I received this story of first-person self-defense in Chicago from a former student and thought I’d share. He didn’t handle it perfectly, but he handled it well enough that he and his boss were able to escape unharmed and without property damage.
I was in the heart of the South side of Chicago (near 3000 block of Ogden Ave) and was returning to my office with my boss. At a stop sign, an “upstanding” Chicago citizen (not pictured above) tried to use the parking lane and “beat us off the line” to get in front of us.
Unfortunately for him, there was a truck unloading its wares and he was unable to pass us.
Somehow he viewed this as our slighting him based on his skin color and decided to share a few words of wisdom with us at the next light. He pulled up next to us on the passenger side (where I was sitting) rolled down his window and started yelling at us.
We told him that it was no fault of ours and that he should learn to drive (which, in hindsight, wasn’t the best idea).
Apparently, this further inflamed him. He put his car in park and got out of his car to continue berating us. He was a big, physically intimidating guy, too. Not yet getting the reaction he wanted by screaming, he upped the ante by banging on the windows, hood, etc. Because we were on a narrow one-way street with cars on both sides, we couldn’t drive away without damaging property. I was immediately nervous and started to move my hand towards my firearm. At that point, the enraged man attempted to wrest open my door.
In what seemed like minutes (when it was actually a couple of seconds) I ran through the AOJ checklist.
Ability: Yes. I was confined to a car with limited range of movement in a seated position facing a fellow twice my size who was highly agitated, with no way to escape.
Opportunity: Yes. Had he opened the door (which was thankfully locked) or broken the window, he could have done serious physical harm to me. I immediately recalled the officer’s injuries from the Michael Brown fiasco.
Jeopardy: Yes. I was in danger the minute he attempted to open my door.
Once he tried to open my door, I drew my firearm and told him to step away and get back into his car. He muttered some colorful language about how I was less of a man for “hiding behind a gun” and started to walk away. I don’t know what changed his mind, but he decided to turn back and start walking towards the car again, at which point I yelled for him to return to his vehicle and that I would fire if I had to.
Finally, the light turned green and we were able to get away safe and unharmed.
It was because of your training that I was able to remain calm and keep myself and my boss safe without panicking. There is always room to learn and improve, so I must ask you if you had any additional pointers/comments about what happened and about how the situation was handled.
Thanks you again for everything you have done and for all the training that you have given me!
Would you have handled the situation any differently?