Don't bring a knife to a coffee fight
It’s not exactly easy for me to come up with a humorous way to segue into this post as is my normal routine for dealing with serious topics. So I guess I’ll just go with the old “damn the torpedos, full speed ahead approach”.
The short version of the story is that on Saturday leaving my office, I was the subject of an attempted mugging by a member of the Indianapolis Choir Boy School of Good Men Who are Only Down on Their Luck. As I was leaving my office, said altar boy came around the corner of my building to the left into the side parking lot, and as I turned to face him noticed the knife in his right hand. The Chaplain’s Assistant demanded that we engage in an abbreviated barter process, wherein I would provide my wallet and car keys in exchange for not getting shanktified, which to him probably seemed like a reasonable exchange.
I politely demurred by hurling a cup of hot Starbucks at him while fishing my Beretta Jetfire out of the stupid pocket holster it was riding in. After taking a face full of Columbia’s most popular legal export and confronted with a counter offer of bullets to his previous barter exchange concept, the young gentlemen decided that discretion was the better part of valor and made all due haste in a westerly direction.
Now, while I did write out the AAR slightly tongue-in-cheek, what happened to me is a deadly serious thing. I was mugged in broad daylight, not 20 yards from the parking lot of a semi-popular video store. Two days later, I can look back on this after talking it over with some cop friends and other self-defense types and gather two important take-away lessons that I’ll be remembering for quite some time:
- Awareness is king. Because I heard/saw the guy as he came around the corner, I was not caught completely flat-footed when my world went abruptly pear-shaped.
- Action > reaction > passivity. I was asked later “why did you throw your coffee at him?” My only reply, and which remains my reply is “seemed like the thing to do at the time” – but from a 10,000 foot view, tossing my coffee had major impact on the encounter which was to switch the initiative from my would be attacker to me. By throwing my coffee, I was forcing him to react to my actions instead the other way around, which gave me the opportunity to retrieve a better weapon than a cup of coffee.
The moral of the story for me anyway is twofold: keep your head up. While you can’t be in condition orange or yellow or whatever all the time, there are certain times when it behooves you to keep your head on a swivel. Secondly, as pdb is fond of saying, “carry your f***ing guns, people!” It’s impossible for me to know what would have happened had any number of variables gone differently, but one that I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about was “what if I only had that cup of coffee and didn’t have my Beretta with me?” On Saturday, a .25 in my pocket beat hell out of the 9mm I left sitting on my desk at home.