A personal story of self-defense.
Last night, on April 9th, I used my pistol in a self-defense situation against two people. It's the first time I've ever used my firearm for the purposes of self-defense, and I want to explain the situation along with some learning from the event.
It started out with a terrible day, my friend was dealing with a significant mental health crisis and after dealing with that situation for 12 hours, I was finally on my last step to pick up all the pieces of their life.
I was walking down SW 10th Ave and just crossed SW Morrison St at 8pm, I held my head low as I captivity reflected upon the many tragic events in my friend's life, but felt somewhat satisfied that things were finally coming together, again. My pistol, a 9mm Taurus 24/7, sat snuggly on my left rear waist, sandwiched between my white button-up shirt and leather belt, my black hoody was concealing it from the world. The magazine capacity of my pistol is 17 rounds, a combination of Winchester +P 124-grain Jacketed Hollow Point and Federal 115 grain Full Metal Jacket. I glanced up from my shoes for just a moment to see the walk sign on SW Alder give me permission to cross the street, and at the same time, I spot a 20-ish year old black kid riding one of those stupid short-bikes past me.
"What the fuck you looking at? Mother fucking cracker!" This black kid yelled at me as he rode past.
My chin popped up, looked over my shoulder and out of my mouth rolled "Man, go fuck yourself" as I walked into the street, brushing off the racist comment of another Portland street rat.
I see him ride another few feet, then in the most dramatic way possible, his breaks squeal and he flips 180-degrees to start riding back toward me. "What the fuck did you say!? What the fuck did you say?!" He throws his bike to the ground and starts walking toward me quick.
As I got to the other curb I turned around and started walking backwards, "I got no problem with you!" I yelled. I didn't want a situation, I didn't want to deal with this. My hand slides into my hoody pocket, every single day I keep a half ounce container of Police Magnum Pepper Spray, but today, none was to be found. Was it left in my friend's apartment? Did I drop it? In any case, it was not there. That immediately made the situation a much larger problem.
"Fuck you! I'm going to fuck you up!" The black kid yells, as he comes within 20 feet. Across the street a young white kid dressed in a bright red hoody and bright red shorts comes peddling across SW 10th Ave, heading directly towards me on one of those stupid short bikes.
I pull the back of my hoody, hoping that this racist dipshit realizes that I'm carrying a gun and not interested in a street fight. If you are not aware: if you see someone constantly pulling or pinching at the back end of their shirt or jacket, it's because they're packing a pistol and they're trying to keep it concealed. No one ever needs to adjust the back of their shirt otherwise. It's a common move of both gangsters and the law abiding, both gangsters and people who carry recognize this move. It's the same with people who wear oversized (long) jackets and t-shirts, that's not just a fashion trend, as it serves a purpose of concealing a weapon. I think neither of these kids have carried a pistol, because pulling at your shirt or jacket is an mandatory move, clearly neither recognized it.
The black racist kid puts his fists up in a punching stance as he approaches arms reach, the kid in red comes straight on towards me. My eyes start checking the tops of their pockets for knives, but they were approaching too fast for even a quick inspection. I could see how this fight would go down right away: either of these kids is going to knock me down and my pistol is going to go flying off my hip and into the open. At best I would have my pistol stolen, at worse they'd pick it up and shoot me.
"Hey, back up!" I yell, "Back up! I got no problem with you." My shouts did not dissuade them, I raise my right arm up and put my palm towards them, the universal sign of "Stop". The black kid starts saying "Come on! Come on!" to get me to swing. The kid in red circles to my left and I reach behind me to put my hand on my pistol. I raise my hoody up high so that the pistol is clearly apparent on my hip. I keep thinking, "Look dipshits, I'm clearly armed, reaching for my gun, get a fucking clue." With both kids shouting at me and me walking backwards as fast as I can, and my palm signaling them to stop, I yell, "Back up or I will shoot you." The black kid pauses for a moment, but still stands in a fighting stance just feet from me, he's not dissuaded by what I said, he's waiting for his friend to get behind me.
The kid in red, to my left side, looks at the pistol on my hip, I've pulled it about two inches above my belt line, "Whoa, you've got a gun" he says somewhat confused, calm, surprised, and dumbfounded. "Yes, I have a gun and I will shoot you with it. Back up! Get away from me." My palm is about a foot from his face. The faster I continue to move backwards the quicker this kid in red tries to circle around me. He clearly understand that I am armed, that I'm actively pulling my pistol from my hip, and yet he still is trying to circle me for a fight. The black kid turns around and paces back a few feet, turning his back to me, then he pops back around and aggressively charges me.
"This is it" I think, "I'm putting two shots right into this guy's heart if gets within arm's reach." He yells stumbling over words "Fuck you, mother fucker, I've been shot twice. You got a gun? I've been shot twice! I don't give a fuck!" I stop in my tracks to square my feet, I calmly realize that I'm less than a second away from killing this guy. My thumb brushes against my pistol's safety, it has already been deactivate, my grip comes tight and my arm tense, "Here it comes" I think. This black racist dipshit reaches his hands behind himself, I figure he's drawing his $150 .32 caliber punk plinker, but to my surprise, he simply lifts his shirt to show his stomach. "Back up or I will drop you mother fucker!" I yell, with the full intent of putting two +P hollow points into his upper body and then putting my pistol on to his friend.
At that moment, a 40ish year old Asian woman casually walked between the three of us, completely oblivious as to everything going on right in front of her. I again started walking backwards very quickly, trying to keep this dumbass woman out of my line of fire while also preventing this kid in red from circling me anymore. I knew that if this kid got the jump on me it was going to be really bad.
The kid in red says to the black kid, "Man, this fucker has got a gun." I again say, "Yes, and I will shoot you both with it, back up!" The black kid huffs and puffs then turns around to walk away, but the kid in red is adamant to stay close to me. He comes within arms distance, still on his bike and I shout as loud as possible, "You do not need to be this close to me, back up or I will kill you!" I think those words finally clicked with him, because he put his feet on the cement and stopped. I walked backwards all the way SW Washington street, the kid in red glared at me the whole way, when I'm at the corner he yelled something like "I will see you later." I yelled back with the fullest intention of my threat, "Stay away from me or I will kill you." Several more people walked by, completely oblivious to the fact that I'm walking backwards and clearly have my hand on a pistol ready to draw.
When I across SW Washington they're both gone, my pistol is again concealed. I follow 10th Ave heading towards Burnside, and my heart begins to pound, realizing the gravity of the situation I was just confronted with. The entire encounter by the food carts couldn't of lasted more than 30 seconds, definitely no more time than it takes me to speed walk backwards a city block, and during that time, I had a strange sense of calmness - more calmness than I have before entering a wrestling match, my mind was keeping my body in check and controlling the situation. I keep looking over my shoulder at every street I pass, neither kid is behind me. My hand goes to my cell phone and I place a call to my close friend, a friend that's got a lot more experience than I do when it comes to shooting people. He didn't answer and my hand began to shake too much for me to text. "Carry on," I thought - those calming words resonate from my military days when fucked up shit would go down, "Carry on" like nothing happened.
Half way through the cross walk on Burnside I see the kid in red behind me on his bike, he's at the corner looking right at me. There's at least two-dozen bystanders and, having been in many fights before, I figure I can deal with this kid by himself especially with the aid of another pedestrian - but I keep walking. I don't want a fight, I don't want to kill anyone, I don't want to deal with this, I'm just trying to wrap up an already shitty day.
There's nothing worse than needing to talk to the cops - absolutely nothing worse. I'd rather share a beer with any shithead racist drug dealer riding those stupid bikes than talk to a goddamn police officer, but tonight there was some special circumstances. I was heading to Old Town to pick up my friend's car, and I had no idea if this kid in red would tail me the whole way. On Burnside and NW Park Ave a bumblebee bike-cop is crossing Burnside, I wave him down with a loud "Hey!" and my arm in the air. He takes his sweet ass time peddling over to me.
"Hi there, so just a minute ago over by the food carts on 10th two kids tried jumping me. I drew my pistol on them and they eventually backed up."
"Oh?" The cop says nonchalant.
"Yeah, now the problem is that one kid is following me. He's wearing bright red shorts and a red hoody, riding one of those stupid short bikes. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the other, a black kid wearing blue jeans and a white shirt also on a stupid bike, is still by the carts looking to start fights, or if they're over by O'Bryant park. I last saw the kid in red over at the corner of 10th and Burnside 30 seconds ago."
"Huh." The cop replies, "Ok, thanks for letting me know, have a good night." He peddles away up Burnside with about the same urgency as he approached me, I wonder if he gave two shits about what I just told him. If nothing else, thank god that was easy. I got back to my friend's car in Old Town without spotting either kid again.
What are the things I've reflected on?
First, I work downtown, and these two street rat punks looked somewhat familiar. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I see them today or tomorrow or next week or in a few months. Maybe at the bus stop, maybe while I'm at the food carts, maybe when I'm walking out of a bar at 1am. I'll certainly remember their faces and their stupid outfits and stupid bicycles - but the real question is, will they remember me? I've already got enemies in Portland, people with a badge have threatened to kill me, so I'm not new to practicing situational awareness, but I certainly have at least two new problems in this town.
Second: Always keep a non-lethal self-defense option on you. These two dipshits were entirely intent on fighting me, it wouldn't have been my first street fight, and I doubt it would have been theirs. I didn't really want to kill these two morons, but, at the same time, I don't have a problem killing someone who casually or opportunistically picks street fights, especially when I know that a fight is going to lead to my gun being thrown in to the mix. I couldn't see any other option: if they fight me, my gun is coming out one way or another. In case you're wondering: it was my plan to kill both of them, put my pistol back under my hoody, and walk away from the scene calmly. My rounds don't have finger prints on them, and I doubt the police would open a significant investigation for these two shitheads who probably already have a long list of fuckups. I wouldn't have been legally allowed to kill either of them, neither (as far as I could tell) were armed, but that was exactly what I was planning on doing. These two kids tried shaking up the wrong person, and thankfully for their own stupid selves, they realized their mistake before I killed them. A non-lethal option would have been very nice to have, but I do wonder that if I pointed my pepper spray at either one of those kids, if they would have just thought it was a silly toy and charged me immediately. Maybe the appropriate response is not to threaten someone with pepper spray, but simply to deploy it when needed. Either way, they did fear my pistol, and in the end, nothing happened that night besides me brandishing a pistol in front of these morons.
Third: Threats are real, racist people are a real problem, and it's not just the skin heads and Nazis. This is the FIFTH time (that is 5 times) that I've seen a black dude yelling racial slurs at me in the downtown area. Yeah I am a white dude, and when I'm wearing a tie I'm the whiteist of white people ever, but that doesn't mean you can call me a cracker. Once at the small bathroom park on SW Ankeny (near Burnside) another black youth started yelling "Cracker" and "Narc" at me as I walked to my bus stop, I take my ear phone out and he starts yelling again, I just yelled back to him that he's a racist piece of shit, and that was all that event was, he was too much of a loser to stand up. Another time at Pioneer Courthouse Square I came across an older very large black male spitting on people while yelling racist things ("Cracker" and "Chinc") , you could call it a "mental health crisis" or you could identify it for what it is: he was trying to provoke a fight and spitting on old ladies. In that situation, by the time I found a guy who could back me up (the security guards at the Square can't get in a fight, and he couldn't get through to the cops) the dude was on the MAX and off to the next place to start some shit. The other two times, it's been black guys standing at a corner, staring right at me, and say shit like "White devil", "Fuck you whitey", "Cracker", &c - those situations I just stood silent because they were clearly not trying to start a fight. I was more bewildered and fascinated by their racial oppression manifested as hatred being projected on to me, as if I did something to them. Understand this: I've never provoked any of these situations, I've just happened upon them. We can't forget or ignore the historical problems of race relations in this town, that there have been race riots where gangs of youth have beaten and killed people simply because of their skin color. This happened as recently as the mid 1990's. I'm not trying to say that black people are the only threat to my physical safety, nor am I trying to imply that any particular black person should be viewed as a potential threat, I'm just conveying my actual experiences. The total number of times I perceived my physical safety was being threatened while downtown has been less than ten, and half of those incidents were around race. With my history of gang involvement, I've come across all sorts of people who have been real threats to me, and they come in all sorts of colors. My third lesson is really simple: these events can happen anywhere, at any time.
Fourth: I probably could have just shut my mouth and let some racist street trash rat yell "Cracker" at me. I could have kept my head low and carried on, thinking nothing of it. Though, I still think the appropriate response was my reply of "fuck yourself." Words don't break bones, so if he's going to using words he shouldn't be surprised or offended when words are used back at him, but when you throw down your bike and start threatening to fuck someone up, you'd better be prepared to deal with the consequences of those actions. I didn't shout it at him, I didn't make a point of ensuring he was insulted, I just objected to his racist bullshit. I don't demand that people respect me, but when someone goes out of their way to disrespect me, then I'm just an opportunistic victim, and that perpetrator is going to continue berate and intimidate innocent people. I have no pity for the moron who picks a fight with the wrong person.
Fifth: I decided today that I should pass this story along. Too many people do not see the utility of carrying a pistol or any self-defense tool. I'm actually amazed that so many people walk around defenseless when there clearly are people looking to pick fights and start trouble. Please remember and consider that physical protection is very important, that someone might decide to use violence against you for no perceivable reason. Be prepared for that, don't be a victim. I'm 100% convinced that these dudes would have used violence against me last night, and because they realized I had a pistol, they decided not to. My pistol actually protected me and kept the peace.
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion
view discussion from this article