An Example of How to Deter Predators While Avoiding Possible Criminal Charges

Sometimes we find ourselves in places where we know we shouldn’t be because of unavoidable circumstances. The other night in an unnamed city, my wife and I attended a dance competition MC’d by our oldest daughter. It was in the bad part of the city. There was no parking near the venue in question. I had to park on a dark, vacant street a block and a half away. As the event ended, I told my wife I would get the car and pick her up. Coincidentally, I had crashed on my bike earlier in the day and was limping as I walked to the car alone.

Before I arrived at the car I noticed a couple of individuals with dark hoodies approaching from the opposite direction. One continued to advance towards me and the other stopped at a payphone, didn’t dial the payphone, but picked the payphone up and pretended he was calling someone (do those phones even work anymore?). I immediately recognized it as an attempt to get one of the suspicious individuals behind me while the other lingered in front on the phone. As the first one approached, I instinctively loosened my Sig P238, .380 caliber in my right pocket for quick access from my Sticky Holster. I wanted to make sure that if I had to pull my gun, the Sticky Holster would stay in the pocket and the gun would come out of the pocket quickly (these are VERY versatile holsters, incidentally, for several applications). The Sig P238 is a 1911 design. I had my thumb on the safety, finger off the trigger, but I always carry the gun with a cartridge in the barrel and the hammer back with the safety on. By the time the first man was anywhere near me, I had moved to the opposite side of the sidewalk and made sure that he knew I was watching every move he made. Also, I had my black leather jacket pulled back to make it obvious I had my hand on a gun. I knew if these two were predators they would likely suspect I was not going to be helpless prey, despite my limping.

The first man slowed as I watched him move about 10 to 15 paces behind me. I kept turning to watch him while still keeping my eyes on the man positioned at the street phone. As I passed the man at the phone I again stayed on the opposite side of the sidewalk. He dropped the phone and began to follow me about 5 to 10 feet across the sidewalk keeping pace with me but about two steps behind. I continued walking towards my parked car while watching him very closely with my hand still obviously positioned on my gun which was still concealed inside my pocket.

To my relief, after I taken about five steps with the second man who had been on the phone walking at the same pace, he fell back behind me and I watched both of them run back into an alley behind me. I crossed the sidewalk to our vehicle never taking my eyes off of the two until they disappeared into the urban jungle. I jumped into the car and immediately locked the doors while starting the engine. I unholstered my pistola and placed it on the seat beside me. I’m certain the two could never have described my pistol because they never saw it; it wasn’t just another “black gun.”  I had not brandished it so even if they lied about the incident, a brandishing case would be hard to prove.  

This incident worked out just the way our Founding Fathers intended it to. The predators got the point.  I didn’t have to call the police and waste two hours of their time and mine filing a police report.

Again, the firearm was never exhibited nor was a shot fired. I felt impressed not to say a word to these individuals during the encounter.  This incident demonstrates an effective way of dissuading would-be predators without committing the crimes of brandishing or assault with a deadly weapon.  During this incident I did not see any weapons in the possession of these two individuals.  Suppose I had shown my gun to the man who had been holding the street phone.  Had he seen the gun and thereafter contacted the police with the story he was simply going to ask me for spare change to make a phone call, I could have been the one getting into trouble for brandishing.  Refer to Chapter 10 of our book Self-Defense Laws of All 50 States for similar incidents where the defenders used their body language to get the message across that they were armed, but did not actually exhibit the firearm. 

This experience could certainly be considered a defensive incident with a firearm. Liberals scoff at criminologist Gary Kleck’s estimate that there are 2.5 million defensive uses of a gun a year in the U.S.  The research of economist John Lott Jr. reveals that less than 2% of these incidents involve firing the gun. Like in my situation, most of these incidents are not divulged to the police. Law-abiding citizens don’t call the police after incidents such as this because they don’t want to be hassled by police officers who believe that they should be the only ones who should carry guns, not to mention the uncomfortable two hours at the police station or in the rear of a police cruiser answering questions wondering if something you just said will eventually get you prosecuted for an honest act of self-defense.  

Hopefully, this incident and those described in Chapter 10 of our book will give the reader an effective method of dissuading possible assailant/predators without running the risk of being charged with a crime.