell of a lot of that goes on around here cause we have so many genius types and such

people read what they want to read. not what you typed.
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Old November 3, 2005, 09:32 AM   #17
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I'll repost and be a bit more serious here. I don't want you to take my original posting poorly.

Quote:
Had I been outside of the car, I would have seen him earlier and greeted him first. Situational awareness and being in something other than "Condition White" is always discussed here, what I'm trying to say is that I wasn't very aware, gun or no gun.
You have learned how being in condition white can leave you at the mercy of a predator. You say you have vision problems etc......that raise your risk at night. OK, then do everything you can to improve your chances. Gain every advantage you can. Get out of the car and gain a 180 degree panoramic view. 360 degrees with a turn of your head. That will help you a lot.

The number one deterrent against a predator is alertness. This transfers over into everything you do, and it makes little difference whether you wear geeky clothes or not. The very fact that you were seated in the car demonstrated you were in condition white to any predator.

When a person starts to carry a gun, a transformation usually begins. At first they are spooked and think everyone knows the gun is there. Then, as they realize how blind most folks really are, the CCW newbie gets comfortable. He/she doesn't want to shoot anyone, but they know they have the power to protect their life against a deadly threat. They don't want to have to use it though. So, they become more watchful. More alert. They do things differently so they will not have to use that gun. They realize avoidance is the best policy, and to avoid a problem you have to see it coming.

This new alertness, sometimes called condition yellow, is picked up on by predators. Predators seldom attack other predators, even in the wild, unless prey is unavailable. Becoming more alert, and taking on the appearance of being more alert removes you from the pool of potential victims. It's weird how that works. Some folks liken it to wolves, sheep and sheepdogs, because they don't want to be seen as a predator. To the criminal predator though, a citizen with a gun is a predator. Studies show the criminal fears an armed citizen more than the police.

So, back to your situation........ Get out of the car. Be aware of what is going on around you. Be ready to respond to a threat if need be. Little signals will be picked up by criminals to keep moving in your case. This is a perfect example of self protection. It really is a question of tactics, not a question of having a gun. The key is to remove yourself from the victim selection process. That has to do with your level of awareness, not the type of clothing on your back.
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Old November 3, 2005, 09:59 AM   #18
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Agreed, Xavierbreath

My apologies that I misunderstood what you were saying. Internet is like that...it happens because we can't "hear" you or see body language, etc.

Xavierbreath is right. It makes all the difference in the world that you appear alert and unavailable for a surprise attack. Good for you and for your girlfriend that you are working to make this a constant part of your behavior when you're out and around.

Stay safe!

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Old November 3, 2005, 10:19 AM   #19
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The moral of the story is... If you're concerned about your significant others safety at a gas station, get out and pump gas for her. You would be suprised just how much she would appreciate you for doing that. I don't like my wife gassing up at night either so I take her car when she needs gas and get it for her.
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Old November 8, 2005, 11:33 PM   #20
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Strike Penguin, i think i know the gas station you are talking about. that is not one of the best places to go. when i used to live in arlington i would never stop at Grand Prairie(i think)Grand Prairie to me looks like oakcliff.if you can stay away) but they have some of the best tacos

i use to buy beer in dallas because Grand Prairie is dry county. there is a little strip i don't remeber the street but they have the cheapest price on coronitas. it is still not the best area but the best price. and it is drive thru and when i use to go i would be attended by hot chicks. i guess they get more business when a girl attends the cars instead of a ugly fat guy.
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Old November 8, 2005, 11:53 PM   #21
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way to go Clayfish

+1 on that! It always works the other way 'round with the hubster. If he does get gas for me, he never ever ever fills it up. Drives me batty. But hey, after you've been married 24 years, a few bats are allowed

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Old November 9, 2005, 12:09 AM   #22
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This was nothing that required your hand moving to "right about where my G30 will be next month" This wasn't a situation that even required the thought of using deadly force and you're moving for a weapon?

Nothing wrong with paying attention to your surroundings but I think you're a little paranoid if everyone that approaches you is deserving of you reaching for a weapon.

Maybe some training is in order before you strap on the handgun?
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Old November 9, 2005, 03:33 AM   #23
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Good Point ---

This definatly was NOT a hand on gun situation, no where even near, moreover if one is a "questionable" area dealing with "questionable" individuals (forgive me but that is about what I am getting out of this thread) than there is a fine line that seperates situational awarness and projecting a non-victim / confidant stance and projecting something provocative --- if they guy in the hooded shirt was a goblin --- not intent on harming you "just hang'in" seeing a gun reach / or even just a pat, combined with the wrong look from you might be enough to make a passing encounter into something more ---- aside from wanting to decondition yourself from reaching or touching your gun you will want to have the arto of looking without really looking down pat --- how to keep an eye on a suspected goblin (my dam truck takes forever to fill so sometiems I have all too long to sit and watch the comings and goings at an all night station) without them noticing your watchfull eye. A good excuse incase you fail always helps too --- I rode / drove one of those a few years ago or something else mildly complimentary and non-confrontational is always good.
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Old November 9, 2005, 10:36 AM   #24
greeneggsnham
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Join Date: October 19, 2005
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FYI, a law was just passed here in Texas a little over a month ago that allows you to have a handgun in your auto without having to have a CHL. Once you get out of the car with it you're in trouble, but using it from within the auto as a defensive device is where you are protected. I parked next to a phone booth about twenty miles out in the desert down on the rio grande one night, not a soul around for miles, and a car load of mexicans, five of them pulled up, looked at me and parked. the driver stepped out and stood by the car, two of them started around toward the back of my truck as the other ones were headed to the front, i came flying out with my service auto backing away from the truck to keep them from surrounding me. fortunately, they slid on the gravel trying to scramble back to the car. i covered them until they squauled out of there and finished my phone call to another officer i was talking to. bottom line... BE ALERT

protect yourself and your girl.
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Old November 9, 2005, 10:47 AM   #25
greeneggsnham
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another thing, a hood isn't necessarily just going to walk up to you and rob you. he's going to hand you a church flyer or ask you for some change, or see if you've got change for a twenty, or he needs to sell a watch or a raffle ticket or something... something to feel you out to read the ease of his situation. he walks up, say, "i don't know what you want but back the F away from me now. do not approach any closer or i will be forced to defend myself. that makes it very clear that you are ready, and your intentions are clearer than he wants them to be.
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