Typical of most days with my mother, I drove. She's getting up there in her years and for me to take her places is just a little bit safer for everyone. She's aware that have earned my concealed carry permit, that I carry a full-size XD .40 in a purse holster in its own side-compartment, aware that I have decades of weapons training and while she won't carry, is quite happy that I do. I have given her basic instruction for her role, given the need for me to defend either of us; do not get involved, retreat to safety, call 911 if you can, make sure others are safe also. That day she did exactly as she'd been instructed.
You see, upon pulling into a parking stall at a local shopping center, we were accosted by a mentally unstable man. The story ends well for all, so don't worry, but I was prepared for the worst. The moment we began to step out of the car I heard someone say something. As I stood up I saw a man standing at the driver side door of the car to my left. He's around the 5'10 mark, probably weighing in around 200. I said "Excuse me?", as I thought perhaps he had a question, maybe he was lost. As the cursing began and my immediate reaction was to puff up, I pointed at my senior mother and told her "Just go", she did. By this point I've exited the vehicle, closed it's door and am prepared to get my shopping bags out of the trunk, in an effort to simply ignore the seemingly insane man, and go about my business. He, on the other hand, had a different agenda and continued towards me with threats against my person, the vehicle and, of all people, my aged mother who was nearly across to the next parking lane by this point.
Now, I don't see a "true" weapon, only his car keys. Any woman who'd been through classes in the 1980 about self-defense knows how much damage car keys can do to a person, so yes, I'm quite threatened. Have I mentioned that we're both very slight and small women? Yes, neither of us stands above 5' tall, so a man of his size, with intent to harm, and the apparent ability to do so feels very, very frightening. He continues
to advance, slowly, I step back, check where Mom is, check on the distance between this guy and myself again. He's raging, cursing, threatening
more harm to all of us. There's no way I'm turning my back to him, he's simply to close and could lunge. A few steps backward I go, positioning my handbag in front of me. I begin to unzip it, step back, he steps forward, I unzip it fully, exposing my firearm in its holster. At this point I am gaining volume as I instruct him to stay not come any closer. His face is red. I place my right hand on the grip, use my left hand to point to what my right hand is on and of all things to come flying out my mouth, say "Do you see this?" Now, I know better, but the fact is, even in a rage, he heard me ask a question. That question seemed to befuddle him momentarily and he stopped advancing. I repeated the question. "Do you see THIS?!" with emphasis by my pointing hand. His eyes move downward and he spots the firearm and takes two steps backward.
The wild man's eyes narrow, I can see the gears turning as he's sizing me up and re-evaluating the situation. The look on his face was confusion, frustration, anger and fear, all at once. This is when he gets cocky and says to me, "What? Are you going to shoot me?", "Yes", I said, "Unless you just get in your car and leave." He must have been gaginghow serious I was and decided that I was now in a defensive position, feet planted, hand on my firearm. A fast scan of the backstop, all clear, listening behind me for any other passers by, all clear. I was quite prepared to do what was necessary to protect myself. To my surprise, he did as instructed. He got into his car and drove away. The only thing I could think was "Did that really just happen?" Once he was out of sight, my eyes quickly turned to find my mother. There she was, on the curb, far away, with a mother and her child, arm out stretched as if to indicate, "It's not all clear yet, don't go that direction." Wow! Good job mom!
It's this point the excess adrenaline coursed through my body and I become aware of the tingling sensation and could hear my own heart thudding in my ears. We entered the store, summoned the manager and the police and that was that. No incident reports filed, no man hunt, but I had to explain what my actions where. The officer felt that I really hadn't done anything wrong, I have my concealed carry permit, it's an open carry state, I never drew the weapon and since no one had been injured, asked what I wanted to come of the situation. I said "Nothing. Crazy happens everywhere. He was probably off his meds." There was a nod and a chuckle, nervous tension on my part really, and we were told to have a nice day. We did too!
My honest opinion is that we were indeed in danger that day, that this nut-job was some kind of paranoid-delusional and that it could have been anyone. Because of training, my level-headedness and a little human nature, we were saved because of my sidearm. Without it, it is my belief that the apparent nut-case would have attacked.
That's my story. Please use it to remember that crazy can happen anywhere but you don't have to become a victim, just be prepared.