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Old August 21, 2009, 11:52 AM   #1
azredhawk44
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Parking Lot Bum Encounter... could have handled it better.

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?
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Old August 21, 2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:01 PM   #3
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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...
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:18 PM   #4
azredhawk44
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Lol... so just buy a bat everytime I go to WalMart... got it.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:21 PM   #5
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Well, you could use the same bat, but the old receipt would be kind of a giveaway.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:33 PM   #6
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:43 PM   #7
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"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...
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Old August 21, 2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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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..
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:06 PM   #9
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If I see any more posts like this, I AM GOING TO STOP GOING TO WAL-MART!

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Old August 21, 2009, 01:09 PM   #10
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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?
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:09 PM   #11
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If I see any more posts like this, I AM GOING TO STOP GOING TO WAL-MART!

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Old August 21, 2009, 01:17 PM   #12
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:41 PM   #13
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im gonna do that next time someone asks me for money. can I have a dollar?
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Old August 21, 2009, 01:52 PM   #14
azredhawk44
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 02:06 PM   #15
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 03:57 PM   #16
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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!!!
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Old August 21, 2009, 06:06 PM   #17
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 08:35 PM   #18
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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.

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Old August 21, 2009, 08:36 PM   #19
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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.
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Old August 21, 2009, 10:23 PM   #20
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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
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Old August 22, 2009, 11:31 AM   #21
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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 - ). 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.
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Old August 22, 2009, 11:54 AM   #22
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solution

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.
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Old August 23, 2009, 03:03 AM   #23
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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.
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Old August 23, 2009, 03:22 AM   #24
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Parking lot bum encounter

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.
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Old August 23, 2009, 03:26 AM   #25
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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.
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