by John Boch
It was just a day of driving on my honeymoon.
GSL’s first lady Wendy and I were down to a quarter tank of gas and took an exit in Montgomery, AL.
By sheer happenstance, we picked a Raceway station. The neighborhood didn’t look the best, but at the same time it wasn’t East St. Louis, either.
As we rolled to a stop at the end pump, I took off my shades and commented to my new bride that the gentleman standing out front of the business in a white polo shirt looked like trouble.
He was standing there without a sense of purpose, just looking around with his hands inside the waistband of his black athletic pants. He was wearing a white logowear shirt and I thought the logo might have been that of Raceway and chalked him up to an employee on break, perhaps having just finished a cigarette.
I started pumping gas and noticed Mr. Raceway ambling towards me. He was looking right at me, too.
“Can I help you?” I asked him as he was about thirty feet away. Something felt very wrong when he didn’t reply. I looked closer and noticed the logo wasn’t “Raceway” but “Budweiser”. This guy had the physique of a football player: about 6’ 2” and 220 pounds and maybe 40 years old.
I leaned over towards the cracked rear window and told Wendy to lock the doors. I spoke loudly and clearly and didn’t give a damn if he heard me or was offended.
“Clack.” Wendy locked the electronic locks.
In my mind, I was thinking “don’t let him get close”. I had just finished watching a series of force-on-force training videos that re-iterated that you shouldn’t let a potential bad guy get close. More importantly, the videos showed how badly things can go in a blink of the eye if they do get in close.
Also worth considering is the Tueller Drill issue where an aggressor can cover 21 feet in a second or so – faster than you can draw and make good hits.
The man was easily at that 21 feet when I spoke again. “Sir, STAY BACK!” He still had his hands inside his waistband and I didn’t like that one bit either.
Mr. Raceway hesitated, basically throwing his stride off momentarily, but he then continued approaching, eyes locked on me without saying a word. He was very close now, maybe 15 feet at this point.
Not wanting to surrender the vehicle with my new bride to this guy, I stepped behind the best cover available, one of those 6” cement encased poles around the pumps and cleared my cover garment, and put my hand on my Glock 17.
I glanced both ways to see if he had a friend closing on my flank and then turned my attention back to Mr. Raceway.
“I SAID STAY BACK!” I shouted and this time it came with the not-so-subtle, non-verbal “or else” of my readiness to draw.
Suddenly, Mr. Raceway, who hadn’t said a word abruptly stopped his advance about 12-15 feet away. He pulled his hands out and held them out at his sides.
“Hey man,” he said. He was still sizing me up though – moving laterally now.
“GO AWAY NOW!” I told him.
“Hey man, you don’t have to shoot me,” he said, almost tauntingly.
I didn’t reply and took my hand off the gun’s grip only after he turned around and walked about halfway back to the station. In the end, he went to the back corner of the station and chatted with another guy who looked to be homeless.
Given this fellow’s concealment of his hands, his unresponsiveness to my “Can I help you?” query, and his body language led me to believe he wasn’t about to panhandle me for “spare change”. Instead, I think he was going to pull some sort of robbery of the out-of-state white guy, who was driving a brand new SUV and out-of-place at this gas station.
When I went to find a photo of the station on the Internet, I discovered the station had a very infamous reputation, thanks to a video at the “World Star Hip Hop” website of a dozen or more provocatively-clad black females fighting it out late one night at the same location.
In short, this armed citizen incident was like thousands of others across America each day. Nobody got shot, the police didn’t get called, nobody got victimized and crime was thwarted.
What was I carrying? A Glock 17 in a Kytac Braveheart holster (which broke later in the trip), with two spare mags and a Kel-Tec P3AT as a backup.
Guns Save Life’s first lady was without anything immediately accessible. Without a carry license, she wasn’t carrying. We’ll be working to remedy that by getting her a Florida permit in the coming weeks.
…So, I googled the gas station for a photo of the place and discovered it’s got a rather interesting pedigree.
Video is NSFW, but good for plenty of chuckles at home.
I was parked right where that Blue Toyota was in this video, in the same orientation as well. Wow. I had no idea I was at such a (in)famous place.
Folks, it’s in a part of town that typifies urban decay. I’d highly recommend you drive on past Montgomery, AL in your travels.
Mr. Raceway might be watching for you if you don’t.