The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

View Poll Results: What would you do in this scenario?
Draw your gun and shoot the closest attacker 22 57.89%
Draw your gun in hopes that it will scare them off, but don't shoot 2 5.26%
Do not draw your gun, but attempt to go hand to hand or draw a knife 2 5.26%
Other... Please explain 12 31.58%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 16, 2008, 07:12 PM   #1
stephen426
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2005
Posts: 2,885
Public Safety Vs. Self Preservation

An employee of mine (and his brother) recently got stabbed during an altercation while in a movie theater. A couple of punks (possible gang bangers or gang banger wanna bes) were making a lot of noise and he asked them to be quiet. Even though he denies it, I'm assuming a few words were exchanged before the punks jumped my employee and his brother. He and his brother ended up getting stabbed multiple times and had to be airlifted to the hospital. One kid, who is a minor, is taking all the blame for the stabbings, hoping that he will be tried as a minor.

Here is the dilemma... You are in a crowded theater. Lets assume you are seated somewhere near the center and are surrounded by people. Lets also assume that you have the time and ability to draw your gun before they are on top of you. We should also assume that you see them pull a weapon and that there is little chance of retreat. Remember that you are dealing with multiple assailants.

Do you draw your weapon and shoot the first guy that is closest to you (knowing that a miss will likely hit an innocent)? Do you brandish your gun in hopes of scaring them off? Do you try to go hand to hand to avoid firing a shot in a crowded theater (probably causing a panic and trampling injuries)? Even if you hit your target, a gun shot in a crowded theater is likely to causes a stampede. Hand to hand is most likely a loosing scenario since there are multiple armed attackers.

I hate to say it, but I would probably draw and shoot the closest armed attacker to me. I would continue to shoot anyone that approached me aggressively. What would you guys do?

Edit: Please note that the situation escalated very quickly and that calling the police or even the theater manager was not really an option. This is based on a real situation that occured and is not a hypothetical situation.
__________________
The ATF should be a convenience store instead of a government agency!

Last edited by stephen426; October 17, 2008 at 07:21 AM.
stephen426 is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 07:18 PM   #2
David Armstrong
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2005
Location: SW Louisiana
Posts: 2,289
Quote:
What would you guys do?
None of the above. If there's a disturbance or a problem, go get the manager. If somebody threatens you, don't make it worse by arguing with them. I'll bet your employee and his brother wish they hadn't made an issue of it.

Last edited by David Armstrong; October 17, 2008 at 12:48 PM.
David Armstrong is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 07:19 PM   #3
Crankylove
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2008
Location: The land of green Jello and vanilla icecream
Posts: 1,296
"I hate to say it, but I would probably draw and shoot the closest armed attacker to me. I would continue to shoot anyone that approached me aggressively. What would you guys do?"

+1 If I can see them pull a weapon on me, they can also see me draw my pistol, if they then decide to back off, great, if not, I would do what I needed to do to stop the threat.
__________________
The answer to 1984 is 1776
Crankylove is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 07:21 PM   #4
stephen426
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2005
Posts: 2,885
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Armstrong
None of the above. If there's a disturbance or a problem, go get the manager. If somebody threatens you, don't make it worse by aarguing with them. I'll bet your employee and his brother wish they hadn't made an issue of it.
While I'm sure that is the logical thing to do, what if it was a gang initiation type thing and all it took was for someone to ask them to pipe down? I'm not sure if that was the situation, but there are people out there just looking to cause trouble. I think most people would askem the punks to keep it down before calling the theater manager.
__________________
The ATF should be a convenience store instead of a government agency!
stephen426 is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 07:31 PM   #5
Creature
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 8, 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,769
Start looking for the cops...the cops are ever present (and in numbers) at theaters around my area nowadays. If I cant see any, I dial 911. But I rarely go to theaters, or anywhere that large numbers of people congregate anymore.
Creature is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 07:38 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
Quote:
Lets assume you are seated somewhere near the center and are surrounded by people. Lets also assume that you have the time and ability to draw your gun before they are on top of you.
Not to pick apart your scenario but these two conditions mean to me that there is not imminent bodily harm. If I'm surrounded by people in a theatre and I'm near the middle there is no good way this person is getting near me very soon.
If he starts climbing over people, I start JUMPING over people. There is no reason I can't run away from this threat. All else fails, worst case, yeah I shoot. What else would you do? Let yourself get stabbed to death? My initial reaction would be to leave and call 911 if I saw a knife. If I had a chance and a clear shot I WOULD shoot a BG who was attempting to kill someone else but I would not initiate the violence.
Verbal threats are meaningless without opportunity to act on them and I would do everything in my power to avoid giving them the opportunity. I couldn't care less about name calling and I'd rather make some people mad by jumping seats and aisles then start shooting.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 11:09 PM   #7
KLRANGL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2008
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Posts: 958
Quote:
There is no reason I can't run away from this threat
Run so your wife/girlfriend/buddies get to take the brunt of the attack? Im not saying you shouldnt try to get away asap, but I dont think running away is always the best solution. What if you stumble in the dark and then he's on your back? Theaters are not the easiest ground to traverse. Turning your back to a BG in close quarters just doesnt seem like a super awesome idea to me...

Since I never go to the movies alone, if someone was near me with a knife in a threatening manner, I for damn sure am gona shoot... No brandishing, no threatening, just bang... If its crowded, well I'd probably just go to my knife. No sense killing another innocent just to save your own skin... But as it stands, I hate crowded theaters and usually only go to matinees...
__________________
And it's Killer Angel... as in the book
KLRANGL is offline  
Old October 16, 2008, 11:16 PM   #8
NormOps
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 26, 2008
Location: Idaho- Where Else?
Posts: 130
Really, the best thing to do would be to go get the manager and request that he preserve the quality of the service he is providing, ie, a movie that you paid for obviously deserves to be undisturbed as described above. had this been done, the situation probably would not have arisen.
__________________
They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin
Original Lawmakers: The Framers
Current Lawmakers: Termites
NormOps is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 03:11 AM   #9
BikerRN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2007
Location: "State of Discombobulation"
Posts: 1,333
Get up and leave.

Ask for your money back from the Manager as somebody is disturbing the quality of your viewing expirience. If the Manager won't give you your money back ask for tickets for another day/time. If that is met with a "No", leave and never spend your money in that theater again.

You can also give the Theater some "bad publicity" in a public forum. Being out the cost of a movie is a lot cheaper than shooting somebody, no matter how deserving they are.

Biker
BikerRN is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 04:23 AM   #10
scsov509
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 22, 2006
Posts: 758
Quote:
What would you guys do?
For starters, I'd realize that an overwhelming majority of individuals fitting the description you provide are armed in one manner or another. So you do have to think twice about saying anything to these individuals when perhaps the more prudent options are to either move to a different location in the theatre or contact an official of some sort. And you've got to realize too that by engaging in a verbal exchange in the first place you're bringing escalation to the situation which, should the situation get lethal, puts a greater burden on you to demonstrate that you weren't initiating the confrontation in the first place.

That being said, you most certainly don't draw a weapon in any altercation with the intent of scaring people off by visual presentation. Displaying a firearm to intimidate another is unwise and almost always illegal, so that the only reason to draw is to shoot, period. So really it's just a matter of whether or not retreat is an option, because once their knife is introduced then my only options are run or defend myself with necessary force.
scsov509 is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 04:48 AM   #11
Playboypenguin
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2006
Location: Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 11,515
I would avoid that type of situation if I was armed. I would not confront the people causing the disturbance. I would have, as others have said, went and notified management.

If you just want to answer the question "would I draw and fire on someone attacking me with a knife even if innocents were around?" the answer would be "yes." I would protect myself to the best of my abilities...and that includes the use of my firearm. I would have to trust my own training and abilities to limit risk of injuring innocent bystanders. In a case such as being attacked by a knife your life is in immediate and definite danger. You cannot suspend defense on the remote possibility of someone else being injured.
Playboypenguin is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 05:38 AM   #12
heyduke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 2000
Location: Tarheel
Posts: 199
If I'm carrying concealed, and someone tries to "start something" with me, I apologize and try to get myself out of the "situation" as quick as possible, including to retreat.

No room for pride when your carrying, particualry when lawyers will be getting involved. Also could get you killed quicker.

509 mentioned "so that the only reason to draw is to shoot,"

I might add that the only time you shoot is when you intend to kill.
heyduke is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 06:13 AM   #13
Buzzard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 13, 2005
Location: Kingman AZ
Posts: 474
I just don't go to places that I can get trapped in if at all possible.
I always try to plan an "escape route" where ever I go.
__________________
Rick in Kingman AZ
, Super Comanche 45LC/410 , ,Armscor .38 4, Marlin 60 & An UGLY 12ga , Savage Axis .223
Buzzard is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 06:54 AM   #14
alloy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2008
Posts: 1,931
my self preservation is the public safety, i dont see a distinction that allows for one over the other.
i would do what was called for in a given situation i think, but "exchanging words" in a theater with a couple of teenagers cause they are making noise isnt high on my list of things to do today. i probably would have walked and gone for a pizza. most movies arent that good.
__________________
Quote:
The uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done?
Angelo Codevilla
alloy is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 07:18 AM   #15
stephen426
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2005
Posts: 2,885
While I would like to believe that everyone is so responsible that they would not even say anything and leave, I don't really buy it. What if the punks were behind you and were kicking your chair (or that of your wife or girlfriend). I think most people would at least turn around and say "Do you mind?" or "Please stop." before getting up and leaving. Like I said, there are always people looking for trouble. I'm guess there is should be some way to diffuse the situation after they say something like "What are you going to do about it?". By the way, please remember that I was not involved in this situation. It happened to an employee of mine. He said the punks got aggressive really quickly and all he said was "Could you guys keep it down?".

Escape was not much of an option since the punks were in the next row. Once the altercation started, there was little chance of escaping through all of the other people in the theater.
__________________
The ATF should be a convenience store instead of a government agency!
stephen426 is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 07:20 AM   #16
12GaugeShuggoth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 534
Have to agree with many others here in that I wouldn't have said anything to them to begin with.......especially if I was armed and in a crowded public place. Now, generally I don't find myself in crowded public places too often anyway; but when I do the last thing I'm looking for is a confrontation, especially against multiple parties. Also, when I am in a place like a movie theater, I try to always pick a seat that allows me quick exit if needed.

If, however, I ever find myself in a crowded place facing multiple armed attackers........I'm doing whatever is going to help me stay alive. Whether or not that means drawing a gun is another thing entirely. I'm not going to purposely start shooting towards innocents, but life is tough. From the sound of the OP, everyone else in the theater should have seen that the window for violence was open due to the verbal exchange. Whenever I'm out and see that violence might erupt (between other parties), I leave for a few minutes to try and be as far away as possible from any trouble.
__________________
---Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.---

---Enlightenment is the ability to take infinite pains---
MOLON LABE
12GaugeShuggoth is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 07:21 AM   #17
alloy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2008
Posts: 1,931
if i worked myself up until i said anything, it would likely end in "assault on a minor", and get flipped around until they are pressing charges on me and demanding thier civil rights.

so like i said i would walk.
__________________
Quote:
The uncomfortable question common to all who have had revolutionary changes imposed on them: are we now to accept what was done to us just because it was done?
Angelo Codevilla
alloy is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 10:13 AM   #18
raimius
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2008
Posts: 1,326
IF we assume that one made a polite request, and was quickly assaulted by multiple knife-wielding attackers in response, and that one is legally armed....
I would probably draw and fire if the attackers kept advancing within 20ft.
1. Knife attacks are VERY dangerous when started from ~20ft...i.e. justification exists.
2. Most shooters can hit COM at less than 20ft.

The important assumptions of that scenario are the defendent NOT taking any escalating action except legally defending themselves against a potentially lethal attack, and the shot(s) fired were aimed well enough to be very likely to hit the assailants.
raimius is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 11:10 AM   #19
pax
Staff
 
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,951
In such a situation, if you had to fire, I'd suggest changing the angles in some way. Stand on a seat and fire downwards so any wayward shots would be more likely to hit the floor than a bystander. Drop to your knees and fire upwards toward the aggressor, so any wayward shots would be more likely to pass over the heads of the bystanders. Move to one side or the other as much as possible, working the angles to avoid bystanders.

If the aggressors were armed with impact weapons, use the furniture in the room to create a reactionary gap, obstacles that delay the aggressors' ability to get to you and harm you before you can react with appropriate force. If you have that reactionary gap, you might even create enough time to draw and use a command voice to deter them from their intended attack: DON'T MOVE! DROP THAT WEAPON! Each word should be spat out forcefully and individually from the diaphragm, which prevents your voice from betraying a fear quaver and also prevents you from running your words together into an unintelligible jumble.

pax
__________________
Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 11:44 AM   #20
Sparks2112
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 3, 2008
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 479
I was at a theater just the other night with my pregnant wife (which I'm pretty sure negates any duty I have to retreat since she's becoming quite incapable of moving quickly) and was thikning about that very situation. I'm shooting anyone that gets to close while holding a weapon. If I had time to think about it I'd probably aim for the lower stomach/hip region so as to be angling the shots into the ground (I'm 6'2" so I think the height differential I have on most people would accomplish that nicely.)

You gave me a thread idea too.

Hey Pax please pitch in when you see it pop up. I really value your opinion.
__________________
--
Sparks
AKA
J.M. Johnston
Sparks2112 is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 12:52 PM   #21
David Armstrong
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2005
Location: SW Louisiana
Posts: 2,289
Quote:
While I'm sure that is the logical thing to do, what if it was a gang initiation type thing and all it took was for someone to ask them to pipe down?
The "gang initiation" thing is hyped way out of proportion, and again if that is your fear go get the manager.
Quote:
I'm not sure if that was the situation, but there are people out there just looking to cause trouble. I think most people would askem the punks to keep it down before calling the theater manager.
Yep, and that's why things like this get out of hand. Let me pose a question...what authority, if any, do you as a moviegoing patron have to demand certain behavior of others? The answer, of course, is none. So the only possible good outcome is that these folks who have already demonstrated they are rude and do not care what anybody else thinks will suddenly have a change of heart and decide to be good role models. Think that will happen??
David Armstrong is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 05:13 PM   #22
raimius
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2008
Posts: 1,326
It is certainly possible that rude customers would change their behavior based on someone asking them to. There have been one or two instances where a group I was with was asked to not make so much noise. The group did quiet down, once the loud ones realized they were offending others.
...granted we are not gang members and have no respect/authority complex!
raimius is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 05:51 PM   #23
jimbo_4
Member
 
Join Date: October 12, 2008
Location: South Lyon, MI
Posts: 50
In Michigan, it is illegal to carry concealed in any entertainment facility seating more than 2,500 people. If it was a smaller theater, or I did have my gun, I carry a 340ct. Likely be trying to block or hold back with the left, shooting with the right. That close, you could angle the gun up a little if you could even think of it in that situation. Personally, I try to keep as low a profile as possible even though I carry. Maybe criminally be dismissed, but civilly, who knows. Either way, I'd rather just avoid the situation at all costs, but I'm NOT getting stabbed without a fight.
jimbo_4 is offline  
Old October 17, 2008, 08:11 PM   #24
computerguysd
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 13, 2007
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 200
We had a similar situation where some kids were making a lot of noise and kicking the seats in front of them, including ours. They weren't gangbangers but they were obnoxious. My wife went to the lobby and had the manager deal with them while I kept our seats. If management didn't want to deal with it, we would have left and certainly contacted the corporation about our experience.

Not our fight, nor did it need to turn into one.
__________________
South Dakota Right-To-Carry Law, Type: Shall Issue. Local county sheriff or the local police are the issuing authorities.
South Dakota does honor all other state permits, so plan your vacation today!
computerguysd is offline  
Old October 18, 2008, 08:23 AM   #25
Dwight55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 18, 2004
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 2,564
The original question: You are in a crowded theater. Lets assume you are seated somewhere near the center and are surrounded by people. Lets also assume that you have the time and ability to draw your gun before they are on top of you. We should also assume that you see them pull a weapon and that there is little chance of retreat. Remember that you are dealing with multiple assailants.

With a weapon in sight, in the hand of the bg, . . . escape route blocked, . . . two or more bg's present, . . .

In one move, . . . unholster, take off the safety, and begin shooting the closest bg.

I am typically a quiet person who would have gone after the manager, . . . or just gone, period, . . . rather than provoke something. But when the situation has degenerated to the original question, . . . I don't see any other answer other than become another victim.

May God bless,
Dwight
__________________
www.dwightsgunleather.com
If you can breathe, . . . thank God!
If you can read, . . . thank a teacher!
If you are reading this in English, . . . thank a Veteran!
Dwight55 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:28 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12965 seconds with 8 queries