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Old September 26, 2010, 11:00 AM   #1
BarryLee
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Incident at Mickey-D’s

Ok, I had an incident at the local McDonalds this morning which I felt I handled properly, but afterwards when reviewing my action I wonder if I should have acted differently.

I stopped in for a quick breakfast and upon leaving was confronted by a sort of scruffy looking fellow. At first he just kind of tried to get my attention by yelling then made an attempt to grab at me. At this point I put about ten feet between us and made my way to the car as he followed. Although he never threatened me his request for me to “come here” got louder as he pursued me across the parking lot. When I reached the car he walked up to the other side of the car and began mumbling something at which time I got inside and drove away.

The guy never directly threatened me, but he did make me feel very unsure of the situation. I did have a handgun in a pocket holster inside one of the large pockets in a pair of cargo shorts. On the way home I began to wonder how quickly I could have retrieved the gun from the cargo pocket if he had indeed produced a weapon or physically attacked me.

So, should I have pulled the gun out of my pocket and held it in my hand as soon as the guy began to pursue me? I would not have pointed it at him, but simply held it there for protection and as a possible deterrent. So, how would you have handled this situation?
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Old September 26, 2010, 11:28 AM   #2
paddling_man
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What should *you* have done? Whatever necessary to make it home to your family. You did so and it would be difficult for others to say for sure without having been there.

Nothing sounds out-of-the-ordinary until you say he made a grab for you. Once physical contact starts, the dynamic between me and the street beggar has changed dramatically. That starts a whole new level of interaction.

Did you ignore him the whole time or was there any verbal exchange? Simply ignoring them doesn't really work for me, depending on the situation, and often makes you appear weak - this encourages them.

In a passing crowd? Ignore.
If they approach you as an individual (alley, parking lot, etc.)? Forcefully tell them no.
They touch you? I'm not saying it is time to lay down a Roy D Mercer-style butt-whipping (or shoot), but you better give the situation your FULL attention and not a sidelong glance and a view of your weak side.
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Old September 26, 2010, 11:46 AM   #3
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If he laid a hand on you that would have given you the right to break his nose.
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Old September 26, 2010, 11:48 AM   #4
MikeNice81
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Check the laws in your area. Pulling out a gun, where I live, can quickly become "brandishing a weapon to terrorize the public." If anybody says it was pointed at them it can quickly become a felony.

I know where I live you must believe there is an imminent threat of death, serious bodily injury, or sexual assault. You must believe that a "person of reaonable firmness" would also believe the same. You can not be seen as provoking the incident, or using excessive force. Plus you have a "duty" to retreat if possible.

Where I live you handled it exactly as the law would say you should. If I was in your shoes though, I would think of moving my pistol to my front hip pocket, from now on.

I do think you should have looked directly at him and said "sorry I don't have time." That way you are being polite, warning him off, and taking the time to full assess the threat level. You never know he might have had an accomplice you missed.
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Old September 26, 2010, 12:05 PM   #5
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All the questions should've been answered in your course you took to attain your permit. Well, it should've been answered if it was a GOOD course. maybe time to take another.
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Old September 26, 2010, 12:07 PM   #6
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Did you really feel threatened?
The city I live in has homeless and mentally ill people everywhere. Just because they are yelling at you or even trying to touch you doesn't give you the right to threaten them by brandishing. Maybe you should look at a different way to carry or practice how you carry now. I feel if you are asking us about how competent you are with how you carry, that's a bit scurry. It's your responsibility to be competent.
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Old September 26, 2010, 12:22 PM   #7
kraigwy
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Based on the info given I don't see where any different actions was warranted.

I carry in my pants pocket. If I ever get into a situation I'm not sure of, I just put my hand in my pocket, I'm not brandishing, I'm not threatening anyone, but I'm ready, and no one knows.

I started this when I was in LE in Alaska, we were issued large parka's (it does get nippy in Anchorage now and then). Though the parka had a side zipper that was suppose to allow access to the service revolver, it still caused problems, so I just put a little revolver in my coat pocket, and there is nothing wrong with walking around with you hands in your pocket.

As I mentioned in other post, I have started shooting ICORE with my 642, drawing from the same pocket I carry my SD revolver in.
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Old September 26, 2010, 12:55 PM   #8
ClayInTx
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You did as well as could be expected in those circumstances.

I’ve been in similar circumstances in which I put my hand in my pocket with my fingers around the grip but not pulled it.

You probably did the exact same thing most of us would do, even the chest thumpers.

I believe you did right in not pulling your gun. Not right in that you were completely safe but right because of the possible legal consequences if a soccer-mom saw you do it.
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Old September 26, 2010, 01:37 PM   #9
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Good body language and a powerful command voice are your first lines of defense against aggressive panhandlers. In most panhandler encounters, if your body language says, "I'm afraid of you," and you don't use your voice at all, that would make you a very attractive target for a ramped up level of aggression from a panhandler who knows how to push the limits. But if you control your body language and use your voice as appropriate, you can avoid a lot of hassles and also avoid your own uncertainty with what is happening or what you need to do next.

A few thoughts:

1) Brief but definite eye contact says, "I see you and I'm aware of you." When you break eye contact, look away, not down. Looking down says, "I'm afraid of you." Looking away says, "I'm checking out the area." Avoiding eye contact entirely says you either haven't seen them or that you are afraid of them -- both good victim selectors.

2) Avoid fast or jerky body movements which scream fear. Do move smoothly and decisively away from them, keeping an eye on their hands.

3) If approached, make brief eye contact and say firmly, "NO, I cannot help you." Your voice should be loud enough to be heard easily at least 20 feet away. Continue to move away from them.

4) If the person continues to approach, use a command voice that comes from deep in your belly: "NO. STAY BACK! GET AWAY FROM ME." This command voice should be loud enough to be heard at least 50 feet away.

5) If touched, break away and shout loudly, "STAY BACK! DON'T TOUCH ME!" Do what it takes to stay safe and get away from them while drawing the attention of bystanders and passersby.

When a panhandler possesses no visible weapon, and when there is no significant size or strength disparity between you, you cannot respond as if it is a deadly force attack even if he puts hands on you. This would be the time to use less lethal options such as pepper spray or your well-practiced empty hands defense techniques. If you don't have a less lethal option, you're in a bad place if he pushes it there. This is one of many, many reasons that people who carry concealed weapons really owe it to themselves to learn a bit about other use of force options and alternative weapons.

Keeping the gun in your pocket was the right call in this situation. You may have avoided the uncertainty, however, if you had also carefully controlled your own body language and used your voice as appropriate.

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Old September 26, 2010, 02:37 PM   #10
BarryLee
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Thanks all for the feedback and yes I think overall I probably handled this situation properly. A quick response to some of your observations/questions.

The comment was made that I may need to reevaluate carrying in a cargo pant pocket. Yes, this is something that I am going to consider and see what options may work better for me.

Someone asked did I actually ever feel threatened. Well at first no, but when the guy followed me across the parking lot I was a little nervous. The area I was in is not one that is frequented by the Homeless and the guy never actually asked for money.

It was stated that these issues should have been covered in the course I took to get my permit. Well, no class required for a permit in Georgia. I have grown up around guns and am fairly proficient at the range. However, I have been considering taking some type of specific firearm based self defense class. Can anyone recommend a specific type of class or something located in the Atlanta metropolitan area?
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Old September 26, 2010, 03:06 PM   #11
IXLR8
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I think pax nailed it. She said exactly what my CHL instructor said.

Use an authoritative voice, make sure other people hear you and know you are threatened. It will serve you well for other people to be forced to look at the progression of the unknown individual.

Keep 30 feet between you. A person can cover that ground before you can get to your weapon, especially if it is loose in your cargo pants.

Many individuals panhandle at highway rest stops, and gas stations. They do not want attention drawn to them, and will usually leave you alone if your initial warning is loud and authoritative.

Memorize what you will say, make sure that it cannot be misunderstood. It could make a big difference in the reaction of the attacker. Extend your arm with the palm towards them in a "stop" motion, placing your shooting hand on your waist, as if ready to draw a weapon. Actually drawing it may open a totally different can of worms and make you the victim of legal harassment.

Always be prepared.

Last edited by IXLR8; September 26, 2010 at 06:24 PM.
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Old September 26, 2010, 04:46 PM   #12
Cindyann
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BarryLee I am sure there are probably classes closer to you but I am a bit south of the Atl. There are some NRA classes at Autry's Armory in Fayettville not sure how far in advance you have to sign up but I know they do classes a couple of times a month.
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Old September 26, 2010, 04:59 PM   #13
skoro
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The only time a beggar tried that with me, I just looked him straight in the eye and told him, "get lost."

He did. I wasn't carrying at the time. But I have no doubt he would have ended up on the blacktop in short order if he would have persisted.

Probably saved him some damage.

I think these leeches will try almost any approach if their consciousness is altered enough. They count too much on the forbearance of strangers.
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:12 PM   #14
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
Based on the info given I don't see where any different actions was warranted.

I carry in my pants pocket. If I ever get into a situation I'm not sure of, I just put my hand in my pocket, I'm not brandishing, I'm not threatening anyone, but I'm ready, and no one knows.
But BarryLee, the OP, commented that he does not know how fast he could have drawn if the verbal assault had turned physical. You commented that in such situations you put your hand on your gun. That's the least I think Mr. Lee could/should have done differently. If you are a former LEO you must be aware of the Tueller drill. An assertive, potentially combative stranger within your personal security zone is reason enough to take preparatory action -- which, as it turns out, is what the Tueller drill was all about, not creating some mythical 21-foot free fire zone.

Secondly, the moment the stranger laid a hand on Mr. Lee he was legally justified, if he genuinely felt he was in potential danger, to use force and even lethal force to defend himself. At that point, he could have drawn his weapon to warn the assailant off. If that had succeeded, of course, he should then immediately call 9-1-1 to report that he had just been assaulted and had drawn but not fired a legally carried sidearm to end the encounter.
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Old September 26, 2010, 05:32 PM   #15
orionengnr
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I think you did fine.

I agree with those who say that one of the greatest advantages of pocket carry is that in a dicey situation, you can put your hand in your pocket, get a grip on your pistol, and maintain its concealed status.
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Old September 26, 2010, 06:39 PM   #16
IXLR8
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Let me throw out a question. This maybe because of the local laws here in Texas, or due to my fuzzy recollections from my class.

You should never remove your weapon from concealment, unless you are ready to use it. It should have escalated well past alarm, and turned into a purely life threatening defensive issue when your weapon is drawn. It should only be drawn for discharge, and never as a means of intimidation. That point will have already past.

The only recourse to the discharge is a hasty, unconditional retreat, by the instigator.
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Old September 26, 2010, 06:49 PM   #17
pax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca
Secondly, the moment the stranger laid a hand on Mr. Lee he was legally justified, if he genuinely felt he was in potential danger, to use force and even lethal force to defend himself. At that point, he could have drawn his weapon to warn the assailant off. If that had succeeded, of course, he should then immediately call 9-1-1 to report that he had just been assaulted and had drawn but not fired a legally carried sidearm to end the encounter.
"Feeling" you are in danger does not justify using any level of force, let alone lethal force. Reasonably believing you are in danger does.

The two are not synonymous.

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Old September 26, 2010, 08:27 PM   #18
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pax
"Feeling" you are in danger does not justify using any level of force, let alone lethal force. Reasonably believing you are in danger does.

The two are not synonymous.
For all practical (and, in the context of this discussion) legal purposes, they ARE synonymous.

Put a mugging victim on the witness stand:

Q: What did you experience when the accused approached you with a knife pointed at you?

A. I was afraid.

Q. Afraid? What were you afraid of?

A. That he was going to kill me, of course!


Did the witness "believe" he was in danger, or did he "feel" that he was in danger? You used the expression "reasonably believe," which is (of course) a reference to the legal theory of "What would a reasonable man have done under like circumstances?"

Faced with the threat of imminent attack, would any "reasonable man" stop to debate whether he "felt" or "believed" he was in imminent danger?
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Old September 26, 2010, 08:42 PM   #19
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Being afraid of some random person with ambiguous, nervous body language who violates your personal space, up to and including touching, is not even in the same ballpark as being afraid of someone who approaches you with a knife.

If you routinely let people within the 21-foot exclusion zone, as everyone does in public, then you can't really justify brandishing on someone merely for touching you or violating your space while exhibiting nervous or ambiguous body language.

One of the early Miami Vice episodes shows Crockett draw on some random person who tapped him on the shoulder, thinking the person was an assassin, but was merely trying to give him something he dropped iirc. It's clearly an overreaction.
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Old September 26, 2010, 09:16 PM   #20
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Sounds like you did the right thing.
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Old September 26, 2010, 10:14 PM   #21
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Courses in the Atlanta area

BarryLee, if you're on the north side, call Nick's Guns and Range. It's a Marietta address, I think, but it's kind of in the eastern Kennesaw outskirts. Pretty sure they have classes on the weekend, and if they don't, they'll probably be able to tell you where to find one.
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Old September 26, 2010, 10:20 PM   #22
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A difficult scenario, and some interesting comments. However, there is no "one size fits all" answer as to when a person can exhibit a gun to another, let alone escalate it. State (and local) laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and what might be legal in my state might not be in yours, or vice versa.

For instance, in my state, a person can be charged with a felony for which he or she could receive up to 4 years prison time if he or she "[e]xhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner". Of course you might have some legal defenses that might apply.

Let the other person (or a bystander) call the law and report that "some kook with a gun drew down on me for no reason as I was just trying to ask for directions . . .", and you may find it hard to explain to the officers and prosecutor what happened. Sometimes, the one who calls the law first is often the one whose version of the story they believe as true.

And if you live in a jurisdiction where the prosecutor is not gun friendly or self defense friendly, then there are a lot of interpretation issues that can go against you too. Even our state law as relayed above is subject to interpretation (such as what constitutes "angry and threatening manner") among you and me, as well as authority figures such as police officers and prosecutors, and ultimately, juries. You might win at trial, but that puts you at risk of conviction and causing you to spend huge amounts of money to defend yourself in court.

Please do not misunderstand my comments, as I believe 100% in self defense, and my late father was a big supporter of the addage about "better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6". Just commenting that when, and in what circumstances, force or even the threatened use of force can be used are complicated issues, even in the same state, let alone among the 50 states and the thousands of local jurisdcitions, and thousands of opinions by various officers and prosecutors.
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Old September 26, 2010, 11:05 PM   #23
Nnobby45
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Quote:
The guy never directly threatened me, but he did make me feel very unsure of the situation..........


...............So, should I have pulled the gun out of my pocket ....

NO!!


Drawing your weapon in advance because you wouldn't be able to access it quickly enough if you were actually justified in using it probably won't pass the legal test---but then, I'm no lawyer.

Especially considering that "he never directly threatened me". They're called aggressive panhandlers where I live. You'd lose your CCW if convicted of brandishing.--or most gun violations in my state.

Never the less, you did make the right call--even if you questioned it later-- so some praise would be in order, also.

TIP: Devise a method that allows for quick weapon access for when your life really does depend on it, and then LEAVE IT THERE until that time actually comes. Practice drawing and hitting the target, and also from the ready position. Recommend competent instruction.

Lecture over.

Last edited by Nnobby45; September 26, 2010 at 11:57 PM.
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Old September 27, 2010, 05:33 AM   #24
therealdeal
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you did the right thing. I will say this as a thought and for any future incidents similar for self defense: I carry too in-the-pocket and love it, but Sometimes(key word- sometimes) you knowing it and the perp not knowing will not diffuse the situation(and you might then have to use deadly force in a split-second decision). You are allowed to tell someone that you carry a weapon for self defense thru verbal communication. Point being, if this is needed or other steps aren't working like they're supposed to(example: as they were taught in a classroom), you can achieve your goal without brandishing a firearm which in turn closes out the threat and allows you to move on with your day+life. Him putting his hands on the OP isn't normal or acceptable.

Also "Sand" I am not sure if this would count but you made a very good point about specific state laws; remember that the OP is acting in a defensive manner, and he isn't acting in an angry or threatening manner:

Quote:
For instance, in my state, a person can be charged with a felony for which he or she could receive up to 4 years prison time if he or she "[e]xhibits, in the presence of one or more persons, any weapon readily capable of lethal use in an angry or threatening manner". Of course you might have some legal defenses that might apply.
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Old September 27, 2010, 06:24 AM   #25
sonnycrockett
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McDs is often like this,esp in Memphis where I live,its a jungle here and the whole reason I even own guns.......
Drive though is your friend !


PAX has some great ideas,I like his first one
Never look down,look around - it is one of the best things I have learned
over the years.......Looking at the perp and around says allot...
I think it is also intimidating to the perp - I grew up in NYC and I have plenty of street smarts,avoid the possibility of getting stuck in a situation is the best advice I could ever give....
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