After spending a week at Gunsite Academy for the Alumni Shoot and a five-day class, I was heading home tired but happy. I pulled off the interstate at a truck stop to get a cup of coffee and find my iPad (gotta have music to keep me awake.)
Because I needed to open car doors to rummage through my gear, I parked nose-in at the side of the main building where there was space and no activity. Behind my car was a large open paved area with no vehicles. It was morning and I casually scanned the area as I went through my gear. I mean, after a week at Gunsite who would not be in condition bright yellow – right?
About the time I had two doors open and a duffle bag open on the ground, I noticed a large, muscular male about 75 yards away walking in my general direction and looking at me. (“1. Target selection?”) Condition orange.
I remember thinking, “Well, parking on this empty side of the building and spreading your gear all over wasn’t the smartest thing you’ve ever done.” So I kept an eye on him as I loaded stuff back in the car. He was not headed directly for me, but he was purposefully walking a straight line that would take him behind my car. It could have been just some guy going for a snack and coffee. Except he was looking very intently at me (“2. Surveil the target?”)
I had just got my gear packed and I was standing by the open driver’s door ready to get in, when he stopped behind my car at the 7-8 o’clock position and about 25-30 yards out. I saw no weapon, but he had on an unzipped jacket, he was facing me full on and his posture said he was ready to charge. (“3. Plan the attack?” Actually, I’m pretty sure it was already planned and this business of coming up behind an unaware person getting into a car is something that had worked for him before.) Condition red.
I admit I was tempted to try to jump in, lock the door, start the engine and drive off. But turning my back to him seemed like a real bad idea. (Later, using Tueller Drill criteria, I calculated he would have been on me in about six seconds – probably less as he had a very athletic build).
At that point I remember thinking, “OK mister, if we’re gonna fight this morning, it isn’t going to be with me trapped in the car and you standing at the door. It is going to be with me behind cover and you out in the open.” So, without turning from him, I closed the driver’s door (to give a clear shot) and moved backwards to the front of my car where the engine block and left front tire provided some cover. I stood there in a balanced fighting stance going through the “If he…, then I…” thinking.
So there we were, eyes locked on each other and not a word said. I remember how GOOD if felt to have on my hip that big ol’ .45 that I had just shot over 1200 times in the previous seven days, and had just cleaned and oiled the night before. And I remember thinking, “If ya gotta do this, put the front sight on center mass and smoothly press the trigger. And again. And again. And again until he is out of the fight. And then look around for his buddy.”
Clearly at that point it was up to him to either enter the “4. Execute the attack” phase or disengage. After a few seconds, his body language told me he was getting very angry and frustrated. Abruptly he turned and stomped off without looking back.
When he was quite a distance away and showing no further interest in me, I climbed in the car, drove off, turned on my iPad music and smiled when I heard Creedence Clearwater Revival playing “I see a bad moon rising, …I see trouble on the way…”
No weapons were displayed and nothing was said – well, nothing verbal. We for sure communicated.
Gunsite training provided this thinking and these actions. (OK, OK, so the dumb idea to park at the side of the building came from me. Which reminds me, I need to get signed up for another Gunsite class….)