Had a little excitement this week at Casa de Shooter. Some welfare recipient decided to break into and steal items from my neighbor's car parked across the street.
This guy wasn't too bright. He did it in broad daylight. Tried to hide out in another neighbor's yard, while the neighbor was at home. He did it in front of about six witnesses including the neighbor's youngest daughter. I don't think it was a matter of criminal stupidity. He had means, motive and opportunity going for him at the time. His plan was sound right up to the execution of said plan. What 'Dumb-dumb' didn't have a plan on was getting away.
I didn't hear the other neighbor's dogs barking like I usually do when something goes awry. This time, I saw the waste of flesh running from the scene from my front window. This happened around 6p.m. on Wednesday. I know because I was watching the local news at the time and caught a flash of a shaved headed banger running past my window. At that point I began to hear a bunch of voices and commotion outside in the street. I mosey over and take a peek to see neighbor's wife pointing down the street, neighbor hauling ass in his car, and other neighbor's taking a peek out their front doors.
I went to the bedroom and put on my holster and grabbed Mr. Blasty off the shelf. Sticking my head into the front bedroom, I told Swede something was up outside and I'm going to see what's up. She kept on with her workout and I ambled over to see what was up. Neighbor's wife told me that his car was broken into and he was in pursuit of the guy just a couple of blocks down. I realized he was in a tactically dangerous spot and volunteered to back him up until police could get on scene. Ran back to the house, grabbed the keys, and told the wife where I was going.
The last thing I heard going out the door was: "Don't be a hero, dammit!"
This is the second time I heard her say that to me. The first time was when someone got trigger happy at that tennis tournament. I had no intention of being heroic. I was going to help out an older neighbor who was chasing after a younger, stronger, and maybe armed perp unwilling to give back stolen property. He was in a part of our neighborhood where even I don't go...armed or not. There is a distinct dividing line on either side of my street where certain criminal elements live. The further you go past said lines, the more you are at potential risk. I've seen the police blotters, heard the gunshots at night, and noticed the gang tags spraypainted on the walls.
I had no intention of doing something stupid like becoming 'Gecko45' out on 'patrol' in the neighborhood. I wasn't going to speed up to the scene in my Urban Tactical Assault Vehicle, bootleg turn to a screeching stop, roll out in a ninja death roll and come up doing double-taps to the head on the run while screaming my best Ahhh-nold pain yell. I rolled around the corner to meet my neighbor and provide and extra set of eyes and one more body on scene in case things went from FUBAR to TARFU.
The gun on my hip was just a tool only to be used when and if the situation called for it. It is a tool like the cell phone on my hip is a tool. It is a tool like the pocket knife I always carry and tend to dull out. It is a tool like the jack in the back of my truck. The real weapons at work on Wednesday were the coordinated efforts of the neighbors, 911 and the police, and all that gray matter swishing around between our collective ears. I was there to look after my neighbor as he would do for me if the situation was reversed. "I got your back" and all that.
The gun never cleared the holster during this ordeal. The cops on scene never knew I was carrying during the subsequent investigation. My neighbors never figured it out, either. Swede was so worried I'd go off the handle and try to arrest this guy myself. Far from it. I am not a police officer. I don't wear a utility belt with stun grenades, boomarang, and a grappling hook. I went to danger to back up a neighbor and be a good witness. That is how I was trained. That is how I still train. Threat de-escalation and reduction of force is what I practice. If the bad guy came at me with a weapon, I'd respond in kind. If he was spotted walking down the street, I would just call 911 and report his location. If he was wrestling with my neighbor on the ground, I'd probably kick him off in an attempt to help said neighbor.
As it turned out, I drove up to see my neighbor checking under parked cars for his stolen property (digital camera, laser printer, cables). We talked for a bit and he started knocking on doors to let people know we were just looking around for his property and to see if anyone saw anything. I crossed the street and was looking in the bar ditch where I found his printer. As I gave it back to him, one cop showed up to see what we were up to and try to track down the thief. As we were providing a description of the 'dumb-dumb,' he actually started walking back towards us. I pointed him out to the police officer who drove down and immediately took him into custody.
The investigation was simple from that point. Each of us pointed to and named this guy as the perpatrator. The cops found some other stuff on him aside from what was taken from neighbor's car. He had a nice Benchmade folder, some cell phone car-chargers and someone else's car phone. He claimed he had a clean record, but the cops were sure he spent some time in lockup judging by the tattoos he wore. My guess is that he was on drugs, or about to score some. His eyes were looking funky and his body language was pretty 'off.'
Neighbor is now keeping a loaded shottie next to his front door. That doesn't change for me. I already have one loaded with 00 buck. Since I am on the unemployed side of life, I have the opportunity to keep tabs on the neighborhood while everyone else is at work. This was one of those random encounters that happened on a relatively quiet street. I'll let you know what happens next time.
The Virtual Classroom: Lessons Learned
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