The most likely time when you’ll be ambushed: when you’re entering or leaving your home, car, place of business, etc. Makes sense, right? When you’re moving from one environment to another it takes a while to get “wired” into your new space. Your situational awareness dips. And boy does it dip when people get into or out of their car.
It’s the Gary Numan effect. Our automobiles are climate controlled, locked and secured sanctuaries. Just standing next to our vehicle we feel safe. We’re sinking into obliviousness even before we open the door. Equally, when we get out of our car, it takes a while for the chill to wear off. Which is great — right until it isn’t.
Here are three ways not to get shot near your car.
1. Avoid stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things
Our victim was the target of an assassination. I don’t know the back story, but if you’re dealing with stupid people on a regular basis (e.g., a drug dealer or a woman with a psycho ex), you run the risk of them doing something stupid to you. Reexamining your social network and/or lifestyle might make your car journeys safer.
More prosaically, give bad neighborhoods a miss. You know: places where stupid people do stupid things. This avoidance rule also applies to clubs and concerts bound to attract “a bad element,” regardless of the neighborhood’s general character.
I’m not suggesting you limit your travels to known upmarket destinations. You can be ambushed outside of Neiman Marcus in broad daylight just as easily as you can at Johnny’s Roadside Bar at closing time. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of perforation.
2. Up your situational awareness around your car
I doubt our vic would have been able to mount a successful counterattack — or at least duck or put the car between himself and the shooter — if he’d turned and spotted his assailant at the beginning of his run. Less than two seconds expired from the time the bad guy entered the frame until the first shot.
In the case of a “simple mugging” you’d might have five seconds to do something before your attacker or attackers spring their trap. Or you might not. Bad guys know the value of speed, surprise and violence of action even better than you do.
Bottom line: you have to spot a bad guy WELL before he starts his assault.
Look for him/them before you get into your car. As you’re going to your car. And once you get there. Seriously. Always pause and surveil before you get into your car. Understand that as you turn your back to load your trunk or get into your vehicle, you are pretty much a sitting duck.
3. Have your gun immediately accessible
The first rule of a successful defensive gun use: have a gun. Your ability to quickly access your firearm is more important than the type or caliber of your gun or your marksmanship.
Practicing drawing from your everyday carry gun is more important than range time. So practice, wearing your everyday clothes. If you vary your clothing, gun or holster depending on the weather or situation, practice with each set-up.
If you’re carrying bags in both hands, well, that’s a problem.Remember: we’re hard-wired NOT to drop things. I know it sounds silly, but practice dropping bags and drawing. Your ability to free your hands in a heartbeat could be the difference between life and death.