I knew something was up the instant I drove into the parking lot of my neighborhood grocery store. There were three groups of people standing around in one lane of parking stalls. One couple was by a car, eyeing the other two groups. There was another couple about 7 yards away, standing slightly out into the aisle of the parking lot, looking at each other. Finally, there was one guy all by himself, leaning against his truck, forming a rough equilateral triangle with the other two groups.
Something was up. This was not normal behavior for my quiet little town. I parked an aisle over, and kept a ear out for what was going on between the three of them. I heard the words “It’s okay, the police have been called,” and two things happened:
- I kept walking into the grocery store. This, if I’m honest, is a bit different for me. I am a high responder, and I like to help out if there is a problem. However, in realizing that I *am* a high responder, I can recognize what I am doing, and adjust accordingly.
- I knew why I knew something was up. Five years ago, I would have said something about “Condition Orange” and that would have been it. However, after reading “Left Of Bang,” I reacted to the situation because three of the six warning signs were present in that situation.
- Proxemics: There were three groups looking at each other, and everyone was taking particular care to stay out of “rush at him and throw a punch” distance.
- Mannerisms: Each of the people in those three groups was standing around awkwardly, like they were trying very hard to ignore what the other group was doing. The couple standing out in the parking lot itself, however, looked very confrontational, like they were having a brief pause in an argument.
- Geography: It’s a friggin’ grocery store parking lot. IIRC it was Tom Givens who said, “For the average citizen, there is no such thing as ‘street crime’, there is ‘parking lot crime’.” Parking lots are the very definition of a transitional space, and transitional spaces are where crime happens.
So what did I do? I walked on into the grocery store and did my shopping, keeping an ear out for any noises that might indicate that whatever had happened in the parking lot had boiled over into the grocery store. By the time I had finished, the cops were on-scene, and I drove off. Yes, this event didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. It was probably a domestic dispute that got a little raucous.
Look at it this way, though. I shoot competitions because I want to train my body to react effectively to the use of deadly force. This little incident was the same sort of thing, but for my mind. It helped me learn a little bit more about how to spot trouble before it happens, and as such, it is just another milestone in my journey along the armed lifestyle highway.