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Old November 24, 2011, 11:07 AM   #1
Ruark
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Dealing with a "follower"

You're walking back to your car, possibly with your wife, after dark, after spending a few hours in a downtown night spot, where the nearest parking is several blocks away in a dark parking lot (a common situation). You notice a couple of unsavory-looking guys following you, but you're not sure if they're following you, or just walking back to their car, too.

As you approach your parking lot, you notice they're still about 15 feet behind you. They turn left and right when you do, even walk between cars when you do. Now it's 99% certain they're following you. You look back and remark, sternly, "...you guys, following us, or what?" They remain silent.

Given the ramifications of drawing out a gun, how do you deal with this situation? What is the "draw point," so to speak?
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Old November 24, 2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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When I know ahead of time that I am going to such a place, that I may have to walk a ways, or several blocks to get back to my vehicle, especially after dark. I always carry my Streamlight Scorpion in my pocket, it is more than just a light, it is a weapon. It can not only allow you to identify who is behind you, you also temporarily blind the person giving you that extra second or two to make a decision of which way to go next, basically fight or flight. I definitely would not just turn around, with gun drawn and have them get face first on the ground. You could end up with a bad brandishing charge. Just my .02...
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Old November 24, 2011, 11:56 AM   #3
8MM Mauser
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The draw point is when you are threatened with great bodily harm.
I've had hobos follow me for four or five blocks just to ask me for change, you can't always assume people have bad intentions.
Point is you don't know why they are following you yet, so it's not time to draw a weapon... What if your wife dropped something? If they come at you without speaking well, then I might, but they may have innocent intentions and then you will be in trouble.
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Old November 24, 2011, 12:21 PM   #4
Don H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8MM Mauser
The draw point is when you are threatened with great bodily harm.
That's a pretty broad statement that may be applicable in some states but is not applicable in all states. In my state, in the circumstances described, the person being followed could, most likely, legally draw his weapon at the point where he turned and verbally confronted the followers in the OP. The person being followed could legally, at an earlier point, inform the followers he was armed. The operative phrase in the law is: "reasonably believing the action to be necessary".

I'll quote the law for the sake of dicusssion:

Quote:
76-10-506. Threatening with or using dangerous weapon in fight or quarrel.
(1) As used in this section, "threatening manner" does not include:
(a) the possession of a dangerous weapon, whether visible or concealed, without additional behavior which is threatening; or
(b) informing another of the actor's possession of a deadly weapon in order to prevent what the actor reasonably perceives as a possible use of unlawful force by the other and the actor is not engaged in any activity described in Subsection 76-2-402(2)(a).
(2) Except as otherwise provided in Section 76-2-402 and for those persons described in Section 76-10-503, a person who, in the presence of two or more persons, draws or exhibits a dangerous weapon in an angry and threatening manner or unlawfully uses a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
(3) This section does not apply to a person who, reasonably believing the action to be necessary in compliance with Section 76-2-402, with purpose to prevent another's use of unlawful force:
(a) threatens the use of a dangerous weapon; or
(b) draws or exhibits a dangerous weapon.

Amended by Chapter 361, 2010 General Session
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Old November 24, 2011, 12:35 PM   #5
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Don't go to your car because it takes precious seconds to unlock and get it - if they are that close. Whether or not you are carrying, get to a brightly lite area with other folks around. This is the easy answer.

If you can't get to a safe are, then it gets gray fast depending on whether or not you are carrying a gun or another weapon.

If you can't get to a safe place and you are carrying and have no choice, draw turn around but don't point the weapon at them yet. If they continue to approach, tell 'em to get F away from you. Point and shoot if they continue.

If you have another weapon but not a gun, have your wife get away and buy her some time. If she is able to fight have her assist. If you don't have a weapon, use your car keys or anything else you can locate around you. If it is absolutely a threat and you can't get away, make an attack. A lot of BGs will not expect that from a potential victim. They are basically cowards who target prey they perceived as weak.

The thing is - I personally never leave the house w/o a gun or knife and pepper spray. I feel that EVERYONE should do the same. This is 100x true if you have loved ones with you. An old mentor once said to me that a man is at his weakest (most vulnerable) when he is with his family (loved ones); Heh, he was one wise man...
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Old November 24, 2011, 12:46 PM   #6
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Strangers following me? All too easy.

Loud shouty voice, strong hand on weapon, weak hand outstretched:

"What the F- do you want!?

Why are you following me?

Are you F-ing crazy?

Get the hell away from me!!!"

Of course if they turn out to be Mormons or Jehovah's witness they learn a lesson too.

Sorry for the cursing but that is what I would say....

Oh and never walk straight to your car if people are following you.
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Old November 24, 2011, 01:42 PM   #7
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I'm arrogant, young, and apparently I always have a menacing look on my face. I have no problem just turning around and looking at them. I'd get to the car while anyone who was with me got in, and stare at them. If they want something, they know they're being watched. If they aren't discouraged, then we're likely gone before anything can happen. Unfortunately, I'm the only one around who pays any attention, so I pull double duty in watching out for the group.

I recently had a guy walk up to the side of the truck opposite me while I was pumping gas. He was obviously drunk, talking about the truck. I wasn't pleased because I couldn't see his hands over the bed of the truck. I figured it's either I see his hands or I have cover/concealment. He was a nice guy, just drunk. We did alert the store, they called the police after we had left. He was selling shots of tequila from an open bottle he had.
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Old November 24, 2011, 02:10 PM   #8
8MM Mauser
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Laws aside, I woudnt draw till my wife or i were threatened. That's just me though.
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Old November 24, 2011, 02:15 PM   #9
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IMHO the situation you describe warrents not keeping your back to them. fifteen feet is too damn close, especially after they've made several turns and other moves seemingly to remain behind you.

I personally would face them and offer a verbal greeting, "Can I help you?",
"How are you guys doing tonight?", or some such.

While doing this I would unobtrusively reach under my cover garment and place my hand on the grip of my carry gun, thumb on the release. The way I carry makes it almost impossible for someone standing in front of me to observe what I'm doing. If the situation turns out to be non-threatening it is equally easy to pretend I'm just tucking my shirt or pulling up my pants.

happy Thanksgiving, Bill

P.S. Since I'm a southpaw and carry strong side I'm obsessive about my girlfriend always holding hands on my right side when we're out walking anywhere.
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Old November 24, 2011, 02:41 PM   #10
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Forgot to mention, I don't draw a knife unless presented with a weapon, or if they are after a female I'm with. However, I know I'm better off without a weapon if they have a knife or club. Against a gun, I'd rather get out of there before any shooting happens, seeing as I don't have a pistol... But I'm working on that. Though in California it's rather useless, as I can't carry here.
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Old November 24, 2011, 03:00 PM   #11
Kevin Rohrer
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This is a legitimate question. My recommendation is to get to a lighted area where the public is and stay there till they wander on. If that is not possible, I'd probably cross the street and put my back up against a wall, then challenge them if they also started to cross. My hand would be on my gun and I would suggest they keep walking away. If that didn't work, I would tell them I was armed and to not come any closer or I would shoot them both. If they got within 10-feet, I would draw my weapon. At that point, it would be decision-time.

I had that happen once while in college. It was 1030pm and class had just let out. I walked out of the building and headed towards my car by myself. Being an Orange Gunsite grad, I always try to stay at Yellow. Two guys dressed in camo pants and gang-style jackets were following me at a distance, matching my pace. I went to Red. I was carrying my model-36 and chuckled to myself at the time that if those two intended on waylaying me, they were in for a big surprise. Then they walked under a streetlight and I saw that they were members of the volunteer campus security (think Guardian Angels, it was when they were big). Back to Yellow.
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Old November 24, 2011, 03:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
gang-style jackets
???
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Old November 24, 2011, 08:15 PM   #13
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another alternative is having a gun you can fire inside your pocket, put hand on it & if needed, it is a trigger pull away, if not no one is the wiser.

cops around here used to do that at traffic stops with a leather lined pocket, & have a snubbie 38 in the pocket. & when I was younger, I always kept gun ready in pocket, more so than I do now. still armed most of the time.

on a note, I never get followed, never, unless person knows me, with a 1 + foot long beard, hair 3/4 down back, & biker clothes I wear, people normally leave me alone, but there can always be the first time.
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Old November 25, 2011, 06:03 AM   #14
Brevard
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I wouldn't draw but that isn't to say that my hand isn't on the grip of the gun in some situations. One of my biggest things is it depends on the time of day. 9am I am not too worried about stuff and would just turn and ask them if I could help them in a calm voice. Same for say around 1pm. But when it i sstarting to get dusk and on through the night I am more cautious and I seem to have more of a commanding no nonsense tone when confronting someone who I don't trust.

Not sure I agree with the don't walk to your car. It would all really be in where you park and what the conditions are like. Since my truck is old and beat up (no radio or anything valuable in my truck) I dont lock it. My truck key is on a quick release key chain so it isn't like I can't hurry start it up and go. But I understand people lock their doors and this is why I am a big advocate for keyless entry.

I'm not as parnoid coming out of say Wal-Mart as 99.999999% of the time it is usually someone walking to their car. I am more paranoid about opening the door of my home. That being said...if I feel something is hinky I'm quick to be ready to draw, but I always wait to assess the threat first.
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Old November 25, 2011, 06:51 AM   #15
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Cross the street and double back. You'll then know for sure if you're being followed.

If you are, head to a well-lit public area while watching your followers. Stay between your lady and the threat. She should be talking to the 911 operator while you walk. Don't interrupt her, but fill in details as to their description etc. as she needs.

If you are close to your vehicle she can move ahead and start it while you stay back delaying their advance. She can have the car backed out and ready to go as soon as your hind end hits the seat.
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Old November 25, 2011, 08:42 AM   #16
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The first thing to do is to assess whether there is a really threat.

What I would do is feign reaching for my wallet and say something like "Crap, we gotta go back". The idea being that I forgot something. Then make a wide turn to the left and walk past the "threat" on the left - guiding my companion to my right as I go.

That does a few things:

1. It's a dramatic change in direction, which means even if they were following us, they may not want to continue to do so since now it's obvious. This may quietly diffuse the situation without ANYONE getting hurt
2. It puts me facing the "threat" where I can better assess their intentions: Body language, Can I see their hands?, Etc.
3. It put's me between the "threat" and my companion to protect them if need be
4. Typically my gun is behind my right hip - further away from the "threat"
5. Since most people are right-handed, I am now on their weak side.
6. Passing side-to-side make a smaller target.

As I walk past, I would meet their gaze, if possible, smile and offer a very nonthreatening "How are ya?" as I keep walking.

Proceed to a safe location and reassess what I learned. And, talk to my companion about what I thought may be happening in case they didn't notice. Most people don't.

But, remember, we're not safe until you are out of the area.

If possible, I would find an alternate route to my car, or mingle with a larger group upon my next trip.

But it's all relaxed. I do not want to appear to be a threat.

Spinning on my heals with my hand on my gun, all steely-eyed and saying something like "What the F$%k do you want!?" or "Are you following me!?", may actually create a conflict when one did not previously exist.

It's actually a very good question. It's always better to think about these things before they happen and your pulse gets jacked up and your ability to reason is compromised.

I make it a habit of looking for choke points and possible hazards on my way FROM my car.
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Old November 25, 2011, 08:58 AM   #17
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Very good answer.
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Old November 25, 2011, 09:37 AM   #18
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Last time this sort of thing happened to the girlfriend and I it was at a small resort town near where I live at the beginning of summer. We were leaving the dance club we were at and walking down the strip (well lit, lots of people) and deciding whether or not we were ready to head home for the night.

Both of us noticed two somewhat largish males following us, so we stopped for a second (to any observers it would look like we stopped for a quick kiss) and so did they. This was a few months before I got my CCW. Started walking again, more aware now that they were doing the same - did this a few more times to same effect.

It's a small "town," but the main drag area is very well patrolled, so I just walked up to the first cop I saw and asked for directions - they lost interest pretty fast.

I have carried a blade since I was 14, but I use(d) the same rules for that that I do now with a pistol - only in a dire situation.
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Old November 25, 2011, 10:36 AM   #19
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Never be afraid to turn around and give someone the stink eye. Let them know you know they are there. Its not aggressive so if they escalate verbally or physically you still have room to de escalate the situation. If they say what the blank are you looking at just be polite and watch them walk away.

De escalate should be your mantra. You can not control the situation but never lose control of yourself. Think about breathing let your training do the rest.
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Old November 25, 2011, 10:58 AM   #20
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I can only speak for myself but I will draw a firearm when I am confident that failing to do so will immediately result in my suffering grievous injury. With me there really isnt a check list or (1) (2) (3) as many different situation can equate my above requirement.
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Old November 25, 2011, 02:57 PM   #21
Onward Allusion
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Quote:
Not sure I agree with the don't walk to your car.
15 feet is way too close to attempt to get into your car, especially with a wife/girlfriend in tow. It takes a second to close that distance and you will be limiting your maneuver room.
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Old November 25, 2011, 03:45 PM   #22
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You could always ask them "Do you know where the police station is at? im starting my new job there soon"
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Old November 25, 2011, 06:37 PM   #23
TexasJustice7
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Quote:
The draw point is when you are threatened with great bodily harm.
I've had hobos follow me for four or five blocks just to ask me for change, you can't always assume people have bad intentions.
Point is you don't know why they are following you yet, so it's not time to draw a weapon... What if your wife dropped something? If they come at you without speaking well, then I might, but they may have innocent intentions and then you will be in trouble.
I think we are overly concerned about anyone following us, because of our training. This morning, very early at an IHOP I noticed four individuals heading toward a restaurant. I did not trust, them but as you said its not time to draw. The nice thing about my backup S&W 38 Spl is I placed my hand on the gun in my pocket, not drawing but very ready. Next I stepped off the sidewalk and waited off the sidewalk, so if they came off the sidewalk toward me, then would be time to warn, and then draw. I had a disabled daughter with me so I did not want all four of them behind me. After they went on by, I knew everything was fine, but I did not know that, if I turned away from them. One thing I have learned on these forums is the value of carrying a pocket gun where one does not have to draw but can still get ready to meet a threat. That way, nobody yells gun, or claims brandishing.
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Old November 25, 2011, 06:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
As you approach your parking lot, you notice they're still about 15 feet behind you. They turn left and right when you do, even walk between cars when you do.
Wouldn't let unsavory characters follow me for half a block. If they made the same little detours I did, then that would make it rather obvious and they'd be hearing a very loud voice (more importantly, so would everyone else in the area). Their changing course to match mine, or intercept, is Orange alert--hand under coat on weapon. In winter, it's hand in heavy coat pocket holding 642. Hand on weapon is situational-- to be determined by specifics.

More than once, I've used the old stop to do a little window shopping trick, or acted like I needed to make a phone call, and then I was walking behind them.

Last edited by Nnobby45; November 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM.
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Old November 25, 2011, 08:22 PM   #25
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As offered by the OP, . . . could be a sticky situation, . . . especially in a "gun unfriendly" environment where they were just pranksters, or could pass themselves off as such.

My first inclination would be to cross the street to my left, . . . putting my wife on my right, . . . telling her to get her cell phone out, NOW, . . . and get ready to dial 911.

I would then seriously look for a dumpster against a wall, . . . a recessed doorway, . . . something that makes them come in to me.

I would duck in there and un-holster, hiding it behind my leg: and let the situation go from there. If they come in, . . . the loud question: "You guys lose something?, . . . got a problem?"

The ball is then in their court: no matter what they do, . . . I will call it in and wait for the cops, . . . in my little sheltered place.

The idea is to make them show their hand either way, . . .

May God bless,
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