A TTAG commentator (who wishes to remain anonymous) emailed RF the following account of a near-defensive gun use (DGU):

“Most people leave their work at the office. But for personal protection specialists, that is not always an option. We live in a world where protective tactics are a necessary part of reality. Today, I was confronted with a situation that proved this to be true . . .

Earlier today, I was harassed and verbally assaulted by a man who thought that I stole ‘his’ parking space. As I sat in my car, I watched him walk towards me with all of the warning signs of escalating violence. I locked my doors and rolled up the windows.

Sure enough, his first action (amidst yelling and cursing) was to try to open my door. “Come out or I’ll make you come out,” he yelled as he pounded on my window. I told him calmly that I was going to leave; and leave I did. There was no escalation on my part, no one was hurt, no property was damaged, societal order was not interrupted, and the public was blithely unaware of what just happened.

In my car I had a .38 on my ankle, a 9mm on my hip, a knife in my pocket, an asp, a large can of mace, and mostly importantly the training and the willingness to legally and ethically use whatever force may have been necessary to stop the threat. Far more often than not though, the only force we need – as protection specialists AND as civilians – is the strength to avoid temptation, de-escalate the threat with words, make sure others are safe and walk away.

30 Responses to Self Defense Tip: Just Walk Away. Or Drive.

  1. Very True.When I acquired my permit to carry Sun Tzu’s words came to mind;”the only fight you win is one you avoid”.Carrying a firearm increases the respect for human life by very good meaure,so that instead of my piece supposedly “provoking” a fight,its a 2 pound reminder that life is too precious to waste over who cut off who in traffic or which girl so and so hugged at the bar.

    • This is something that gun control advocates do not understand.

      Being armed I already know how the story turns out at the end, and it’s not going to be good for anyone. I am not going to get arrested, sued or harassed in the media over a parking spot. It is possible that in the same situation I might have missed a blinking turn signal indicating the desire to park in that space or otherwise misread the situation. None of that is worth shooting or getting shot over.

  2. Sounds like he did a darned good job keeping his head on straight. Some people would have tapped their 9mm up against the glass and used some fancy french phrases to get the other person to leave.

  3. “… is the strength to avoid temptation, de-escalate the threat with words, make sure others are safe and walk away”
    — Those are the words of a man who is strong, wise, and secure with himself.

    I’m all for personal liberty and self-actualization. Yet, in America, there is far too much emphasis on self-absorption, worshiping the cult of the individual, and confusing the need for excessive protecting (reacting mode) of modern fragile egos (so to feel momentarily superior to another person) rather than understanding the greater concepts of common-sense, civility, and personal honor.

  4. It’s a story that’s played out every day. There’s something about wearing a hunk of metal on the hip that calms people down. The same obnoxious jerks who might have pissed us off now make us laugh. We watch them in our rearview mirror, ranting and raving like a five year old having a temper tantrum, while we calmly drive away.

  5. I suspect that trying to open the car door, and making a threat as reported would likely be grounds for believing one was in immediate danger, and thus making a subsequent shooting justifiable. But it is difficult to know these things in advance. Better to use a cool head and leave. I’ve read stories of people in Miami being shot over parking spots.

    The other day while at a red light, an obviously crazy Negro was walking in and out of the stopped traffic, jumping around, flailing his arms, and otherwise acting psychotic. As he walked up to my car window he began yelling words I couldn’t understand, while my hand gripped my pistol that I’d taken out when I saw him approaching. If he had tried to break my windshield, etc I would have shot him, but he walked on and there was no incident. I consider myself lucky, but generally crazy people do not have an intent to harm, so I was not too surprised.

    • So true. Like when an old dude cuts you and your family off leaving Costco at an intersection you are greening through as he takes a left turn sweeping two lanes with a red light flipping you off with his window down telling you to go rodger yourself?

      Yeah… good times 😉

    • I drive something over 30,000 miles a year and see all kinds of bad and dangerous driving. I do not allow myself to succumb to road rage, but I do allow myself the thought that these folks that drive so badly, so insanely, do eventually get culled from the herd. They tend to either pile up into a tree, or bridge abuttment, or off the grill of a semi, or get run off the road and shot by someone with less patience than me. 😀

  6. I agree that demanding respect from an irritated driver or repairing a bruised ego are horrible reasons for my wife and kids to find out I won’t be coming home that day, or ever. But, I don’t think the choice is just between backing down or shooting an aggressor.

    The man is likely emboldened for the next situation where he feels wronged over something so trivial. To him it won’t be trivial. It will be his right. If he felt this way toward a fairly young, physically fit man (guessing here), he will likely not care when it’s a woman or an elderly driver. Taxi Driver and Passenger Beat Man to Death During Parking Lot Squabble

    Like a couple of dogs in my neighborhood whose owners let them run free in the front yard all the time. They would chase everyone who walked or jogged within 50 feet of their property because they thought it was their territory. Every time someone ran off it only reinforced this idea. When it happened to me, I turned around chased the dog back to its yard (this was in CA, so I didn’t carry at the time). Another time while walking my dog across the street from their house, they came out. I stood my ground and let my dog’s leash go slack to defend herself until the owner could calm his dog and take it back. Animals need to have bad behavior modified. This doesn’t always mean the animal is injured or killed. Had I had mace, I don’t think the situation would have even warranted that just yet.

    In the OP’s situation, I definitely wouldn’t have escalated by stepping out. Having a gun doesn’t mean I’m going to leave a safe location just because I have the ability to eliminate the threat. But, maybe I would have stayed in the spot and waited to see if he’s going to calm down and leave. If so, I’d still probably leave as soon as he’s gone. No point in sticking around hoping he didn’t change his mind before I got done with my shopping. If he doesn’t calm and leave, then get on the phone with 911 and let them know I will shoot if necessary. Seems that when 911 knows you have a gun the call priority tends to go up some. Best case, the cops inform him that he was about to be shot if he got any more aggressive, but if he just leaves that’s fine too. Either way this man’s behavior gets modified just a bit and everyone still gets to go home.

  7. Practicing our 2nd ammendment right teaches responsibility. You hold the power of life and death in your hand, and must act accordingly. If more people learned this most basic lesson, we would live in a much better world. Another great argument for teaching children about firearms.

  8. Great thread. MikeB must have missed it, because I don’t see any of his disparaging remarks.

    Here’s how I look at it while I’m carrying, and even while I’m not: I have to deal with this A-hole for only a few minutes, and I’m free to leave in search of more reasonable company. The A-hole has to deal with himself every times he looks in a mirror. He probably keeps company with unsavory folks as well, and his anger is a constant companion. For him, there is no escape.

    • That’s what I was thinking. By calmly leaving the situation and not escalating or even talking back at the guy, in effect, a mirror was put in his face. Had the OP acted in opposition to the guy it would have given him an excuse (to himself) to blame him. Now all he has is himself to look at.

      Sometimes the ultimate justice is that the bad guy has to live with himself.

  9. Very disciplined response from a well-trained gun owner, but one cannot help but wonder what happens when the other driver meets a less stable gun owner under the same conditions. Minimum outcome: the other driver starts to count all of his lucky stars that the next guy merely points a firearm at him.

  10. He did the right thing and left without anyone getting hurt. There’s no shame in walking away and everyone would be better off following his example.

  11. ofHaving a gun at your side sure does put things in perspective. I had a guy barge into our apartment over a petty amount of cash and his misunderstanding. Being a home carry kind of guy I let him stand there in my apartment while my wife and kid did what they are supposed to do. They ran to another room, locking the door and loaded my shotgun. He went on and on about how he felt slighted about recent events (ironically he was the one doing all the slighting) and that I had to hear him out so by God he didn’t know what he was going to do to me. He had already laid hands on me and shoved himself into my home…

    He talked. I talked. We came to an understanding that throwing someone and their family out of a home they were invited into as tenants with one days notice was not good practice and that the tossed tenants (for no good reason) had not cleaned before having all their belongings thrown outside on the ground was a ridiculous concept.

    After threatening me with violence and alluding to his mentally and criminally troubled past a little talking solved the issue. He was wrong. He talked to other people about me and my family and other people fed him crap. He threatened me and my own with violence in my house based on nothing in reality and his obviously non-thinking bravado.

    After a few deep breaths he was calm and noticed the gun on my hip which my hand was rested on with holster popped. Only then did he realize how matureand understanding I was and who would win the argument if he decided to be ‘not sure’ what he would do to us. For me all was calm. An unarmed man was threatening me and my family with violence. I was armed thanks to home carry. If I was not I would have beaten this man half to death in defense of my family. I felt no need as he was just a large target framed in my foyer. We joked and had a laugh over how he could be so stupid kicking in a door in a castle state. I wished him well.

  12. You’re a better man than me. I pulled into a gas station a few years ago and had to drive around a pickup that was blocking part of the entrance. I pulled up behind one of the cars at the pump and waited for him to finish filling. When he pulled out I pulled into the spot. Immediately, the pickup driver was at my window screaming at me. He felt it was his right to block the entrance to the station so he could get the next available pump without committing himself to choosing one in advance.

    I made the mistake of rolling down my window and the second mistake of yelling back at him that he was crazy and he needed to go get back in his truck. He spit on me. To the extent that I could think at all, I decided my pants were less damaged by a tiny bit of spit than they would be by a fight that might end up on the dirty frozen concrete next to a gas pump.

    Just then a spot opened at another pump and he got back in his truck and positioned it to fill up. Once there was some distance between us I got out and started filling my tank. Either he had calmed down by then or he decided since I was a head taller than him he didn’t want to fight after all.

    I probably should have just driven away when he appeared at my window but I got all mentally locked into the confrontation and I wasn’t thinking about alternatives. I still wish I had recorded his license plate and filed a police report, because in my experience this kind of behavior is part of a pattern and additional information is useful to the police when they deal with such an individual.

    The moral of the story is to think these scenarios through in advance. If I had read this post before that incident, I would have had the sense to move away.

  13. I’m not so sure ignoring it was the best course of action. You should have called the police.

    Nutcases who lack such self control as to escalate to violence over something this small will see this as validation that violence gets them what they want. The next person who runs into this hothead will likely end up injured or dead.

    Something exactly like this happened to someone on the NASIOC forum. Except the victim was boxed in by cars and couldn’t move. So he defended himself with his gun, the perp backed down until the cops arrived. Turns out the perp had a long history of violence. A few weeks after his incident, the perp deliberately ran someone off the road and seriously injured them.

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