How Acting Confident Can Save The Day
(kind of long - sorry)
Before I got my permit, an incident happened that re-enforced what I learned for New Yorkers (lived there in various times) as SOP:
Act Confident to avoid problems. I lived in NYC recently when it was number 1 of the 10 largest cities for safety but also in the 70s when it was falling apart and crime there a national joke, well as the early 80's during the crack epidemic. I lived in Washington Heights, Manhattan, the crack capitol of the world. But Act Confident and the local pusher in the park across from my building - replete with "the boys" and 2 dobermans - never touched me or those I know. Our demeanor.
The incident, (happened after I came back from NYC and was in my home town): at 1:00 am there were screams and shouts on the street in front of my house. I was late 50s, thin, medical conditions etc. I went out to see if car accident or something.
Some neighbors were out too, we watched a couple from a near neighborhood with high crime and drugs (though ours is safe) having a rage-filled argument in the street. Each would move towards the other, be met by their "mate" backing off, but each provoke the other one again so the fight continued and escalated. Both acted like they were on drugs or booze. Suddenly the woman came to her senses, realized her danger and quickly made her escape down the street and away. What she may not have known is the long distance to the other corner of the block and the real darkness along the way. The man, paused, we could see his rage building, then broke it and like a slow-motion explosion starting, strode towards her quickly with obvious intent to attack written all over his face and body -
I started to call 911 but made a stupid mistake. An instinct drew me away from the others and down towards where they were heading, the man pursuing her. No reason,no practical thing I could have done more than just call 911.
I suddenly saw 2 things: I was separated completely from neighbors and isolated in a real dark stretch of the street. I also saw the would-be-attacker suddenly see me on the phone and make a bee-line towards me, his new target, screaming and telling me what he was about to do to for phoning for help. The 911 operator said "Is that him"? and I answered it was, and wham he was he was 4 feet away. She stayed on the line asking questions.
Instinctively I knew if I made one move to run he would be on my back, if aggress and move towards him: I'd be mauled, or stabbed or worse (though he showed no weapon) - he was big, zapped out of his mind on drugs and in a real rage and who knew what else he had ready to come out.. And he but a yard away. Besides, my medical stuff made running or fighting well close to impossible. Therefore: Nowhere to go, nowhere to hide, no weapon. SO: I did NOTHING. I knew I had one thing left: my behavior over the next minute or two. So, I just casually glanced at him as I continued to speak to 911 quietly - like I would if I were with you in a booth in a coffee shop and got a cell call. Just eyed him on occasion and acted like this was no problem for me. And I actually felt very calm, in control of the situation weirdly.
He halted; he kept screaming at me, but seemed confused, not moving closer than the yard between us, moving away one moment like he was leaving, swinging back the next as if the attack was coming. But I just acted like, no matter, it was no never-mind to me, I had the authority.
Suddenly sirens sounded from all over. The alert 911 operator had likely "hit the red button" when she first heard the guy coming at me, and cops hit the sirens to try to help in advance of their arriving.
The would-be-attacker suddenly seemed to wake up. Faced with a victim who wasn't acting like a victim and cops flying in at him from all over, he bolted and fast. Next, squad cars came in from all over the place - I pointed to where he had ran, they zoomed after. (Never learned if he was caught or not - but I was OK and so the woman he was after).
Shortly after I applied for a permit.
Looking back on it it always seemed like 2 things saved my skinny behind: the alert 911 woman and great police speed (I called their headquarters right after to praise them to their commander). The other was my behavior in the minute or two before they came. He may have thought I was a cop, or had a gun - because he wasn't used to getting what he got: quiet confidence instead of hysterical aggression or fear and attempted-flight.
So, if in a bad neighborhood or some bad situation, one way to get out is to act without fear or aggression. Will it always work? Of course not. Always if you can: flee. But sometimes you can't. And sometimes this will work at those times . Play Clint Eastwood. Seriously, anyone can learn to do this and have it available some of the time. BGs want an easy hit, confusion about you and some sense of authority in you tends to make them head out and look for another. Angry stares at "the boys" sitting on the steps as you walk by them is throwing down the gauntlet , fear means: easy prey.
Aim for the middle.