This is more social commentary than what I would normally write about, but I feel like it needs to be said.
Last night at about 1am while trying to sleep, my wife and I were disturbed by loud talking and laughing outside our window (we live in a townhome community). I looked out the window and saw roughly ten teens in the parking lot. One of which was a neighbor’s son, so I figured I’d give them a chance not to get in trouble by just asking them to move the party inside. After slipping on my shorts and shirt, I put my gun in my waistband holster and proceeded outside. I motioned for the kid I knew to come talk to me, he refused so I approached the group. I was met with several and a curse or two. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and they made it obvious they were looking for trouble. There was no way I was going to bite and be drawn into a pissing contest. I already knew how it would end. My training kicked in before I even went outside, and I had several plans in case something went wrong. I didn’t want a fight, I didn’t think there was even one to be had, but I was aware that it could go terribly wrong very quickly hence my gun being on my person.
Now these kids had no idea of my background, or that I was carrying a weapon. What they did know is that I was an “old” white guy telling them what to do. One of the guys was bouncing around like a boxer and wouldn’t break eye contact, another called me a hillbilly (I rock a pretty healthy beard these days), and there was even more colorful commentary that I don’t see a need to repeat. It was very obvious that they were begging for me to do or say anything that would act as an excuse for them to become violent. Honestly, I was more disappointed in them than anything and I certainly wasn’t intimidated. When approaching I positioned myself with a brick barrier on the other side of the group in case I did need to defend myself with my firearm, and I kept enough distance to allow a good amount ofif needed. This was a precaution based on years of experience, training and the fact that I would never want stray bullets flying around my neighborhood.
What I realized after disengaging and re-entering my home is something I never considered before going outside. I saw myself as being a nice guy for not calling the cops from the start and just asking for some . What they saw was completely different and dangerous for me. Because of my race, I was perceived as the enemy and a threat to their rights right from the start(their perceived right to be where they wanted, when they wanted to be there). I was smart enough to keep my mouth shut, remain respectful even after being disrespected, and walk away. If I had not walked away, things without a doubt would have gotten heated very quickly. Calling the cops was without a doubt the best option for all involved. I asked my wife to do so, and told her about what I had just experienced.
Now the point of telling you this story is to illustrate a few lessons that I re-learned from this experience. Even with my years of experience and training I placed everyone involved in danger needlessly because I didn’t see a dangerous situation when I should have. So what are the lessons I learned?
- Always think before you act.
- A situation may not be as benign as you assume.
- Your perception may be completely the opposite of your reality.
- Never put yourself in a situation where you are the cause of an incident.
- Let the Police do their job and remember that they are seen by the law as doing their job, not as being the aggressor.
- No matter how confident you are in your skills, 10 to 1 odds suck!
- A simple noise complaint isn’t worth anyone dying for.
- Never fall victim to instigation by an opponent.
- If things had gone badly, I would have been seen as the aggressor and instigator. I also would have more than likely faced charges because the situation could have been avoided by picking up the phone rather than going outside.
The current social climate doesn’t allow us to base our decisions on common sense anymore. We have to look at the big picture of how society as a whole will perceive everything we do. The country is divided down the middle on politics, race and religion. Just because we don’t see a problem with any given decision doesn’t mean that someone from another view point won’t. As gun owners we need to not only train ourselves in the use of our weapons, but how not to use our weapons. The best way to not be in a shooting incident is to avoid the situation all together if possible.
I did everything right tactically to give myself any possible advantage, I was armed, I positioned myself well, I allowed distance and cover, and so on and so forth. What I didn’t do is give myself the ultimate tactical advantage…avoiding the situation all together!