Evil is Kept at Bay by the Credible Threat of Violence

A few years ago, I walked out of the parking garage on my way to my office in downtown St. Louis. About a dozen paces away, a tall young woman with beautiful long red hair waited for the light to change so she could walk across the street. As I closed the distance, I noticed a man in his early twenties. He had the manner of a person who was mentally impaired. He was looking up and down, making short, irregular gestures with his hands. He was moving toward the young woman. I stepped up my pace . . .

I stood a pace or two behind the redhead, closely watching the young man. Sure enough, his hand reached out and he wafted his hand through her hair, seriously creeping her out. I stepped forward even as his hand was passing through her locks and held up my hand to silently say “stop.” The man turned tail and took off down the street at a rapid pace.

I tell this story to illustrate the idea that even madmen can be rational when it comes to their own personal safety. It was clear he needed more care than he was getting at Christ Church Cathedral or St. Patrick’s center. Still, he was rational enough to recognize that he was seconds away from a can of whoopass if he continued and responded accordingly.

Now, the young man didn’t know that I wouldn’t have beaten his ass to a pulp. I would have simply restrained him until police arrived. However, despite his impairment he believed that his day was about to go south. I’ve dealt with others who were similarly impaired, and the credible threat of resistance has kept them from acting.

I doubt if the killer in the Aurora Colorado shooting will ever say he picked out the movie theater because it was a gun-free zone. That said, there’s a reason he did not try to commit mass murder at a police station.  He was not completely irrational.

While I have no idea how someone’s moral sense can be so compromised that they would commit such a horrible act, but I’m confident that a credible threat has an effect, even on a lunatic.

There are certain neighborhoods that I do not frequent. East Saint Louis is a good example. I don’t go there very often, and never at night. It’s because East Saint Louis has a reputation for being a place where men and women are regular victims of violent crime. I wasn’t always like this. East Saint Louis once had a reputation as a place of culture, industry and prosperity. Over time, as the city deteriorated, so did its reputation.

If you and I can make rational decisions about personal safety when deciding where we spend time, why would we think a criminal would not? I lawfully carry a firearm less for the purpose of defending myself than for creating an environment that’s not conducive to criminal activity. I join hundreds of men and women in the city of St. Louis who carry concealed. Occasionally, a miscreant is injured while committing a crime and word gets around that the Gateway City isn’t as safe as it used to be for criminals. It will take time – the reputation for East St. Louis didn’t hit the toilet overnight. But over time, as violent crime is less prevalent, the reputation will follow.

Well-intended signs on places of business declaring themselves gun-free zones work against this shift in perception. Politicians who decry the existence of inanimate objects retard the shift in the mind of criminals and madmen that the world is still safe enough for their trade.

I truly wish leaders would stop whining about the availability of guns, and start praising the men and women who use firearms to protect themselves. We will never eliminate those who would do violence in pursuit of evil from our world. We can only mitigate it with the credible threat of force wherever they might come to do evil.


  1. avatar ST says:

    “I truly wish leaders would stop whining about the availability of guns, and start praising the men and women who use firearms to protect themselves. We will never eliminate those who would do violence in pursuit of evil from our world. We can only mitigate it with the credible threat of force wherever they might come to do evil.”

    The problem, as Chicago and D.C.s corruption stats illustrate, is that in certain instances the so called “leaders” who advocate flawed gun control laws were elected by the relatives and families of the violent predators we arm ourselves against. Much as a representative of law abiding citizens believes in the right of self defense, a political representative of welfare gobbling criminal moochers will oppose policy which upsets their demographic-such as shall issue CCW.

    1. avatar Josh says:

      You’re talking about black people right? Just come out and say it if thats the case. “demographic”, “welfare gobbling criminal moochers”, DC, Chicago…. If you’re going to make assumptions about black voters (and their “violent predator” relatives), just be honest and come out and do so. Stop using coded language.
      Personally, I think African American communities that are heavily affected by crime are opposed to 2A out of misguided emotions about victims of violence that they are related to, not criminals. It may not be right, but it is certainly understandable if the mother of a kid who was shot to death is anti-gun in any shape or form.

      1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

        exactly – plus, those same politicians recognize trying to keep a disarmed people (and pandering accordingly), makes it easier to be the savior that they turn to (and thus re-elect) when they need more from the gov’t rather than being their own 911.

      2. avatar matt says:

        “Stop using coded language.”

        You have to use coded language here because RF is bigoted against racism.

        1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

          “You have to use coded language here because RF is bigoted against racism.”
          Da fuq did I just read?

      3. avatar bontai Joe says:

        The “welfare gobbling criminal moochers” in my neck of the woods are typically white, with a 6th grade education and still able to scam any and all local, state and federal programs for free money so as to not have to work, beyond selling drugs or sex. The really smart ones (earned a GED while in jail) are either growing pot or cooking meth in their welfare supported homes.

  2. avatar Silver says:

    “I truly wish leaders would stop whining about the availability of guns, and start praising the men and women who use firearms to protect themselves.”

    Responsible, self-reliant, responsible, and decent people are the enemy of politicians, especially the types of politicians who would decry guns. When the unfortunate modern political climate suggests that politicians are voted in based on how many entitlements they can hand out and how dependent they can keep the drooling masses, good luck finding one that will praise responsible people like gun owners.

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      I think there is definitely a class of politician who derive their position from dependent people, and people who feel sorry for dependent people.

      It’s a damn shame.

  3. avatar Sanchanim says:


  4. avatar Edwin Herdman says:

    David Frum posted a piece today for CNN:

    First he pooh-poohs the statistics, then he says this: “Perhaps when we hear “defensive gun use,” we should not imagine a householder confronting a prowler. Perhaps we should think of two acquaintances, both with some criminal history, getting into a drunken fight, both producing guns, one ending up dead or wounded, the other ending up as a “DGU” statistic […]” Speaking of misconstruing the statistics numbers…

    Still there are a couple good points mixed in with the weak ones.

    The reading list for TTGAG’s article on the off-duty cop refusing to help pushes back against some of these arguments. He is careful to admit that some people really do need an Equalizer (Edward Woodward has closed up shop) but cannot really say much about the random element, and especially how an institutional abuse or failure can put somebody at risk.

    I think Frum makes a typical mistake of stating things in terms of statistics. Yes, accidental deaths are a risk, but one also risks waiting for help, or assuming that good things don’t happen to good people, or that 50 years of relative peace in Europe is a permanent trend (notice he had to pooh-pooh the DGU numbers by saying it’s less violent now than it was in the 90s – true, by the numbers, but what can get better can also get worse). I think each person has a generalized right to stand where they’d like on the spectrum of risks, and it seems unlikely that other people give up a lot of their own rights when somebody else carries a gun (either police or a private individual).

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Frum is another damn Canadian pecksniff, given to tut-tut’ing, harrumphing and long, fluttery sighs when we Americans start discussing guns.

      He may be safely ignored.

  5. avatar "lee n. field" says:

    East St. Louis is in Illinois. The whole city is a “no concealed weapon” zone.

    1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:


    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Another reason I avoid going over there. I have to keep “Debbie” locked up in the trunk.

      1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

        your center console counts as a “case” for IL Law. their court of appeals ruled on this 2 yrs ago. just empty the ammo and keep it up with you (I leave mine in the cup holders).

  6. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Especially considering that he punked-out on the check-out, unlike so many dead-enders who commit similar acts.

  7. avatar freeport56 says:

    Lt. Col. David Grossman details this very same topic in his Seminar/Book, “Bullet Proof Mind.” All be it the people he discusses are ‘Learning Disabled’, they are children programed to stop when told to do so. These are children that have brought guns into schools and shot their schoolmates and friends. Why, because it was a safe place to kill people. They would not be confronted and their powder not challenged.

    A look back will reveal all the major massacres in the United States by a shooter took place in a “Gun Free Zone.” The somewhat exception is the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in AZ. By the time an armed civilian arrived on scene, Loughner had already been tackled.

    Remember Beslan Russia????

  8. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    I almost got jumped once and didn’t have my weapon on me. That one hand up to signal stop and the other one sweeping back behind my sport coat while assuming a defensive (read Weaver) posture conveyed the perfect image that suddenly, my two “greeters” thought better of their actions. In the words of Reggie Hammond, “you think all it takes is bull$hit and abadge? come and experience some of my bull$hit.”

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      A fake gun is better than no gun.

  9. avatar just another Matt says:

    Another thing to keep it mind,criminals fear concealed carry and what are a large number of Illinois politicians?????

  10. avatar matt says:

    East Saint Louis is a good example. I don’t go there very often, and never at night. It’s because East Saint Louis has a reputation for being a place where men and women are regular victims of violent crime. I wasn’t always like this. East Saint Louis once had a reputation as a place of culture, industry and prosperity.

    From Wikipedia
    “…more established white workers had an easier time gaining jobs in other localities, and the city demographics became increasingly black. Crime increased… As of the census of 2000… the racial makeup of the city was 1.23% White, 97.74% Black…”

  11. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    In any community that descends into lawlessness, it is the otherwise law-abiding that suffer. It can be a rural county run by a crooked sheriff on the take or an urban center like East St. Louis. The demographics are not as important as the culture. Until people demand peace and safety and take responsibility for it, their lives will be chaotic and dangerous.

    1. avatar matt says:

      The demographics are not as important as the culture.

      The ethnic demographics dictate what the culture will be.

      5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.

      1. avatar إبليس says:

        Well it certainly takes a tribe of kaffir geniuses to build the Mother Plane:


        All the flying saucers must be dumping youf’ on Chicago.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      No, they do not. Race and culture are not inextricably entwined, no matter how convenient it might be for a simplified world view.

      1. avatar matt says:

        By the very definition of the words, they are.

        ethnic or ethnical (ˈɛθnɪk)
        — adj
        1. relating to or characteristic of a human group having racial, religious, linguistic, and certain other traits in common
        2. relating to the classification of mankind into groups, esp on the basis of racial characteristics
        3. denoting or deriving from the cultural traditions of a group of people: the ethnic dances of Slovakia
        4. characteristic of another culture: the ethnic look ; ethnic food
        — n
        5. chiefly ( US ), ( Austral ) a member of an ethnic group, esp a minority group

        You would make a better argument if you replaced culture with morals.

        1. avatar إبليس says:

          Speaking of morals, why is Rahm okay with NOI goons but not Chick-fil-a?

        2. avatar matt says:

          Don’t call them goons, their official name, “Fruit of Islam” is far more hilarious.

          It is also funny that when FoI came out, they only did so on a Monday, when it was light out. I wonder what would have happened if they did the same thing on a Saturday night?

          For being as gay friendly as Rham wants to appear to be, he has done nothing about the mobs of blacks who have been rampaging thru boys town. Things got so bad that the boys town business association had to hire armed guards to patrol the streets, because the police won’t. Boys town isnt in a ghetto area either, it is a rather nice neighborhood for the most part, except for the black mobs.


      2. avatar matt says:

        And if demographics are not important, and if ethnicity and culture are not intertwined. Can you cite just 1 city or neighborhood (something like Englewood in Chicago, not just 1 block or a cul-de-sac) that is almost exclusively black and not a shit hole?

      3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

        Jeebus Matt – go look up the word “inextricably”

  12. avatar chris says:

    what will be good first pistol or is it revolver for first time buyer/user for personal safety? something you can conceal carry too. could not find any other place to ask this question. so asking hereThanks

    1. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      Look under categories>gun reviews for a snot-pile of information. I beleive a newbie cannot go wrong with a nice Smith and Wesson J-Frame revolver or its equivalent.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        +1 on the j frame. cuts way down on murphy showing up.

    2. avatar matt says:

      George Zimmerman found the Kel-Tec PF9 to be effective.

    3. avatar Kelly in GA says:

      Well, Chris, that’s a loaded question. My best suggestion would be to go to a local gun range and rent a few different guns. It would be expensive, but much cheaper than the loss you would take trading a gun you end up hating. My criteria when selling at the store I used to work at was a three step process. 1.) If it doesn’t feel comfortable in your hand, you probably won’t like it. 2.) When you dry point it, (make sure the range guys supervise, so they can give tips and stay comfortable) if you have a hard time finding the sights, getting used to it will be more difficult (not impossible, just will take longer). 3.) Don’t buy the cheapest thing.

      Remember, your choice is your “My wife doesn’t have to cash in my life insurance” insurance policy. Having said that, your decision needs to be cross referenced with your local and state laws (your local range/gun store will be a decently reliable reference).

      Well built modern semi autos are just as reliable as wheel guns if you practice enough. Limp wristing often causes the majority of semi auto malfunctions. That is where people try to absorb too much recoil with their hands and don’t provide enough resistance for the gun to cycle. Wheel guns don’t have this issue, as they turn the cylinder with each trigger pull. However, semi autos will give you a significantly higher round count and are quicker and easier to reload under stress.

      Now, with my long winded disclaimer out of the way, my personal choices are a Glock 17, the full sized 9mm (17 round magazine in free America), the Sig P6 (mid sized single stack 9mm 8 round magazine), and a KelTec P32 (7 round .32 ACP). My girlfriend has a five shot .38 spcl revolver.

      Semi auto suggestions: Glock, Sig Sauer, S&W (personally, I’d skip the Sigma), Springfield XD, and Ruger (the older models ie P89, P94, etc are recently reliable, but extremely bulky). Taurus is hit or miss, some people swear by them, but I’ve seen too many come into shops for repairs. Most 1911 models are reliable, and safe for carry. Springfield and Kimber are the big names here.

      Revolver suggestions: S&W J frames like the 642, the Ruger line, and Taurus.

      Hope this helps.

  13. avatar Bad McFadd says:

    East St. Louis demographics: The racial makeup of the city was 1.23% White, 97.74% Black or African-American.

    “East Saint Louis once had a reputation as a place of culture, industry and prosperity. Over time, as the city deteriorated…”

  14. avatar Skyler says:

    So what happened after the man was apprehended? Did the prosecution for assault succeed? I’m sure that you didn’t just let him get away to assault some other woman again.

    1. avatar matt says:

      It is hard to call touching someones hair an “assault”.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        I’m sure it is if you don’t follow the law. If you follow the law there’s no question that it’s an assault.

        1. avatar matt says:

          No it is not in Illinois.

          (720 ILCS 5/12-1) (from Ch. 38, par. 12-1)
          Sec. 12-1. Assault.
          (a) A person commits an assault when, without lawful authority, he or she knowingly engages in conduct which places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.
          (b) Sentence. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor.

        2. avatar Skyler says:

          “Battery” is an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another.

          Was the woman offended? Yes. His behavior, as is universally agreed to by all here, is creepy and unwelcome. Thus it is battery and thus it is an assault.

      2. avatar elnonio says:

        Assault is a threat. Battery is carrying out an assault. And yes, the least offensive or harmful touching of another can be a battery. As it is, laypeople usually say assault when they mean battery.

    2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

      I am not a law enforcement officer, and at the moment it did not seem prudent to chase after and detain the man.

      1. avatar Skyler says:

        Strange. You did well to frighten the man off. Did you even talk to the woman? Did you make sure she didn’t need assistance? Did you call the police to catch this creep?

        I guess doing a half of a needed job is better than doing nothing, but it really seems that all you did was let the guy go and assault some other woman.

        1. avatar twency says:

          He did all that was appropriate for him to do under the circumstances.

      2. avatar Tim McNabb says:

        “I guess doing a half of a needed job is better than doing nothing, but it really seems that all you did was let the guy go and assault some other woman.”

        In my defense, it happened fast, I am not a cop, brushing hair at the time did not seem to me to merit a chase or a beatdown. Honestly, that’s not really my style.

        I did tell the woman that I was watching the whole time and was ready to bring the pain. You could see her whole body relax. She was told me she was terrified at the moment and relieved that I was watching out.

        1. avatar Gyufygy says:

          I’m a bit confused by “just let him get away”. Could he have called the police? Yeah, and given some information that may have been pulled into an investigation later, but from what Tim said, Creepy McBadguy would have been long gone by the time the law showed up. Maybe it’s different where you are, but citizen’s arrests and the like are pretty much a fantasy. Starting a fight after the guy retreated (or more accurately, ran the hell away) would have made Tim the aggressor, even if it was just to hold the guy for the cops. Shooting him? Yeah… No.

          The guy may have been a skeezy dirtbag, but I’d be surprised if there was much else Tim could have done that wouldn’t have ended with his ass in the fire. If I’m missing something or there is a regional (state, city, etc.) law that changed things, please speak up.

        2. avatar Skyler says:

          Yeah. Calling the police would be the preferred method. They just might catch him. Or they might increase patrols in the area. Or something.

          Personally I would hate to learn later that some other woman suffered a more completed attack from the man at a later date.

        3. avatar GS650G says:

          Do you think the police would even raise an eyebrow upon hearing someone touched a woman’s hair like that?
          They don’t even investigate property crimes too hard.

        4. avatar jwm says:

          what you did was right. i would have called the police also. this man could already be a known predator. he could already be on a monitored probation situation where that simple act would set off alarms and result in this predator being locked down. unfortunately his type of behavior has the tendacy to escalate.

      3. avatar Tim McNabb says:

        Honestly, it did not occur to me to call the police, nor to the young woman.

        I have to admit I have a soft spot in my head for the mentally ill. His actions were more to me like petting a kitty – like Lenny from “Of Mice and Men” – than doing something “predatory” (This young lady had seriously beautiful hair). In my life I have worked to help the mentally ill learn boundaries, so my response was colored by those experiences.

        In retrospect, letting the law know that this guy had crossed a line might have been important, not just in the life of an unknown victim but for the afflicted young man.

        1. avatar Skyler says:

          Everyone has times that they wish they had done more in a situation. My point in bringing it up was not to ridicule you or anyone, but to point out that these types of behaviors can easily escalate and that getting the police involved is something well worth considering. This is one of the good roles for the police.

          If the woman didn’t want further intrusions on her time, that’s her choice, but it would be good to remind her of why it’s important.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          not busting your chops. each event is different. but remember what “lenny” did and how it ended for him.

  15. avatar Greg in Allston says:

    Thanks Tim. You make a lot of very good points. Even the mad and irrational have moments of rationality and lucidity.

    As you point out so poignantly, “While I have no idea how someone’s moral sense can be so compromised that they would commit such a horrible act, but I’m confident that a credible threat has an effect, even on a lunatic.” For most cases this is indeed true. It’s truly a sad testament that far too many in positions of power, those that could make a difference, don’t recognize that truth.

    The tide is turning and many people are waking up to reality. We do have a ways to go yet but we will carry the day. Americans are not a foolish people by and large. Though the MSM and their cohorts would prefer us to be compliant sheep and beholden upon their beneficence, rational people will see through the fog and decide for themselves how best to protect themselves and their loved ones and how to best conduct their affairs.

  16. avatar Tim McNabb says:

    “…Even the mad and irrational have moments of rationality and lucidity.”

    Indeed. In fact, I think they are far more rational than we give them credit for. Schools, churches and theaters are attacked rather than police stations, armories and gun shops. If a lunatic has regressed past their basic civility and simply become a predator, predator logic is then preeminent…they go for the weakest.

  17. avatar fred says:

    “Evil flourishes when good men do nothing…”
    ~ Edmund Burke

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