Last night, the Dogs of Doom and I were out for our after-dinner hike when we heard what sounded like voices. But it was coming from the treetops, and soon a crow flew into sight, pursued by an angry sparrow. The crow was smarter, stronger, faster, and much bigger than the little bird, but he was being driven away because the sparrow was out-maneuvering it. I knew exactly how that crow felt!
Nine hours earlier I had been the only customer at the local copy shop, and the owner was helping me find some colored paper, when this sour-looking elderly lady walked in. She glanced over and saw my clip-art picture of a jihadist’s face on the computer screen and, well, had a total meltdown. She was visibly upset so I walked over and asked her if she wanted to talk about it, but she didn’t say a thing. I assured her that I was a retired Police administrator and that everything was on the up-and-up. That didn’t help, and she stomped out and drove off.
Sure enough, a few minutes later I saw her drive back. She sat in her driver’s seat and practiced taking pictures with her cellphone. Then she drove past the front of the store taking pictures of all the vehicles and license plates (I hadn’t parked in front of the store), and then she drove around and parked in the lot further away but where she could see the entrance door.
I pointed her out to the store owner and said what I thought her issue was. He didn’t have any problem with what I was doing and he hadn’t really noticed her, especially since she didn’t say anything, but he did think it was interesting that she was taking pictures. (And he could have been a good witness, had things gone further south.)
Finally, I was ready to leave and decided that I wouldn’t walk directly out to my pickup, so I just planned to walk along the strip mall sidewalk a ways. As soon as I stepped out I heard her engine start and she pulled up to parallel me, so I just stood behind a pillar. Game on. She pulled her car up and got out! I stepped into a pizza shop right there and she followed me in and started trying to take pictures of me from about three or four feet away. I firmly told her to stop but she was furious!
With my back to the lady I explained to the pizza cashier gal that the lady was stalking me and could I please step into their back room, and she said yes. And then I called back to the lady that I was calling 911 and she growled back, “Go ahead!” It was the only thing I ever heard her say.
Unfortunately the local police were tied up in a felony foot pursuit and were unavailable (I was hoping they’d give her a stern talking to), so I slipped out the back of the shop and took my bright yellow Hawaiian shirt off (!), leaving my black undershirt, and jogged back around the building and out to my truck and successfully ditched her. And, at my next errand, I parked my truck around back, went in and bought a different shirt! Hey, at least I a got a really nice new shirt out of the deal!
I’ve done three decades in security (military, bank, commercial) and police work. During this time, I have often been in uniform while out in publicj and never ran into something like this. But “the times, they are a changin’…” (Bob Dylan, 1964) I can’t remember a time when the people in our country were so tightly wound, so on edge, so adversarial. The politics are inflammatory, and we are awash in corruption and lying and treason.
I’d be willing to bet this little old lady is a life-long Democrat who’s going to vote for Hitlary, who hates guns and feels sorry for the poor jihadists.b I’d even bet she thought she was serving her god by standing up for the helpless Muslim refugees! (“They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.” – John 16:2 If she had any idea I was carrying a concealed weapon she’d have probably gone ape on me right there.
And just what was she taking pictures for? Well, not for her Happy Day scrapbook or to show her grandchildren the nice patriotic American “sheepdog”. She was going to share those pictures with all her uber-liberal nutcase minions, to recruit them in her righteous harassment campaign, or, maybe post the pictures of the shameful Muslim-Hater guy on social media. And for the next hour of running errands I couldn’t help but wonder if any of the people I was seeing had been recruited into being her hateful eyes and ears.
And so here’s what gives me pause: What if it had been a couple of angry Muslim males, students from the university in town? What then? What if Crazy Lady had been able to grab a handful of other elderly/liberal loons to come back to the store with her to confront me? What if someone tried to follow me home? And what would they do when I got home? Picket me? Block me in? Dump broken glass on my driveway? Harass my dogs? My wife? Honk their horns every time they drove past? It’s not so far-fetched! And what about you? Do you have bumper stickers on your vehicle (“Infidel,” “Trump,” “Don’t Tread On Me,” etc.) that could “trigger” some tightly-wound nut? How are you going to feel about them following you home? How are you going to handle it if they get in your face to take some nice close-ups while you’re in the checkout line buying ammo? Or you come out of the theater after watching “Hillary’s America,” or walk out of the weekend Gun Show with your treasures in a sack. The time to think it through is now.
Personally, I took all our bumper stickers off the vehicles long ago. Yes, there are causes I very much want to champion but not at the price of some maniac following my wife home from the store. I did think about taking Crazy Lady’s phone away from her while waiting for the Police, but touching her– or her phone in any way would have just led to an ugly struggle and an unhappy newspaper headline– “Muslim-hater Assaults Granny”. Don’t touch the crazies unless they’ve started it or its clear they’re about to start getting physical. And don’t menace them with your concealed weapon unless it’s that time. ?
If you don’t regularly carry a sidearm (and you have a CCW), now’s probably a good time to start carrying every day. Practice retaining your firearm: I would not have put it past the Angry Nutcase Lady to try to snatch my gun from behind me if she had caught a glimpse of it. It was some kind of malicious game for her. And have several force options you can use (force continuum). You can’t just shoot people for getting in your face. Know when to confront and when to evade.
If you don’t know how to tell if you’re being followed (in a car or on foot), there are good resources online you can study. Have a plan (for yourself and other family members) if riots or civil unrest closes the main roads while you’re in the store shopping or at work. Have alternate routes! Know how to get to a friend’s house from different directions if you can’t safely make it home (but don’t lead the Crazy People right to your unsuspecting friend’s house!).
And learn from my mistake, save yourself the grief of photocopying bad guy targets, its worth a few cents more to get them from Law Enforcement Targets / Action Targets (http://www.letargets.com/content/tftt-01-tactical-firearms-training-team-terrorist-target-man-rifle-bw.asp ). And they’re nicer targets! (Shipping’s kinda high, but worth it!)
As for me, I’m going to start carrying a spare shirt with me in the truck, keep my sunglasses in my pocket ready to don, and start wearing my ballcap in public to block the next lunatic with a camera! And I know it sounds silly, but for getting-away-from-mostly-harmless-nutcase-grannies something as simple as Groucho glasses might just do the trick and help you keep your cool (and sense of humor) 🙂
Crazies will be crazy, and its not going to get any better, sorry!
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”– Romans 8:35-37
Trust God. Be Prepared. We can do both.