When things get really weird...

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by Howland937, Aug 30, 2020.

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  1. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    Not sure if this goes here (or anywhere really)

    I'd pretty well brushed it aside already, but it was such a weird situation I found myself in the other day, it's popped back into my mind a few times and I'm curious as to how other THR folks would handle the initial interaction.

    At the local grocery store on my way home from work. Typically I try to take stock of people I see as I enter an aisle. I walk past the aisle where the guy was shopping wearing full on long sleeve coveralls in 86 degree weather. His state mandated mask was a full face plastic respirator type. Figure something is off, so I decide to come back to that aisle after he's gone.

    Little while later, I'm in a different aisle and the guy comes my direction. I notice but I continue looking at the shelves. He gets closer than acceptable social distance spacing and stops. In a low voice he asks me "how would you like to die tonight?"
    I said "beg your pardon?" and he repeats the same question.

    Long story short, (ok, it's still long) he's kind of a wacko and his question was in reference to the poison foods I had in my cart, and the conspiracy of producers to kill us all.

    Question here is, when someone checks certain boxes or raises red flags, to what lengths do you go to avoid them? If they approach you, at what point do you get defensive? He had a cart full of groceries and was inside the store, so I knew he wasn't begging. I had my work shirt with my name and company name on it so I couldn't go full on D.B. right away just because he was closer than I liked. I made significant effort to remain friendly throughout the whole exchange.

    As he approached me, I casually turned my left side toward him while I moved my cart to allow him space to pass and gave the "hello" nod . After he asked me about dying and I heard him clearly the first time, I gave him the chance to rephrase his question or clarify himself but also slowly moved my right hand downward. I was sort of surprised that when I did reach down, it wasn't toward the gun iwb, but the knife clipped on my pocket. As he was repeating the question, I'd flipped it open while it was still clipped on.

    Have to say, that's about as weird a situation as I've been in in a long time. Don't think I've ever had a stranger inquire about my thoughts on dying. Think it was a bad idea to allow the guy to get so close without being a jerk and telling him to get lost? Bad tactics all the way around?
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2020
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  2. Hartkopf

    Hartkopf Member

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    What food was in your cart?











    Ok sorry I just had to ask what food was going to “kill you tonight.” :D It’s easy to say now that he was probably a harmless weirdo but that appears to be the case.

    I would have calmly made space and possibly respond with a nice, non threatening but “off the wall“ response that would semi give validity to his way of thinking. Like “I’m eating bad now so I can see how good I feel when I do start eating right.” Or “They can weaken my body but they’ll never get my soul.” And move along ASAP.
     
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  3. bdickens

    bdickens Member

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    The graveyards are full of people who might still be alive today if they hadn't been afraid to "be rude" to someone.
     
  4. sequins

    sequins Member

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    I generally avoid weirdness well enough that doesn't really happen to me, but when I feel threatened I like to declare it and see how things go from there. In this case, I might have used the phrasing "that's an uncomfortably aggressive line of questioning, and I don't want any trouble". It'd be awkward but it would either de-escalate the situation or get the chips down if they choose to lean into hostility.
     
  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    God must love crazy people because he made so many of them.
     
  6. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    A Chuck roast and some baby carrots at the time, but I was in the aisle looking at the kids juice drinks when he came up.

    After he repeated the question, I answered that I'd have to think about that one. Then I asked for more context..." Is the emphasis on how or die?"
    Then he motioned toward my cart and explained his thoughts. I didnt want to give him reason to think I felt threatened or to make him feel threatened. And since he initiated a conversation, I figured standing right in front of him until I knew what he wanted may be better than moving away.
     
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  7. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    If anyone has anything constructive to say, please do.
     
  8. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    It sounds like your radar was working well for you when you avoided him the first time.
    Your 'friendly nod' was his que that you would allow him to give his schpiel.

    Of course I'm armchair quarterbacking a little bit, but there are some folks I'm friendly with, some im not so much.
     
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  9. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I'll try.

    There are far more harmless loons out there than dangerous crazies. . . pay attention, but don't overreact.

    I think you did well, but opening the knife might have offended someone else watching and gotten you a talking to from the local constabulary.
     
  10. cc-hangfire

    cc-hangfire Member

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    Farmer’s observation is likely correct. Our fellow humans who march to a different drummer - so to speak - usually are encouraged by eye contact or a greeting. Avoiding either sometimes discourages an interaction. Street people are present in the downtown area of the smaller sized town where I work, & if I don’t have time for the delay I don’t make eye contact.

    That said, I would have likely done the same as you. Without really making a scene, there’s not enough room to avoid being that close on a grocery aisle. My hand would have been on pepper spray or my handgun, and I’m not sure I’d have the mental agility you showed with your response.

    Post Script: thanks for posting; that is an interesting “what if” scenario for the rest of us.
     
  11. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    I agree except the knife was clipped on my pocket so it was opened inside my pocket. Still, woulda been awkward if I'd tried to walk away after that point.
     
  12. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, missed that.

    Based solely on the description in the OP, opening the knife could either have resulted in charges for some serious form of assault, or worse, resulted in a justified act of self defense by the man in overalls.

    In many jurisdictions, indicating that you had a firearm would have put you at risk of being charged with aggravated assault.
     
  13. Meeks36

    Meeks36 Member

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    Sure there are quite a few who would still be around if they weren't rude to the wrong person. I act and look crazy when out. It helps to clear my path.
     
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  14. Trunk Monkey

    Trunk Monkey member

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    To be perfectly honest I ignore social distancing when I'm in a store.

    I also see a lot of people around here wearing the respirator type masks.

    Having said that as soon as he asked me if I wanted to die tonight I would take that as a threat. I would try to get the cart between us and I would put my hand on my gun. Then I would tell him that I found his statement very threatening and ask him to clarify.

    I'm fairly certain that I could justify that reaction to the police.

    ETA I'm certain that response is going to piss off the mods but I actually had some ass say that to me once and then he tried to choke me out.

    I would take that as a serious threat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  15. murf

    murf Member

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    https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Assault
    he legally assaulted you by threatening you with your life (before he explained about the food). i don't know what the legal remedy to your situation is at that point, but calling the authorities is justified. i'm sure you are not the only one he has accosted.

    murf
     
  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Really?
     
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  17. cc-hangfire

    cc-hangfire Member

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    I appreciate your observation & it would apply to OWB & IWB carry.
    In my case, my hand would be in my pants pocket for either the handgun or the pepper spray. No brandishing required.
     
  18. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

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    I wore full on coveralls of flame retarding material such as Nomex from 1986 forward as my then-employers and their client sites decided to join others in that industry requiring such, as well as while on my wat into and home from work plus places along the way, including in 100°F and higher weather and rolling sleeves up in same was a safety violation on the job where such clothing was required. I also wore half mask cartridge respirators, full face cartridge respirators, and supplied air breathing systems regularly as required by the potential atmosphere of the environment I was in. I still maintain for self protection that's a far more scientific approach to the current COVID-19 potential atmosphere than any bandanas etc so I wouldn't have had any personal issues being in line with an individual wearing any of those items to begin with and that would have avoided any encounter with the person honestly choosing to behave in a less than even-keeled manner.

    Just me.
     
  19. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    How would you like to die tonight? o_O "I'm not interested".

    I too carry IWB (Glock 23/35) and it is not conducive to putting my hand on the gun without revealing I'm carrying.
    Which is why I've got a Kahr PM9 in my weak hand front pocket affording the option of discretely putting a hand on it if approached by someone "shady".
     
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  20. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    You learn a lot of different things as a young cop... One of my earliest lessons was simply to trust your instincts about the people you meet and/or the situations you come up on... That only happened after one too many deals I should have avoided and didn’t... I’ll save the war stories for another day but here’s my advice...

    Avoid folks that set off your alarms period... Trust your instincts and avoid any interaction without showing any sign that you’re concerned. That also goes for situations that spook you. Simply withdraw while maintaining your awareness and staying ready to act if necessary...

    If the person worries you enough that you take precautions- then also call it in to your local authorities. When calling the police about a person or situation that bothers you don’t exaggerate, just recount what you’ve seen or heard then express your concern for persons or property at that scene. If you’re willing, stay nearby so that you can assist officers when they arrive. Responding officers may quickly learn that there’s no cause for alarm.. on the other hand they just might find that something bad is going down or about to...

    Now here’s the hard part. If you’re armed (whether it’s a firearm or other weapon)... keep it holstered or concealed so that any possible opponent has no idea you’re armed... If actually attacked you’ll want the element of surprise on your side. That might be all the advantage you need.
     
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  21. Howland937

    Howland937 Member

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    If it had been the checkout line I probably wouldn't have given it much thought, but the fact I was still shopping when I was approached, even though I made sure to allow him space to pass. Routinely chat with folks in checkout lines, but in this case felt somewhat singled out.

    Sorry if there was confusion from what I'd said, but no weapon was ever visible to anyone at anytime except for the clip of my knife that was outside the pocket. The blade was flipped open while still inside the pocket and while still clipped onto the pocket.
     
  22. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg Member

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    I misread - thought they were two different people instead of the same guy. Thanks for the clarification.
     
  23. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    Just what you’d need -an open pocket knife in your pocket - when things get interesting...

    Not how I’d want to be caught out - but everyone has to learn, one way or another...
     
  24. old lady new shooter

    old lady new shooter Member

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    I think you did a good job of defusing the situation.
     
  25. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    Maybe ride the bus more often? Sounds pretty typical to me. You evidently don't get out much beyond some kind of insular suburban world where you park inside your garage, a company lot, Whole Foods and the tourist places.
     
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