Yesterday afternoon I had my boys, 11 and 5, with me. We stopped at a rural gas station near my home and bought a gallon of milk. Suddenly two women, out of a group of five women and one man, start fighting as I'm at the passenger door of my truck, trying to get the kids in and buckled. The fight went right over the hood of my truck with fists flying. Not knowing if weapons were involved and fearful for my children's safety, I hitched my coat over my holster, exposing my sidearm, readied my pepper spray, then ordered them to separate while the proprietor called 911. There were a few tense moments. The assailant and her posse then retreated to their car to wait for the police but after several minutes decided to leave and of course were long gone by the time the Deputy showed up.
1. I had no interest in getting involved but the fight was all inside my comfort zone and impinging on my family.
2. I really felt like I had no good options. I was in the middle of a sudden combat environment with multiple parties. My kids were half in the truck and I was outside the vehicle, exposed and pre-occupied with a task, although peripherally aware of the argument/brewing altercation. Once I heard "We'll settle this later," and "Bring it on," I knew what was about to happen.
3. Once the fight waned and the parties in their vehicle, I considered leaving, but felt a certain civic responsibility to stay and provide a witness statement. No weapons were presented, the parties were separated, and calm had returned. Some of the actors had tried to stop the fight and were apologetic. The victim was an employee of the store and was inside.
4. Since I had decided to wait for the Deputy, I waited outside so I could watch the vehicle. I kept the boys with me for a time so that I could see to their safety but then decided to send them inside where it was theoretically safer but they were out of my sight.
5. I really struggled over what was the best/right thing to do given the circumstances.
6. Once the Deputy showed up I wrote out a statement. No mention was made of my OCed sidearm.