Chicago illinois I-94 dan ryan
(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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“Sally” (we’ll call her) has worked as a registered nurse (RN) in both clinics and hospital settings in downstate Illinois for over ten years. Recently, without a hubby or kids living at home, she decided to take a leave of absence from her downstate hospital to work a Chinese coronavirus unit at a Cook County facility.

She’s a Guns Save Life member, and a carry license holder in the Land of Lincoln.  Additionally, she lives life with eyes wide open when it comes to situational awareness inside and outside the medical world.

Taking the initiative to reconnoiter the lay of the land ahead of starting her assignment, she secured a hotel room on her own dime and drove up a day early.

Exiting the Interstate, she drove toward her assigned hospital. Obviously, she doesn’t want to name the hospital or its location. But I can say it borders a violent neighborhood as listed at

She pulled up to a red light and stopped. Sally said there were two cars ahead of her and she noticed a pair of men walk up to the first car in her lane. Both approached the driver’s door, one with a white bucket and the other with his hand in his pocket in a manner that suggested he had a gun in his hand.

Driver #1 tossed cash into the bucket and the two men approached the second car with their heads on swivels as if looking for police.

The same scenario played out, and this time Sally could see more clearly that Mr. Hand-in-Pocket acted rather aggressively. Once again, it looked even more clearly that he represented to the drivers that he might have a gun in his pocket.

Driver #2 ponied up some cash and the pair started toward Sally’s car. Only Sally had drawn her pistol and pointed at the guy with his hand in his pocket with her gun’s muzzle just over the steering wheel.

Mr. Hand-in-Pocket saw Sally’s determined expression and then the muzzle of a gun. In an instant, he and his pal took off like their hair was on fire.

Sally breathed a sigh of relief and put her gun away. She admitted to having the shakes afterwards. Finally, a few blocks later, she arrived at the hospital.

The security staff at said hospital aren’t young girls, overweight retirees, or the Paul Blarts that Sally says she’s accustomed to seeing downstate. At this facility, she described the security as serious professionals with body armor, duty belts with TASERs and big, semi-auto pistols.

She asked me if she did the right thing and I opined that I thought she put herself on very thin legal ice. Especially given the propensity of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to hammer law-abiding gun owners while giving a pass to many career criminals.

Fortunately it all worked out well for her. But it could have gone sideways pretty quickly.  Just like life.

Know the laws in your state. Don’t present a firearm unless you perceive a threat of death or grievous bodily harm to you or your loved ones. And be careful out there.

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  1. Leave enough room to escape when stopped in traffic. Your vehicle is your best self defense tool when driving. Failing that, I think her response was perfect. I would have done the same.

    • ^^Yell this from the rooftops^^

      I myself have long practiced this OPSEC, trying whenever possible to ensure that I’m located in an outer lane (left or right side, doesn’t matter) that allows for me to take my truck off the shoulder and away from traffic if a danger ever presents itself. If I’m ever at a stop with cars around me (at a stoplight, traffic funnel, etc.), I always maintain enough space between me and the vehicle in front of me so I can have the option of – again – turning out of the lane and/or the traffic entirely. I do not like being locked in.

      I always shake my head at drivers who come to a stop in traffic as close up to the car in front of them, then tune out to their surroundings as they bend their heads down to fiddle with their phones. I would normally finish that sentence with the words “until traffic resumes moving”, but they often don’t even notice when the car in front of them has already left and is gone. If I’m stuck behind such a dolt, I give them until the mental count of three in my head, and then apply the horn. Nice and loud.

      • Avoid the outside lane at the stop bar. Car jackers love to gain control of the vehicle and make the hard right. If you can see the vehicle ahead of you rear tires meet the road you can steer around it. Finally, drive or shoot. Decide. Most of the time drive is best.

    • I agree, she did everything correctly. I also agree with leaving enough room from the vehicle in front of you to get around in an emergency. The way to judge is, if you can clearly see the rear tires of the vehicle in front you’ve got room to get around. Vehicle choice can be important for individual security. This is a primary reason I have nearly always had a 4×4 vehicle. Currently I drive a Sahara Unlimited Wrangler with 4×4. I want to be able to easily jump a curb if need be or push another vehicle out of the way or as a last resort… FLATTEN the opponent. If I have to shoot through my front windshield, the Jeep has the closest thing to a flat near vertical angle that would make an accurate shot more likely. When I took the advanced course on the subject at the Sig Sauer Academy a few years ago by way of advancing my own skills as an NRA Instructor these last 32 years, I was astonished to see the incredible amount of deviation there is in bullet deflection when firing through a steeply raked windshield. I’d have done exactly as she did. Had she waited until a threat was obviously presented then she’d be reacting behind the power curve and if the suspect was indeed armed and now close enough to fire, there might have been a “reflex” shot by the perp panicking at the very close response to his actions. This was excellent deterrence. There’s a valid concern with the legal thin ice and the fascist prosecutors in the region. There would have been serious blowback had there been a shooting. But there wasn’t because of the deterrent factor. Well Done!

      • Eh something tells me those good boys collecting donations for the church wont be reporting her to the authorities

      • Everything correct? She would have been much better off driving away. If she didn’t have the opportunity, then clearly she didn’t do everything correct.

        A traffic violation is much easier to deal with than branishing, terroristic threatening or assault.

        Even the smallest (normal size) car is a much more formidable weapon than a (normal) firearm. If you have control of the vehicle, it should be plan A. The firearm shouldn’t.

        Also, what about reporting it to the police? Shouldn’t she have done that? At least to cover her own a$$. If those other two were robbed, her details might have made it easier to track down the men.

        Even if these two men were robbing people, and we only have her assumption they were, she could be on legal thin ice. The other two armed robberies were over, and there was no threats made against her.

        What if she did misread the situation?

        I am not saying she did wrong, but clearly she didn’t do everything correct.

        • ~sigh~ Hindsight is always 20/20. Given her situation at the moment and not having any formal tactical training in my mind she dud it right. But call 911 to report? What’s she gonna say: “I saw these goblins strong arm robbing people in traffic and when they got to me and I had no other choice, I showed them my unlicensed GUN here in the land of fascism and gun control and they took off for the crib like stripe assed apes? I’ll just wait at the workplace for you to come take my report and me into custody?” Puh-lease!

      • Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and that is what “everything correct” should be based on.

        Your point was exactly the point I was trying to make. Unless you have no other option, don’t do anything you can’t adequately explain to the police, judge and/or jurry. She had choices, better choices in many ways.

        I never suggest anyone to say anything that may be used against them to 911. Something as simple as “I may have witness an armed robbery at…. If there was a crime reported, I may have information about it.” Unless your lawyer advises you to, don’t say anything you’re not 100% for sure is not going to be used against you.

        I am not saying she didn’t do the best that she knew to do, but there was plenty of “mistakes” made.

        This was posed so that we can learn from it. Hindsight is SUPPOSED to be applied to it. This is so we can learn before the situation. Don’t be bothered because I point out the mistakes where you say is “everything correct”.

    • Easier said than done in rush hour traffic in Chiraq.

      The week I left for Korea in ’80, I was on my way home from my mother’s job packed solid in rush hour traffic on Ashland Ave.

      Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy walk out of an alley carrying something. He went right up to the car of a woman in the right hand lane and hurled a chunk of concrete through the passenger side window, shattering it. He leaned in, grabbed her purse and walked away.

      The next day I started carrying my Series 70 Colt. Unfortunately, I had to have it shipped to Korea a day or two later. I then started carrying a grenade simulator until I left for Korea.

      Your best course of action is to avoid open sewers like Chicago. The cops are dirty, the “government” is dirty, and the inhabitants must like it that way since they’ve been voting for it since before my grandmother trained to be an ambulance driver during WWI.

    • U obviously have never driven in a city or urban area!

      Put space in front of u & see how quick somebody pulls in… part way or all ways whether stopped or moving!

      People drive like suicide drivers and its ME…ME…ME…ME..ME 1st 4 all….

      In a perfect world that may work..but, we are far from that!

      • You can’t leave a massive distance in front of your car while moving but you can certainly leave enough to get out of the lane when you are stopped unless you have a car with a terrible turning radius / long hood. With the steering wheel turned all the way most modern cars only need a few feet of space. You can’t always do it but you often can.

        And if someone decides to cut into your lane when traffic starts moving again… so what?

  2. I’d say hold it down, low ready, out of sight, and politely decline to “donate” to their cause. Their next actions dictate her’s, whether it’s the gun, floor it to escape, or run them over. You KNOW that they are going to claim they were panhandling and that she drew without good cause. All that about her being a nurse, bad part of town, etc. is just fluff. The fundamentals still apply- you can only draw on someone if you REASONABLY believe your life is being threatened. That means an articulated reason, (something he said, a gesture, etc.) not a “feeling” or the vague “his hand was in his pocket.”

    • Agreed. Begin video recording as early as possible (hopefully including the activity of the vehicle ahead of you, and its license plate so police can contact the owner for more information), and ask that they both come over to the same side of your vehicle so you can all have your expected conversation together. If and when the situation degrades to the point of danger to your person, you can do what’s necessary while knowing that you improved your chances of a legally sound defense.

    • That’s always the best advice and the best (and most legally correct) answer. But circumstances can vary. What do you think the chances are that in CHICAGO, these two fine, upstanding young men, collecting funds for their local youth organization so they can buy more supplies to make face masks, are going to call in to the po-lice? Nil. And if they did, the answer from the police would be (assuming they could get through to a 911 operator in less than a geological epoch) something like this: “911. What’s your emergency?” “Some woman pointed a gun at me while we were collecting funds for Chicago youth.” “That’s nice – do call back when you have a reason to call. “

      • More like: The two perps are angry that you spoiled their game. From out of your sight, they snap your license plate and call 911. They report some crazy person pointed a gun at them while they were attempting to cross the street. 911 now has your plate number. A few days later Officer Blue and his partner, Copper, ring your front doorbell. You never called 911. Maybe because you did not want anyone to know what you did? Now, you have some explaining to do. Maybe an explanation will not be sufficient. This may take some time, and may require hiring an attorney.

        If you perceive the need to show your gun, as soon as possible, call 911.

        • And they wonder why no one wants to build a grocery store, family anything-store, hardware store etc. in that neighborhood.

        • Agree with this. Massad Ayoob said the same thing in the class I took, be the first person to call 911 and you usually get put into the victim category, which is a good thing.

        • Maybe in a more civilized city, but Chiraq? In a city where they don’t even prosecute murders, there’s very low chance that Officer Friendly will arrive at your door. And if they did, all they’d have is a bogus story, a cell phone pic, and a fishing expedition. Wish them a nice day, decline to answer questions, and you’re done with them.

    • Don’t go anywhere with a gun that you wouldn’t go without one.
      Her mistake was in going there in the first place.

    • This woman needs to reconsider her ill-conceived notion of putting herself in danger, not just from Chicago thugs but also the virus for no measurable benefit. People living near Chicago know there are certain neighborhoods to avoid.

  3. Stoeger Memorial, formerly Cook County Hospital. Right next door to the infamous Cabrini Green housing project (or did they finally tear that down?). Went there often as a kid when my father worked there. Back then, no one messed with medical staff, because they’d probably be making a visit to the hospital sooner or later. Probably still has one of the best trauma centers in the city–it comes with a lot of experience.

    • You don’t know much about Chicago geopraphy I see. Cabrini-Green was on Division street east of the Kennedy. Cook Count is on Damen and Winchester at the west end of the University of Illinois Chicago Campus.

      • What do I know. I was a kid and my father said that those high rise projects you could see just to the west was what it was. I haven’t lived in Chicago for over 50 years.

        • I’ve landed at O’Hare several times over the years. I simply wait for my connecting flight (never leaving the airport), and then get the heck out of there. ‘Nuff said.

          That’s the extent of my experience with Chicago.

      • ’bout five years since the last couple towers came down.
        left the padlock on the meter room door once. no cell phone, rats. pitch black. always locked it to the hasp after that.
        switching in the fence covered substation usually conjured up volleys of thrown bottles and kids climbing on the cage.
        good times right by the gold coast.
        didn’t hold a candle to dearborn, altgeld, wells, horner, rockwell and others.

  4. Having been in whatever hood you’re mentioning SHE DID GOOD! I sold insurance in Altgeld Gardens & 63rd & State,medical alarms on Douglas Blvd and took my son to Comer Children’s hospital several times driving through West 59th. All unarmed. Wouldn’t do it NOW! Lot’s of ghetto bs “collecting” or selling spurious crap. And many are looking to carjack you or worse. Quit giving advice about Chiraq Boch-you’re not good at it!

  5. About 40 yrs. ago, I was going thru downtown Houston Texas after dark on my way to welding school. This school was in a rather bad part of the city. I caught a red light and while waiting for the green, a bad looking dude decided since I was alone that I was easy picking. this dude stepped off the curb and headed toward my vehicle but when he saw my Colt pistol he decided against anything further. I have had some people say that I was breaking the law by ” displaying ” my firearm. I think it was actually giving advice. Beats having to shoot the idiot.

  6. Hmmmm.

    I see a pair shaming down people in front of me.

    That’s plenty of “reasonable response” in my book.

    If they have their hand on their gun you are behind the right ball when you react.

    If he didnt have a gun – but wanted you to think he did – that’s on him.

    She done right….just should’ve called 911….but in Chicago, I doubt it would make much difference.

    • Replace Sally’s occupation of “nurse” in the story with “off duty police officer”. Is she suddenly justified to proactively protect herself simply because of a different vocation? Or did she pass the “reasonable person” test that she believed armed men were about to approach her to demand her property upon threat of harm or death?

      “She pulled up to a red light and stopped. Sally said there were two cars ahead of her and she noticed a pair of men walk up to the first car in her lane. Both approached the driver’s door, one with a white bucket and the other with his hand in his pocket in a manner that suggested he had a gun in his hand.”

      • Her occupation wouldn’t matter to me, but then I’m not a cop in shit city.

        I’m just saying she observed enough to be reasonably fearful of the men.

        No-goods up to no good.

        • My question was only a rhetorical one. I wasn’t throwing flak at you specifically.

        • And no offensive was taken…you brought up a good point.

          Made me think about how people perceive these things …. in general.

      • Let’s see, off duty cop sees a potential shakedown in progress, calls for backup, exits the car and identifies himself. Yeah, I see the difference. He has legal authorities because he is cop 24/7..

        • That wasn’t the question or under dispute. The implication of the original post was that somehow a cop would be treated differently and that supposition it correct. It would be treated differently because he saw a potential crime in progress and acted proactively because he has the authority to do so. All our nurse can do is wait and see if there is a threat to get person

        • off duty nurse calls 911, she gets booked for brandishing a weapon.
          off duty LEO calls 911, she gets a pat on the back for discouraging crime without adding anything official to the crime statistics.

          some animals are more equal

    • It would have made it worse. Then, they’d have her name and number on file. If there’s a shooting at the hospital, her name would pop-up as a possible “bad guy”. The real bad buys like to be nameless and faceless. (Don’t see nuttin, don’t say nuttin.)

      • We had things around here play the game differently

        They attempt to rob someone…..the person produces a gun to defend themselves ….the thugs run….the innocent person goes about their business.

        The thugs call the cops saying someone threatened them with a gun…..word against word and they have the high ground.

        Folks need to call the cops way more than they do. I learned that long ago with some bad neighbors. After I had done due diligence talking to the neighbor before calling cops, I just started calling when trouble started. Sheriffs also finally figured out a deputy was their relative and was calling them when the 911 dispatch went out on the radio.

        I started talking with dispatch and deputies on their cell phones instead of the 911 line.

        Good folks are always at a disadvantage but you cant give up.

    • In major cities right now people are going to have to learn what it’s like to call the police and have them tell you that they’ll send someone along who should be there in a half-hour. If it’s a priority call (someone carjacking someone) the response might be quicker. Might.

  7. Remember what happened the last time you didn’t put yourself in that place and position? Of course you don’t. Best way to avoid trouble is to not go where it is.
    She went for the money.

  8. Avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places at stupid times.

    Chicago counts as a “stupid place.” Maybe the stupidest place in America. Certainly it’s in the top five stupid places.

    “Let’s Call Her Sally” should be highly praised for her situational awareness and compassion. Maybe not for her judgement, but all’s well that ends well.

  9. Was “Sally” on legally shaky ground? I am not sure. Assuming that someone called the police to claim that “Sally” illegally pointed a firearm at someone:
    1) I can picture a zealous prosecutor wanting to charge her and go all the way to trial
    — and —
    2) I can see the jury almost certainly rendering a “not guilty” verdict at trial if “Sally” has a good defense attorney.

    Here are the facts as I see it:
    — People were trapped in their cars and vulnerable.
    — Two men were robbing those people trapped in their cars.
    — It was obvious that they were robbing those people.
    — The man with his hand in his pocket was a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.

    Personally, I think this would all boil down to simple psychology. The jury lives in/near Chicago. They know what goes on in Chicago. They have probably had “panhandlers” intimidate them personally or know someone who “panhandlers” intimidated. No one likes aggressive, intimidating “panhandlers”. And those jury members know that one dude approaching cars in stopped traffic with a hand in his pocket and aggressively demanding money is close enough to be armed robbery.

    Now, had “Sally” actually shot those men, a jury might have convicted her. Simply brandishing, as “Sally” did, was an appropriate and proportional response to aggressive, intimidating panhandlers and the jury would empathize with her — and maybe even want to thank her for standing up to those street thugs.

      • If the “panhandlers” report that she brandished — and especially if they report the correct color (not to mention style) of the handgun — it is next to impossible for her to successfully deny that she brandished her handgun.

        Remember, a very small percentage of the population in Illinois have concealed carry licenses and actually carry their handguns with them. And the percentage of women with concealed carry licenses who carry their handguns with them is even smaller. The odds of those “panhandlers” fabricating an account which could easily be true (the woman does have a concealed carry license and a handgun) is super low. And this gets really ugly for the woman if they describe the correct color handgun. Finally, it becomes a sealed-deal if the “panhandlers” also describe the right style of gun (semi-auto versus revolver).

  10. Delaware is an open carry state, which includes in your car. In order to be open carry, the firearm must be in a clearly visible place, such as laying on the passenger side seat. So, were I in that situation, I could have put the gun on the dash with my hand on it, not pointing at anyone but clearly in plain sight — would that become brandishing, or would I be within the limits of the law? I wonder.

    • ILLinois is NOT an open carry state.He!! in Chiraq you couldn’t even “legally” own a handgun until MCDONALD in 2008(?) or so. No CCL license until this sh#t state was ordered to. And NO I doubt homie & thugboy were calling 5-O on our heroine!

    • Why are you afraid of the law (inferred in your explanation of how you would have handled the gun) when there is a thug approaching your window? Do you think the thug is going to sue you for brandishing when he has a rap sheet 20 pages long? And who the hell cares what the government might do in that situation. The government lets all the criminals out of jail to prey on you.

    • If your hand is on the gun it would be brandishing and possibly aggravated assualt, and the bad guy could actually legally drop you. It is best to not show you are prepared for superior violence until it is needed. The threat has the gun in his pocket which means he has to draw from concealment giving you at least a second and a half to fire while they try to draw. Hold the gun pointed at them through your door and raise it above the window and fire when they announce their crime. If it is in a minority area, it is perfectly legal to leave the scene.

      A large caliber rifle is also nice, just in case the state tries to harm you over a spilled thug, and the 2nd Allows a Citizen to say no, to tyranny by law.

    • “I think” you’ve never been approached in ghetto traffic in CHIRAQ! Duh…

      • No, but I grew up in NYC, and have had the drill run on me by groups of 3 or 4, and in Baltimore at night by 2 man teams. You outsmart them, you don’t line up in traffic to be “next”, you have a gas pedal for a reason. This is why I think the question was gamed.

        • It’s been happening for a long time. I was doing night shift agency work at a hospital in a big city in PA back in 2005 or so. The manager wanted to call me before I came down for the first shift. He told once I got to a certain point coming into the city that I should not stop at stop signs or red light. Just slow down, look to make sure there is no cross traffic, and keep rolling. At that time anyone who stopped at a light or stop in the neighborhood the hospital was in was getting robbed or car jacked.

    • tend to agree. at least in regards to the strongarm portion of it.
      our irresistable “bucket boys” sit curbside pounding out a harmonious percussion line suitable for a jesse white routine.
      after their “performance” they ply the “audience” for compensation.

      “i wanna hear a caravan with a drum sola.” (america drinks and goes home).

  11. IMHO, absolutely terrible advice given by the author. Chiraq is a war zone. Behaving the way he suggests will get you shot or killed in a WAR ZONE. The nurse was correct in her actions.

    • Amen brother preach it!!

      Well author has to worry about legal ramifications of his words?

      Was an excellent story, I’m proud of her, maybe will drink a beer and toast to her later!!

  12. I too think she did the right thing, because she is still alive. However, if they had threatened her with their own gun and she had defended herself, I suspect she would still be in jail. Not for doing anything wrong, but for doing it in the wrong location.

  13. john,
    “…given the propensity of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx to hammer law-abiding gun owners…”
    while i agree she’s not prosecuting criminals, where is the slew of charges against the law abiding? not saying it doesn’t happen, but what is the propensity? 1% of the felonies that she doesn’t charge?

  14. Bless her for going to help, but If I live my life right I will _never_ find myself in Chicago. Last time I drove from SE US to the Midwest, I drove through Memphis to avoid Illinois. Memphis sucked too. All my road trips are going to be getting longer as I will go out of my way to avoid the awful urban areas. The self appointed elites can mock “flyover country” but I call where they live “drive around it country”.

    • Pilots license my good sir!! Or fly frontier they cheap!!

      Last time in chi town at the deep dish place (chain, don’t remember name) was pretty ho hum.

      • I don’t much like flying, and it’s not just the airport experience I disdain. Certainly can’t afford my own wings. And family of 6…

        P.s. I lost my cousin and his daughter to a single engine plane crash.

  15. Don’t talk to the cops.
    She did excellent!!!
    Carry a revolver or 2 and an auto as primary if ya desire. “Leave no trace”. they are lettin out criminals in Ny, but when a “decent “ human goin about their day, literally doing the Lords work, has to be worried about how “ law enforcement “ gonna treat a DGU, we as a nation have failed. May as well just vote Bernie in and jump into the gas chamber to speed up the inferno…

    But seriously, think an article on here while back said pull it early and often, unlike your erm, privates…🤷‍♂️ Criminals aren’t gonna turn you in, you lived to see another day, and bonus, you didn’t have to talk to any cops and incriminate yourself into a jail cell

    • Don’t forget the other “loose end”. Chitcago is likely LOADED to the gills with surveillance cameras. You might call 5-O, the baddies probably won’t call 5-O, but the eye in the sky probably saw it.

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