During my heyday of competitive shooting and working undercover, I ran a bit paranoid. And I shot. A lot. I competed. A lot. Every week for years. I was also teaching survival skills and shooting skills at our state police academy. Fortunately, these teachings and feelings carried over to the wife, as our kids were now in grade school. Somewhere in there, she got her concealed carry license. Out of all the guns I (OK, we) had, she settled on a Makarov in 9X18 . . .
On this day, though, she and I were on our way to a funeral for a very good friend, Al Mar of Al Mar Knives. I was in a suit, she was in a black dress. As the situation negated the usual 50-pound purse, all she carried was something called a clutch (it didn’t resemble any clutches I’ve ever installed). So I was the only one carrying a firearm (note to self: buy her a gun that fits a ‘clutch’).
I folded my suit coat over the seat of the car, and off we went. A few miles from home, we stopped at a 7-11 convenience store for something and I left the car running as I went into the store. As I wasn’t wearing my suit coat to cover my GLOCK, I left it jammed, muzzle down, between the seats.
I made my little purchase and went back out to the car. There I found my wife sitting in her seat, facing the driver’s door, two-handed grip on my G17. I’m thinking, WTF?
She was shaking like a pooch pooping peach pits. Tears were welling up. I took the GLOCK from her and asked her what was wrong. She told me that right after I went into the store, a creepy looking guy walked up to the car and opened up the driver’s door. Remember, the car was still running.
He started to get in when she grabbed the GLOCK and pointed it at him. She said he got an “Oh sh!t” look on his face and ran off, closing the door behind him. That’s when I came out, clueless.
I was angry with myself for not paying attention. Based on her description, I had a pretty good idea who it was. (I was a cop in a pretty small town). We drove in a circle for a couple of blocks looking for the guy, but never found him. Since the funeral was pretty important, we left for downtown Portland. In my mind, though, I knew I’d be visiting a certain person in the next couple of days.
As I knew who trained my wife for her concealed handgun permit class (a good friend) I knew his philosophies, his training methods, his rules and standards. I never really had a fear my wife would do the wrong thing. I had also convinced her to be my sparring partner for defensive techniques. So I knew she was tough.
By Tom in Oregon
Still, a few of lessons learned here:
1) Does your significant other know how to operate your guns?
2) Would not having windows tinted have prevented have this? If the dude seen that the car was occupied, would he have he even tried?
3) Situational awareness. The counter at this store oriented you with your back to the lot as you payed. Good for the clerk, bad for the customer. I was stupid for not ‘checking my own six’.
4) Car left running? Unlocked?
Now, looking back, we can laugh. Here’s why. We finally got parked in downtown Portland. As we were walking a few blocks to the ceremony the wife remembered she has the pepper spray on her key chain that I gave her. She decided to give it a test spray to make sure it worked.
Yup, she walked right into the red mist. Tears were a-streaming when we walked into the temple. Mascara had already run from the half hour before. Friends were comforting her. Good. Me? I’m mourning the loss of someone all of us would have been proud to call “friend,” yet stifling a chuckle.
Al would have laughed. Lessons learned.