How quickly things can take a bad turn and escalate

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by FL-NC, Aug 16, 2022.

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  1. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Not my usual sub-forum, but I thought I'd share the story of my Friday evening.
    I decided to take advantage of some nice weather and go for a short ride, and head over to a friendly establishment not too far from home to grab a burger and a refreshment. When I got there, as usual, my friend behind the bar had my beverage of choice in hand as I walked in. I saw one of the owners- another close friend- seated at the bar with a very large (about 300 pounds, and not the "fit" type) and obviously intoxicated customer speaking to her- I had never seen him before, but the conversation looked friendly enough so I didn't think anything of it. A few moments later, he ambled away and she waved me over, and we exchanged greetings. Then she told me the big guy was drunk, had been behaving impolitely, and she had cut him off from any more alcohol. He had been begging her to allow him to drink some more, and she said NO. She also asked me to hang out next to her and occupy that space for a while to prevent him from coming back and pestering her. So we started chit-chatting, and within less than 2 minutes, he was back, and all in my space and hers. I asked him politely to step away and let us have our time to socialize, and he became very agitated, using language not fit for this forum or polite company. He also verbalized his intent to do me physical harm and started closing the distance (what little distance there was) to facilitate this. My reply was an overhand right to his face, which caused him to be stunned and stagger back a ways- I opted NOT to go straight into a multiple punch combo or kick series (either which would have likely resulted in his loss of consciousness/significant injury). After he recovered from my 1 strike, he intended to continue to attack but others stepped in, and removed him from the building to prevent further violence (and to prevent me from having to do him some serious damage) and told to vacate the premises immediately and not ever come back. I intended to leave too, but the owners asked me to stay until he had left so that the foolishness didn't continue outside.
    As far as I was concerned, the matter was over with, but I kept a close eye on the window by the door that he would have to pass by in the event he decided to return inside. After a while, the other owner (a man) went outside to see if the troublemaker had left (his truck was parked out of view from the inside of the building). He hadn't- what he was doing was waiting outside in his truck (presumably for me) with a bat- another terrible decision, for a number of obvious reasons. At that point, he exited his truck with the bat and started threatening the male owner with it, while at the same time another customer (and friend of the owners) had just entered the parking lot and saw all this. The newly arrived customer used a 4x4 piece of lumber (no idea where it came from) and swiftly used it to incapacitate the troublemaker, sending him to the ground and disarming him. The lady friend of 4x4 lumber guy came inside hysterical, so me and another patron ran outside to see what had happened and that it was already under control. Fatty was still talking smack, with a significant leak to his head. He was reminded to leave and never come back, which he did- although in no condition to drive. BTW, I later found out that Staggers Mcfattdrunk (not his real name) has a reputation for drinking and starting problems, and is currently on probation (no real surprises there).
    Could I have made better decisions? With 20-20 hindsight, maybe- but I made the decisions that seemed the best option at the time. I didn't want to fight someone at all (I can fight all I want during the week at the gym with people who are actually worthy opponents). The desired end-state for me once the encounter became confrontational was to defuse the situation while defending myself without requiring the later use of emergency personnel- which is why I didn't act in a way to cause the drunk significant injury, and I never employed any weapons at any point during the encounter- because I didn't identify a need for them. Of course, this led to that idiot deciding to double-down on stupid, and taking the opportunity to re-start the matter while armed (a gross escalation, though I would not consider him much more of a threat to me with that bat than without it- absent a surprise attack). The negative end of the bat matter is that 2 other people were drawn into the fracas, who luckily were up to the task.
    I guess the point of the story is that constant vigilance and situational awareness can't be understated, and that when a moron determined to do moron things is inserted into the equation, be ready to act accordingly.
     
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  2. Blue Jays

    Blue Jays Member

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    Hopefully the unruly patron, Mr. Staggers McFatdrunk, opts to just keep it moving right down the road.
     
  3. Bayou52

    Bayou52 Member

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    Thankfully, that drunken perpetrator didn't resort to any firearm. He caused a terrible situation, for sure...
     
  4. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    No kidding. I definitely wasn't up for that level of stupid.
     
  5. MrChicken

    MrChicken Member

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    Hopefully McFattydrunk guy didn't kill anybody while driving drunk.
     
  6. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    I say you did a good job dealing with the drunk idiot. I have only been in that situation with loudmouth drunks, not "violent" drunks. I do remember my boss at my last security gig giving us training to handle things with the lowest level of violence required, and DO NOT HESITATE to call the cops and let them handle it.
     
  7. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I broke up plenty of bar fights and arrived in time to pick up the pieces of a lot more. Your account sounds pretty typical. I don't understand why they didn't just ask the drunk to leave and call the police. I don't know what the response time is there but it seems to me that they could have kept him talking until the cops got there. Why weren't they called when it was discovered he was waiting in the parking lot? A lot can go wrong in a fight where someone (even the badguy) gets brained with a 4x4.

    I'm sure you did everything you could to de-escalate but I know from hard experience that there are some drunks who won't de-escalate. When the local version of Staggers McFattdrunk looked at 5 officers and told us there weren't enough of us to take him to jail it turned into an interesting night. It can be pretty difficult to take someone like that down without severely injuring him if he's drunk enough he's not feeling any pain. The only thing I can suggest is adding OC to your EDC.
     
  8. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    I suspect that this type of incident happens more often than we realize. It is difficult to reason with people who cannot think rationally.

    If I owned a drinking establishment, I would post a notice configured like an eye exam chart behind the bar. "How far down can you read the letters". 1. If you are of verified drinking age, we will serve you until you leave or your good judgment leaves. (smaller print but still legible) 2. We will not risk our license or your health by serving anyone we determine to be intoxicated. (smaller print but still easily read) 3. If anyone is threatened, security will help you find your way out and the police will be called.

    I would be tempted to have the bottom line in cyrillic characters, "that stuff will kill you".
     
  9. gyp_c2

    gyp_c2 Member

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    I'd reverse the sizing!
    Small to large!
     
  10. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

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    I don't frequent bars, but why not call law enforcement when you had the first altercation and he was sent outside? If someone is obviously drunk enough to be cut off from more booze, he doesn't need to be driving home and endangering the public.

    Regarding the second altercation, why not call for medical assistance and law enforcement?
     
  11. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    And the bouncer's comms officer should have been on the phone with the Police, starting at that moment. Error of omission right there.

    Gone are the days of dealing with drunks with a swift kick into the horse trough, and not because it's better for the drunk. You should have called the police to foreclose a he-said-he-said over a drunk's gunshot wound or corpse, today or next month.
     
  12. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Been to many altercations at drinking establishments in my years as a cop - and the above account is typical... No bar wants to have a reputation of needing cops on a regular basis - so most do their best to handle their troubles without "calling it in", and most times that works pretty well -particularly if the offender has friends a bit more sober than he (or she....) is and are willing to see them home. There are times though, and situations, when calling the cops first... is your best bet. The difficulty for all of us is just how unpredictable a drunk or aggressive person can be - and just how bad things can get... Down here in paradise (south Florida) more than one bouncer or door man has ejected a bad actor (and they're usually small guys...) who then came back with a gun in hand... No war stories here - but in my 22 years I can think of at least two or three murders that fit that scenario.... So yes, things can get out of hand...

    I learned early on (after a few bad experiences of course) not ever to drink or dine in places where I was known as a cop (not hard to do in the big city - much, much tougher in small towns....) since you were always expected to "step in" when there was trouble... Very bad scene for a cop since nothing you'll do will help you when the complaint comes in the following day or week...

    For any armed citizen... leave that sidearm in your vehicle if you're going to be drinking (and that's the same advice I'd give any young (or not so young cop....). In my era there was no such prohibition, and we got little in the way of helpful advice unless you were lucky enough to have a good supervisor or senior officer that most would listen to...

    I could go on all night about the bad things that can happen in any place that serves liquor, so I'll stop right here and point out that I learned the hard way to stay out of those places when I was a cop and the lesson extended into my retirement. That lesson served me well over many years...
     
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  13. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Member

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    Nice story, and glad to hear you weren't harmed.

    Now, how about the flip side of the coin? Looking back on this, what have you learned and how could you have handled this scenario differently/better?

    Every encounter which is either violent or potentially violent can be handled in various ways. Recognizing this, and using each such encounter as a learning platform, is part of improving ourselves and out abilities to survive future encounters.
     
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  14. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    All very good points. I personally did not feel like I needed any help from the authorities. As for the owners, it was 100% up to them to call them or not. They chose not to. As adult business owners, I respect their decision.
     
  15. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    This is a friendly little tavern on a fairly remote stretch of highway in the Fl panhandle serving locals almost exclusively. There is no "bouncer", generally the male owner handles customer relations issues, which are rare. This whole thing happened pretty fast. Hiring "bouncers" comes with a whole new set of problems- financial, liability, etc.

    So very, very true.

    Also very true- but for the record, this place only serves beer and wine- for which someone of his size should have an rather large "carrying capacity". That said, who knows what this idiot had consumed prior- "hard liquor" or even other products, and I have no idea how long he had been there before my arrival. Its also likely that the individual has some sort of mental illness type affliction that was kicked into red line due to consumption of alcohol or a cocktail of other substances.
     
  16. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    lemaymiami called it when he said a lot of bar owners don’t want their establishment to get a reputation with the local police.

    We had a bar where I worked that had a reputation. The first thing I was told as a rookie officer was: “Never, under any circumstances go into the Red Dog alone!” Of course the owner and regular customers took that reputation as a badge of honor….

    One thing to keep in mind if you do engage in an environment like that is that the legal system doesn’t look at bar fights the way the sheriff or town marshal does in the movies. I’ve collected plenty of conflicting statements in the aftermath of a bar fight and that often results in both parties being arrested and the lawyers figuring out what happened. If the aggressor has friends in the bar they will often take his side. On the other hand, it’s highly possible that no one will admit to seeing anything. Got called to a fight in the tiny bar at a local hotel, upon arrival one of the participants was on the floor with a broken leg, the other half of the fight was gone and none of the other seven people admitted to seeing anything.
     
  17. TarDevil

    TarDevil Member

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    Perhaps, but...
    Sounds like the "owners" got you involved anyway.

    Then you inserted yourself directly
    I don't mean to be critical of you. I think you handled the situation initially as well as expected. But, for the sake of innocent drivers who don't go to bars, law enforcement should have been called by anyone involved in this mess instead of letting that behemoth drive away - bar reputation notwithstanding.
     
  18. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Well, it re-enforced the FACT that every situation is different from every other, at least in a few small ways. I truly believe I was in a situation where I was forced to physically act, and I did it in the hopes that this minimal "posturing" would de-escalate. I 100% could have targeted other areas of his poorly maintained intoxicated body in more aggressive ways, because I just don't believe he would have had a snowflake's chance of winning that, but I was trying to avoid such an excessive display- besides then he would have been 300 pounds of stupid on the floor, which no one wants to see, and I'm sure as heck not going to be able to remove without a tow strap and a truck, or calling the authorities. Of course, the next order effect of me NOT wrecking him (and probably ending up explaining myself to the authorities, a judge, etc.) was him waiting in a poorly planned ambush with that bat, which had to be addressed later. So in that aspect, it was a catch 22 (I think that's the right use of the term) and it all "buffed out".
     
  19. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    And no Comms Officer either, but my point was more about getting the Police rolling, establishing Complaintant vs Subject, and officially recording the narrative of "dude's drunk and disturbin' " vs "two guys fighting" via 911 recording.

    I'm glad it turned out well, and hope it stays over.
     
  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    That would have been a not awful option. The owners or their employees could have- or may have- handled that. I don't know if they have such a policy or not. For that matter, the authorities may have been called- I have no idea, I just assume they weren't because I never saw them and didn't stick around after the idiocy concluded. Could he have been prevented from driving away? Sure, in any number of ways. I am 100% sure that doing so would have further escalated and prolonged the violence, not to mention the legal "rabbit hole" of a citizen's arrest.
     
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  21. rust collector
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    rust collector Moderator Staff Member

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    On more than one occasion, a disgruntled patron has gotten a firearm and waited to ambush, re-entered the place with bad intent, or simply shot the place up before speeding away into the night. There is no perfect solution, but these days we should never assume someone is unarmed or will stay that way.
     
  22. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    Also useful for police involvement can be that the paperwork is ready to ban and bar the guy. In future, he's trespassing. No need for bad actions.

    But... as said, that's not so much a thing bars and restaurants like to do. Stores and other businesses jump right to it, but it is unconventional for perceptual reasons (looks like a dangerous place if police there) so, just sorta leaves you in a loophole.

    Convention for restaurants then is to document all you can, ideally with quick signature or note from multiple staff so it's not hesaid-shesaid. Not as legally good as police report, but better than distant vague recollection.
     
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  23. citizenconn

    citizenconn Member

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    This happened a few miles from my house a few weeks ago. Not a bar, but a restaurant. I definitely think an employee of the bar should have called the police in your case. When an angry patron goes out to their vehicle there's no telling what they might come back with. I'm too old now to get in fist fights and would only resort to violence as a last resort, which if it came to that is why I carry. Glad you weren't hurt in the exchange.
    https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2022/07/27/murder-suicide-reported-in-northwest-harris-county-hcso-says/
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2022
  24. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Yes, life is dangerous- and anyone who has been watching the news for a while would probably agree that it has become more dangerous in recent years. All the law abiding can do is be prepared to react in the best way we can, using the best judgement at that time and place. Or just stay home in fear. We all know what that is like.
     
  25. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I don't know if such a policy exists there. I've never heard of that, it sounds like a good tool. I know conventional wisdom often says to stay out of certain places like bars and such, but alcohol is also served in places like Texas Roadhouse, Hooters, Applebees, etc. Heck, they even offer beer at Cracker Barrel now. Get on youtube and type "gas station fight" or "fast food restaurant fight" or "wal mart fight". Some of the first "real" brawls I witnessed as a kid were at Tampa stadium at Buccaneer games- too bad the home team didn't play with the same level of commitment as the spectators in the stands. Stupid can strike anywhere, at any time.
     
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