A rant against my own stupidity and self-neglect

So, Monday the 15th I was driving to the post office around 12:30 in the afternoon. That meant I left my house near MetroCenter (Phoenix) and jumped on I-17 south. A couple of miles down the road, about 250 yards from the Bethany Home exit, I hear the unmistakable (to long time shooters, at least) sound of three .45 caliber shots from very closeby.

Back to that in a moment. For now, let me set the scene for you. It’s a windy afternoon. Warm. Temperature in the lower 80s. I’m driving in the right lane between 60-65. I’m not sure if the speed limit in that area is 55 or 65, but being in the far right (I’d planned to take the Bethany exit) and driving either 5-10 over or less than 5 under the speed limit, I know I wasn’t fucking with anyone’s day. I also know that I didn’t cut anyone off when I got onto the freeway (I’m crazy alert about merging into traffic). That eliminates the road rage possibility.

Anyway, as I’m looking around to see if I can tell where the shots came from and if they hit anything, I reach my left hand down beside the seat to where my beloved Beretta 92FS always rides, just in case, and my hand hits nothing but carpet. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my always-armed self had neglected to grab my gun when I left the house. I was running late, etc. The gun was in the bedroom and I’d have to cross the house to get it. I was stupid, irresponsible and lazy. Fuck. Now, when there may be an actual need to defend myself, I have nothing more potent than my dick to wave in the face of danger.

As I’m realizing the ugly fact that I am socially naked, a sun-faded red, mid-80s pickup pulls up alongside me. The passenger (male, late 30s early 40s, stringy sandy blond hair, aviator sunglasses and a light colored T shirt) points. There’s a .45 BANG just as I brake, crank the wheel, then punch the gas and charge up the off ramp. As I’m halfway up the ramp, I hear another shot from under the overpass, which leads me to think they were shooting at anyone/thing, rather than just me in particular.

I whip out the cell phone and punch 9 and Talk. I get “No Emergency Key” pop up as an error message. FUCK. Then I hit 911 and Talk. Fast busy. SHIT. Okay. I hit 411 and get an operator. As close to verbatim an account as I can recall follows:

O: City and state please?
ME: Phoenix AZ
O: How can I help you?
Me: Phoenix Police emergency dispatch.
O: I’m sorry?
Me: Phoenix Police emergency dispatch.
O: One moment. (10 seconds or so go by) I’m sorry I don’t have a listing. I have a general Phoenix Police number…
Me: That’ll be fine.

The phone rings. A new conversation ensues:
Dispatcher: Phoenix Police.
Me: I need to report an attempted shooting.
D: WHAT?! Say that again.
Me: I need to report an attempted shooting.
D: You need to call 911 to do that, sir.
Me: Apparently I can’t do that from my cell phone.
D: You can’t do that from your cell phone?
Me: That’s right. You wanna throw me a bone here, ma’am?
D: One moment. I’ll try to patch you through to 911.
Me: Thank you.
Phone rings
Dispatcher #2: Phoenix 911
Me: I need to report an attempted shooting.
D: Okay, sir. What’s the address?
Me: No address. It was on I-17 southbound a couple hundred yards north of Bethany Home.
D: Where?
Me: (I repeat the above)
D: On the freeway?
Me: Not to be rude, but do you know another I-17?
D: Okay, sir, the freeway is DPS (Department of Public Safety aka the Highway Patrol) jurisdiction. One moment and I’ll transfer you to their 911 system.

(Anyone else noticing that I’ve called to report an attempted shooting and am being transferred around like a prison whore here?)

Phone rings

Dispatcher #3: DPS 911
Me: I need to report an attempted shooting.
D: What did you say?
Me: I need to report an attempted shooting.
D: Okay, sir. Where did this happen?
(I tell her)
D: How long ago
Me: A minute and a half, two minutes give or take.
D: Was anyone injured?
Me: Not that I know of. I hauled up the exit ramp, but it doesn’t look like traffic is stopped or anything down there now.
D: Did you get a plate number?
Me: No. I didn’t get a plate or the make or model of the truck, but I can give you a really good description of the truck and the shooter.
D: That would be a big help.
Me: (I give her the above info and even throw in a description of the water jug in the bed of the truck)
D: That really is a good description, sir. You say they were headed southbound?
Me: Right
D: And this was how long ago?
Me: Now, about four minutes
D: Okay, sir. Stay on the line for me for a second.
(about ten seconds later she comes back)
D: Sir?
Me: Yes?
D: Where are you now?
Me: The Washington Station post office on black canyon hwy.
D: Are you sure you weren’t hit?
Me: Ma’am, with all due respect, I’m pretty sure I’d know if I’d been shot.
D: (chuckles) Probably, but sometimes with minor wounds you really don’t know right away.
Me: I’d have some pain and something would be wet. Not that there wasn’t nearly something wet anyway.
D: (laughs) I’m sure. It’s important that we catch these guys, but the most important thing is that you’re all right. Are you somewhere you can get out and see if your vehicle was hit?
Me: Yeah, hold on. (I get out of the car and look it over) Nope. They missed clean.
D: That’s good. Sir, are you on a cell phone?
Me: Yeah.
D: may I have your name and the cell number.
(I tell her)
D: and your home number in case we catch them and need to reach you.
(I tell her)
D: Would you be willing and able to ID the guy if we need it?
Me: Absolutely. After he made my day so interesting, it’s the least I could do for him.
D: Okay, sir. Are you sure you’re okay, just shaken up?
Me: Yeah, other than that I have to stand in line at the post office now, I’m fine. Still shaking a little, but fine.
D: Okay, sir, try to have a good day.
Me: You too.

I cannot believe I left home unarmed. True, as things turned out I didn’t need and wouldn’t have had a chance to return fire, and if I’d had my pistol I wouldn’t have done anything differently. It’s not like I’m stupid enough to chase after the guys in a 70 mph shootout on the freeway or anything, but I’m the guy that always preaches that we are each responsible for our own safety, that the cops exist to arrest bad guys and take reports, that they’re not our personal bodyguards and that you can’t count on them to be around when you need them. Then I go and leave my own personal testament to that philosophy sitting next to my bed because it’s the early afternoon and a nice day. Dipshit.

Like good old Clarence said in true romance, “If the events of the last few days have taught me anything, it’s that it’s better to have a gun and not need it, than to need a gun and not have it.” I mean, fuck, all I had with me were a ceramic folding knife and my Swiss Army. BTW, only a dipshit brings only a knife to a gunfight. The first rule of gunfighting is (obviously) HAVE A GUN.

nicely done story.

your Sig is quite appropriate, too.

It’s a shame the event didn’t wake you up to the lunacy of American gun law. Possibly your rampant machismo is interfering with your sanity.

You say need your gun for self-protection, but what happens when you go batshit and decide to take potshots at everyone else?

Whatever safeguards there are to prevent such an occurance are clearly worthless, as evidenced by your own OP.

WARNING: Personal opinion of a vaguely anti-gun person ahead.

Do you really think things would have been better if you had your “defense” and you were more concerned about “protecting yourself” than running away and calling the proper authorities?

Anyway, I’m glad neither you, not anyone else was harmed!

Dunno, but judging from the situation here having your gun could have made it worse.

The asshat wasn’t targeting anyone at the time and just shooting randomly (dangerous and stupid yes) but if he saw that you were armed he very well could have opened fire at you.

Best thing would be to get the hell away.

remind me to never drive a backfiring car around you.

I am so glad I live somewhere where (almost) nobody has a gun.

FA Dude, what were you thinking? Leaving home naked? Glad it turned out alright, but man, letting the perp get away to shoot at somebody else? Hang in there and ignore the hoplophobes…

Then a sane person with a gun would shoot him.
The more sane people around me who’ve got guns, the better.

anyone else notice this? the dude thinks hes gary fuckin cooper.

May I just take this moment to thank my lucky stars that I live in CANADA?!?!?

Praise Jesus, halleluja.

To all the anti-gunners who posted, while you’re entitled to your own opinions, every objective study conducted shows LOWER incidences of violent crime in areas where citizens are allowed to carry firearms for personal protection than in areas where carrying is prohibited or heavily restricted.

Second, as I stated in my OP, it turned out that having my gun, in this instance, would not have made a difference. As I said, I had no opportunity to return fire, and I wasn’t going to go chasing after these guys when I had the safer option to extend and escape.

And, CRorex, although he was shooting randomly, he DID fire at me. I saw him point the gun when they pulled up alongside me. The first three shots could have been anywhere, and the fifth was at the gods only know what, but number four was aimed directly at little old me.

And no, I don’t think I’m Gary Cooper. I’d just as soon never have to shoot anybody, but I damn sure reserve and exercise the right to make sure nobody can shoot at me without my having the means to stop them. I fucked up and forgot that rule this time around, but it won’t happen again.

FallenAngel, glad you’re okay, and also glad you avoided a bloodbath on the freeway.

That said, is anyone else disturbed by the fact that the powers that be in Phoenix felt the need to play phone tag with someone who was reporting a crime in progress? “You need to do that from 911” my ass. I’m guessing that once the 911 operator got the information from you, it got passed right back to Dispatcher #1 so she could relay it to her officers. I mean, I understand the need for division of labor and 2 or 3 step dispatching in a large city where there’s always a lot going on, but do we really need to follow the outlined steps here? Dispatcher #1 could have gotten the general location from you and gotten officers on the way while she transferred your call to 911 so they could obtain fuller information.

It sounds like you stayed fairly calm when you called in the incident, FallenAngel, and I’m willing to believe that had you called screaming and hysterical, Dispatcher #1 would have taken care of things herself rather than risk transferring you around until your head spontaneously combusted from frustration. And being a big city, they probably have to pay closer attention to jurisdictional lines than we do down here in Podunk Heights, where on a clear night you can hear the thump! of the tipped cows from a mile away. But still, the thought of calling for help and then being bounced around the phone lines like a badminton birdie really irks me.

True, true.

It’s just that the rate of actual homicide is about three times higher per 100,000/pop in the US.

You may have a higher chance of being attacked in Canada, but you’ll also have a better chance of living through it.

I’m done now.

FA, more proof that you are nuts. You did the right thing by avoiding the perp and reporting him. Both easily done in a vehicle. Had you your shootin’ iron AND had you chosen to return fire it would have only made a bad situation worse.

Perhaps self-castration may reduce your need to prove your manliness with your gun.

Out of idle curiosity, exactly what is the law regarding carrying a concealed weapon in your vehicle in Arizona?

Fallen Angel said:

Laurange:

FallenAngel repeats:

dropzone:

What the fuck? Is this International Read Every Other Sentence Day?

–John

First of all, dropzone, it’s not necessarily easily done in a vehicle. Had I not been extremely close to an exit or had the truck decided to cut over and follow me, things could have turned out much differently. By differently, I mean potentially fatal had I not been able to defend myself.

Since I’m a well trained and responsible shooter (which, depsite what a lot of the press and entertainment media show, consitutes the majority of us), I would never return fire without being sure of my target and what was behind it. That doesn’t take any longer than firing blindly, and it makes the claim of self-defense a lot easier to pursue in the aftermath.

Lastly, it has nothing to do with being a man, male pride, etc. There is a world of room between being a stupid macho idiot who will resort to violence at the drop of a hat, and a human being who recognizes that one has not only a right, but an obligation, to defend oneself from being a willing victim of violence.

Monty Arizona’s basic weapons law for carry is that open carry on one’s person does not require a permit and is legal except in proscribed areas (bars, private property where the owner posts a no weapons sign, etc.) Open carry is defined as the weapon being in a belt holster and that any portion of the weapon or the holster is visible. If that is not the case, the weapon is considered concealed, and the person must have a permit. Permit requires fingerprinting, a background check and a concealed carry course through a licensed instructor. You must have the permit on your person when you carry your weapon.

In a car, if you’re legally satisfying one of the two above criteria, you’re fine. If you’re not wearing the weapon, however, it must either be in the glovebox, in plain sight or in a holster. I always keep mine in a holster and put it next to the seat if I’m not wearing it.

Alice, since I’m admittedly not familiar with the methodolgy of computing the rates in Canada (therefore not sure if it stacks up apples to apples), I can’t comment. I do, however, appreciate that you are polite and reasonable in your response. I would pose, however, that the possibility exists that since criminals know their victims are almost certainly unarmed, that they know they can attack with greater impunity and less potential force.

If that is the case (and it’s only a hypothesis, mind you) it’s a higher degree of victimization against one’s person exchanged for a higher degree of security against terminal injury to one’s person. I don’t know if that’s a trade-off I’d be willing to make, but it is not without its appeal.

FA: Guess what? You just confessed to your usual practice being a Class 3 Felony (that’s assuming that “beside your seat” isn’t in clear view[sup]†[/sup]). I did a quick web search and found these two interesting sites:
[ul][li]http://www.dps.state.az.us/ccw/welcome.htm[/li][li]http://www.packing.org/state/index.jsp/arizona[/ul][/li]
According to the Department of Public Safety, if the weapon is in a holster, the holster must be visible or partially visible. Given your initial decision on the proper course of action to follow, I’m glad that California has different weapons laws.

[sup]†[/sup]Here’s a hint for you: “Beside your seat” isn’t “in plain view.” “On your dashboard” is. p.s.: The thing obviously wouldn’t have even been in your plain view had you had it with you!

One of the faculty I work with is from Miami. He told me that when he and his wife moved here, they saw a top news story that made them really happy they had come. The story went like this:

A man burst into a 7-11 with a bat.
He threated the clerk, wacked him in the arm with the bat, and stole the money.
The clerk was recovering in hospital from a broken arm and some cuts and scrapes.
The police had apprehended the suspect.

I asked this person what they could possibly find appealing about that news story. The person answered that had this occured in Miami:

  1. The man would have burst in with a gun.
  2. The clerk would be dead - shot by the gun.
  3. The story never would have made the news because its such a common occurance.

You do the math. :slight_smile: