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Here's a real-world scenario that happened to me several years ago, and is one of the main reasons I carry when possible.

One Monday I needed to spend a day in Chicago for work, so I decided to drive instead of fly (it is faster and more predictable post-9/11). I drove to the rental place, parked my car in their lot, and drove to Chicago in the early morning. I spent the day working in Chicago, then drove back to Indianapolis that evening.

When I pulled in to return the rental that evening, it was about 10:00 or 10:30. It was dark, somewhat warm, there was no one at the office, and the area was fairly well lit. I had quite a few items in the car to unload. I turned off the car, got out of the driver's side, walked to the drop box about 10 feet away, dropped in my key, and turned to begin unloading my stuff.

I then noticed a man wearing a ski mask directly across from me about 15 yards who appeared to be working on an old pickup truck's steering column. It was a little chilly, but not cold so I thought the mask odd. He had been obscured from my vision as I pulled in by a larger vehicle.

I was getting alarmed now and pretended not to notice him. He was frantically pulling on something next to the steering column with what looked like a large screwdriver / crowbar. There was a dufflebag full of tools on the ground next to him, and he occasionally switched tools to continue his struggle.

Meanwhile, I calmly proceeded to get my bags and equipment out of the back seat and trunk, all the while keeping one eye on him and trying to figure out what this guy was doing. Time seemed to be crawling by, and it finally dawned on me that he was probably trying to steal the truck. My mind was in overdrive. I saw him pull up his mask after he saw me and continue struggling. I interpreted this to mean he was trying to fool me into thinking he was working on the truck.

I scanned the lot and did not see anyone else. Meanwhile, I was pretending like what he was doing didn't bother me in the slightest and I was totally oblivious to the scene - nothing abnormal.

My car was about 30 yards away in a darker part of the parking lot facing outwards. I picked up all of my stuff, which took up all my arms, and put my keys in my hand. I walked calmly and confidently towards my car, threw my stuff in the trunk, got in the car (constantly scanning my back), locked the doors, and slowly exited the lot. Meanwhile, the guy is continuing the car mechanic act.

I got out of eyesight of the lot and called the police. I gave them my information, told them what was going on, and the dispatcher sent some police out to the site. She said they may need to call me at home later on which I said was fine.

I got home about 11:00 and the police called me not too much later right after I had crawled into bed. They asked if I would drive back to the car lot to file a report. I complied, despite my extreme fatigue. After all, if it were my business, I'd want someone to do it for me.

When I arrived, the policeman jokingly said "So, you're the snitch?" Needless to say, I was not amused and just let it go as I was tired. Besides, he was just trying to be funny and didn't know the long day I'd had. I gave him a rundown of my observations. He then proceeded to tell me that there were a total of five people in the car lot at the time - the four others were in areas I could not see. They had run off after I left.

On this particular day, I was unarmed as I had travelled to / from Chicago and it was too much a pain to transport a firearm.

My wife, when she was first adjusting to me being armed afterwards, once asked "What would you have done differently if you had had your gun?"

I thought for a moment, then said: "Nothing. But if they had come at me, I could have defended myself."

I thank God for his protection in times of ignorance and danger. This situation couldn't have come at a worse time, place or level of preparedness for me.

Say you're armed - what is your response to this real-world scenario?
 

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My response would have been pretty much yours, even if armed.

I would have had a flashlight to hand also in case of need which just might have enabled me to spot others, as I floored my right foot to get out of Dodge! :wink:

Armed intervention would not have happened - only armed defence had I been obviously threatened. I am not the bravest of old pharts! :smilez:
 

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And to anyone who thinks that, if armed, they might have tried to apprehend the thief...
There were 4 other thieves working nearby who weren't visible...:gah:
 

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You done good, much better to be a live witness than a dead hero. Calling from a safe place is a good idea also, that way the criminal may not perceive you as a threat and decide to eliminate you as an eyewitness.
 

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nate1865 said:
I thought for a moment, then said: "Nothing. But if they had come at me, I could have defended myself."
That sounds like exactly the right attitude.
 

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Ditto all of the above! I always try to rent where your car is pulled up for you (cheap valet type service, so they can cram more cars into fewer spaces with minature car "runners") and staffed heavily.

Good job!
 

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I would have handled it the same way you did. You did the right thing in getting out of a situation you had no control over, made evident with the fact that there were 4 other BGs you didn't know about, and called the cops from a safe place.

So theives really wear ski masks? I thought that was only in the movies. :bandit:
 

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All the right moves, man. And attitude. Bravo!
 

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Sounds good, better a good witness than a dead hero.
 

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The only thing different is I would have asked to cops to come to my house to file the report, don't like to drive tired it's unsafe. otherwise +1
 

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Nothing wrong with what you did. I must agree with everybody on this. I did learn something from your post and that is to leave a gun in the car (way properly secured IE: safe box) to have it handy to be armed ASAP. Although the other guys did not get involved, maybe the next lot might decide to forget about hotwiring and going for the guy with the keys.
 

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Yup... I actually would have left sooner than you did, but overall good job.

Theres absolutely NO WAY IN HELL I am going to risk civil liability and all the grief that goes with potentially discharging a firearm over a rental car. Especially a rental car that I am not on the hook for.

Call 911, give em the report. Thank you drive through. Thanks for playing drive home safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In retrospect, I wish I had noticed the guy before I got out of the car. I think I made a mistake in not scanning the parking lot first. Even a quick, careful look may have caused me to notice something odd.

The whole incident taught me how naked and vulnerable you can feel. I could have been in a world of hurt if that guy had decided to take me on - even by himself with just his tools. I had my hands full and was pretty tired.

I never want to have that feeling of defenselessness again.
 

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Say you're armed - what is your response to this real-world scenario?
Exactly what you did but with just a couple fewer knots in my gut! :theyareontome:
 

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Good job Nate!
 
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