Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Doing Everything Wrong: My Analysis of the events leading up to the blunt object connecting with my skull.

As requested, here’s my analysis of the night A Glock 27 Saved My Stupid Ass in 1996. I mentioned several times in the post that it is my sincere belief that I did everything wrong that I could have possibly done, and even one good choice would have prevented the assault on my cranium and subsequent bleeding. Let’s take a look at the long list of bad choices the 22 year old me made back then.

On a whim one night, I decided to walk down to work to see what the hike would be like and maybe catch up with a couple of friends. I had intentions of walking to and from job as parking in 5 Points is terrible in general and an epic fail if you have to work there.
I had worked in bars in 5 Points for 3 years at that point, witnessing many assaults and calling the police on aggressive homeless vagrant types several times myself. I did not think this out very well. I am walking around in Cooper’s Condition White - unaware, unprepared. Oblivious. I should have been paying attention.
I didn't find any of my friends, and after a couple of beers I hoofed it back up the hill that led to my house. Not a bad hike at all.
It’s late, dark, and I had at least 2 alcoholic beverages in an hour. All of this is fine tailgating for a football game, and might not be a particularly big deal in this case if I wasn’t by myself. Taking into account the history of violence in the area, I should have been in Condition Yellow if not Orange. (Being armed with something other than overconfidence would have been nice too. Practice that Krav Maga kids) I decided to walk home from an area somewhat notorious for aggressive panhandling and muggings. By myself. Guess who’s still in Condition White.


Let’s examine all of these bad calls.

  • It’s late and dark - I should have called a cab or a roommate to make the short trip to pick me up.
  • I had 2 or more alcoholic beverages in an hour - alcohol ruins reaction times, promotes a false sense of well being, and impairs judgment. I should have had limited (or eliminated) my alcohol intake knowing that I was going to be walking home.

Almost to my street and displaying a tragic utter disregard for situational awareness, I was caught unawares by a shady looking dude on a BMX bike as he pulled up next to me and asked me if I had change for a twenty.
I displayed a total lack of situational awareness. My memory is too foggy for me to speculate what was running through my mind back then. Probably women or money or how the latter made the former more interested in me. I should have been checking my 6. Instead I get bushwhacked by a lightweight on a kids bike. I realized later at the hospital that if he had been armed with a gun he could have shot me in the back of the head and I never would have seen it coming. For years afterward I got cold sweats thinking about that.
His sudden appearance startled me so that instead of barking at him to stay back, I merely replied "Sorry dude, I've got no cash at all".
It starts getting uglier now. Since he’s already well inside my personal space, I should have immediately faced him, barked a healthy “Stay back!” and circled away until I could put some distance between us. That might have scared him off, or at least given me a few seconds to get into a fighting mindset.

If I had been paying any attention at all, things would likely have not even gotten to this point. But still unbeknownst to me, I was in it.
Instead of watching him take off in the other direction, I confidently crossed the intersection where he had stopped me and made my way up to the next street which was my own.
I all but opened the door for this guy and let him in. Hell, I’d hit me in the back of the head too with this much opportunity! This is what I mean about not making even one good decision (thank you alcohol). I did not choose to confront the bandit until it was already too late and he had and was using the advantages that I had gift-wrapped for him. I should have manned up earlier, or just ran the hell away.

  • I was lucky that he was a coward
  • I was lucky that I was close to home
  • I was lucky that he either did not have a knife or gun or simply did not chose to use one
  • I was lucky that I had left my pistol unsafely stored in my vehicle

I continue to be lucky by having a thick skull, but these days I make my own luck by being aware of my location, the nature of my surroundings and living in Condition Yellow (for the most part - I will admit to being vulnerable at tailgating parties and the pool).

Robert mentions in the comments from the original post -

“But you did do two things correctly. You didn't shoot when you didn't have a good shot, and you didn't shoot him in the back which probably would have caused you a lot of grief.”
He’s right - but these choices were made after the attack had already happened. By not taking a shot (or 10) at him as he ran I avoided lots of serious headaches later, but these choices didn’t change the fact that I was all bloody in my front yard.

Edit: I forgot a couple of links. James found the first one below in the comment(s). Thanks James.

1 comment:

  1. Good post! Very honest.

    If you don't mind me going off on a tangent, I would like to say that a few of my students might not be aware of the the color codes of awareness Brian talks about above. The URL below will lead to an explanation.