What if you were the subject of this walk/drive-by shooting [starts at 1:20]? It’s hardly likely. I can’t find any details on the incident save chicagotribune.com‘s recap of what we see, but I think their title of the YouTube video makes it safe to assume we’re looking at a criminal-on-criminal beef. Even so, the incident highlights the simple fact that violent events happen very quickly. Which underscores the importance of what anti-gunners call “paranoia” and what gun gurus call situational awareness. Here’s the thing . . .

When you’re walking down a quiet suburban street you don’t expect to be the victim of a violent assault. When you see something out-of-place happening, the natural tendency is to disbelieve your own eyes. It takes a lot of evidence to shake you out of your complacency and convince you that something bad is going down. And even if and when you accept the reality of a developing dangerous situation, you’re behind the curve. Action beats reaction.

As I’ve said before, moving is your first best reaction to life-threatening danger. But you have to know to move. To do that, you have to be prepared to move. And you can’t be prepared to move if you’re going through your life assuming that everything is – and will continue to be – A-OK. I’m not saying it isn’t and it won’t be. I’m saying you need to have a part of your mind that’s thought about what you’d do if things go south.

For example, I’m writing post this in my garage. The door’s open, the birds are singing. The tornado threat’s gone and the air is as clear as a bell. I’m nursing a fresh cup of coffee. An Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva’s smoldering in the ash tray. Life is good. Should a stranger walk into this space, I know to get up and move towards the front of my car. Or withdraw into the house. Or run like hell into my backyard. Should the threat become unavoidable, I have a gun on my hip. I will move then draw.

I don’t expect this to happen. I don’t want it to happen. But if it does, I have options. And now that I have them, I can get on with the business of writing this post. That’s the same process I use when I’m out and about. I survey my surroundings, think about what I’d do if a threat arises (focusing on the location of available cover and/or concealment), then continue with my life.

Does that make me paranoid? If so, so be it. I don’t want to be caught flat-footed in a potentially deadly scenario; remembering that”highly unlikely” doesn’t mean “impossible.” Besides, if you’re carrying or have access to a gun, you’ve already accepted the possibility that you might have to use it. Why not be mentally prepared? Again, threat => move. But before that dreadful moment arrives – and you and I both hope it never does – briefly consider your self-defense options. That kind of quick and painless “paranoia” might someday save your life. [h/t DC Studios]

42 Responses to Guns For Beginners: “Paranoia” Is Your Friend

  1. At first I thought he was shooting the car, now I realize he was shooting behind him. That makes a lot more sense.

  2. I guess gun situational awareness is much like motorcycle sit. awareness. Riders are taught to always be thinking about an “escape” plan in any traffic situation. It’s DAMNED hard to do. But if you can practice enough to make it a HABIT, your’e gonna be way safer.

    • D2A – Yes, SIPDE. It is my life philosophy and works very well for all situations. For those of you who do not know this acronym:
      Scan
      Identify
      Predict
      Decide
      Execute

    • Not just motorcycles – cars too! With mirrors, it’s great to develop a habit of always keeping track of cars behind you, beside you, approaching you, etc. Not only does it make you a better driver (if something sudden happens and you have to swerve, you know your best odds right off if you have a choice), but it helps develop the situational awareness discipline of always having a mental map in your head of your surroundings and happenings all around you. That feeling of cognitive dissonance when you look up and suddenly a car you expected to see has disappeared – or one has appeared that you had no clue was nearby – is great to experience in an everyday situation like driving to help build some of your skills.

      • Yeah, I always joke that if somebody is trying to follow me, it will be hard for me not to notice. Always speeding also helps 🙂 .
        Trying to avoid any tickets, always scan for presence of police cars (plain or undercover) ahead. The undercover ones are so simple to detect is not even funny.

        • Always remember: shoot at anything that ‘might’ be a threat. That way, if it doesn’t run away, you’ll know it was a valid threat.

        • SD3
          Carry an RPG launcher with HE rounds! That way, if you need to use it, you can take care of any witnesses at the same time.
          Works for me! Sort of.

    • One of the best life lessons I’ve ever been given was while I learned to ride a motorcycle: look where you want to go, not where you don’t want to go. Great philosophy in general, but particularly fitting for self defense scenarios.

    • I do the same when car driving on highway. I always look to see if I have space to avoid something in front of me, checking my side mirrors from time to time and being aware if is any car near by. Also, when braking, check my rear view mirror as well. If the persons in the back is not giving signs to react to my breaking I move on a different lane (see my previous collected info).
      Edit: I see somebody already said this above 🙂

  3. Once upon a time a long time ago, I found myself downtown late at night. I was in my wife’s old Chevy pickup stopped at a stoplight. What looked to be an empty street suddenly wasn’t when a couple of obvious gang-bangers suddenly appeared. One went for the passenger door while the other circled around to approach my side from the rear. The first guy jerked on the passenger door, finding it loose (very old truck) but the lock held and he couldn’t get in. The vatos then disappeared as quickly as they appeared. The whole event took less time than it took to write these lines. Lesson learned.

  4. Was anyone in the cop car? If so, they practiced incredible fortitude. Must’ve been in the middle of “paperwork” (a/k/a donut).

  5. Riding motorcycles has made me much more aware. I ride paranoid since I assume everybody is out to get me (because they don’t see me). I constantly look all around me and anticipate how they might hit me. It makes me watch the steering wheel and the way they turn their heads and use their eyes.

  6. Since NRA contract lobbyist Todd Vandermyde placed Duty to Inform in Rep. Brandon Phelps “good” “NRA backed” HB183 carry bill, the gang member could have walked up to the driver and posed as a cop, demanding to know if the driver was armed. The CCL holder would be forced to answer, since the DTI in Phelps bill does not require the “officer” to be in uniform, on duty, or within proper jurisdiction. Plus criminal penalties for failure to inform.

    That’s how the IL Chiefs of Police wanted it, and that’s how Phelps and his pet rat Vandermyde sold out IL gun owners to the police unions. Then the police impersonator could disarm the CCL holder for “officer safety” and proceed to kill or carjack them with no risk. I’m surprised Chicago gang members haven’t figured out yet how the NRA handed them and every other serial killer and police impersonator a free pass to prey on armed citizens.

    • Illinois gives police powers to all LEO regardless of jurisdiction. That point is moot. We got shall issue and notification is only mandatory if the LEO asks. Silly, but not a huge deal breaker IMO. I asked local law enforcement about this and they recommend telling the person claiming to be an ‘officer’ to call 911 to request uniformed backup for both your safety or do so yourself.

      • Off-duty cops who interact with on-duty cops don’t have to show credentials or announce that they are armed. Although most do so they can give each other passes on speeding or DUIs. A retired cop from Nebraska walking down Michigan Ave. by the Water Tower has no obligation to disclose to anyone that he is armed, if carrying under retired officer carry. The good old boy criminal police state gone nationwide.

        If DTI was important for “officer safety” cops would have to disclose too. Yeah, call 911 while someone claiming to be a cop questions you. Since Vandermyde put criminal penalties of 6 MONTHS or 1 YEAR in Phelps carry bill, the cop has an excuse to use force to make an arrest. “He made a suspicious movement after I identified myself as a police officer, I was in fear for my life, I fired my weapon…” Case closed, the State’s Attorney found that the officer fired in self defense…

        You do not have a Shall Issue bill in IL. Any cop from any jurisdiction can object to your app., then it goes to the Star Chamber Board. Legal standard there is “preponderance of the evidence.” That’s the same standard as Chicago red light violations. Send in your life NRA dues so Chuck Cunningham and Chris Cox can give Vandermyde a bonus.

    • Yep. If not for that evil Todd Vandermyde, Illinois would have constitutional carry, legal NFA, and no FOID requirement. Also, the state would have no debt, Chicago government would be corruption free, and flying unicorns would be the dominant form of transportation.

      • In addition to selling out every gun owner in the state, and every NRA member in IL so they can be set up for legal execution by police criminals, or disarmed and kidnapped by police impersonators like John Gacy, Vandermyde apparently might know a bit about Chicago corruption.

        His former boss William Dugan at the Intl. Union of Operating Engineers local 150 in Countryside, IL, was convicted by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in 2010. See if Chuck Cunningham or Chris Cox at NRA/ILA did a criminal background check on Vandermyde and his union associations.

  7. THESE idiots knew each other. I don’t see “random”…I see an ongoing dispute. But yeah I’m observant and vigilant as I go about my business-don’t know about paranoid…and at this moment I’m watching Tiny Dancer on the news saying Chiraq has to get rid of guns-with his armed guards nearby…

  8. I’m more curious as to RF’s situational awareness for your average Texas Twister. Bet they don’t teach you to crawl under a table and kiss your ass goodbye in Rhode Island – LOL!

    • The phone bleats, we head to the bathroom in the middle of the house. A new experience for sure. But RI has hurricanes and blizzards. You pays your money . . .

      • Without a basement or a shelter prepare feeling the full extent of mother nature unleashed in a twister, so I would have to agree with Mighty Mo. Hurricanes usually only drop water on your home with some sideways wind, unlike twisters that lift your home into the next county and drop quarter pound bricks of ice.

        A length of rope or even a bow hunting harness is nice to anchor the the strongest point, where you are hunkering down, and then hold on. A mattress on top of your loved ones is nice if the roof collapses. Plus, you need to have a plan to be able to emerge from flying debris that could come from where your neighbor used to live.

  9. That’s actually not a bad area, either, but the downside of living in a city is that distances are compressed. I live maybe 4 miles from there, which may as well be in another state as far as neighborhood and community goes, but that’s still just a few minutes’ drive in terms of actual geographic distance.

    And thus, the CCL, even though I live in high-rent area with minimal street crime.

  10. The woman looks back as she sees or hears something. I get a kick out of watching his rounds bounce off the roadway, way low for anything off camera and behind. Although, he may be trying to shoot at their tires (uh,right that’s it). I would say that this is no real surprise for our shooter.

      • @Danman–Excellent situational awareness. I hoped you were not the only one who saw. It is quite noticeable, but people were focused on the shooter and not the whole situation. Calm under fire I believe it is called. “I get a kick out of watching his rounds bounce off the roadway, way low for anything off camera and behind.”

        That is the problem with moving and shooting. The only movement I consider is drawing my firearm and deciding if I take a knee or turn sideways depending on clearest bullet path, as my shot solution for threat would be complete. Every situation is different and that is why training to automatically bolt for cover can get you shot, when you could have been the one delivering violent action stationary or as I and many other men move towards the threat to stop it. It comes down to the mentality of if someone is threatening harm upon innocent life, it should be the evil man that is afraid of what is about to happen to them. That mentality should be engrained every time a concealed carrier’s rounds are fired down range, which reinforces that confidence in that individual’s ability to win the animating contest of mortal combat.

  11. Your paranoia is my situational awareness. My SA keeps me safe on the job…..duck n move.

  12. Paranoia is also your friend when a large group of people are going to assemble outside a Phoenix, Arizona mosque and draw Mohamed cartoons at 6:15 p.m. Mountain Standard (8:15 p.m. Central Daylight Savings) time this evening.

    Being paranoid and all, the organizer is encouraging attendees to be armed. Let’s see how their collective paranoia and situational awareness serves them.

  13. That kid ran the wrong direction. He went parallel to the guy in the street then around behind him. All prime “down range” areas.

      • Excellent and unbiased observation of a threat, Joe. I saw the gunmen’s homeboy, who happened to be grabbing his waistband acting like he was armed, until vato numero uno started firing wildly, which induced running like the cowardly savages they are. Acting like cockroaches scattering when the lights were turned on makes it look to me that who ever was being fired at decided to return some.

  14. Okay, maybe I’m paranoid. When I’m walking in my very safe nabe and see young guys who I don’t know approaching in my direction, I cross the street. If they just go on about their business — which is all that’s happened so far — I’m back to condition yellow. If they also cross the street — which hasn’t happened — then it’s either a coincidence or trouble, and I don’t believe in coincidence.

    It’s a wonderful thing when crossing the street is all I need to do to put my mind at ease.

    • With your luck, you’d probably get a ticket for Jaywalking, then the cop would scoot you back where you started from, and the dude in question would be there waiting for you.

      Don’t skirt the issue, just blast your way through with an M-16 on full auto!

  15. Luckily with all the parked cars there was ample cover. That would have been my first thought.

    While the first volley was close enough for a decent shooter, after the car bolted and the gunman followed it, I think they were at broadside-of-the-barn distance. Hence the other shots that hit the pavement.

  16. If I was in that vehicle my window would have been cracked so I could hear my surroundings. The blonde lady on the sidewalk kept turning her head to an obvious noise, which was probably ghetto speak expletives, which would have had me looking behind me and noticing a guy coming up by my car.(handgoesongun) A stranger coming that close to my vehicle is going to have my full attention in my side view mirror and when I notice him grabbing his waistband in the mirror my gun would be un-holstered pointing through my door, since fabric particles beat the glass window in face everyday), preparing to give myself tinnitus. If he didn’t shoot me when he walked by my window because I wasn’t his target a momentary sigh of relief would come, until I shot him the second he cleared his waistband at my front quarter for panel pointing a gun in my direction placing my loved ones in danger. By having situational awareness I would have heard through the ghetto speak that I had the right to be in fear for my life as two rival terrorists sects decided to declare a tribal gang war.

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