The Firing Line Forums

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old November 6, 2009, 05:27 PM   #1
jrod648
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2009
Location: Louisa, Virginia
Posts: 13
What Should I Have Done Different?

Today while going to get gas, there was a man that ran out of gas and needed somebody to help him out so he could get home. I decided to help the man out because I like to think that if I ever need help, there are still some decent people out there who would help me too. I spoke to the man and told him if he met me over by the pump I would put some fuel in his gas can. He walked over when I got out of the truck and handed me the can.
I tried to pay at the pump but it was broken so I was going to move over to another station. Right before I moved the man said “why do you just ring it up as credit” that right away let me know that he was watching what I was doing. That was when I got the first feeling that this could become a dangerous situation.

I know I should have just said “sorry I can’t help you” but for some reason I did not. I told him I could only help him out if he left the gas can there and walked away. He did as told so I kept my word and started to put gas in the can.
Out of the corner of my eye I swear I saw him signal to someone. So At that moment I check my surroundings to make sure I didn’t see anything suspicious. All the doors on my truck were locked except the driver’s side door which was closed and I was standing by it. I am not old enough to carry a handgun but I had a shotgun in the truck I could get quickly if God forbid I needed to. I told the man to take over filling up his gas can so that way if anything did happen I would have both hands free to fight or try to escape.
The man filled up his can and left with no further incident.

I know that this was not the best way to handle the situation. Not at one point did I feel frightened, however I did become much more alert. Really I feel more embarrassed that I put myself in a situation that I was not fully in control of. Looking back I know I probably should not have helped the man. What would you have done different?
jrod648 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 05:34 PM   #2
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
May sound callous...

... but I've run into at least a couple dozen guys who "just need a few dollars to get enough gas to get home."

It's a common scam.

I tell them sorry, can't help. I've seen a few too many of these guys who get their few dollars, then pull the same stunt at the gas station a block down the road.

I prefer to exercise my charitable impulses with charities that I can research and verify, than with people who are more likely than not going to be scammers.
MLeake is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 05:40 PM   #3
Nnobby45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2004
Posts: 3,148
Quote:
Right before I moved the man said “why do you just ring it up as credit” that right away let me know that he was watching what I was doing. That was when I got the first feeling that this could become a dangerous situation.
Well, I'm quite a bit older than you so I'm not sure if I'm just wiser or more paranoid.

I too encountered a man who had pulled into a gas pump (he was there when I arrived) and when I exited he asked if I could help him out with some gas. This was just off the freeway, which heightened my suspicions.

I was on "alert" from the start and told him I couldn't help and didn't use cash. He too suggested putting his gas on my credit card. I told him "don't think so" and ended our exchange and never took my eyes off him. I was, as always, carrying.

You let things get way too far. The possible buddy waiting in hiding should, I certainly hope, be a good lesson.
Nnobby45 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 06:21 PM   #4
Hook686
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2005
Location: USA The Great State of California
Posts: 1,918
Quote:
Not at one point did I feel frightened, however I did become much more alert.
You realize that only the frightened become much more alert, be it Coyote, or man. Just a response pattern of the animal kingdom.

Nice gesture on your part to give the guy some gas. I would have given him $5 and let him pump his own gas and wished him well.
__________________
Hook686

When the number of people in institutions reaches 51%, we change sides.
Hook686 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 06:28 PM   #5
Dragon55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2009
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 811
You've got a good heart with good intentions but strangers at gas stations should not be asking for jack.
In the future tell them to jump off!
I too have become old and more paranoid.
__________________
sailing ... A way to spend lots of money and go real S L O W
Dragon55 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 06:40 PM   #6
Uncle Buck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 21, 2009
Location: West Central Missouri
Posts: 2,561
I have seen this scam (not all of them are a scam, but enough) used before. I have gotten to the point were I tell the 'I need gas' person that if he talks to the clerk, they can usually contact one of the nearby churches and someone will be out to help him.

I have seen this used with: I need oil, I need gas, I need formula for the baby, I need diapers, etc... There are churches and organizations around that will help.

I am glad to see that there are still a few trusting souls out there that want to help their fellow man.
__________________
Inside Every Bright Idea Is The 50% Probability Of A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Uncle Buck is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 06:44 PM   #7
threegun
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2006
Location: Tampa,Fl
Posts: 4,000
I have become bitter to this type of panhandling. The last time I did give some money the guy went inside to pay for his "gas" but bought cigarettes instead. I was furious and now the rare truly needy motorist is SOL.

Jrod......you seemed to have handled it quit well IMO. You used situational awareness and forward thinking. Can't ask for more once you made the decision.
threegun is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:00 PM   #8
pax
Staff
 
Join Date: May 16, 2000
Location: Washington state
Posts: 6,917
The others have already addressed helping vs not helping and the issue of avoiding the potential for attack in the first place. Let me start a little later in the encounter, and talk about something that might have been helpful to work with if the situation had progressed.

Quote:
All the doors on my truck were locked except the driver’s side door which was closed and I was standing by it. I am not old enough to carry a handgun but I had a shotgun in the truck I could get quickly if God forbid I needed to. I told the man to take over filling up his gas can so that way if anything did happen I would have both hands free to fight or try to escape.
Tony Blauer teaches a concept he calls, "Closest weapon, closest target." He primarily uses this concept as it concerns hand-to-hand skills, that is, choosing between throwing an elbow or cocking a fist or using a knee while fighting with bare hands. But it transfers to any type of weapon you might have or have access to. The idea is that you always want to use your closest weapon on your attacker, not wait for an opening to get to your theoretical "best" weapon. Similarly, in a bare hands or improvised weapon situation, you want to attack the closest target on your attacker, not wait for a chance to hit a theoretically-better target that might never open up.

As this applies to what you were thinking at this point in the encounter, you chose to set aside one good weapon that was already in your hands -- actually giving it to your potential attacker! -- in favor of another and arguably better weapon that was inside your vehicle and slower to get.

The good weapon you already had would be the gas pump nozzle. Fling gasoline in someone's eyes and you're pretty well done with the fight; they're blinded and you have your opening to escape. Is it the "best" weapon? Not in the absolute sense. But it's certainly the best weapon in the sense that it was already in your hand and thus very easily and quickly brought into use. When you handed it to the potential attacker, you gave him a tool that could be used for blinding (throw gasoline) or for bludgeoning, and left yourself with no weapon in hand at all.

While you did take care to position yourself near the door of the vehicle, it would still have taken some time to fling the door open, and you would most likely have to turn your back to the attacker in order to get the shotgun out. Since you weren't intending to grab the shotgun unless or until the other guy made his move and began to act, and since you now had him armed with a bludgeon, it may not have gone well for you from that point.

On the other hand, the fact that you did stay alert, did keep your eye on him, and did keep your distance very likely prevented the attack from developing to that point. Good job there! I'm simply giving you some food to chew over for times when deterrence and alertness don't do the trick.

pax
__________________
Kathy Jackson
My personal website: Cornered Cat
pax is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:05 PM   #9
Dragon55
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2009
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 811
Pax

I like that.... great catch!
__________________
sailing ... A way to spend lots of money and go real S L O W
Dragon55 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:08 PM   #10
jrod648
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2009
Location: Louisa, Virginia
Posts: 13
Thank you everybody for the responses. I have in fact learned my lesson. Next time I do not think I will stop and help... I find it sad that there is even a chance of a person being harmed while trying to help others. Unfortunately this one bad experience has ruined it for others who may truly need help. However, it is more important (to me) that I go home at night.
jrod648 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:15 PM   #11
jrod648
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2009
Location: Louisa, Virginia
Posts: 13
Quote:
You realize that only the frightened become much more alert, be it Coyote, or man.
Excellent point, frightened was not the right choice of words. I suppose I was "frightened" but not terrified. I guess the whole point of the sentence was to say that I was not so scared that I couldn't move.
jrod648 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:16 PM   #12
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
jrod, look at it this way...

... If I am anywhere that "a few bucks" of gas will get me home, I'm in range for friends and family to come help out. The odds of me ever asking a complete stranger for a handout are nil.

OTOH, if you see somebody looking dazed, near an obviously wrecked car, or if you witness people otherwise obviously hurt or injured, that's another matter entirely.

At best, I look at the "few bucks" guy as a probable panhandler; at worst, I look at him as a possible assailant.

Again, I'm not saying that you should be uncharitable. However, I'd recommend you take that impulse, and support a worthwhile charity. March of Dimes, Toys for Tots, your local food bank, you get the idea. There are any number of legitimate organizations in your area that would love to give you the chance to feel good about yourself, without making you worry about how your money will be spent or whether they might try to harm you as payment for your good will.
MLeake is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 07:24 PM   #13
jrod648
Junior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2009
Location: Louisa, Virginia
Posts: 13
Pax... You are absolutely correct. Right after the incident, when I got in my truck and locked the door. That exact thought hit me. I could have used the gas pump, the gas itself, the pocket knife I had, one of many screw drivers I had in easy reach. I felt foolish for not thinking of those things during the event.
jrod648 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 09:46 PM   #14
wally626
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 31, 2009
Posts: 635
All though lots of scammer will ask for a couple of bucks to get gas, buy lunch, get dad out on bail, I would be a bit more trusting of a guy actually carrying a gas can, seems a lot more effort than most put forth.
wally626 is offline  
Old November 6, 2009, 09:56 PM   #15
MLeake
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Posts: 10,128
Effort? Seriously?

There was a bum who used to hang out in Honolulu. My ex would occasionally shoot the bull with him whenever she was stuck at the traffic light where he worked the stopped traffic.

One day, it was raining pretty hard. She offered him the loan of her umbrella, since she knew where he worked, as it were.

He said, thanks but no thanks, drivers would give him more money if he looked wet and pathetic.

In another location, a beggar would sit with intentionally underfed puppies. People who might not have given him anything, if he were alone, would give him money in the hopes that the dogs might get fed.

I've run into others who've pulled similar schemes.

A gas can is nothing. Most people have them; it's not hard to bring one from home.
MLeake is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 12:41 AM   #16
Big Bill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2008
Location: Idaho
Posts: 1,053
The best way to avoid this type of situation is to avoid it in the first place. Nuf said?
__________________
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time." - General George Patton Jr
Big Bill is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 05:43 AM   #17
javabum
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 6, 2009
Location: Californication
Posts: 264
You need money get it the same way i do...."Get a frigging job"
I don't give money away to anyone.I worked to hard for it to just give it up
to some lazy ass person looking for an easy way out.
__________________
Stupidity Should Hurt.....Immensely

NRA Life member
javabum is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 08:18 AM   #18
threegun
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2006
Location: Tampa,Fl
Posts: 4,000
Jrod648,
Quote:
I felt foolish for not thinking of those things during the event.
Why feel foolish? I don't. Pax's post had many of us saying oh yeah.
threegun is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 08:42 AM   #19
Lee Lapin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2004
Location: SE NC
Posts: 1,238
Pax beat me to it. Think of a garden hose with gasoline instead of water- that's about what's in your hand when you're pumping gas. The operative word is PUMP. It's under pressure.

I grew up when service stations were still that- someone pumped your gas, checked your oil and washed your windshield for you (and at $.29 a gallon, too). And one of those someones was me, for a while. A younger friend of mine with the same job used to refer to himself as a "petroleum product transfer technician," I wish I'd thought of it.

One day a regular customer showed up with his grandson, six or seven years old, who had a fit to put the gas in grampa's car. Well, grampa wanted to let him, and I knew grampa had run a service station before he retired. So I handed the hose over to grampa, after I got the gas cap off and stowed.

And grampa handed it over to grandson before putting the nozzle in the filler pipe. Bad move.

Grandson 'pulled the trigger' with the nozzle pointed toward the front of the car, and in a split second the nozzle belched a 3/4" thick stream of gasoline that went better than 20 feet. Grampa yelled, grandson let go and started bawling.

Oops...

Fortunately there were no sources of ignition close by, and there was always a hose at the ready, so it wasn't as big a disaster as it might have been. I helped grampa wash the car, and grandson never got to be a pump jockey again that I know of.

Keep thinkin'...

lpl
__________________
Mindset - Skillset - Toolset. In that order!

Attitude and skill will get you through times of no gear, better than gear will get you through times of no attitude and no skill.
Lee Lapin is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 08:57 AM   #20
Sarge
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2002
Location: MO
Posts: 4,907
Nearly 35 years ago I gave a scruffy looking fella a ride near what we'll call a rough section of Independence, MO. It was cold, windy and miserable out.

He wanted to go somewhere I wasn't, but I told him I'd drop him about halfway. He got quiet. We hadn't gone six blocks when he said "You know, I could rob you & take your car."

I laid a Detective Special across my lap and said "You'd get shot full of holes. Now get your ass out of my car."

Stopped right there on the Boulevard, in traffic, to keep him from bailing out while I was moving. Left my door open & flipped me off. Ingrate.

I like to think we probably both learned something from that.
__________________
Visit us at The Sixgun Journal or the archive, at http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/
Sarge is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 09:04 AM   #21
threegun
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2006
Location: Tampa,Fl
Posts: 4,000
My pediatrician (back when i was a child) was out boating with his father and two sons. Back at the ramp a terrible rainstorm struck as they finished trailering their boat. The decided to allow a man caught out in the rain into their vehicle. He shot all four killing my pediatrician and one of his kids. This guy then shot and killed a witness trying to help by following him.

Moral never ever pickup a stranger.
threegun is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 10:22 AM   #22
m.p.driver
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 25, 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 552
Christmas eve ,10:30 at night and snowing to boot.On the way home from work i passed a broken down car on the shoulder.Half mile up the road i see a couple dressed for an evening out walking.I stopped and they got in ,they were heading for a party at the exit before mine about 20 miles up the highway.Husband/boyfriend makes the comment that you cant trust anyone these days, people rob and kill you over nothing.I just looked at him and started chuckling,i told him god help the sorry s.o.b. that tried something,i'd do things to them Charlie Manson never dreamt of.Rest of the ride was in silence and as soon as we hit their exit they said this is fine.I assured them that i would take them to the end of the line ,but they were firm in stating that the gas station was fine, and they could call friends.
m.p.driver is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 03:40 PM   #23
Vanya
Staff
 
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
Posts: 3,840
It's a pity we have to think twice before indulging our charitable impulses... I realized I'd been living in the big city too long when (a couple of decades ago, now) a little old lady in the convenience store parking lot asked if I could give her a ride home -- she'd walked there from the senior apartments a couple of blocks away, but now she was feeling ill, she said.

And my first thought was, "Is she going to mug me?"
My second thought was "No, fergoshsakes, of course not..."

But it crossed my mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Lapin
Fortunately there were no sources of ignition close by
And it occurs to me that letting off a shotgun while someone is pumping gas is probably not the best tactic, either. So it's maybe a good thing it stayed in the truck...
__________________
"Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding."
(Milan Kundera, Book of Laughter and Forgetting, 1980)
Vanya is offline  
Old November 7, 2009, 04:07 PM   #24
threegun
Junior member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2006
Location: Tampa,Fl
Posts: 4,000
Quote:
And my first thought was, "Is she going to mug me?" My second thought was "No, fergoshsakes, of course not..."
My first thought is does she have a couple of large "grand kids" waiting for me somewhere.
threegun is offline  
Old November 9, 2009, 09:19 AM   #25
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 7,762
It is very very difficult to tell a scammer from someone who genuinely needs a little help. Both types are out there and I'm not an expert at telling one from the other, I'll admit. I seldom help folks out directly that I don't know, but occasionally I have. On two occasions, every thing was as represented and was uneventful. On one occasion I thought I was helping out a young girl in distress and she turned out to be a prostitute. So, you never really know. Now, I hate to say, I pretty much avoid helping anyone I don't personally know.
Skans 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 02:27 AM.


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 0.14047 seconds with 7 queries