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Old November 11, 2011, 11:42 PM   #1
monkey95
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Questioning my reaction to incident

I am having an arguement with myself regarding my reaction to the following:

A few months ago on a Sunday night around 8pm I was headed to get gas for my wife so she didn't have to prior to work the next morning. I had to pass a self serve car wash on a side street that dead ends into the main street the gas station is on.

The vacuum area is blocked from the road bya fence but as you pass it you can see the front of the wash. As I pass the fence I notice two teenagers standing in the parking lot but as I slow to a stop I focus on oncoming traffic.

Just as I stop I hear a loud POP! I turn and see one of the teens with a pistol pointed toward the vacuum area and he fires 6 more shots.

I grab my phone all the while trying to remember what they were wearing; orange shirt, grey shirt, orange shirt, grey shirt, dark pants, dark pants, white shoes, red shoes, white shoes, red shoes.

Then I notice they have both turned and looked at me and I think GO!!! But just as I am about to hit the gas they turn and run turning between the next two buildings. I drive home as I call 911 and give the details and interjecting that I thought they were shooting at someone in the vacuum area.

What I am arguing with myself about is did I freeze or did I read the situation and act accordingly?

Part of me says I froze. At the instant I realized what was going on I should have gunned it out of there.

The other part says I read the situation, gathered what info I could and was ready to go when I was noticed.

Granted this took all of 10-15 seconds(felt longer) but is stuck in my brain.

Turns out they shot up the little office where the supplies and coin machine are, but at the time I was sure they had shot someone.

What do you think? Did I freeze or read it right? All opinions appreciated.
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Old November 11, 2011, 11:54 PM   #2
SHNOMIDO
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Id say you froze, based solely on the fact that youre questioning yourself. If you didnt feel confident and in control of the situation, you werent at the top of your game, and you were hesitant.

Im not saying i would have done any better, or that you necessarily did anything wrong. sounds like you handled the situation admirably.

maybe mentally train yourself that getting out of harms way is one priority level above reporting the incident to the police. Personally, i would have been 2 blocks away before i even pulled out my cellphone.

in my opinion it should be IMMEDIATELY return fire or GTFO. since you wisely decided that opening fire wasnt the right decision, you should have immediately bolted, and not risked your own butt.

still, all of this is my two cents. It sounds to me like you kicked it into overdrive, and reacted quickly and effectively, but instead of protecting yourself you observed and reported. Nothing wrong with this, but if your concern is that you put yourself in danger, your immediate reaction next time should be to get the heck out of there FIRST.
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Old November 12, 2011, 11:09 AM   #3
Lee Lapin
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Nothing like getting inside your own OODA loop .

Freezing to some degree in that sort of situation is pretty much a reflex for 'normal' people. Everyone seems to think about "fight or flight" but the usual range of reflexive responses to sudden unexpected stimulus are more like "freeze, flight or fight."

Orient (locate the stimulus)

Observe (see what the stimulus actually is)

Decide (determine what the stimulus means to you)

Act (do something about it)

Sometimes it takes a bit to work your way through those four steps. Thinking about the process and analyzing your possible reactions ahead of time will help speed it up next time you are confronted with something unexpected.

Sounds to me as if you did pretty much what any normal person would do in a similar situation, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Giving http://www.teddytactical.com/Sharpen...0Awareness.htm a read might help you some. For more on the OODA Loop, see http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/59/pilot.html .
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Old November 12, 2011, 12:03 PM   #4
briandg
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No. You did not freeze.

You grabbed your phone.
You counted the rounds.
you not only observed, but memorized their clothing, so you could give a statement.
You waited until the situation absolutely called for retreat, and when you saw that, you retreated.
You did not retreat by blindly fleeing the scene, you even caught the last bit of pertinent information; the perps ran, and you observed where they went.

What in the world makes you think that you froze? Do you think that you should have done something else, like grabbing a gun instea of the phone? are you woundering, should you have just bailed out at the sound of the shots?

I have listed some of the crucial moments in that event. I don't believe I would have done as well. Maybe, maybe not. Your handling of the situation was spot on. the only thing a professional would have done that you didn't do was intercede.

Now, you KNOW, without a doubt, that you performed very well and did exactly what needed to be done.

What, in detail, do you think you did wrong? Explain to me. Give me a reason to believe that you are stupid, prove to me that you aren't competent. Show me what you did wrong.
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Old November 12, 2011, 12:31 PM   #5
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You're reading too much tactical crap, monkey. You saw an apparent armed encounter unfold while you were stuck in traffic. You noted what you saw, notified the the authorities & got the hell out of there at the first opportunity. The only way I can improve on that for you, is to juggle your priorities a bit.

1. You saw an apparent armed encounter unfold while you were stuck in traffic.

2. You got the hell out of there.

3. You notified the the authorities at the first opportunity.

Yes, witnesses are important in cases like this. They are however hard to interview when they're on a ventilator. My guess is that the locals pretty well know the hood rats who hang out in that area. It is great that you called. Don't stick around to catch a bullet.

Also, don't even consider jumping into such a melee. There are no good reasons to do it and a million reasons not to.
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Old November 12, 2011, 01:16 PM   #6
Glenn Dee
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As others have said.... you did not freeze... You have way too detailed an account to have frozen. I also believe that your priorities were correct. And done in a timely manner.

Dont let anyone tell you otherwise...

Glenn D.
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Old November 12, 2011, 07:25 PM   #7
monkey95
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Lee, thanks for the links

Briandg, I don't really think I did anything wrong or that I am stupid, just reacted differently than I thought I would.....leave quickly.

Sarge, I do enjoy reading the various situation/scenarios on this forum and wondering what I would do. Invariably in these "do I intervene" scenarios I tell myself I would get gone in a hurry. Yet in this circumstance I watched leading to my use of freeze.

I am not using freeze to mean why didn't I get out, do a combat roll and double tap the kid. I never thought of going for a gun, didn't have one at the time anyway.

I truely thought someone was being shot(busy car wash) had I intervened with deadly force it would have been over vandalism, just with a gun.

And, this isn't really bothering me, just think about it from time to time.

Thanks for all the responses and feedback.
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Old November 12, 2011, 08:25 PM   #8
357 Python
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Stop second guessing yourself, you did just fine. First you observed what happened and was calling when they noticed you. Then you left when you thought you might be in danger. What is wrong with that? You gave law enforcement the information you had available to you. What more could you do? Unless you are a police officer driving a patrol car with all the necessary gear and two-way radios you had no duty to anything more than what you did. Wish more people would make those phone calls. The most important thing is you are still around to question yourself, ask us our opinions, and to make those phone calls when necessary. Stay safe.
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Old November 12, 2011, 10:32 PM   #9
monkey95
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357 python...Thanks, I dont feel I needed to do anything more. From reading all the replys I guess what it boils down to,for me, is that I did not follow my "plan".

As Sarge said I like to read scenarios/situations and come up with what I THINK I would do. I might need to rethink that.(maybe I think to much!)

In this scenario I thought I would bolt but I did not.

I don't have a CHL but often carry concealed in my car(legal in Tx) but by no means do I feel that I am a LEO.

Thanks again for all the responses.
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Old November 12, 2011, 11:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Briandg, I don't really think I did anything wrong or that I am stupid, just reacted differently than I thought I would.....leave quickly.
Let me throw something in here for everyone to consider. You expected that under these circumstances, you would have naturally switched into flight mode, since fight is not practical.

When this challenging moment came, you recognized that intervention was impossible. Rather than committing wholeheartedly to flight, you did what some of us in the world refer to

rising up to the challenge before us.

You stayed in an area that had risk, and did things that were necessary, that there was nobody else around to do. You hung in there, with a potential murderer.

These are the minor heroic deeds that are what make us strong.

I can understand second guessing yourself, and minimizing what you did, and all the things that we do to ourselves. It's human nature. I do it myself.

But you, regardless of whatever else happened, you did important things. you didn't flinch in the face of potential danger. you were smart about it, too. That's all a person can ask.
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Old November 13, 2011, 12:59 AM   #11
Powderman
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Monkey, you thought that you froze. You did not.

Welcome to your first true experience with tachypsychia. It seems that time slows to a crawl, and that you're moving through syrup.

From what you have posted, you did well.
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Old November 13, 2011, 01:53 AM   #12
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I think you grabbed the phone too early. It turned out ok since you had been driving away in the first place. Glad you are ok. You deserve credit for being able to mentally write down their descriptions.
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Old November 13, 2011, 01:55 AM   #13
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Did you call the police? Yes.
Are you unharmed? Yes.

You did fine.
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Old November 13, 2011, 02:48 AM   #14
therealdeal
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Buzzcook

Quote:
Did you call the police? Yes.
Are you unharmed? Yes.

You did fine.
I know this is a favorite cliche, and it does ring true. However and respectively, it is debatable. Even the OP states:

Quote:
Part of me says I froze. At the instant I realized what was going on I should have gunned it out of there.
In another similar situation, the thugs could've run towards him shooting instead of fleeing in the opposite direction. His gut was telling him he needed to go.
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Old November 14, 2011, 03:43 PM   #15
Obambulate
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They were probably trying to shoot open the locks on the change machine.

You did good.
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Old November 14, 2011, 05:10 PM   #16
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Ended with you going home safe and sound, you did good.
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Old November 14, 2011, 05:56 PM   #17
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I agree with what Biandg said. You didn't freeze. You were assessing the situation and made a rational decision to try to call 911, but leave when they spotted you.l
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Old November 14, 2011, 06:04 PM   #18
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Questioning what?

If any, the questions you should be asking are:

How many other people would have even bothered to call the police?

If so, would they have had the presence of mind to give a good description?

How many people who carry might have done something stupid, like try to intervene themselves? - there is no Psych exam for most (all?) CHL permits

Most of all, you always had your escape vector ready - you were sitting in it
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Old November 15, 2011, 01:22 AM   #19
monkey95
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Yeah, I am over the questioning now, thanks to responses. I got hung up on the "plan" thing, "forrest for the trees" , if you will.

The other part, and I am "pretty" sure this is common, no adrenaline felt until I left and on the phone with 911. By the time I arrived home, 1-2 minutes, I freaked out my wife because I was shaking uncontrollably.

Last edited by monkey95; November 15, 2011 at 01:23 AM. Reason: not sure
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Old November 15, 2011, 01:28 AM   #20
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Yea ok, well now it's over with, now let's move on
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Old November 15, 2011, 01:41 AM   #21
4V50 Gary
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OODA Loop. Look it up, practice and apply. Your response time will quicken.

BTW, don't knock yourself. You weren't raised in a combat zone.
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Old November 15, 2011, 02:30 AM   #22
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I hope no one jumps on me for interjecting my thought.. Always a day late... If you look at your list of events, they were focused on what they were doing (you: not in danger) then you say they realized you were there(you: possible danger) you gas and go. Sounds to me like you didn't jump the gun and make a decision before a decision had to be made. Sounds like you made an instantaneous decision ... when it was decision time that is. JMO and I know they are like backsides, abundant and odorous...
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Old November 15, 2011, 06:12 PM   #23
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Since you are not a LEO, and I'm not one any more, you did exactly what I would hope that I had the sense to do. Good job
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Old November 15, 2011, 07:24 PM   #24
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What is it that pilots say? "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing"?

Your wife still has a husband, your kids still have a father.

By the same token, there are mothers that still have their children because you used your finger to dial instead of shoot. Just because you have a pistol doesn't mean you have to use it.

People have left tons of good input that I, for one, really appreciate reading.
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Old November 15, 2011, 07:58 PM   #25
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You did fine. I am a Deputy Constable with years as a LEO.
You had no reason to get further involved.
They didn't shoot at you and you did what you could.
You are under no obligation to go to the aid of property of another person.
You are going through what most people do when they've gone through a traumatic situation, you're rehashing what you did as opposed to what you might have done. We all do it all the time. I do it all the time. Next time, maybe similar situation, you'll do the best you can, just like this time.
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