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Bicyclist tries to open my van door..

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Willie Sutton, Jun 28, 2014.

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  1. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    Sitting on the shoulder of a road in a small tourist town yesterday waiting for my teenage daughter to run into our motel room to grab something she had forgotten to bring. Road is zero traffic, I'm just sitting there when a "youth" of about 25 rides up behind the van on a bike. He stops behind the van, straddles the bike, and walks up along the passenger side and taps the window. Naturally I'm bemused but I roll the window down a bit to see what he wants. He's obviously lightly drunk or stoned, and he begins: "hey, man... You're sitting in a really bad place for bicycles... I can't get past you..." Noting that we are on a country road with zero traffic, but also that I am sitting on the shoulder, I shrug my shoulders, drop the van in gear, and drive forwards ten feet and sort of sideways into the driveway of the motel. I see my daughter walking out of our room as towards me as the second chapter starts. The guy on the bike walks up again, signals me to roll down my window and starts again "hey man, the law says I have the right to be able to bike past you without needing to go around you". At this time my daughter (in her usual condition white) is walking towards us about 50 feet away with her head down oblivious to the scene. I foresee her getting to the van at *exactly* the wrong time. I put my left hand palm forward in the universal "stop" body language position and say "I'll be happy to call a cop if you want me to, otherwise BACK OFF". The "youth" (described now for your edification as a filthy white Rastafarian wanna-be) looks at me and doesn't quit. By now my daughter is 25 feet away and closing. He reaches for the door handle so he can open it to continue his harangue and is met by my words "I'm telling you for the last time, BACK THE F... OFF RIGHT NOW" as the left hand goes to the "Stop" signal position and the right is on the M9 that's never far away (sits in a milk crate that is bolted down between he front seats of my van). Full eye contact, body language, all non verbal cues given. He looks at me and slowly walks off. He has no clue that I'm armed, but took the cues. Kid gets in "Dad who was that guy!" And we drive off.

    Non verbal and verbal show of command of situation usually works. Always best if there's a pistol handy though.


    Willie

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  2. khegglie

    khegglie Member

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    Why start reaching for the M9?
    Could you explain the threat potential you Zen'ed more please?
     
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like you were violating traffic law for your convenience and the bicyclist tried to nicely explain to you that you weren't in compliance and, worse, were increasing the risk to others.

    I'd say you caused the incident and that you failed to properly address it by not saying "Ooops, sorry. I'll try to keep that in mind and pull up out of the way.".
     
  4. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Member

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    I am with hso... Not every single altercation has to end with a guy getting a gun stuck in his face.

    Do not be guilty of thinking that just because someone looks a touch unsavory they are criminal. Further, think about ways to deescalate situations. Shooting someone is no laughing matter. It isn't sexy or cool. The second you put a round in Rastafarians' head you would have realized how pathetic your behavior, position, and mental justifications were.

    Situational awareness is for de-escalation.
     
  5. rdhood

    rdhood Member

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    This. If you , who caused this, were going for your gun, then I'd say you are downright dangerous.
     
  6. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with hso.
     
  7. Yarddog

    Yarddog Member

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    In FL You can sit on sholder of road, Biker can go around you.. most bikers DON'T follow the law anyway.(Another story)
    As for reaching and tring to open door it"s a NO NO. The firearm is last resort, but the guy is lucky JMO ; )
    Y/D
     
  8. Mikhail Weiss

    Mikhail Weiss Member

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    I don't get it.

    Are bicyclists required to ride on the shoulder of the road, as opposed to the road itself?

    Is parking on the shoulder of a road a violation of traffic law?

    In my neck of the woods, bicyclists are supposed to ride in the traffic lane.
     
  9. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    I would NOT have reached for the gun if I were you.

    It was wrong for the guy to go for the door handle like that, but it wasn't wrong enough to get shot over. He probably just didn't have the same thought process as we might, and wouldn't have considered that a threatening gesture.

    All in all, I wasn't there to see how everything went down so I don't feel comfortable laying judgement on this. Just be careful and remember the gun is the very LAST tool in the toolbox and is only to be drawn if you are in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death, and it doesn't really sound like you were.
     
  10. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    I consider an attempted entry into my vehicle by someone obviously on drugs to be a potential threat. This rose to that. Also the approach of my daughter blindly into his "zone" added to my discomfort.

    I was violating no laws. Just sitting waiting on a deserted road.

    The opfor never saw that I was armed, and verbal judo ended the discussion. The M9 stayed right in its holster which is bolted to the milk crate. Resting my hand on it added nothing to his perception of the discussion.

    Just an example of using your best tool, your demeanor, to end confrontations. Start out polite, move to neutral, and then end with strong use of command. End of this problem. This ended well. Not all things do.


    Willie

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  11. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    First the criminal interview afloat and now the criminal bicyclist. You seem to be recently attracting the not-quite violent, not quite doing anything illegal crazy people lately.
     
  12. SnowBlaZeR2

    SnowBlaZeR2 Member

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    I don't know the traffic laws in your location, but in Florida, it sounds like you would have broken none. Regardless of the laws or your level of politeness, going for the door would have put me in the black. There's zero excuse for someone to try to enter your vehicle, regardless of what the others in here have stated. When I was much younger and home on leave, I had an incident where my unlocked door (not wise) was opened and I was punched in the head. I wasn't carrying and the confrontation ended with me on top, but that is a mistake I won't be making again.
     
  13. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    ^^ Duly noting that the guy was alongside the passenger side of the van, it's obvious that passing me was not his problem. And my daughter approaching that same door with me on the far side of the van, with this guy blocking her access to the van... Well... Not Good.

    I live out on the fringes of things much of the time, in areas where we find adventure but that attract other "colorful" folks. This probably was just a stoned kid on a mission of "?", but pulling on the door handle of a car to open it from outside uninvited? Not too smart.

    Willie

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  14. SSGT PRIDE

    SSGT PRIDE Member

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    In Kentucky the Castle Law covers it...If your in your house....car...tent...hotel room and anyone tries to enter by force or unlawfully (Without Permission) you have the right to armed defense...They don't have to be showing a weapon...You telling them to stop is simply enough.

    When he comes in the door on you...exactly how much beating / stabbing or wrestling for your own gun are you willing to endure??

    Just one line pretty much covers it.

    An intruder must be making an attempt (or have made) an attempt to unlawfully or forcibly enter an occupied residence, business, or vehicle.

    Opening a car door is exactly the same as opening your house door.

    You cant have started a fight then run in a house...sounds like this individual started the problem and wanted to finish the problem himself instead of notifying police as he should have done.
     
  15. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    It's probably very true that you could have avoided this entire encounter, and that should be considered in the future. Having the ability to de-escalate a situation isn't good for much if you can't learn to avoid them in the first place.

    That being said, the moment this guy reached out to try and open the door to your vehicle, the situation changed. There's nothing wrong with the way you handled it from that point forward.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
  16. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    I don't have the slightest problem with the scenario cited here... Can't tell you how many bad guys ( everything from just intoxicated bums, to professional bad actors) I took off the street years ago that were on bicycles.... My department even took down one serial cat burglar/murderer (with kills in more than one state... we believed he'd killed at least seven that we know of - all inside their own houses) that did his thing while peddling around residential neighborhoods (at least that's how he operated in my town...).

    Yes, every armed citizen is wise to avoid trouble (and the steps you take all have consequences one way or the other...) but the moment old "street life" decides to get into your car things begin to get serious as far as I'm concerned. I deliberately don't keep a firearm within my ready reach (and that choice is not without its own risks...) so I won't be saying exactly how I'd deal with an attempted entry - but my response would be quick and effective... You don't have to wait until things get ugly before you respond. One of the reasons our society has deteriorated to the point it has... and I'll stop right here.
     
  17. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    Just two minutes from sanity.
    Maybe out on there fringe, legalities being the complex and turbulent environment that they are, you should consider doing without the mahoska.
     
  18. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    I lived in New Orleans for two years and would have had NO PROBLEM being nice to a guy like that and moving my vehicle, but lord help you if you tried to enter my vehicle. We had a large rash of carjackings in the city for several years, and the response was to put the word out if someone tries to enter your vehicle unlawfully you can use appropriate level of force to deal with it. One time a friend of mine and I were getting gas before heading to an out of town event and had a local crazy guy try to get into the car with us. We stopped him verbally and I was a second from face planting him into the side of the gas pump. I had just opened the door to the truck after pumping gas as he tried reaching for the back door, I slammed the rear door with my foot at the same time I warned him to get away. My buddy came up and we managed to get him to leave us alone. I then called the local cops to get someone to pick him up for a mental health check as he appeared either off his medications, or stoned out of his mind.

    I believe that you did right, but better verbal defusing skills could come into play for a repeat situation. That and DO NOT be afraid to call the police and let them know what happened, the more paper on a potential situation the better.
     
  19. KTXdm9

    KTXdm9 Member

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    Not sure what some of you guys are reading. OP tried to accommodate biker bum by moving his van off the road, never mind that he wasn't even on the road in the first place. When biker goes to open the door, all bets are off. It's not TV, bad guys aren't going to go into a monologue before they attack. Yeesh.
     
  20. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Member

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    ^^ This.

    First, there was plenty of room for him to get by on the shoulder that remained to the right of my van. Or on the entire lane to the left, on a small secondary road with no traffic and unlimited sight lines.

    Second, when he first accosted me, I shrugged, and moved even further off by pulling into the driveway of the motel "just to be nice".

    Third, even after this, he persisted. And was on the side of the van that my "Perpetually in condition white" daughter was walking towards.


    Perhaps you needed to have been there. I can't think if anything else I could have done to further defuse things. Not going to drive off and leave my kid there alone.


    Willie

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  21. SSGT PRIDE

    SSGT PRIDE Member

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  22. Dave P

    Dave P Member

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    Ya done good, Willie.

    Before i read all the negative criticisms, I was going to chide you for talking to the guy at all - everyone on the internet knows you draw and point first, before trying any other method to correct the situation. NOT! :neener:
     
  23. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I don't see the problem with how the OP acted. I would likely have acted very similarly in this situation. Bicyclists should know (at least the smart ones) that if a vehicle is blocking their path, and it is safe to do so, they go around on either side. The OP issued verbal and hand signal warnings but was prepared to escalate force as necessary. No one was shot and everyone went home. Although I am sure the bicyclist probably had to change his shorts if he figured out what the other OP hand was holding.
     
  24. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Sorry to hear Willie you ran into some punk. Glad it worked out.
     
  25. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    I think you did fine. You had a valid reason to be concerned, especially with the position that your daughter was in. Rather than drawing down on the individual, you prepared yourself for the worst while at the same time you used verbal commands to tell him that he was not welcome to enter the vehicle.

    I have been in a similar situation before and when your spider senses are tingling then you need to listen. Entering someone's vehicle without permission is no different than walking in the front door of their house uninvited. From a defensive point of view, it may not be a reason to shoot but it sure is a good reason to get yourself prepared in case you may need to.
     
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