Glad things worked out, bandito bar-b-que could have been very ugly.
This is a discussion on While smoking, never threaten a man with a gasoline sprayer.... within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I guess this is a combination of mildly alarming and moderately amusing. I'm a middle-aged businessman and I commute between Tucson and Phoenix, often traveling ...
I guess this is a combination of mildly alarming and moderately amusing.
I'm a middle-aged businessman and I commute between Tucson and Phoenix, often traveling in the early to mid-evenings during the week.
Few nights back, late, I stopped for fuel at a truck stop. It was crowded at the pumps, and I parked at a spot on the edge of the pump area. I walked in, used the restroom, and returned to find many of the cars had left...I was largely alone on that side of the building, but not really 'alone' b/c there were people pretty much always in sight and shouting distance around me.
Anyway, I start pumping gas. I was paying reasonable attention to my surroundings, and still this grungy young man slips around my back bumper of the Suburban and catches me a tad off-guard, stopping about 5-6 feet away. He has a cigarette (lit!) between his lips, hands in pockets, and asks me if I can spare some gas money. I said, more or less verbatim: "No, and you are making me nervous. Please step away from me and my car." I shifted my hand so my left was pumping gas and my right was perched on my right hip (centimeters from my sidearm under my shirt). I was too surprised to really feel anything like alarm or conscious thought, and I'm impressed with myself for even remembering I was armed and needed to keep that hand free. He was near the back of the car, not between me and my half-open driver door.
He does his best Marlon Brando-esque "glare with a lifted chin" expression, says "F--- you. What's your problem, can't you spare some money for a veteran? I'm trying to get home..." He looked more like a red-eyed Wayne's World Mike Meyers than any recent veteran I've seen, and we have lots around here).
I was standing there HOLDING the gas pump handle while fuel gushed into my car, and here this guy stands next to me saying these things, while smoking a cigarette.
We were on the 'inside' of my car toward the station office. Several others were in visual range, so I wasn't 'alone' with this yahoo, really...But still I was thinking....carjacking? Mug and jump into an accomplice car and speed away before anyone can react?
I stop the flow, remove the pump handle and swing the gas 'muzzle' at him, and just look at him, waiting. There's a pregnant pause here for about 5 seconds, he glares at me. Then I gently raise the gas muzzle up and toward his face just a teensy weensy bit.
The light finally go on somewhere in this crackhead and he spins and trots away, looking back at me over his shoulder at me a couple times. I think I saw him toss the cigarette aside after he was well away from me. I watched him vanish behind the main building area. I put the pump handle back and drove away immediately (having pre-paid with a CC). I considered and then dismissed going in to report the incident, since nothing had really happened.
This is the FIRST and ONLY time I've ever felt even remotely threatened while living and traveling (alot) in Arizona. The mistake I made was....wait for it...I wasn't thinking about and checking for his potential accomplice coming from the front side of my car. I was too focused on him for those few seconds, that and the freshly dripping gas pump handle in my hand. Lesson learned.
Conclusion: My weapon of choice was unleaded. Weapon presentation successfully...defused...the situation. No discussions, please, on the relatively stopping power of regular unleaded vs premium....that would be flaming and that is not allowed on this forum.
Thank you and good night. And remember to always fill the TOP half of your tank....
Somewhere between Tucson and Phoenix
Glad things worked out, bandito bar-b-que could have been very ugly.
When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
"Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."
Hóka-héy! Crazy Horse
Apparently he had no interest in becoming a crispy critter.
"I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".
I always wonder where the people bumming gasoline find the money for the cigarettes they always seem to be smoking.
The last time I was asked for gas money, it was some cute but scruffy-looking chickie at a gas stop up around Campe Verde. Her guy was in their compact wagon (newer than my car, but that's not saying much) which did look pretty well loaded up for a trip. I told her I wouldn't give her money, but since I was pumping on a credit card I would pump a couple of gallons into their car if they pulled it around. She said no thanks - which told me she/they didn't need the money for gas.
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Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”
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Great post!!! Was that a double action or single action pump? Glad it was loaded. A nice set of custom wood grips would really set it off.
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If you ever need to fire (no pun intended) in this situation I think a qucik single shot would suffice, a double tap might be too much.
Glad it worked out for you, hopefully he thinks twice before trying this stunt again. Come to think of it he could have very easily pitched that cig in your direction which would not have been good for you at all. I don't know if it would've been best to retreat to a non-flammable area but luckily you grasped the irony of the situaton before he did.
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With great power comes great responsibility.-Stan Lee
Gas stations and parking lots have become notorious havens for moochers.
Helpful hints on pushing back and strengthening the 2A:
I want to see the pump!
No, seriously, glad he didn't try to see if fuel was really flammable.
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There are two or three conflated issues here rolled into one. First off, I figure if someone is in bad enough shape that they have to resort to begging, mooching, they need some help. It doesn't make them an instant threat anymore than the guy in the neat suit isn't necessarily a safe person to be around. Second, in this scenario where others are around you, telling the guy a firm no and to back down was all that was required. The presentation of lethal force (implied threat to pour gas on him) was slightly over the top.
I have few regrets in life, but one of them was not giving a few bucks to a panhandling drunk in the throws of DT. Or, was he diabetic and really needed the food money and shaking from low sugar? The shaking wasn't an act. I turned the guy down and immediately regretted it because I realized that at that moment he was not well and needed help I could have given.
Back to the scenario, were you really truly for honest to G-d under some sort of danger or were you overreacting to an aggressive panhandler, or were you denying a tad of charity to a truly needy guy? We can only speculate. You can only speculate. In my book a couple of bucks would have solved a lot of problems or not, but if not, you would then have been more justified in threatening to make a crispy critter crispy or holey.
Good issue, here. I, have on many occasions given money and or food to apparently sincere (granted how can you tell for sure?) folks.
And no, honestly I would nit have pulled 'trigger' here. Had he gone for a weapon suddenly, I would have thrown the handle at him as a delaying tactic and darted behind the large concrete column beside the pump, and proceed from there thru the 'threat while pumping gas' stage of this particular classifier. Drawn while retreating and covering. My keys are always in my pocket...he could not have stolen my car. There were witnesses and video cameras running.
I had no interest in helping him (giving him $) b/c his tone, expression and body language were offensive, belligerent and too....challenging...for an 'honest' sort. He snuck up on me. He immediately used profanity at me when I declined. He didn't withdraw from my bubble when I asked him.
The less bellicose panhandlers work more passively: they stand in plain sight, with a small sign or such written on a piece of cardboard, and let you approach them. Especially when they have a scrawny dog in tow with them I will sometimes drop then some bills. A young couple obviously under their luck with an old lame dog last year, sitting together on a curb by the same stop last year....I went into the store for some snacks, but came out with a bag of groceries ANC a small bag of dog food and handed them off to them before leaving.
They say rewarding panhandlers does nothing but encourage those to continue that behavior, but, I figure, at least one of them over the years was genuinely in need by our (me) standards of need. The apocryphal "For that one, it matters" Christian parable. But I am selective. anyone soliciting me for money with anything less than supreme politeness in a completely non- threatening setting ( no sneaking, no profanity, no belligerent body language) will never be rewarded by me.
I hate to be the party pooper here, but a lit cigarette is not hot enough to ignite gasoline. In reality, gasoline is not even all that flammable. It's the vapors that you have to worry about, but either way a lit cigarette won't light it. I'm an auto tech, so I spend a lot of time around fuels. I've seen people toss a cig onto a puddle of gas, I've even seen someone toss a lit match onto a puddle of gas. It just puts out the flame. However, gasoline can cause some pretty serious chemical burns, so your threat was still a valid one. Just don't expect a fiery plume when the fuel hits someone smoking a cigarette.
No offense to Hopyard, but a panhandler mooching at a gas pump is not somewhere I'm ever going to pull out my wallet.