Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Guess I owe Jeff Cooper a beer.



So capping off another great New Orleans evening last night, I'm walking back to the lot where my car is parked after a few hours with some of my new friends in a local pub. It's been fun, but I had to be up at sunrise to run and then head into work, so I called it a night early. Now I'm walking along--minding my own business--and I observed two presumably fine citizens whom I'll simply refer to as LaDarius and Precious. I did not get their actual names, but I'm probably not far off the mark with my shameless stereotyping. If it offends you, go read another blog written by a touchy-feely liberal douchebag or just retreat to your "safe space".

Anyway, I see this cute couple sitting on the steps of a house which I'm sure does not belong to them as I walk past on the other side of the street. No threat, but I notice people as a rule and I also notice that they are noticing me and watching as I walk along, probably because I am so damned good-looking.


I go into the parking lot, make my way my vehicle, start it up, and head towards the only exit, which is back onto the street that I just came down. Suddenly a woman steps out from between a couple of cars as if she's going to cross in front of me. I stop and motion her across, but she just stands there, and then she kind of steps out in front of my vehicle and puts her hands up as if to ask "what's up?", basically implying that I have somehow committed some sort of faux pas here. I motion for her to cross again but she continues to just stand there with her hands out, and she's saying something that I cannot make out.

Wait a minute...I recognize her. That's Precious from across the street a minute ago. Why is she over here?

Hell, where's LaDarious? He's not with her, and he's not across the street on the steps that they were both on a moment ago. Scan...

LaDarious is now stepping out from between some other cars behind me to my left, at about my seven o'clock, and he's approaching my driver's door fast.



Damn right it's a trap. Precious was pretty obviously trying to stall me or, with any luck, get me to roll my window down or even step out of my vehicle while her boo was working his way up on my blind slide. I didn't see any boxes of Girl Scout Cookies in his hands and surely nothing good was going to come of this. Worse, I could not see his hands at all as he moved up. Time to do something.

Bye, Precious. I slammed my hand down on the horn at the same time I hit the gas. Fortunately for both of us, Precious was quick to jump back out of the way, so I didn't smash her like a bug as I bolted out of what seemed to have been a pretty cut-and-dried ambush there, but had she not moved I'd have flattened her and had no trouble articulating why I did so in the subsequent discussions with the police that would have followed. As it was, no contact, so no harm and no foul. But I did place a call to 911 immediately afterwards to report two suspicious individuals in that parking lot, and earlier this morning I called a business contact that I have in the NOPD district in which this occurred, just to let them know. He figured it was a robbery or carjacking attempt too by the time I was half way through the narrative. (And who says cops are dumb?)

I still love this city and it's nightlife, but just like anywhere else you've got to stay switched on and aware.

But thinking this over afterwards, I got to thinking about the late Jeff Cooper's Combat Mindset and Color Codes, and I thought that this little episode showed the shift through the various colors pretty well, starting with my walk from the bar to the car.

A lot of people bumble around here in Condition White--totally oblivious to what's going on around them and who is present. This is how victims happen, and no doubt, my two new friends were hoping that this was my state of mind. But they misjudged this time. I've been around the block a few times, and I know in particular what goes on in this neighborhood after dark sometimes. I'm not frightened off or dissuaded from coming here, but I do pay attention and take basic precautions, including driving the short distance between my house and this bar instead of just walking it like I'd have done in daylight. I also look at everyone around me and casually assess them, and that's how I came to see these two. And I noted immediately that they were likely the wrong demographic for the expensive house whose steps they were sitting on and I noted that they were taking an interest in me as well. I observe this because I'm Condition Yellow, and I make observations and judgments of anyone who happens to be in my immediate area. It's ingrained and automatic. Passing them, my focus shifts to the poorly parking lot and the fact that at this moment I'm the only one moving through it so that becomes my primary concern for a minute. It's still my concern as I'm driving out, so when this woman just happens to magically appear and step out in front of me, she immediately has my full attention. Where did she come from? What is she doing? Do her actions make sense? In this instance, there's no logical reason for her to be right there at that precise moment in time, and she's not trying to either get across in front of me or wait for me to pass. No, she's blocking my path and trying to engage me. This is that Code Orange moment, when things just don't feel right. Could all be a coincidence, but maybe not.


And then I recognize her, because I'd looked her over a couple of minutes ago. And I immediately associate her with her guy friend, whom I no longer see, either with her or where they both were a minute ago. It stands to reason that he's still around somewhere, so a scan is in order. Don't focus on Precious now...find the other one.
And there he is...right where I'd be if I was a mope trying to mope up on someone. He was coming up fast from behind, and his speed and location suggested no purpose other than harm to me.

Code Red.

A moment's hesitation on my part would have had this guy at my door. I lock my doors when I get in (usually) but how many people don't? What if I'd been dumber and rolled the window down or gotten out to see what the "nice lady" wanted? Mookie would have been right there, and probably not to give me an award for being a great guy.

At this point, I knew that I had to break contact with these two fast, and the only way out was the exit ahead. Precious was in the way, but she was also clearly part of this set-up, so any concern for her safety went right out the window. If they were banking on my hesitating to hit a girl with my car, they figured wrong; but for her being pretty agile and quick--almost like she was expecting my move--I'd have gone right over her. And then I would not have stopped again until I arrived at the police station.

As it was, it ended well, at least for me. I got home unharmed after a fun night out with friends, and I have another story to tell. Hopefully it motivates a few of you to assess how aware you are when you're out and about, and if it does that for even one of you, well then it was worth writing this up.

30 comments:

  1. PAY ATTENTION
    My life-long motto, which I sometimes heed.
    Yeah, you probably owe The Colonel a beer. Although, I suspect sneaking onto The Sconce' property to decant one onto Jeff's grave would be met with the Wrath of Janelle!
    Of course, if you explained the circumstances to her, she might share one with you. :-)
    Good to hear you and your vehicle made it out okay - THAT'S the important thing!
    ;-)

    gfa

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  2. The only time I'm condition White is when I'm at home, inside, doors closed. Otherwise, I'm a pastel yellow, even in my neighborhood.

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  3. Having successfully completed this particular drill, what will you change the next time circumstances present a similar situation?

    I don't suppose there's a forward-facing dash cam in your car that electronically immortalized Precious in pixels for the gendarmes...

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    Replies
    1. I won't park in that lot or lots like it from now on. Next time, street parking right out under the lights.

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  4. thanks for this, good reminder. Had the wife read it too. Good for her to hear it from someone other than me.

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  5. I'm starting to consider the dash cam myself these days, particularly one with both front and rear cameras. That would have really helped you out with this situation if there were any contact made. Maybe even ID'ing the mutts when you talked to the PD later.

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  6. Good catch, and bright spot is you didn't have to cap LaDarius and then spend half the night doing the paperwork!

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  7. You had the perfect opportunity to wait until LaDarius made his move and you could have sent him to hell. As Old NFO suggests, you would have had to do some paperwork, but think that the ghetto rats that he wouldn't have seeded to collect welfare...

    Where was Murphy when all this was going on?

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    Replies
    1. Murphy was chilling at home with Belle. They're welcome in this bar but I usually just take them there in the daytime when it's not so busy. But yeah, my little landshark would have come in handy right there.

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  8. Can't carry yet?

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    1. Sure I can. Just no plan to get out of my vehicle to engage someone when driving away is still an option.

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    2. You did the best thing possible given the situation. In all seriousness, even a justified self-defense shooting can cost tens of thousands in legal fees, and it's a roll of the dice given the chance of being wrongfully convicted.

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  9. Hubby noticed a couple in our neighborhood fairly late in the evening. The young man was going door to door soliciting "estimates" for work in the home. A couple of older trusting souls actually let him in, while a female sat on the curb a couple of doors down making notes (address, alarm system, number of cars?) He came to my door. I answered it in a work jacket, gun on hip with a ball cap with a three letter federal LEO agency on it. He said he had "the wrong house" and quickly departed the neighborhood, with his little friend. They've not been seen since.

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    1. LOL. Funny how the predators lose interest when they get even a whiff of sheepdog, isn't it?

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    2. HAHAHA!
      That'll show 'em!

      gfa

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  10. Got your Louisiana CCW yet? Now you can keep your roscoe in the car but unless a CCW you can't take your six (or more) best friends with you.

    Yea, keep your eyes open. In these wonderful Obama times, with shrinking middle class, you can't be to careful.

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  11. Glad that ended without further escalation.

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  12. Well, they profiled you as a guy coming out of a bar and thought you too drunk to know what was happening. That's why I carry anytime I enter Orleans Parish. Welcome to the neighborhood.

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  13. [stands]

    [clap] [clap] [clap]

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  14. Brings to mind Larry Niven's short story "The Deadlier Weapon."
    And for those advocating armed force, you'd been at the pub, obviously not drunk, but certainly had a couple. That had you been forced to defend yourself and shoot the moke would have certainly come up.
    So, well played sir.

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  15. Orange is good;)

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  16. So you left West Virginia for THAT, eh? I guess a jab's a job. Yeah, I know; there's a few spots in Charleston, Huntington, Beckley and Bluefield where such things could easily happen, too.

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    Replies
    1. Still beats West Virginia...and the commute into Washington DC every day.

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  17. Two incidents in 3 months? I must be living right.

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    1. The last one actually took place in January when I came down to interview for this job...I only wrote it up in February. And I still love living here.

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  18. I am glad you were aware for the situation.
    I work at staying alert.

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  19. "The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory."

    Colonel Jeff Cooper.

    Good thing you didn't have to engage them. I'd be reading about you on the news and the Jesse and Al comedy team would already be on the way.

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  20. I'm glad you and your stuff is ok. I hope these experiences don't ruin Louisiana for ya.

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    Replies
    1. Aw, no. It's all part of living here. I love this place. Just gotta stay alert.

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