Not every crook/criminal/badguy is a drunken crackhead loser tweaker druggie dropout crazy stupid person. Granted a lot of them are some combination of the above (which in its own way presents an entirely new set of problems in stopping them). But you cannot ASSUME that someone setting out on a common robbery does not have a plan that has been thought out and even rehearsed. If you do ASSUME stuff like that, you worsen the risks inherent in an already bad situation. Anyone remember the word play on the word ASSUME? Well, it fits. If you are going to ASSUME things, then count on things happening that will make the situation _harder_ for you to deal with and not easier. Because it is likely to go that way.
Prisons are not just confinement facilities for crooks. They are crook colleges. People in prison don't just wile away the hours pushing iron and making shanks to practice prison acupuncture with. They STUDY how to improve themselves as criminals. For hours and days and weeks and years they study.
And then they get let loose, back out into a world full of potential victims. Your world and mine.
A small percentage of them do actually better themselves as a result of their prison time, they pay their supposed debt to society and go out to try and live better.
Most do not.
Most go back out still criminals, not JUST criminals but BETTER criminals. I could talk to my wife the PhD who teaches criminology at a local university and get you the current statistics on recidivism, but I don't think that is necessary. It has ALWAYS been that most people who go to prison come out unrehabilitated, and continue following lifelong criminal careers interrupted only by prison time.
So figure on not running into someone who just embarked on their first venture across the line into lawbreaking. Oh, it happens. I know of people who were chosen as victims by rank amateur first-time criminals- but you can't count on that happening to you. If you ASSUME that criminals are stupid, you may setting yourself up for a genuinelyl nasty surprise.
Criminals know what those curved mirrors are. They know the mirrors are there to catch THEM and people like them shoplifting. They know that the doors of upright coolers reflect images from the right angles, and the insides of glass doors and windows and all sorts of other surfaces too. And they know to use them. They know they need advantages on their side if they are to carry out a successful predation, just like any other predator does. They plan for ways to HAVE those advantages much of the time. And if you ASSUME they do not, you are well on your way to making yourself that creature described by the first three letters of the word ASSUME.
I know of a number of instances where LEOs and others have been shot or killed by what I call 'tailgunners' who went into a store the group planned to rob a few minutes early and made themselves inconspicuous until the deal went down. They were there specifically to ambush ANYONE who played hero or got in the way or wandered in while the robbery was happening. If you are in a place and something like that starts, you had best know what is on your six before you commence the hero bit. It may be that there is a tailgunner there with you already in his sights.
I remind folks that my friend Steve KNOWS this stuff down into his bone marrow, after a career being stalked by professional predators in a legitimate business that draws criminals like wildebeast migrations draw lions even now. It is a business I have had some peripheral involvement with myself, and I have carried guns while working security for people I know who were in that business. It makes one nervous to be stalked by professionals, if one has any imagination at all.
This event made SM very nervous for very good reasons. He was kind enough to offer some aspects of it here in order to share the educational aspects of the situation with us. Smart people can learn from the experiences of others without having to experience everything themselves.
It is NOT hardware details that matter in situations like this. It is SOFTWARE that counts. It is software stuff that is worth paying attention to here. SM carries a pistol he knows from long experince to be reliable. He knows from thousands of rounds sent downrange under a lot of different circumstances how far away he can hit what with it. If you carry a gun you'd better know that stuff too, as well as what to be aware of that might tip you off a fight is in the offing. If you DON'T know that stuff... well, no need to go there.
Some might recall the ongoing convoluted story of an active shooter situation in a mall recently. The most seriously wounded victim of this shooting spree actually was carrying a pistol. But he challenged the shooter verbally, even after hearing the shooter fire multiple rounds of whet he knew from the sound to be centerfire rifle fire. He did not engage the shooter, he yelled at him like an irate hall monitor- and got shot repeatedly for his trouble. There are several lessons there as well I can't go into here. But it was an example of how NOT to do some things that I hope some people who habitually carry guns will learn from the easy way.
Over and over I have seen SM type- you cannot buy skill, you cannot buy targets, you have to practice practice practice. Well, here it is again. Learn what indications telegraph trouble, be aware of your location and the things and people around you, know where emergency exits are, be prepared to act in an appropriate manner given evolving circumstances. SM accomplished all that in this case. Every good self defense instructor I know counts a fight avoided by personal preparation and proper preliminary action as a fight won.
This one was a win.
Understand I am in no position to preach (and I know there are people on this board who are qualified by training and experience to do so). I am not the arbiter of all things tactical, I am no professional gunsel. I hope in some small way to help good people understand some aspects of the odds arrayed against them and that is all. I cannot predict the odds of any given individual reading this being involved in a violent situation. I cannot schedule my own emergencies, much less yours.
But neither can you. I was never a Boy Scout but I still believe in being prepared. You should too...