25 Apr 19

“Disengage and Separate”

This narrative from a female student:

“Last Friday afternoon, I was shopping in a local retail establishment.

It’s located in a downtown ‘commercial district,’ and generally viewed as a safe, quiet, suburban location. I’ve visited this store on previous occasions and found area parking lots and stores typically frequented by middle-class people going about their normal business.

When I headed back to my car, I didn’t see anything unusual.

As I approached my car, I noticed a scruffy-looking guy literally running toward me, having emerged from an alley.

His hands were empty, as far as I could tell.

I recognized him as one of the clerks at the store where I just was, and my initial reaction was that I must have left something behind.

When he got within fifteen feet, I suddenly found myself reacting without even thinking about it!

I went into my ‘interview stance,’ hands in the correct position, right leg back, knees unlocked, and I unzipped my coat, giving me access to the G48 on my belt. I moved laterally as I put my left hand forward.

In a loud voice, I said,

‘Stop! Close enough.”

My pistol was never brandished, nor even displayed, but the guy instantly stopped, almost rocking back on his heels, flailing to regain his balance.

He nervously stammered,

‘Hey, I’ve seen you in the store a lot. I just want your phone number and email.’

I quickly answered,

‘I’m sorry sir. I can’t help you. Back off!’

I then backed away, putting distance between me and the man.

He obviously got the message. Turning, he quickly and silently walked away.

I’m persuade that my alertness, assertive/unhesitating response, body language, movement, clear verbal commands, and training all combined to ‘send the right message!’

Of course, I’ll never know his real agenda, nor do I want to know!

The most important aspect of this potentially dangerous encounter is that it was nipped in the bud, and I was able to disengage and separate with minimal escalation.

I never thought my DTI ‘basic training’ would cement itself so firmly, and that I would automatically react correctly, without even thinking about it! As I attended my DTI Defensive Handgun Class, I remember thinking how unlikely it was that I would ever have to use any of what I was learning.

How wrong I was!”

Comment: For every deadly-force event, where my students have to actually “go to guns,” I get many reports similar to the foregoing.

My student here reacted correctly. No guns were brandished. No one hurt. “Incident” ends with non-violent disengagement and separation. Police were never involved, and this successful, benign outcome will thus never be reflected on any statistic.

This is the kind of “success story” that makes my day!