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. 41 Should I Shoot? Do You Carry in the Home? Do You Know the J.A.M. Calculation?
- Ep. 42 Should I Shoot? When Do You Call 911?
- Ep. 43 Should I Shoot? The Trench Coat and the Crowded Church
- Ep. 44 Should I Shoot? The Car Accident and the Driver with the Pistol
- Should I Shoot? Ep. 45 Date Night Goes Wrong
It’s Friday, 4:56 p.m. You and your coworker, who happens to be a good friend, have labored through another week of corporate dysfunction and are looking forward to dinner and then the hockey game. You both have had your concealed carry permits for a few years now and carry just about everywhere you go. Just about everywhere. The only places you don’t carry concealed are the ones denoted by the laws of the state you live in. These include places of worship, bars, educational institutions, hospitals, courthouses and entertainment venues seating more than 3,000 people. You’ll be in two of these places tonight. You don’t carry in your office as company policy forbids weapons. As such, your gun spends business hours in your vehicle’s glove box.
It’s a 30-minute drive from your suburban office to downtown where the restaurant and hockey arena are located. You’ve made this trip dozens of times, but you always carry your gun because downtown is still downtown — and one of the cities near the top of the FBI’s list of most violent.
Upon arrival at the restaurant, you and your buddy dutifully place your handguns in the glove box. The restaurant, is, after all, a bar, and you’re planning on celebrating the start of the weekend with a drink or two. The restaurant is crowded, but you and your buddy are able to get a seat at the bar where you enjoy the house special — pulled pork with mac and cheese — and your buddy downs a large cheeseburger. Comfort food at its finest.
You both roll out of the restaurant, stuffed but satisfied, looking forward to the hockey game. Hopping in your car, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the arena, but parking in this city is usually a disaster. As you negotiate the traffic, you and your buddy scout for people managing small, private lots offering close parking spots. For just a few bucks more than a typical garage parking fee, you can get a really good spot. Easy in, easy out.
Just beyond the next intersection, only about 75 yards from the arena, you both spot a guy holding a sign that reads, “$25” — red characters spray-painted on a white board. It’s $10 more than you’ll pay at the parking garage, but the parking garage is three blocks away. You and your buddy look at each and shrug as if to say, “Why not?” As you approach the parking area, your eyes meet those of the guy holding the sign. You point to his lot as if to ask if he has spaces available. He nods vigorously and waves you over, his hand full of cash from those he’s already parked. Your buddy pulls a 20 and a 5 from the cash in his pocket as you start making the turn into the lot. You stop the car at the lot entrance and roll down your window to pay the attendant.
Just then, out of nowhere, a guy in sweatpants, running shoes and a hoodie comes up behind the attendant and swings what looks like a nightstick right at his head. Your eyes must have bugged out a bit as you saw this because the attendant was looking right at you and then turned to look over his shoulder to see his assailant coming. Deftly ducking out of the way, the nightstick misses its mark. But the assailant is quick to reverse the momentum of his swing and try again. This time he brings the nightstick down on the attendant’s left arm, between the shoulder and elbow. He lands the blow with a thud, causing the attendant to scream in pain, buckle at the knees and drop the sign and all his cash.
Should I Shoot?
Scenario 1. Immediately, the assailant swings the nightstick at you, striking your car door and yelling, “Stay in your car, man!” while frantically trying to grab the $10 and $20 bills all over the ground and all over the attendant, who is on also on the ground, holding his left arm with his right hand, writhing in pain.
At this point, your buddy has opened the glove box and retrieved one of the two guns inside and is attempting to open his door. You put the car in park and instinctively thrust your door open, which hits the assailant right on the top of his head, causing him to stumble backwards.
“I told you to stay put, man!” he screams, reaching under his hoodie, into his waist and drawing a trench knife — brass knuckles with a built-in 6-inch blade.
You pull your door shut, lock it and then see your buddy rounding the front of the car, gun in hand. You retrieve your gun from the glove box and look out your car’s window.
Scenario 2. As soon as your buddy reaches your side of the car, the assailant sees him — and his gun — and drops most of the cash and scrambles to his feet to run away. Your buddy pockets his gun and kneels down to help the parking lot attendant. You holster your gun, open your door and get out to help. The commotion has drawn a few onlookers, but no police are in sight. Yet. You get out your phone and dial 911. The dispatcher converses with you in a tone that suggests this kind of thing happens all the time. She tells you a police officer will be along soon. Meanwhile you and your buddy help the parking lot attendant pull himself together. His left arm has a nasty bruise but is not broken. And, frankly, he seems more concerned that you have called the police than the fact that he was just assaulted and almost robbed. He wants to get back to his job of collecting his money for this lot. Just then, the assailant returns, walking around the corner, facing the three of you. He is standing about 30 feet away. The nightstick and the trench knife are not in view. But, then again, neither are his hands. Instead, they’re bunched up under the front of his hoodie.
Scenario 3. It’s clear the assailant and attendant know each other. They both unleash a stream of verbal threats, each taunting the other to come over and settle this once and for all. You and your buddy stand by the attendant, watching the assailant. Your buddy has his hand in his pocket, on his gun. Every now and then, the assailant’s left hand comes out from under his hoodie to aid his verbal assault with an obscene gesture or pointing. His right hand stays hidden. This goes on for several seconds. How you got tangled up with these two is beyond your comprehension, and you dismiss most of their shouting and threats. Except when the assailant takes two steps forward and shouts, “You gonna try to shoot me again?”
That’s when both you and your buddy realize he’s talking to the attendant. At this point, you glance at the attendant and notice he too has his right hand under the front of his shirt. He’s stopped yelling, but his eyes are fixated on the assailant and he’s breathing heavy. You’re getting a bad feeling about this standoff, but it’s at that point you see the red and blue lights of an unmarked police car light up about two blocks away. Immediately, the assailant changes his demeanor to “uninterested citizen taking a walk” and starts walking away from the scene. The attendant shuffles over to the parking lot hut and goes inside. You and your buddy are left standing there when the police car rolls up.
Two officers get out and ask for your ID. You go through the normal steps of informing them about your concealed pistol licenses, which they appreciate but take virtually no interest in. They ask you and your buddy a few questions, indicating they are more than familiar with the feud you just witnessed. Both police officers go to talk to the attendant and then get in the car and enter a brief report on their car’s laptop.
Should I Shoot?
How would any of these three situations have to change in order for you to be justified in drawing your gun and shooting?
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.