was in the auto service section of a big chain store. It was late and my vehicle made in under the wire before the service department closed. I was grateful that I got in. As I sat in the empty waiting area I notice an automotive product on the shelf that seemed interesting. I picked it up to read the package as I was waiting.
My back was to the rest of the store. The service department was off my right shoulder. I was engrossed in reading the package and fully entrenched in condition white. I was not paying attention to much. The late hour (for the service department) meant it had no activity, not even an employee at the counter.
As I was reading, I heard someone shout something. I glanced up momentarily and saw a man standing near the counter. As I looked back at the box I heard “are you open” shouted very loudly. I again looked up and saw that the man was now facing and looking directly at me. He then said “I’m tired of being disrespected! Are you open?” At that point I realized that he had been shouting at me all along. I let him know that I didn’t work there. That only made him angrier. He went on about being disrespected and not taking it anymore. The more he went on the more agitated he became. He screamed that it was time for people to start taking responsibility for a litany of attacks on people of color. I told him that I had nothing to do with those attacks.
By this time, he had moved directly in front of me. He was standing their shouting with clenched fists. I stayed sitting with an open posture as he was screaming at me. In my head I was contemplating the need to call the USCCA emergency response line, if I was even going to make it home that night and why oh why is my gun locked in the box in my truck and not on my hip? I took mental stock of what I had available. In my left pocket a tactical pen. In my right pocket a tactical knife. I also compared his youth and muscular build that indicated either time in a gym or regular physical labor to my significantly more mature and round build of an office worker. The disparity of force was definitely on his side.
As this went on the store manager, a rather diminutive man, had come to the scene and engaged the man. I applaud his bravery! Before the situation was resolved the man had accosted other store patrons as the manager tried to diffuse the situation. Eventually law enforcement was called. It took a pepper spray and a taser to get the guy under control and arrest him.
The backstory is the guy had lost his job and was very drunk. As I told the manager that came by I thought he was just having a bad day. Unfortunately, his day got worse after he couldn’t get the service department to make another key for him.
My lesson, do not let your guard down, ever! Had I acknowledged him the first time he asked if I was open he may not have gotten so angry. He may not have lost control the way he did. My lack of awareness put me in danger. I was formulating an action plan because I was not paying attention to my surroundings.
Always be in condition yellow or above. Stay vigilant, stay safe!