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This video shows an irate customer at the last neighborhood store Michael Brown ever visited. The thing to notice: all the people standing around, either waiting for something to happen or doing their shopping. They’re violating the first rule of self-defense, armed or otherwise: avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things. The best way to avoid this unholy trinity: don’t go to stupid places in the first place. By the same token . . .

a perfectly reasonable place can turn into a stupid place to be if a stupid person suddenly starts doing something stupid.

In that case, your are advised to GTFO. Leave. Immediately. If you’re in a store, put down your shopping and exit ASAP. If you’re in a restaurant or bar, get up and go. Don’t pay. Just go. (You will, of course, return to settle your bill.)

Another handy hint: have a “GTFO” word you can use with your family. A codeword that tells your friends, family or other folks that it’s time to scarper (as the Brits would say) without discussion, deviation or hesitation.

Yes, you want to up you situational awareness when things start getting seriously awkward, and start thinking about armed defense (e.g., cover, concealment, egress). But it can’t be said enough: the only gunfight you’re guaranteed to win is one you don’t have.

There are “sheepdogs” amongst us that will stay in a dangerous situation to protect innocent life. I applaud them. But remember that the people being threatened also have a natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. They shouldn’t rely on you any more than you should rely on them. Just sayin’ . . .

Addendum: Several TTAG commentators has posited that this kind of “showboating” is SOP in many urban areas, often used to provide cover for shoplifters. I stand by my assertion. If there’s someone verbally violent in a location, it’s best to leave. Better safe than sorry. If that makes me a wimp, so be it. I have other priorities.

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  1. ‘Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things’. The best way to avoid this unholy trinity: don’t go to stupid places in the first place’…this has been my mantra for as long as I can remember…and it has always served me well.

    • If its bad enough to get up and walk away from a meal, its a serious situation. If the restaurant mgr wants to charge me a fee for being courteous and returning to pay, now I have TWO reasons to never eat there again!

  2. This is only alarming to those unaccustomed to the ‘urban’ environment. This a rather common interaction between the denizens and business owners. If you don’t see someone doing this (or worse) at least once a week, you’re not in STL City, or North County.

    Seriously, a non-event.

    • This. After the rant started going on and on my concern and interest faded. If the guy was going to do something violent he would have done it in the first 30 seconds. The dude is just grandstanding for folks in the crowd halfway through. Not to excuse his behavior, but its not an uncommon sight in convenience stores, bus/train stops, or wherever people gather in a big city.

      • Exactly. He was showboating, not a threat. I do hope folks unaccustomed to this kind of thing, stay in their ‘burbs, because they will be scared to death in that environment.

        I’ve had a coupla businesses in the city, and have some friends in North County. This stuff happens all the time, and they’re going to leave, or as James69 noted below, they’re a distraction so their friends can shoplift.

      • …or in not-so-big cities.

        I worked convenience stores for 15 years as a vendor and what you see on the video was not an uncommon occurrence esp. in low-income areas.

        But if something like that happened in a bar or restaurant or other place where more civilized people usually are then yeah, GTFO time.

        • I’d make like ISIS and head off or be like Michael Jackson and beat it. The jungle bunny natives are restless. The best place for a sword is in its scabbard. Also it’s not a good idea to let your gasoline go below half a tank, and make sure your car is maintained properly.

      • “If the guy was going to do something violent he would have done it in the first 30 seconds.”

        Thats from “Social Compacts Between Criminal Scum and Law Abiding People, Vol. 1”, right?

        I have lived in NYC for over 6 decades, and not in a nice neighborhood. There is NO RULE OF PROCEDURES that scumbags are GUARANTEED to follow, except maybe they WILL do the unexpected.

        Anyone following your assurances would also likely have their tombstone engraved with “He listened to the cops who said “Don’t resist, they only want your money”, gave them what they asked for, and they shot him anyway”.

        • Fair enough, there are no guaranteed rules, just the law of averages.

          If you feel unsafe, it ain’t my place to tell you different. Do as you will. Maybe you’re right, and I’m wrong. It’s entirely possible. This guy may be a psycho-killer, or merely another denizen stuntin’ and flossin’.

          As many have noted, this kinda crap happens all the time in urban areas, and nobody gets hurt. Likely you’ve become a Bloomberg kitty, living in pansy-land NYC and all. I get that it may scare you, but Midwesterners are built from stronger stuff. Still a non-event in my mind.

  3. What’s the issue? This is a model citizen, an honor roll (almost) graduate, about to go to college on full “scholarship” at the taxpayers’ expense.

  4. Unfortunately if you live in a neighborhood where cashiers work from behind bulletproof glass every store is a stupid place. And like the commenter above said, this is an every day occurrence in certain urban areas. Pretty disturbing that the people who live in these places need guns the most but are most likely to be restricted from owning/carrying them by local/ state laws.

  5. One of the reasons I never go to a big city, and very seldom to small ones. But it can happen in a small town too.

    The population of the “city” nearest to me is about 2500 (shrinking because of the “bust” in the economy now). The other day I walked into a mini-mart to pay for my gas, and found a clerk I know engaged in a strained “discussion” with a stranger. Another stranger came up behind me and immediately got much too close. I turned and told him, in no uncertain terms, to please back up – that he was too close. Turning brought my OC holstered gun into his view, and his eyes told me he just might have soiled his undies. He left in a BIG hurry. The other guy suddenly also seemed to discover that he urgently needed to be somewhere else… the clerk thanked me for coming in, though he didn’t tell me what had been happening – if he even knew. I don’t know if he’s armed or not, but I intend to talk to him about it next time we meet.

    Transients (unaware that things might be very different than where they came from ) and just plain bad actors may be anywhere. You are not always going to be in a position to leave safely, so you might as well prepare for that situation too. Especially if you carry.

  6. The only place I ever had anything like this happen was in an indoor gun range. I came out of the shooting lanes to witness the Range cashier and another guy in a screaming argument over a scope mount the guy had bought that apparently did not fit which was special ordered against the Range guy telling the irate customer it would not fit and now refusing to give a refund. They were between me and the front door. I could not GTFO, so I got the F*** back inside the shooting lanes, loaded my pistol and got off to the side where I could observe through the large panes of glass what was going on and have some cover. Eventually, the customer left, got in his vehicle and drove away, whereupon I unloaded, secured my pistol and left as fast as I could. Later, I found-out from the Owner’s son they had fired that Range Employee for stealing from them by “special ordering” items for Customers at inflated prices and pocketing the difference between the Range’s real price, and what he collected from the Customers. Still later, I found-out from another Range Employee the incident I had witnessed was how the Range Owner found out what was going on with the Terminated Employee.
    Yeah, GTFO is a good strategy, unless you can’t, then Get The F*** To Cover is a good back-up strategy.

    BTW- when this happened about 30 years ago, it was still legal to Open Carry in CA. The Range guy was armed for certain and the irate Customer appeared to be armed from my vantage point. I felt lucky NOT to have found myself in uncomfortably close proximity to a sudden gun fight, but that’s why I loaded up again when I got back inside the shooting lanes and took cover. I happened to be the last shooter there and it was about five minutes to closing time when I first tried to leave. Possibly the best part of this, beyond it not escalating to an actual gun fight, was that I did not pee my pants.

  7. I was in that store a few days after it was looted. The first time.

    It was noon-time and there was none of that “urban youth” nonsense. I’m sure the calm, well-spoken gent starring in this video was working to support his wife and children the day I was there.

    Sarcasm off.

    When I was there, it wasn’t anything besides a convenience store. Yeah, it had glass partitions between the clerk and customers, but they were “open” unlike in this video. The people working looked as though they were working at their family’s business and seemed almost stoic about the violence, but business must go on. There were three or four others there. A couple were probably media types and a couple might have been locals.

    Ferguson isn’t (well, it wasn’t) the armpit many folks thought it was after seeing the rioting. In my experience, it was just another working class suburb.

    In fact, I wrote about it and Dan put it up here at TTAG.

    The long and the short of what I’m saying is to have your head on a swivel (yes, it’s a tired expression, but it’s true) as stuff like this can happen anywhere, anytime. Frankly, it’s one reason I eschew going into stores to pay for gas anymore. I much prefer to swipe, pump and go.


    • Exactly. It is it’s proximity to the North Side of STL that brought in half (or more) of the trouble, though there certainly are some bad elements in Ferguson.

      Really, most folks work (such as it is in this economy), pay their bills, don’t commit crimes. They often have relatives who are on the wrong side of things, and that’s only a problem because they culturally won’t do anything about it.

      There’s still a coupla folks I do business with up there, I’m maybe just a bit more aware when up there now, but not really. It’s just not that objectively dangerous, at least that I’ve seen.

  8. Glad I ignored this. As someone who has been in literally every shite hood in Chicago(and other “sketchy” areas) yeah get the heck out. Hey I was attacked by a large brown guy in a Harvey,Illinois thrift store(Restoration ministries) because I didn’t engage in mindless banter with his ghetto azz. Accusing me of “racism”. And following me to my truck. He’ll never know how close he came to a bashed in head. Like the FOOL in the video. I also had a black dude want to fight at the gym because I questioned him using 3 machines at once. It ended quickly when I said” I’m not an ex-con-do you really want to go back to prison?” Seriously…and I wasn’t then.

  9. Maintain situational awareness … if something seems wrong, follow the 3 steps to survival: 1 – flee if you can; 2 – hide if you can’t flee; 3 – fight like the hounds of hell if you have to… If you don’t do #1 soon enough, you may not have a chance to do #2 (except in your pants) and will have to resort to #3 to stay alive 😉


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