Self-Defense Tip: Again, Distance is Your Friend

There’s a lot to learn from this surveillance video. For one thing, notice that the man who was shot was perfectly ambulatory after the ballistic insult. More importantly, this video shows that armed self-defense is the ultimate answer to a racist attack. Or an attack on homosexuals. Women. Old people. Muslims. Anyone. All Americans who want to be able to defend themselves against the threat of death or grievous bodily harm should consider exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected gun rights. [Void where prohibited by law?] How they should do it in this situation, well, that’s another matter . .

[Standard disclaimer. This critique should be considered within the context of a single, overarching fact: this was a successful defensive gun use. None of knows exactly what we’d do in any given scenario. But we can learn from the experience of others to gain a better idea of an effective defensive strategy.]

When the two gentlemen at the counter – Jorge Hernandez (striped shirt) and Gerard Williams (white shirt) hear racial epithets hurled in their direction, they ask the waitress for the check so they can leave. That’s a calculated risk – will an attack occur before the waitress can write the check, give them the check, take their money and provide a credit card receipt to sign or the change? Are the bad guys be aware of this timeline? If so, they might use it as a deadline. Literally.

I’ve been in this exact situation. OK, I’m white. And the people insulting and threatening me were calling me a” baby killer” (post-Newtown anger at a gun business guy). I simply said “pay you later,” stood-up and left. If I’d had some cash I might have thrown some on the counter and scarpered. But I didn’t. So I walked away. Never, ever under-estimate the life-saving possibility of leaving a dangerous environment at the first opportunity.

The two men approaching Hernandez and Williams at the counter are attempting to “make nice.” Only they’re not. are they? African-American counter customer Jorge Hernandez (striped shirt) clearly indicates his skepticism by turning sideways to the man (Robert Black) who approaches him. Problem: Black is within bad breath distance, close enough to stab Hernandez in the back or clobber him. Hernandez has no chance whatsoever to launch any kind of counter-attack (so to speak). Game over, potentially.

Hernandez shouldn’t have let Black get that close to him. He should have refused to shake Black’s hand while backing up and/or away,  saying something like “That’s OK man, we’re cool.” What, never accept a handshake from a repentant aggressor? Not never. But when men shout insults across a public space, when one of them takes his shirt off to intimidate victims and gird for battle, when it’s three against one, you are deep into it. The chances of the bad guys backing down are somewhere between slim and none – and slim just left town.

Williams makes the same mistake, standing still, danger close to a potential aggressor. Increasing his vulnerability, Williams places his hands in a completely submissive position. His body is wide open to any kind of attack. Williams, too, should have moved away from Black, perhaps putting a table or the counter between him and Black. I can’t emphasize this enough (hence the reason I keep returning to it): distance = life. If you’re standing toe-to-toe with a foe the first person who attacks wins. Is that going to be you? If not, MOVE.

This case is the exception that proves the rule. The first person who attacks (Black) doesn’t win. I’m not sure exactly what happens next. For some reason (political correctness?) the news station edited-out the moment Williams shows Black his gun. I would really like to see where Williams’ gun was positioned, if it was properly holstered, and how Williams drew and presented his firearm. Does he just “show” Black the gun. If so, that’s dumb as a box of rocks strategically inadvisable. If you draw your gun, make ready to fire. MOVE! And be ready to let loose the dogs of war.

Darn it! Another edit! Did Williams holster his gun? Both hands are gun-free. Where the heck is his heater? In his belt line? Another edit. I can’t tell how the actual gun use part of the program proceeds. Suffice it to say, Dakota Fields races into the restaurant and runs straight at Williams. Williams seems to be holding the gun behind his back. He retreats and shoots Fields. Williams lopes forward keeping his gun by his side – once again unprepared for the possibility of another assault.

Bottom line: Williams won. Fields lost. Result. But armed American should see the video as instructive of an inescapable fact: there are more ways to lose a gunfight (or any other kind of fight) than win. Eliminate the most likely of these – striking distance – and you dramatically increase your odds of survival. That is all. [h/t ShootingTheBull410]

comments

  1. avatar stateisevil says:

    Good thing the victim didn’t heed the “no gun” sign that all waffle houses have. Thankfully, no gun signs have no force of law in Florida.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      Um, there are plenty of gun friendly waffle houses, including the one I regularly OC into in Mesa.

      1. avatar Bobiojimbo says:

        That is the nice thing about AZ, most diners don’t care if you carry – open or concealed.

      2. avatar Dustin says:

        It’s corporate policy. None are gun friendly. They’re not allowed to be.

        I don’t give my money to people who hate the Bill of Rights.

        1. avatar Vhyrus says:

          So did I imagine myself open carrying multiple times into various WH over multiple states, or would you like to reevaluate your position?

    2. avatar Nick says:

      The wife and I go to Waffle House here in TX about once a week and I’ve never seen a “no guns” sign even though I’ve made it a point to look for one.

  2. avatar Aaron says:

    wasn’t this story already posted? or was there ANOTHER incident?

  3. avatar GuntotinDem says:

    better view no edits. The incident takes place about the middle

    http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhw88Kys3D01z78hLt

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      Looks like the shooter dropped his gun after he tried to draw after being punched. He was lucky the other dude let him pick it up.

    2. avatar Silver says:

      I knew the kind of responses that would be under a video posted at a hip hop site, but I had to chuckle knowing that 95 percent of those cheering on this DGU will blindly vote for their own disarmament in the next election. 150 years of the Democrat plantation ensures they’ll never wake up.

    3. Yes that video was better. First thing I noticed was Williams leaving his partner alone with the hostiles. What a fucked up time to go take a leak. What I think happened was, he did not carry condition one so he went to the bathroom to chamber a round.
      I also believe that the skinheads were going to wait in ambush and that is why they tried to “patch things up” with the handshakes in the diner but when Williams didn’t play along, Black decided it was go time. I hope Black was charged with murder.

  4. avatar M J Johnson says:

    Since i wasn’t there, I’ll not second guess either Williams or Hernandez. What I will say is that anyone who thinks I’m in their striking zone needs to remember that they’re in mine, too. And, yes, I speak from experience.

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      I don’t get your point.

    2. avatar Mikial says:

      Brother, just remember there’s always someone faster and stronger. NO ONE is invincible. Hedge your bets and give yourself every advantage.

    3. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

      @mjjohnson–“Since i wasn’t there, I’ll not second guess either Williams or Hernandez.”
      The video is a learning tool and I was able to watch it giving me a decent idea of the situation and how I would have acted differently. First off I would not carry a loaded firearm next to my testicles, especially after I just came back from racking a round in the chamber from the bathroom, like the guy in the video.(per guntotindem’s video above) If the shooter was white, a D.A. would call that premeditated murder, since the heat of passion argument is gone by racking a round in an alternate area and then coming back to an imminent confrontation. The confrontation was imminent based on the drunken fools doing stupid things in stupid places, and a well skilled concealed carrier would have recognized that. Drawing, racking, and firing, while it is a reckless and dangerous it is a way to conduct self-defense and not establishing premeditation.

      The Dakota guy was being a drunken moron and probably called the black guy a word that the black guy calls himself and his friends. When the drunks friend tried to shake the black guys hand the black guy flashed his gun, and that is what made the white guy swing. The black guys hands are resting on the gun that is in his waistband at 12. If I associated with drunks and somebody pulled a pistol on one of my friends I would run back into a restaurant only my hands wouldn’t be empty.

      “What I will say is that anyone who thinks I’m in their striking zone needs to remember that they’re in mine, too. And, yes, I speak from experience.” Not smart tactical advice and not very responsible if you EDC. If someone is close enough to hit you they are close enough to take your weapon. Some folks will have a smile on their face walking up to you and in a flash you will be telling St. Peter I was just about to throw a punch in a gunfight and now I’m here.

  5. avatar Rokurota says:

    Yeah, all of that. My family was accosted at night outside a Waffle House in SC by a drunk woman panhandling. My wife noticed her male companion nearby and hustled the kids into the van while I dealt with the woman and put the van between us and the man. Good awareness on the missus’s part. She saw the man before I did.

    1. avatar Mikial says:

      Sounds like you are blessed with a wife who is a good partner and not a liability. I hope you gave her plenty of credit in the situation. Wives are not always just someone you have to protect, they are our partners in this world and deserve all the training and encouragement we can give them. My own wife is tough, strong and a helluva good shot.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        To be sure! She revealed to me later that she scouts out exits and mentally plans for emergencies, which surprised me since she rolls her eyes at my carrying and sitting facing the door. So yeah, a good partner in risk management!

        1. avatar Mikial says:

          That’s funny, maybe she’s just really good at being the “sleeper” in the room that deliberately sets it up so no one considers her a threat and then . . . blam, she springs into action. XDD

          But, really, it sounds like you two are a great team. Make sure you get her to the range.

          My wife is awesome. She loves her Beretta 92 (please no comments from anyone, it’s what she likes and she’s dead accurate with it), likes to spar, and is a LOT younger than me. Heaven on Earth.

        2. avatar ThomasR says:

          Beretta 92FS A1. There a reason for the M9 as the military standard issue weapon. (Beyond just politics). It’s a very reliable weapon, just need to replace worn out mag springs.

          I carried the M9 as the standard issue side arm when I was doing private gate security at a military base. Very accurate, 17 round mags . I owned a personal Beretta 92FS for many years, I sold it when I was short of cash. Just bought another one and plan to carry it either sometimes as a primary weapon or as a secondary weapon back up gun to my Kimber 1911.

        3. avatar Mikial says:

          @ThomasR

          92’s are nice guns. We own 2 of them. Smooth, accurate and reliable. Do I carry one as my EDC? No, I prefer my Glock or my XD, both in .45ACP, but that is not a reflection on the 92, just a matter of personal preference. My wife has shot a lot of different guns, and she sticks to her 92, and she is very good with it.

  6. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Distance is not my best friend. I rarely miss at contact range.

    1. avatar Bob108 says:

      I have two points. First, shooting at distance requires skill, and most bad guys lack skill. Use your skill as your advantage over the bad guy. Second, the best gun fight to be in is the one you never have. The greater the distance, the lower the risk of having to use your gun. Gun fights are messy, and they hardly ever happen the way you expect. You may have trained with the best, practice every week, and dry fire everyday, but that does not make you and the innocents around you immortal. Even a badly trained bad guy gets out a lucky shot.

      1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

        @bob108-“Use your skill as your advantage over the bad guy.” Third point and most important- JWTaylor happens to possess the skill of being a calm, calculating, slayer of men, and his presence still on God’s green earth proves he can handle the work placed before him. JW won’t hesitate and what I have enjoyed about observing military trained men in a civilian gunfights is that law of combat trumps any of man’s laws. If a switch gets flipped in skilled men by some idiot, like in the video above. The instigating moron doesn’t realize he could be taking his last breaths as he is in the presence of a left hand.

        “Gun fights are messy, and they hardly ever happen the way you expect”. A non-practicing violent man like JT usually has the advantage because once he has determined force is about to be used he knows that violence of action will trump distance. Knowing what you are capable of doing to another human being makes that individual look at lesser threats in the same light as how a leopard looks at an impala. Meaning if forced into action it will be violently swift as those lethal skills becomes an unfortunate second nature, which is compartmentalized deeply away until it needs resurfacing.

        Please don’t project your feelings on taking another’s life, since we all carry a gun for that possible encounter with evil. The bible says thou shall not murder, killing is something totally different that some men can handle, and some men become homeless on the streets consumed with guilt.

  7. avatar JohnF says:

    It does the gun community no credit to even talk about this. I think I embody the “reasonable man doctrine.” To wit:
    1. They are in a freakin’ WAFFLE HOUSE. If the sanitary conditions don’t kill you, the food will. Violence is the least of your worries. I would not have been there.
    2. It is 2 AM and they are obviously not night shift workers. To repeat, I would not have been there.
    3. No one in this video dresses or acts like an ambassador for the gun community.
    4. When the racial slurs started, that is hate speech and fighting words. The 911 call should have been made then. If I had been there, I would have made that call, even if I were not one of the parties involved. But did I mention I wouldn’t have been there?
    5. The guy who did the shooting was bigger than the guy who attacked him and the attacker showed no weapon. Where is the disparity of force justifying deadly force that got drilled into me in my CC course? Maybe it’s there and I’m not seein’ it, so I’m just askin’! Did I mention I would not have been there to begin with? In a million years?
    6. If the races had been reversed, would this be a Zimmerman/Rev. Al incident? I think so.
    7. If the shooter has two nickels to rub together, would he get successfully sued for wrongful death? I think so.

    If we consider this a shining example of a DGU, we got problems.

    1. avatar Vitsaus says:

      You beat me to many of the points made regarding the setting of this incident. Looked like one hell of a classy joint there. But you’re about to be called classist and anti-2A by a bunch of the peanut gallery for your remarks so I won’t openly agree with you too much.

      1. avatar JohnF says:

        I figured I would be in for that kind of criticism, but I can take it, especially since it is way off the mark. I am hardly anti-2A. Shooting for 50 years, NRA member, CHL, EDC’er. And I came from rural poor who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, all while never once patronizing a Waffle House. Heck, in the old days, they couldn’t even afford a meal at Waffle House!

        And FWIW, I would have shot the guy too, but I’m an old guy so there would have been plenty of disparity of force (DOF). I’m just sayin’ that I’ve taken a bunch of defensive shooting courses and a Self-Defense Law class and DOF got drilled into us in each one. I’m not seeing it here, so I think the guy is on shaky ground. I know in some some states, he would have had criminal law trouble.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “And FWIW, I would have shot the guy too, but I’m an old guy so there would have been plenty of disparity of force (DOF).”

          So three on one with the three already acting aggressive is not Disparity of Force enough for you?

          I’m sorry, but your “analysis” of this incident is way, way off and fails on the Objective Reasonableness standard across the board.

          For one thing….it does not matter WHAT they are wearing or WHY they are in a Waffle House at 2 am. What kind of criticisms are those, anyway?

          You pulled the “Been a shooter decades and NRA member” to lay your cred on the line. Glad you’ve been a member of POTG for a while. Now act like one and stop criticizing a man for defending his life from three thugs that attacked him while he was doing nothing more offensive than trying to get something to eat. What he was wearing and what time it was and where it was is NONE OF YOUR *&^ing business.

          Geez. What is it the kids say nowadays? SMH? Yeah; that one fits.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I don’t see where you get that the attacker is smaller than the attacked, the attacker looked like a football lineman to me, even in his attacking stance. Otherwise, I think the 3-1 odds mark all the reason in the world to go ballistic rather than duke it out with these yahoos. I suspect that if the attackers had approached sobriety, the good guy might well have lost, but rewatching the uncut version posted above, he did have the gun in his hands, with his hands behind his back and clearly alert. Original posting said he popped this dumbass 3 times, happened so quick it says to me he had some practice. I have no idea when 911 was called, or by whom. If it was after the shooting, they got there awfully fast, unless we have another edit.

      Why one witness was handcuffed and led away, while two others were generally ignored, I cannot explain other than to suspect racism, which I generally reject.

      And you’re skipping some good food, and hardworking people.

      1. avatar Taylor TX says:

        “And you’re skipping some good food, and hardworking people.”

        +10 and smothered, peppered and some ketchup 🙂

        Always enjoy a trip to Waffle House on the way back from one of the public waterfowling spots I like to frequent.

        1. avatar jsallison says:

          Depends on the Waffle House, find a good one, keep it in business.

    3. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Williams was being accosted by a gang and was prudently in fear of being further attacked when he backed up toward the Waffle House’s bathroom. Having already been struck by one gang member he obviously had no way of knowing that he wasn’t about the mobbed by several people. Had he tried to make the ever-so-nuanced assessment of the shirtless guy’s intent and abilities you suggest, he might well have been hurt or killed. The police report said as much. As for the whole thing not looking right, all I can say is that even casually dressed people of modest means have the right to defend themselves in late-night restaurants. All Williams wanted was some food, but he ended up fighting for his life. That’s what gun-rights are all about.

      1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

        “As for the whole thing not looking right, all I can say is that even casually dressed people of modest means have the right to defend themselves in late-night restaurants. All Williams wanted was some food, but he ended up fighting for his life.”

        Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. +10,000.

        Seems like some of the victim-blaming here is a bit classist. Kinda disturbing, really.

        I’m seeing more and more the notion that real liberty is a bit too messy for some people. That’s when it gets hard…when “the other guy doesn’t look like me doesn’t act like me” in some way.

      2. avatar David R says:

        Agree 100%, I’m a complete law abiding not looking for trouble citizen and have found myself at diners and restaurants after midnight many a time, I also carry no matter what I’m wearing, it could be a pair of shorts flip flops and a tee, maybe even a baseball or football jersey, just because one dresses a certain manner has nothing to do with their right to bear arms. And obviously if he wasn’t arrested he was legally in posession of the firearm and justified for his use of force which I whole heartedly agree with. Lastly, it wasn’t noted but the three aggressors ended up getting in a serious car crash with another vehicle on their way to the hospital and that’s how the guy who got shot died, or at least it was a contributing factor. These three were thugs, they were the aggressors, and they got what was coming to them by a prepared citizen. Put creed, color, attire, opinion aside and let’s just look at facts. If I was in this situation despite thousands of hours of training I guarentee you things wouldn’t go perfectly and criticism can always be made.

    4. avatar Rokurota says:

      How do you know they’re not shift workers? Not all shift work requires a uniform, and people have this little ritual called changing out of your work clothes.

      And who cares about that? They’re just trying to enjoy a meal. Just because it’s 2 AM doesn’t mean they’re asking for trouble.

      I get the whole stupid places thing, but I don’t consider a Waffle House one of those, regardless of the time. If one goes by the comments people have submitted on TTAG, everyone should avoid malls, movie theaters, supermarkets, and just about every common venue of commerce.

      As for your 911 comment, are you really advising we all go running to the cops when our feelings get hurt? Without hearing the tone or actual words, we don’t know how seriously threatening Shirtless Wonder and his posse were. Above a certain level of hostility, I’m getting out of there, but up to that point, I’m not letting a bunch of asses ruin my day.

    5. avatar Mikial says:

      Well, JohnF, I WILL agree with you on almost all counts. Who knows why all these people were in that place at 2Am, but in the end they were and the outcome isn’t entirely unpredictable.

      One thing I will add my 2 cents to is the disparity in force issue. The potential victim was outnumbered and had already been attacked once. The attackers were between the door and him, and they seemed pretty determined to do violence. At least he was smart enough not to shake hands.

    6. avatar ThomasR says:

      Sorry JohnF, “We got problems”? Umm, no, you “got” problems.

      Classicist and bigot, at the least, problems.

      A Waffle House is not a bar, a brothel or an opium den. It serves fast food late at night slightly better quality than a Mcdonalds.

      And most people now adays dress like they got their clothes from a dumpster, whether your middle class or not. So these guys are just the norm.

      In the end, one of the guys that started the fight got shot and ran away And the guy defending himself stayed at the scene afterward to prove his innocence. That shows, to me, the good guy is the one that came out on top of a good example of a DGU.

      1. avatar Dustin says:

        “And most people now adays dress like they got their clothes from a dumpster, whether your middle class or not. So these guys are just the norm.”

        Lookin’ like you got somethin’ worth stealing… Carrying concealed so nobody knows… We’re close to a prosecutor calling it a setup; you’re just a white republican racist hunting ni- I mean, underentitled urban youths…

    7. avatar Dustin says:

      The only thing of which I see it being a shining example, is that all the black people who tell me they would never buy a gun because they would only be put in prison for owning it, are not just patently full of shit, but empirically full of on video shit.

    8. avatar doesky2 says:

      Your CCW instructor sounds like a real idiot with his DOF rules. How the hell do you know if a smaller dude has some vicious and deadly punches? All it takes is one punch to lay you out cold and then the smaller dude is standing over you with your weapon. Your instructor needs to find a new business before he gets one of his students killed. The cops didn’t hesitate at all letting the 2X larger victim to walk.

    9. avatar SwampDaddy says:

      Hate speech ?????

  8. avatar TheBear says:

    The guy defending should have used a .45. I hear they instantly destroy your soul if you’re hit by one.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      Mine has hollow points stuffed with bacon… So, depending on how many virgins you were expecting, it might…

      1. avatar Mohammed says:

        Bacon? Virgins???? You wouldn’t be insinuating…. naah, I thought not. Peace!

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    A lot of people say that you shouldn’t bring a gun to a fist fight and that it is not fair and/or honorable to shoot someone in a fist fight, whatever. I say – F that! I don’t want to be in a fist fight! I like this above. It has good consequence. Attack people – and you get shot. It’s great and I like it. It’s also a great deterrent to assault and keeps the populace mannerly. Liking it.

    1. avatar Bob108 says:

      He definitely had a good fear-for-his-life claim. In my logical mind, disparity of force would apply when a group of thugs attack a single man. The human body is fairly week, and most people would be amazed how little effort it takes to permanently maim or kill another person with bare hands. In my opinion, most fist fights easily evolve to a point where a reasonable man should fear for his life.

    2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      “A lot of people say that you shouldn’t bring a gun to a fist fight”

      Thus proving a lot of people are idiots, pure and simple.

      A fist can inflict death or serious bodily injury quite handily. Disparity of force was in play in this situation as well…3:1, and those three had already shown aggression and willingness to use violence.

      The people that say stuff like what you are quoting watch too many movies or play too many video games…or read too many progressive blogs on teh 3v1ls of Guns. Most likely all three.

      This was especially aggravating during the “Michael Brown was unarmed” mantra…that, by itself, simply does not matter. The logical conclusion of that thinking is everyone should just allow an attacker to beat ’em to death and ‘self defense’ can take a holiday.

    3. avatar TheBear says:

      I think there is a lot to be said for the days when men wore swords. An armed society is a polite society – guns or blades.

    4. avatar Chrispy says:

      Furthermore, shirtless guy’s friends didn’t seem too interested in joining the fight when the lead started to fly.

      1 on 1 fighting is certainly enough for a disparity of force argument, certainly 3 on 1 would be more so.

    5. avatar Grindstone says:

      Yep, waaaay too many antis (mostly Europeans, I’ve noticed) who bring up “disparity of force” say things like “if the attacker only had his fists, why would it be OK to shoot him with a shotgun?”

      As someone who has been violently attacked before, I absolutely cannot empathize with that level of stupidity.

      I can’t even…

      1. avatar doesky2 says:

        Hundreds of thousands of people are in graves, wheelchairs,or permanently disabled after being punched. The DOF advocates are imbeciles.

      2. avatar pg2 says:

        Right on that point grind.

  10. avatar Mikial says:

    Trust me, distance IS your friend.

    When the guy in the black T-shirt came up wanting to shake hands, both the guys who had been sitting at the counter should have moved back. It’s an old trick to get someone to shake your hand as a prelude to an attack. For one thing, one of their hands is now in your control (and if it is their strong hand preventing them from drawing a weapon which is usually carried on the strong side); next, you step to the outside (to the right if you are shaking their right hand) placing yourself to his side away from his free (left) hand; now do whatever you want, including punching, stabbing, or even drawing a gun left handed and shooting.

    Never let a potential aggressor get that close. Give yourself room for fight or flight. In this case, the two potential victims had nowhere to go except maybe behind the counter, so fight was the only option. True, some people will point out that refusing to shake hands might escalate a situation, but I’d rather remain in control rather than give it up and give the attacker the initiative.

    BTW, I carry my primary EDC (.45ACP) on my right with a spare mag on my left, and a BUG (9mm SubCom) on my left side with the spare mag on the right. That way if my strong hand is incapacitated, I can quickly switch to the other side. And yes, you should practice with your weak hand at the range . . . a lot.

  11. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Situational awareness. Williams used plenty in this encounter. Looked at now, of course he wasn’t perfect but most real situations aren’t perfect. Let us all hope if we find ourselves in a similar situation we can use his options. There are good lessons to be learned here.

  12. avatar Ralph says:

    Distance is good. When things go sideways, I prefer to be a several time zones away from it.

  13. avatar Fuque says:

    Reason enough to carry one in the pipe….
    That shirtless dude did a quick about face when lead injection began..

  14. avatar pg2 says:

    100$ says if the races were reversed, the shooter gets prosecuted.

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