Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 45 Should I Shoot? Date Night Goes Wrong
- Ep. 46 Should I Shoot? The Assailant and the Attendant
- Ep. 47 Should I Shoot? Late Night Banging at Your Door
- Ep. 48 Should I Shoot? Elevated Awareness on the Train
- Ep. 49 Should I Shoot? The Sloppy Concealed Carrier
Saturday, 9:30 a.m. It’s a typical day for you as you plan to drive from home into town to run a few errands. All your stops are listed out in order on a piece of paper so you can drive the shortest distance and make the fewest turns. On the list: returning a defective tool to the big-box home goods store, picking up some dry cleaning, picking up a prescription for your mother and then to the bank to get some cash for the week. In addition to your list, you grab your keys, wallet, folding knife, mobile phone and your gun — a single-stack 9 you carry inside the waistband, in front, near your appendix.
Getting situated in your car, you place your mobile phone in a carrier attached to a vent on the dashboard. This setup allows you to talk hands-free and also see the screen when you drive — not that you allow it to distract you, of course. You head out, windows down, enjoying the moderate temps during this Midwestern spring day.
The return, dry cleaning, and prescription pick-up take only several minutes apiece. As you turn into the bank parking lot, you pull up to the one drive-through ATM lane. A couple people are ahead of you, so this shouldn’t take too long. With the bank building on your left, your car faces the bank’s main parking lot where there are several cars and a few people going in and out. You glance at a placard on the wall: Saturday lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. With all the online and drive-through capabilities available, you can’t remember the last time you physically entered your bank. But, apparently, people still prefer to handle these kinds of transactions with a teller, face-to-face.
The person in the car at the ATM finishes and pulls away, turning to the right. The next vehicle — the one in front of you — is a big pickup truck with flames painted on the side, large mudder tires and an enormous rusty hitch. The truck moves up to the spot next to the ATM and stops. The driver rolls his window down. You move your car up right behind it. The car behind you moves up as well.
Just then, the truck lurches forward about 5 feet and the driver jumps out. He has a bandanna half-covering his face, his right hand is in his right jacket pocket and he’s pointing it (whatever it is) directly at you. He signals you to stop or stay put by holding up his left hand with his palm toward you. Totally caught off guard but trying to figure out what to do — because everything you’re seeing is so surreal — you put your hand on your gun and prepare to draw.
You’ve had a concealed pistol license for years, and you’ve carried a concealed gun for just as long. Even though there have been a few instances where you were in a heightened state of alert, you’ve never had to draw on anyone. The thought races across your mind, unbelievingly: Would today be the day?
Should I Shoot?
Scenario 1. Convinced you’ll do as you’ve been told, the man removes his right hand, empty, from his jacket pocket as he moves to the rear of his truck. Reaching over the truck bed, he pulls out a massive chain and begins fastening it around the ATM. He fastens the chain to the truck hitch, looks directly at you, points at you and gives you the same stop or stay hand signal. Then he jumps back in his truck. Is this really happening? In broad daylight? Gathering your wits, you reach with your right hand to your phone, hold down the home button, which brings the phone’s personal assistant feature to life.
“Call 911,” you say.
“Calling 911,” the phone assistant answers obediently and starts the call.
Scenario 2. The driver of the truck puts his vehicle in drive and inches forward, taking up the slack in the chain. When it becomes taut, the driver guns it. Both rear tires howl as they spin, straining for grip on the pavement. Smoke starts billowing from each tire well as the truck jerks to the left, the chain tight as can be. You roll up your windows as your phone connects to a 911 operator.
“911, what is your emergency?”
You do your best to relay what is happening 10 feet in front of your car, that you’re stuck in the position you’re in and that the driver probably has a weapon of some kind. The operator asks you to hang on while the police are dispatched. In these few seconds, the driver’s actions have caught the attention of several people in the bank parking lot. A few immediately get on their phones, presumably to call the police.
Just then, the truck engine idles and the chain slackens. The man jumps out of his truck, looks at you, looks at the ATM and then jumps back in the truck. He guns the engine, the chain tightens and the tug-of-war continues. You’re still stuck, unable to go forward, unable to back up but relatively safe as long as the man thinks you’re going to continue to obey him by staying put in your car. At this point, you’ve withdrawn your gun from its holster and are holding it in your strong hand. You’re relaying as much as you can to the 911 operator.
Scenario 3. The commotion caused by the truck draws the attention of a bank security guard who appears from the main entrance of the bank. As the guard rounds the corner to view the ATM lane, he instantly recognizes what is going on and draws his gun on the truck driver, shouting for him to stop. The guard is facing you just as much as he is facing the truck driver.
Just then, a portion of the ATM machine gives way, causing the truck to lurch forward a few feet before being halted again. The security guard treats this as an act of aggression by the truck driver and fires two rounds at the driver — or, at least, through the windshield. You’re unable to see whether these shots have any effect, but the truck engine returns to idle and the chain goes slack again.
Seconds later, it’s all lights and sirens as the police roll into the bank parking lot. The squad cars screech to a stop to the front right of the truck. The officers get out and draw their guns from behind their open squad car doors.
The 911 operator is telling you the police should be on the scene and asks if you’re OK. You start to open your mouth to answer when the driver of the truck opens the truck door and jumps out. He points a gun in the general direction of the security guard and squeezes off a couple shots while moving toward the rear of his truck — toward you. The security guard returns fire, missing the man but hitting your windshield, which shatters into a spiderweb but stays in place. Through it, you can see the truck driver, approaching you, gun pointing directly at you.
At what point during Scenario 1 or 2 would you have been justified in drawing your gun and shooting? How would you handle Scenario 3?
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.