Upper Class thugs
Twenty five years ago my father was driving home from picking up a pizza. They live in Villa Park…not exactly a hot bed of criminal activity or misconduct.
It was dark and Pops was driving along a somewhat busy street. He looked in his rear view mirror and saw lights tailgating him.
He made a series of turns and yet the car behind him continued on its aggressive manner. Not having ever been in a situation like this before my dad did what seemed reasonable at the time…. he continued home.
When he turned on his quiet cut de sac and the car followed he became frightened. This was before the prevalence of cell phones… but road rage was an emerging phenomenon.
Rather then pull into his garage as he normally would he elected to stop on the street in front of his house. The chase car zipped past and went to the end of the street, turned around and sped to a stop next to my dad.
My dad… now more angry then frightened, got out of the car and saw that the enemy vehicle was a relatively new Mercedes. The driver door opened, and a middle age man in slacks got out. The dome light showed that he had a female passenger who was pleading with the man to stay in the car.
My dad put his hands out in a show of confusion and the man marched up and sucker punched my father in the face knocking him cold.
He then kicked my dad while he was on the ground.
Before he lost consciousness he could hear the woman now screaming at the assailant to get back in the car.
Moments later my dad regained consciousness and made his way into his house, and called 911.
His assailant was never identified or apprehended.
Over the years we speculated on what might have caused this. Perhaps the driver was on narcotics. Perhaps my father had done something so inadvertently egregious that this already unstable individual became massively engaged… and this level of arousal was able to withstand the entire drive to my parents house.
In the end it really matters very little… my father was victimized.
History has a way of repeating itself.
Last week there was a special training class offered at Gunsite. I had really wanted to go, but our scheduling dictated I pass. One of our students… John… however signed up.
On Tues… I decided to email him to see how the class was going.
He emailed me back letting me know that he had to cancel. The reason is he was frightened for his wife and he did not want to leave her alone.
You see, virtually the exact same thing that happened to my father twenty five years ago happened to John. (With certain variations of course)
John… who lives in a very nice community by the beach in Southern California was followed home by a tail gaiter. In this instance John new exactly why.
The tail gaiter was driving a new (no plates) Range Rover. While John was at a light that had turned green the Range Rover, who was in front of him did not move. (He was probably looking at his phone). John honked his horn to get him to move. This was apparently too much for the driver to bear.
He got behind John and the aggression began. John… like my dad drove to his home and parked on the street in front of his driveway. He waited until he had parked before calling 911. John also was a CCW carrier… he however did not have his gun with him. (He was only running out for a single errand… and what could possibly go wrong in this nice neighborhood while running a single errand?)
The driver from the Range Rover got out of his vehicle screaming at John. John remained in his car terrified. The 911 operator could hear the guy screaming. Unlike with my father the driver was not a middle age guy in a pair of slacks…. he was a younger man dressed like a gang banger.
Eventually the guy realized that John was on the phone and he ran back to his vehicle and took off.
It was then that John realized that the guy knew where he lived… knew what car he drove… and John was going to be gone the next day for a week, leaving his wife at home alone. This was a risk John was not prepared to take and decided to cancel the training trip.
Lets look at the actions of both my father and John.
Under the stress of realizing that they were being followed both went directly to their known place of safety… their home.
For both my father and John this was a critical mistake.
Once the chase was on there was no need to go home. In fact going home only tells the assailant where you live.
Why not go to a police station?
Or a gas station where there are other people and lots of cameras?
Or a strip mall?
Basically anywhere there are people but absolutely NOT your house.
My father had no means to communicate to get help on the way because cell phones were not available back then… John did, but waited until he was home before dialing 911. Why not start the call the minute you realize you are being pursued. Let the operator know where you are and perhaps finding a safe place won’t be necessary…. the police will come to you.
My Dad met a stranger on a darkened street without a weapon at night… not exactly the best of circumstances. He was sucker punched because he could not conceive that another human being would do what his attacker was prepared to do.
Had he instead assumed that this thug was going to get physical would he have left his car? Could he not have kept the engine running with his foot on the break… ready to escape? If things really went south could he not have used his car itself as a weapon?
He could have… but he was not of the mindset to do so. These tools that were readily at his disposal were rendered useless for lack of a plan.
John had tools… but used them late. (He also left a powerful tool at home. Not that he would have used the gun had he had it…. but did its absence become a focal point in his mind that would cloud his judgment?)
We train for the worst of eventualities, but our training is usually relegated to the point that a deadly force option has been decided upon. Our training must be far more holistic. It must include the cognitive ability to realize that an attack cycle is occurring and that we must figure out methods to defeat and deny our attacker far before the need for deadly force arises.