The man did not know he was being followed according to police and once at the man’s home, [the shootee] allegedly produced a firearm and confronted the subject [sic] as he was trying to get out of his vehicle and go into his home.
‘Subject,’ in POlice terms, is almost always used in the context of a wrong doer. In current times, the default treatment of anyone who shoots someone else is that the shooter is a criminal who must then prove his or her innocence. While some States provide some legal protection for self-defense, unless you never travel outside the county you live in, those protections cannot be relied on. ‘Stand Your Ground’ should always be viewed as a courtroom strategy not a tactical option. Keep that in mind. Do your best to AVOID or ESCAPE prior to being forced into CONFRONT or RESIST.
Surveillance Detection is a useful skill. Your car mirrors are a tool for you to use frequently, especially at 5AM. It’s beneficial to always take a few turns for Surveillance Detection purposes prior to committing yourself to turning into your driveway or other place you cannot escape from. Once you are Decisively Engaged https://tacticalprofessor.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/situational-awareness-and-positioning-part-i/ because your path is blocked, you are forced to CONFRONT or RESIST.
Note also that “the man was able to retrieve a handgun of his own.” ‘Retrieve’ most likely means that the gun was in the car not on his person. This mention is not intended as commentary about leaving unsecured guns in cars. Rather, it is an observation that many of the incidents in my database involve successfully accessing guns that are stored off-body.
Tactical Professor books (all PDF)
- Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection https://www.payloadz.com/go?id=3377208
- Real Shootouts of the LAPD https://realshootoutsofthelapd.com/
- Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
- Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
- Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
- Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
- Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
- Package deal of Thinking Clearly about Self-defense and Personal Protection, Serious Mistakes, Indoor Sessions, Concealed Carry, and Shooting Your Black Rifle (50% off)
Purchase of any book includes Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make.
I had an encounter yesterday with some unpleasant people while grocery shopping. When I got back to my car, they pulled up nearby at a somewhat odd angle in the parking lot. Since I wasn’t sure if they planned to initiate a confrontation, I quickly drove out of the lot.
After such an encounter, it’s prudent to take a Surveillance Detection Route that does not lead directly home afterward. Doing so isn’t particularly difficult but it does require a little thought at the time. You also need to use your rear view and side mirrors regularly during the process. And have a safe place to go if it turns out you are being followed.
First of all, turn out of the parking lot in the opposite direction that you would take to go home. As you drive, look for signalized intersections to turn onto non-arterial through streets. If possible, hit the red light. Sitting at the red light for a minute will allow you to scan the cars behind you without being an inattentive driver. Make at least three turns watching your mirrors after you turn. Contrary to popular opinion, they don’t all have to be Right Turns. Sitting in the Left Turn lane at a signal will frequently give you a better scan of the cars behind you by using your driver’s side mirror than you can get through the rear view mirror. You’ll also have a slightly longer view of the traffic behind you as they turn.
What you are looking for is vehicles that repeatedly make the same turns as you do. It doesn’t have to be the same vehicle that was involved in the initial encounter. Pairs of people often have two cars and the other vehicle might be the one following you.
Once you go into the Surveillance Detection mode, make a conscious determination you aren’t being followed before you decide to head back in the direction of your home. If you are being followed, don’t go home. Go to a safe place. POlice stations are overrated as safe refuges because they are often unmanned after shift change. Even Atlanta Zone Headquarters in the middle of the afternoon are sometime completely locked up. A woman was murdered in the lobby of an unmanned small town POlice station a few years ago by her estranged husband who was following her.
A better choice is someplace that is usually occupied by some kind of First Responders. Fire stations are one example and hospital Emergency Rooms are another. Even these aren’t fool proof but they are generally a better bet than going to the POlice. Think about several possibilities ahead of time and have them in mind as contingencies if you do need to go into the Surveillance Detection mode.
You could also call 911 but that requires you to able to link up with a patrolling POlice car or go to some place you’re directed to by the dispatcher to wait for help. Waiting for help in a stationary location when you’re being followed is an invitation to disaster. Driving to a safe place is probably a better idea.
Sound your horn even before you get into the safe refuge. Turn on your flashers and, if possible, activate the car alarm. If you have any kind of defensive tool, think ahead about how you might employ it should the situation require. That’s another good reason not to have a pistol stashed under the front seat or some other place it might have shifted around from.
Usually, when someone following you realizes that you are aware they are following, they will break off the pursuit. Don’t count on it though. You want to be prepared to play the game completely to the end. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re NOT out to get you.
On a separate note, a reader of Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection sent me the following note. It is spot on so I am reproducing it verbatim.
You might want to put a notice at the beginning of your book to make sure you have an Internet connection when reading the book, because a lot of the text won’t make sense until the reader reads the article at the hyperlink. And there are a lot of them.
Good thought. Thinking Clearly about Self-Defense and Personal Protection contains numerous references to incidents in The Real World™ to provide context for the concepts in my articles. For copyright reasons, I can’t reproduce the articles in the book, so I link to them. An internet connection will be invaluable for understanding the context behind many of the concepts.
Thanks for the tip. Winner, winner, he receives the complete package of my books with my compliments for his suggestion.
While there are plenty of posts about ‘Every Day Carry’ for personal protection, there are very few about Every Day Skills for personal protection. Tools are only useful if they are used with some degree of skill. Also many of the skills we use for personal protection don’t involve tools at all, other than the one between our ears.
I am now undertaking a long term project for a Fortune 500 retailer that involves being in their stores. So, I’ve taken my own advice and ‘gotten a real job.’ Dear Instructors, Get a Real Job Being back in ‘The Real World’ is an interesting experience, especially because I’m on the road, working different hours, and staying in motels.
A few of the things I’ve had to work on are:
- Surveillance Detection
- Situational Awareness (consider it in the context of changing a tire in the rain, for instance)
- Securing my tools repetitively
- and numerous more
Chronicling my experiences with what personal protection for normal people really involves will be quite interesting. I am quite looking forward to it. It will be an adventure.
I had lunch at Burger King yesterday. Say what you will but I enjoy the BK Lounge. Their fries are the best IMO and a Whopper with cheese is pretty tasty.
While I was there, a bum (aka ne’er do well) came in, went to the drink dispenser, and refilled four empty Coke bottles he took out of his backpack. Then he left. I.e., he stole about four liters of Coke and then took off.
His brazenness about it was interesting to watch. So was either the apathy or completely unawareness of the employees. I was tempted to not intervene so I didn’t. Not my circus, not my monkeys.
Getting stabbed for 50 cents worth of Coke was not on my To Do list for the day. I assume all bums carry a knife and that they are likely to act irrationally. As John Hall, former head of the FBI Firearms Training Unit said:
Every encounter carries with it an element of chance.
Another interesting aspect of the BK visit related to PERSEC (Personal Security).
This particular BK asks for your name for the order. A lot of places do that, for instance Starbucks. I never give my right name.
An attractive woman was in front of me. She had walked in with her son but left him in a booth to order their meals. Of course, she gave her right name when asked. Being behind her, now I know her name.
When her order was ready, the cashier called her name loudly and she got up to get the food. Once again, her son was left alone in the booth.
I was tempted to do a little Sport MUC with them just to see how much personal information I could get out of her and the boy just by knowing her name. I had other things to do so I didn’t.
Not all fundamentals concern establishing grip, seeing the sights, trigger manipulation, and follow‑through.
Tactical Professor books
Serious Mistakes Gunowners Make http://seriousgunownermistakes.com
Indoor Range Practice Sessions http://indoorrangepracticesessions.com
Concealed Carry Skills and Drills http://concealedcarryskillsanddrills.com
Advanced Pistol Practice http://bit.ly/advancedpistolpractice
Shooting Your Black Rifle http://shootingyourblackrifle.com
Thirty-five years ago, at approximately 6:30 pm on May 25, 1983, Lieutenant Commander Albert Schaufelberger, USN, was assassinated by Communist insurgents in El Salvador. He was the Deputy Commander of the US Military Assistance Group there.
Lieutenant Commander Schaufelberger was picking up his girlfriend and had established a predictable pattern. Although his vehicle was armored, the air-conditioning was not functional, and he had removed the driver’s side window. There was speculation that the A/C had been sabotaged. As he waited in his car for his girlfriend, three men exited a Volkswagen Microbus and approached his car. One stopped his girlfriend from approaching, one established security for the ambush, and one ran to the driver’s side window. He then shot Schaufelberger in the head four times with a revolver, killing him instantly. The assassination team then got back in their VW and left.
Complacency kills. RIP Lieutenant Commander Schaufelberger.
A further analysis of the assassination is here. http://jko.jten.mil/courses/atl1/courseFiles/resources/Albert_Schaufelberger.pdf
Hey Professor, I’m doing a security gig at [a large function] for an event involving [a number of people]. [Some dignitaries] will probably be there. The night before they want me to give a quick security briefing on awareness and what to do if Big Sarge needs to handle the threat. U got any bullet points or words of wisdom I could share that they will remember?
–A retired Army buddy of mine who now works high end security details
Use the same skills as in any social setting (looking for contacts) with an additional focus. Does someone or something seem out of place? “What’s wrong in my right world?” Have some faith in your intuition.
Practice surveillance detection, especially when leaving. Remember that ordinary crime occurs around events, as well. Identify safe areas along your route in advance. Ask for security assistance if you’re uncomfortable with the situation. Have some faith in your intuition.
Watch for targeting indicators; paralleling, hard focus, forces surrounding, etc.
Stay aware of exit locations. If you will be in a fixed position for a while, e.g., seated at dinner, identify the nearest exit to you, just as on an airliner. Note exits near restrooms immediately upon entering the venue. We tend to be distracted when we need to visit the restroom so it’s best to identify these in advance. Consider non-traditional exits, such as through kitchens or maintenance areas, if necessary.
Beware of the possibility of secondary devices; clear the area completely if there’s an incident. Go back to your hotel or residence immediately, don’t hang around the venue.
Discard unattended drinks. Once it’s been out of your control, get a new one.
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t ignore it, explore it. Alert others, preferably security, about issues. Have some faith in your intuition.
Increase and decrease awareness as the situation requires. E.g., increase awareness when going to or leaving the venue since there will be less security presence outside. Don’t try to be on ‘red alert’ all the time. It’s neither possible nor mentally healthy.
Ditch high heels if you have to move quickly.
Fleeing is preferable to hiding under a table if an incident involving small arms occurs. Gunshot wounds from a distance tend to be survivable. Close range executions are usually fatal. Determine a nearby point that offers cover or concealment and move quickly to it. Assess the situation and then repeat the process to escape.
Note locations of fire extinguishers. They are useful in case someone is on fire following a bomb and also as an improvised weapon. If you are on fire, drop and roll to put it out before running.
Sidenote on using improvised weapons:
There is no need to challenge or warn an active killer! That is only for TV and the movies.
Get behind him [her], focus your attention on the back of the head and,
without warning, smash it as hard as you can with the fire extinguisher
or whatever you have. Continue to nail them until they stop moving.
Then run away to safety.
If there is an incident, accept being separated from your party. Leaving the area and finding shelter should be your primary emphasis, not looking for others, unless they are small children.
Look for things or people that you may enjoy, as well. The object of terrorism is to change our society for the worse. Don’t let it do that to us.
Here is a PDF of these comments for anyone who would like to use them. Situational Awareness in Social Settings handout
There’s a lot to being a grey man. Many worthwhile observations in this post.
Amidst all the media attention surrounding my Babywearing and Carrying class was a call from CBS’s show, “The Doctors.” They thought my class was interesting and wanted to fly me out to California to talk about it. It took me a few days to get to the place where I decided to take the trip. I said yes on Tuesday, had a travel itinerary on Wednesday night and was on a plane on Thursday.
This is the first solo trip I’ve taken in a very long time to a destination that doesn’t include rendezvousing with friends or family or a firearms class.
No lie, the idea of two days in Hollywood by myself was very appealing though the reminders to be careful started in earnest along with concerns of, “Aren’t you nervous to be traveling by yourself?”
I don’t subscribe to that kind of worry and fear. Lots of people…
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“made a list of ten factors that can make an incident traumatic. Eight of the ten happened [in their incident]:
1. In your home
2. In the presence of children
4. Death and rape threats
8. Shots fired
One week ago our family went through a harrowing, life-changing experience. This is how my husband described last Tuesday evening in a prayer update:
Last night at about 9:45 pm at our house, Caleb announced to Amy and I as we worked on a paint job in the children’s room that three men had just entered our back door. When I got to the door, I saw two guns brandished among the three criminals. Though we offered all our money and goods to them they beat me and hit Amy twice.
We are praising the Lord that after about 15 minutes wherein they tore the house apart, we were able to chase them away. They took some material possessions, but our lives and honor were spared because of the good hand of our God who placed a wall between our lives and their weapons.
Tomorrow, we are taking a…
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There are so many times in a day when you have to let people into your space. I think we have to accept it. My tolerance changes radically when I’m in transitional areas like parking lots etc.
It’s important to take context into account when speaking about SAP. There’s been some commentary about my post that I must not live in a big city or ever take the subway. Since I grew up in Chicargo and live in Atlanta, that’s not true. I ride public transportation quite often, even when I don’t have to.
The comment about transitional areas is on point. Rarely are we concerned about being robbed or beaten up in line at Starbucks. The video of the dude getting mugged in NOLA recently is more our concern and representative of the positioning I’m getting at.
While public places, e.g., the coffee shop in Lakewood WA, and crowds are not totally risk free, I think my colleague William Aprill would say our risk profile for violent crime is lower there than in transitional areas or when we are alone. The criminal incidents that I personally have had to deal with all fell in those two categories. Either positioning or awareness, along with will, allowed me to control those situations. Controlling the situations allowed them to conclude without anyone getting shot or stabbed, which is my desired outcome.
In fact, one of my encounters took place at a MARTA train station in Atlanta at 9 a.m. I was alone and midway through the station on my way to work, so both criteria (alone and in transition) were met. It was what I call an “opportunistic meeting engagement.” Three individuals coming from another direction apparently liked the fact I was on crutches and in a boot from a recent surgery. It was the first time in my life I experienced Clint Smith’s saying “Predators look at you like you’re food.” But I saw their look, change of demeanor, and change of direction from the full width of the upper platform while they were still about 15 yards away. That immediately put me into Condition Orange and I initiated my reaction. Because I had seen them so far away, I had time to react on my terms, rather than theirs. There was no escape for me since I could barely hobble on my crutches. So I faced them, put my hand in my overcoat pocket on my snub revolver and said to myself “Guys, this isn’t going to turn out the way you think it is.” I don’t believe I said it out loud and no words were exchanged between us. At the moment I thought it though, the Marine Corps Drill Team could not have done a better Right Flank, March than those guys did, in unison. Clearly, this was not their first rodeo.
What happened was that they targeted me in an obvious fashion. When a sketchy character, or three of them, changes direction and begins to close with you, it’s an indicator that an incident is developing. As a police officer friend says “Nothing good is coming of that.” However, I failed to act in the way I was supposed to. In John Farnam’s vernacular, I ‘failed the interview.’ Most criminal predations on the street begin with an evaluation by the predator as to whether it has the potential for being a successful victimization, as opposed to turning into a fight. Economic predators are not generally interested in a fight. They know all too well that there is an element of chance in every violent encounter. That is not to say they won’t fight, but rather given the choice between a victimization and a fight, they will pick the victimization.
So our object is to see them early enough and understand what is happening such that we can set ourselves up to fail the interview. The criminal then moves on to find another victim. I would prefer that they pick an undercover police officer and then get dealt with.
However, what happens afterward is not my problem. I am not a police officer; my weapons and tactics are for protecting me and mine, not society at large. That’s the way our legal system is structured; I understand it and abide by it.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Awareness – noun – Dictionary.com
“The state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.”
One of the topics often stressed in the self-defense community is having ‘situational awareness.’ As my friend Craig Douglas says: “You can’t DO a noun.” Therein lies the core of the problem; we don’t teach people how to do it, so talking about it is mostly lip service.
When you want to learn to do something, you have to practice it. Once again, the dictionary defines practice as something done repeatedly or habitually. So if we want to learn to be aware, we need to work at it repeatedly. There are a number of ways that I practice my awareness and I do them every day, sometimes repeatedly.
In terms of awareness, one of my friends describes it as “what is wrong in my right world?” That’s one way of looking at it. A variant of that is “what is different or out of place?” That can be from the perspective of either what was before or what should be.
When I wake up, one of the first things I do is look out my front window. Is there anything different outside my home? Are there different cars there? Does the neighbor across the street have the porch light on, as it usually is? Is there anything different in my driveway or front yard? If not, then on with the day. If so, does it bear further investigation or do I just file that bit of information away? The essence of what I’m doing is checking for surveillance or an ambush. Having dealt with stalkers and possible attackers, both for clients and personally, I consider that very important in my daily routine.
I take a brisk walk around the neighborhood on a four day on, one day off schedule. The route I follow is the same so I can track my time to various checkpoints I’ve established. I don’t wear headphones, although occasionally I will have my phone playing John 00 Fleming Global Trance Grooves at a low level.
As I’m walking, I check out the houses, cars, and yards. I know them fairly well because I’ve been doing this regimen for almost two years. Which houses have been put up for sale and which have been taken off the market are obvious things that I look for. And there a lot of other things that I try to notice, such as cars, people, animals, etc.
Next post, I will list some of the things I observed and cataloged on today’s walk.