Concealed Carry of Firearms - A Very Close Call

So My Wife Had To See Neil Diamond

Poplar Creek Music Theater was an outdoor music theater located in the small town of Hoffman Estates, Illinois that operated from 1980 to 1994. It was located in the middle of farming country with no houses nearby. The only building nearby of any significance was a corporate office for a major retailer.

When my wife found out that Neil Diamond was scheduled to appear, we ordered tickets. For those of you that have never been to a Neil Diamond concert, let me describe the crowd. The crowds at his concerts are an eclectic, innocuous bunch. Everybody from clean cut young people to women in mink coats to senior citizens. Most people would consider it a safe environment and not give it a second thought.

The Problem

We parked, got out of the car and started walking to the main entrance. Quite a few people had already arrived so we had to park quite far out in the parking lot. We walked between cars and across aisles toward the main entrance. As we came out from between two cars and entered the next aisle, I noticed a male subject about 70 feet away that immediately seemed out of place. He had a disheveled appearance, and was acting strangely. He appeared to be mentally deranged and/or strung out on drugs. He kept standing up on his toes to make himself taller and looked around as if he was looking for somebody.

And then I noticed the knife.

It was a kitchen butcher knife with a blade about 9” to 10” long.  He was holding the handle of the knife so that the blade was flat against the inside of his arm in an attempt to conceal it.  For some unknown reason my instinct told me that he was not looking for someone at random, but that he was looking for someone specific.  He also appeared not to see my wife and me.  He looked directly towards us but it seemed like he was looking right through us and didn’t even notice us.

I didn’t look at him directly when he turned in our direction.  I didn’t want to make eye contact.  Nor did I want to turn around and head back to our car.  Instinct kicked in again and told me that if I made eye contact or suddenly walked the other way he would then turn his attention towards us and realize that he was busted.  I didn’t want either of those reactions.  We were too far from our car to get there fast enough to use it as shelter.  So we continued walking.

What Do I Do Now?

I gently pushed my wife’s shoulder and quietly told her to walk faster. I didn’t know whether or not she was aware of our predicament. He then started walking in our direction. I again pushed my wife’s shoulder to change her direction so we would go between two cars and I again told her to hurry up. As we passed between the two cars, the guy with the knife also turned between the same two cars. My wife was in front of me and he was behind me about 4 or 5 feet away. I turned my head slightly and I could see him in my peripheral vision. It was at this point that I started to wonder what it would feel like to have a butcher knife with a 9" blade plunged into my back or my throat slit open.

During those few seconds I also wondered if I would live and whether or not I'd be able to save my wife from the same fate.  I wondered how it would affect my wife to see me murdered. As we came out from between the two cars, I pushed on my wife’s right shoulder so that she would turn left.  As he came out from between the two cars he turned right.  When he was far enough away I told my wife why we needed to hurry.

We made it to the entrance without further incident and I reported it to security.  They looked at me like I was a lunatic.  Their facial expressions were blurting out, “Yeah right, whatever.”  I don’t know whether or not it was investigated or what the outcome was.  This happened when cell phones were the size of three college text books so we didn’t have the option of calling the police.

"You did what?!  You're lucky to be alive fool!"
"You did what?! You're lucky to be alive fool!"

I Must Be Crazy!

My actions and decisions during this encounter probably seem counter-intuitive, even bizarre to some, but I don’t know of any other options that I had. This individual was well built, and very tall with long arms. For me, as an unarmed person, to confront him would have been suicide. While the decisions I made were extremely risky, it worked out. In the end, that’s all that matters. Remember, I mentioned in a previous article that it's not fair to armchair quarterback these kinds of things. I was there; you were not.

Why Would I Go To A Bad Area Like That? I Must Be Asking For Trouble!

Oh, I forgot to tell you that all of this unfolded late in the afternoon when it was still daylight; literally in the middle of farm country. Past the perimeter of the parking lot and amphitheater were corn fields. This was not in a big city in a bad area of town during the cover of darkness.

Is There A Better Way?

This happened about 15 years ago and I still remember every detail. It was a wakeup call and I hope it has a similar impact on you as well. It was only when we moved to Arizona in 1998, that I learned that it was legal in Arizona, and some other states, to carry a firearm for personal defense. It was still not until April of 2002 however that I applied for and received my Concealed Weapon Permit. There are factors that caused me to delay and I may write about that in a later article.

What Would I Do Now?

If a similar incident happened to me now as an armed citizen with a cell phone that's smaller than some wrist watches I see, my actions and decisions would be much different. I would stop or get between cars to have an obstacle between us and him. I would then tell my wife to call 911 on her cell phone and I would draw my weapon but not show it. What would happen from that point is impossible to say as it would depend on his actions and a multitude of other factors. If he approached however, I now have the tools and skill set required to effectively defend my family and myself.

This is my third article on this subject and by now you’ve probably either made the decision that you want or need to start carrying a firearm for personal defense or you’re still on the fence.  My next article will answer some questions and address some concerns that you might be having.  If you’re still with me in my fourth article, we’ll start getting into the nuts and bolts of legal carry of firearms.

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Comments 4 comments

Jack Burton profile image

Jack Burton 5 years ago from The Midwest

Those who have not been in that position almost always have no clue as to what it means to be totally dependent upon the internal motivations of a whack job for your safety. "Give them what they want and they'll leave your alone." Yeah, sure. What if "what they want" is your life? Or your wife's?

That's why my Keltec goes with me morning 'til night.


Thomas 4 years ago

In a situation like that it is either fight or flight ! Carrying a weapon like the Kel-Tec is great "if" it is legal, but what would you do if that situation had occurred in a place like Chicago, or New York City ? Both very anti-gun cities, carry and use a weapon illegally, save your life and that of your wife and end up going to prison beause you broke the law or end up being stabbed ? That is why we need a national gun law that is good in all states,so a person can defend themselves no matter where in America they happen to be !


Jack Burton profile image

Jack Burton 4 years ago from The Midwest

That's why our Indiana thugs know it's safer to go into Illinois to do their evil deeds. Here they just might get a bullet hole in their chest. The willingness of Illinoisians to offer themselves as defenseless lambs has saved many a Hoosier life. I know it's tough on them and their families. but if it saves one Hoosier life it is worth it.


AZDog profile image

AZDog 17 months ago from Arizona Author

I used to be a supporter of a national carry recognition law but I've changed my opinion. What the federal government can "allow" in one fell swoop, they can also "dis-allow". It will take a long time but more and more states are achieving reciprocity with other states.

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