Editor’s Note: The following is a post from Sammy Reese, a former Marine Corps Artillery Officer and retired police officer from California. He is a part-time range master for the police department he retired from as well as a life-long martial artist and combatives coach.
Check out the last five episodes in this series:
- Ep. 5 Should I Shoot? What If the Crook has a Gun Pointed at the Clerk?
- Ep. 6 Should I Shoot? What Gun Should I Get Part II
- Ep. 7 Should I Shoot? The Fleeing Suspect And the Good (But Dead) Samaritan
- Ep. 8 Should I Shoot? The Line In the Sand, How I Would Handle A Mass Killing Situation
- Ep. 9 Should I Shoot? Road Rage
Hopefully, if you are reading this, you already know how to behave in a restaurant. What I’m talking about in terms of etiquette is what your plan is when something goes bad while you are seated in a booth or table with your family. By going bad, I’m talking a take-over type robbery where the suspect or suspects want more than just the cash in the register – they want the patrons’ watches, wallets, and everything else. On the extreme end of bad, a nut off his meds decides to start shooting patrons or hacking on them with a machete. If you are thinking you only go to restaurants in nice neighborhoods and this won’t happen to you, my mission here is to get you thinking about what would happen if it did and what your plans are if it does.
Start with the basic decision of where you should sit. You might not have your choice of table, but you can make sure you sit where you can get the best view of the front door and as much of the establishment as possible. I know it sounds cliché, but sitting so you don’t have your back to the door isn’t just a movie line, it’s common sense. If you can see the bad guys out the front window of the establishment gearing up, you might have time to evacuate your family before they make it inside. Trust your gut. If something looks wrong, get out and reevaluate.
Do you know where the exits are? Sure, there are signs over the doors, but can you get out through the kitchen if need be? Where is your closest exit and a backup if the first option is blocked? Can you throw a chair through a window? If you need your concealed weapon, can you draw it from the position in which you’re seated? This one can be practiced in the comforts of your own home and done with live-fire on the range. Have you talked to you family about what to do if “X” happens? I trained my kids when they were very little to follow my instructions without hesitation. If I told them to get down on the floor, they did it.
If you find yourself in the middle of the take-over robbery, what’s your plan of action or non-action? If all the robbers want is my money, my old beat-up G Shock and the engagement ring I gave my wife are theirs — insurance will cover the loss.
What’s the plan if it goes sideways and they start shooting people? I’ve said it before: I can’t tell you what to do. I can, however, ask whether you’ve practiced drawing and shooting from the seated position so you know what your capabilities and limitations are? Are you prepared to take the shot? Can you safely evacuate your family from the building? Or is the floor under the table the best option so you can focus on employing deadly force?
I highly recommend force-on-force training with Simunitions if you can find a facility at which to train. I’ve learned more from running scenarios based on “what if?” questions and getting stung by paint pellets than any other form of training.
Summertime is here and that means a lot of family time and hopefully some vacation time, too. Bad things can happen anywhere at any time, not just restaurants. Any place people congregate is just as much a target as a secluded parking garage or back alley. They both have their dangers, and we should prepare for every environment we might possibly find ourselves in. If the motivation is robbery, the more victims in one place, the higher the yield. If the motivation is mass murder, we already know anywhere from schools to malls can be targets.
Having thought through as many scenarios as possible makes you that much more prepared. Remember the primary mission is to keep your family safe.
For more critical information on the use of deadly force and other firearms and self-defense topics, visit www.uscca.com/GunsAmerica.