The Cornered Cat
Lessons from the headlines #4

Two links for this story: the original news article from 2010, and an interview with the victim in 2013 on PJ Media. Go read both (I’ll wait).

Back? Good. What we have here is the story of a young man who borrowed a friend’s car to run to the grocery store after dark. As the intended victim opened his car door, a panhandler approached him asking for money. The victim said no and the panhandler turned to walk away. As the victim got out of the driver’s seat, his attention was focused on the leaving panhandler. That’s when another man grabbed him from behind and held a knife to his throat. The pandhandler then came back to join in the robbery.

Here’s how the intended victim describes what happened next: “I grabbed the knife and pulled it away from my neck. After a brief struggle, I managed to push him away allowing me to create a few feet of distance, where I was able to draw my revolver from concealment and to fire in defense as he came back towards me with the knife.”

One criminal died at the scene, while the other ran away. The intended victim did get a cut on his neck during the fight, and was treated and released with stitches.


  • When I first learned to drive on a rural road, my dad taught me this: “Deer travel in packs. If you see one deer, slow down and look for the other one. If you see two deer, slow down and look for the third.” So it is with criminals. Bad guys have friends too. If you spot one person who gives you the creeps, congratulate yourself on your good awareness. Now look around to see if you can spot his buddy.
  • Avoid getting task-fixated to the point where you sacrifice your own safety. The victim in this case was focused on the task of getting out of the car so he could get what he needed from the store. He didn’t stop to reassess his plan after the panhandler approached. Should he have? (Note: it takes a lot of time to describe in words something that probably happened in less than two seconds. Also, this.)
  • If you need to make a decision, make a decision. Don’t just stand there and dither. This man is alive because he made a firm decision and did not hesitate to carry it out. Was it the right decision? Yup; he’s alive and went home to his family that night. Could another decision have also been the right decision, under the same set of circumstances? Maybe. That’s the way life is. We will never know what would have happened if. We only know what did happen. What did happen was that he was faced with a choice, he made a choice, and he did not hesitate to carry out his choice. And he survived.
  • Very few self-defense incidents happen at seven yards. Most happen a lot closer than that, and many require some skills for retrieving the gun from its holster despite a physical challenge. If you carry off-body, you would have little chance of drawing the gun in a situation like this. If you carry on-body, your odds are better. You improve your odds if you have practiced how to get out of entangled positions and how to draw from them.
  • The victim reported that he did not realize he’d been cut until after the incident was over. That’s fairly common under the influence of adrenaline. After an incident, look at yourself to see if you are bleeding anywhere. Don’t rely on shaky nerves to do that job for you; those nerves have been overloaded and might not bother telling you about it. Use  your eyes to check yourself for injuries.

6 Responses to Lessons from the headlines #4

  1. mwtrees says:

    I am a new conceal carry. For just the reason above I am learning to carry ON me and not in a purse, and trying to avoid a fanny pack. Still looking for what is comfortable for me.

    • Kathy Jackson says:


      You’ll find it! 🙂

  2. ryenski says:

    My first thought was “at the grocery store!?” It’s a good reminder that public places are not necessarily safe. My wife is still not comfortable carrying – I pray for her every time she goes out without me.

    • Kathy Jackson says:


      Parking lots — at grocery stores and everywhere else — are actually very common places for violent crime to happen. That’s because they are classic fringe areas where criminals can find a steady trickle of potential victims who have money and are usually focused on getting wherever they’re going (and thus aren’t looking around). There’s also a surprising amount of privacy in this public space, another thing that’s good for the criminals and not so good for us.

  3. Chrysolithos says:

    Do you know of any good tricks on how to stay in Condition Yellow? I find myself drifting along in Condition White way too often when I should be paying attention to people and things around me.

    • Kathy Jackson says:


      Love your username. 🙂

      Hints… sure.

      1) Know when you must pay attention, and train yourself to ‘wake up’ during those times. Times to wake up include whenever you enter a fringe area; when you enter or leave your home; whenever the atmosphere or noise level changes significantly when you’re in a public place. This doesn’t mean you have permission to doze through the rest of your life, but these things should always trigger you to up your alertness from wherever it is.

      2) Train yourself to look around after any time you have focused down. For instance, if you zone out to text a friend, train yourself to look around and really see the world around you between messages. If you need to count your change, train yourself to look around before & after doing that. What we tend to do is lower our outside awareness to do these needed tasks, and then fail to raise it again. So get in the habit of deliberately raising your outward awareness as soon as you have finished a task like that.

      3) More tips here:

      Alertness Tips


      Awareness is Important


      Awareness is Impossible.

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