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Old August 13, 2009, 11:25 PM   #1
Join Date: July 2, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 87
The girlfriend and the bank.

The other day I drove my girlfriend to the bank so she could withdraw some money. I pulled into a parking spot and she got out to go inside. As I'm waiting for her I notice a guy walking from the other side of the parking lot where there were a few houses...and a fence. I had no clue where he came from. I casually watched him out of the corner of my eye and he made eye contact and I smiled and nodded at him, he smiled and nodded back at me. I saw that he was wearing odd clothes (i.e. it's 90 degrees out and he's wearing baggy jeans and a zip up thin sweatshirt). So I watch him as he enters the bank and turns and looks at me before hurrying in.

At this point I'm starting to think more in depth about the situation. About 30 seconds after he entered my girlfriend walked out...followed by the guy. I rolled down my window and yelled at her "Hurry up! We're going to be late for the movie!" She looked at me funny (we weren't going to see a movie...) but hurried up anyways and got in the car. The guy then got in front of my car and I hurried up and drove away, watching as he headed back to where I think he came from.

I asked her if he saw an attendant or anything. She said he walked in, someone asked if they could help him and he said " nevermind" and walked out behind her.

Looking back on this situation I'm trying to think if what I did was alright...sitting in the car waiting, rolling down my window to tell her to hurry up...etc. First...I don't have my cpl yet (YET!!!!) but even if we say I did and I had the firearm on me, I don't think i would've acted differently. I'm not a fan of doing something I wouldn't normally do just because I would have a firearm. Than again...was what I did good? After suspecting something being up, should I have gotten out of my car and went inside? Should I have gotten out of my car when I saw my girlfriend coming?

I'm just looking for input and thoughts on the situation, it still seems very strange for me and I think could have gone a lot worse (what would've happened if my g/f was by herself, as an example?) My girlfriend and I talked about a code phrase if we thought something was wrong. We hadn't had one before, but she understood the meaning of the being late to a movie phrase, I'm just trying to think of something that we could use in all situations...if such a phrase exists.

Thoughts, suggestions, input, and anything else is all greatly appreciated. What would you have done? Am I over-thinking this situation? Thanks!
Xyas is offline  
Old August 13, 2009, 11:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: January 27, 2005
Location: Richmond VA - home of a street full of second-place trophies.
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Sounds like you did quite well.

1) Noticed something not quite right? Check!
2) Activated OODA Loop? Check!
3) Created plan on the fly based on what you knew, what you had, and what you wanted to accomplish? Check!
4) You & GF departed without trauma or drama? Check!

The only possible alternative would have been to accompany GF into the bank - but then you might not have noticed the strange guy until too late.

Do not over-think situations. IMHO #4 above is the ultimate goal. If you have accomplished that you did everything you needed to.

stay safe.

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Old August 14, 2009, 09:55 AM   #3
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Sounds like you ruined a perfectly good bank robbery.
“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth.” Ronald Reagan

I'm a proud member of a North Carolina Committee of Safety
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Old August 14, 2009, 10:07 AM   #4
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Sounds like you did good to me. You being out in the parking lot, in the car, could be what made him go home. Maybe he thought since a witness was out side beyond his control, he wouldn't risk it.

I think the Movie line you yelled to her was a great idea. When she didn't understand at first, did it make her realize something was wrong? Just curious, as it seems like everything worked out fine.

My wife would've said, "what the hell are you talking about?"
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Old August 14, 2009, 10:45 AM   #5
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Sounds like you did fine to me though I might have written down (or dictated, my phone has a great voice recorder built in) a detailed description to give to the police if something else happened.

After suspecting something being up, should I have gotten out of my car and went inside?
NO. If something had been up that would have put you inside the bad guy(s) sphere of influence.
also, as I've ranted about before, if you see one suspected bad guy you simply MUST assume that there might be others you haven't noticed yet.

Should I have gotten out of my car when I saw my girlfriend coming?
Hard to say but I'd lean towards NO. Have the car ready to run in case you and she needed to make a quick exit.

My girlfriend and I talked about a code phrase if we thought something was wrong.
A huge YES on the "code phrases"! This is a PRIME example of why my wife and I have a few "code phrases" set up so that we can communicate urgency without tipping our hand.

For example, I HATE mashed potatoes and will NEVER eat them so if I were to say at any given time "Gosh I'm hungry, you know I really want some mashed potatoes" my wife knows that means "EMERGENCY, WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!" Yet the phrase itself is innocent and could be inserted into almost any conversation at any time without alerting others that it's a "panic button".

Happily your "we'll be late for the movies" worked, but go ahead and figure out an "emergency phrase" or two of your own. It's one of those things that sounds really silly right up until you need it.
"The dogs may bark but the caravan moves on"

Last edited by ZeSpectre; August 14, 2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old August 14, 2009, 12:07 PM   #6
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Sounds to me like you did fine. I have my CCW and am also married to a man with a CCW. I think he'd probably have done what you did; the point of having a gun is *not* to change what you do when nobody has yet threatened anyone's life.

I also think I'm going to talk with him about code phrases. :-)
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Old August 14, 2009, 02:06 PM   #7
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Good situational awareness

First off, you and GF drove off into the sunset, so all was well. Nice job on the situational awareness - noticing the clothes and all. But i'm curious if your first reaction was to assess him as A) a direct threat to your GF or B) just generally that he might rob the joint and indirectly (or perhaps directly) threaten her in the process. To me, that assessment dictates how you act. Seems like you initially thought A, then when he followed her out it became B.

A bank is a pretty public place, may have a guard on duty, and generally there is always somebody going in or coming out - one of the reasons a successful take-over style robbery is so difficult. I still think staying out, listening and watching, was your best bet. If you had walked in, and walked in on a robbery, could you have made your GF any safer? Most bank robbers, unless they panic, don't shoot up the bank. Walking in might have caused him to panic and placed her in greater danger. Then again, it would take some serious self-control to stay outside if you thought a robbery was going down (because she might be in real danger).

It's all hypothetical. Until it's real. Glad it all turned out ok.

Suppose that instead of a bank, where the guessed intent of the hood is to rob the place, he had followed her into a parking garage where you just dropped her off to retrieve her car. She disappears into shadows, then he follows. Would you make the same decisions and react the same way? I think not.

The garage is much less public, poorly lit, and without the cash/vault, his perceived evil intent would be aimed at her person, not at robbing a teller. (I'm assuming you wouldn't think he was there to pick up his own car). In that event, i would immediately exit my vehicle and get after her at high speed - or better yet, drive the car in. If you're wrong about him, you and GF can laugh it off later. But if you're right, you don't want her to encounter the dude alone even if she is carrying. All manner of unspeakable things might happen if you're too slow, or he might just be bumming a cigarette from a pretty girl.

And therein lies the rub. You can't live oblivious to the things around you, but you almost never have enough information, especially if the scenario is unfolding around you in realtime, so you have to assess what you can and make quick decisions.

You sound like someone who is, or will be, a good sheepdog. Welcome to the club, and definitely get that CCW. Study tactics. Get advanced training. TFL is an excellent source of (usually) very good debate on real or hypothetical situations, but there's no substitute for that brain you already have.
"To my mind it is wholly irresponsible to go into the world incapable of preventing violence, injury, crime, and death. How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness... How pathetic." - - Ted Nugent

"Cogito, Ergo Armitum Sum" - (I Think, Therefore I Am Armed)- - anon.
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Old August 14, 2009, 02:19 PM   #8
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Good story - thanks for posting. I hope that my wife and I would handle the same situation with equally good results!
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes." - Thomas Jefferson's "Commonplace Book," 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764
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Old August 14, 2009, 02:32 PM   #9
Join Date: July 29, 2009
Location: Nampa, Idaho
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Lots of "Ifs". Important thing - you and your gal are still upright and sucking air.
The purpose of fighting is to Win. There is no possible victory in defense. The sword is more Important than the shield, and skill is more important than either. The Final weapon is the brain. All else is supplemental. (Author unknown)
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