View Full Version : Deciding what's right...

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12-02-2004, 07:44 PM
I had an incident recently. (last night) I got off work around 11:30 and was walking home, (about a ten minute walk) Well this night I decided to walk home on a different route. My new route took me inbetween two buildings, which also happened to be NOT well lit. Well I come around the corner of this building and standing in this window well is a man in a black ski mask and dark clothes with a rifle in his hands. Now, I am on a Universtiy Campus and this is something no one expects to see, even more so on a campus. So I stop dead, (no pun intended) I just froze. I had no clue what to do! After a couple of seconds I just started to walk. I got about 2 feet from him and just passed him. I really thought I was going to feel a bullet in my back as soon as I passed him. Luckily I didn't and as I got around another corner, low and behold, there was ANOTHER guy!!! Just squatting there in the snow! Now I am completely freaked :freaky: So I just do the head nod and keep walking. When I got far enough away to where I felt comfortable calling someone without them seeing and shooting me I called the cops.
Well about 8 squad cars got here and found some suspects. They had me come over and look. I couldn't positivly ID anyone more than the fact that the guy had on camo pants. Well as I was walking away I saw an officer that went into the guys room and was just now returning with a box that you would find somewhere in a wal-mart. I think it said like golden gun on it or something. Well I don't think it was actually an assult rifle but the guy did have a gun and at this point I am not sure what happened. If they found the people I saw or if the gun box they found held the gun I saw.
So... I guess I have to ask all the officers in the forum, if I had decided to attack the guy, and then called the cops. Would I have had any negative effects on me from the officers. Like assult or something like that? I have a black belt in a martial art that isn't nice to the other person. Like, if I attacked he would have at LEAST been unconsious. I am personally happy with what I did. No one was hurt and the people that are supposed to take care of this stuff, took care of it. But it does kinda leave me with a feeling that I studied all of this martial arts just to walk away from a potential deadly situation. Just like if the guy wanted to put a bullet in my back he could have. I dunno. My feelings and emotions are still kinda mixed. What do you think you would have done? Or what do you think of what I did? Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks tons. -Jay

L. Camejo
12-02-2004, 08:31 PM
I'm not a LEO, but I think you did the right thing.

The fact is, if you did react to the first person and tried something you'd probably have been an easy target for the second who, at least from your description, you did not know was in the area at the time that you saw the first.

So the question is moot, since you don't know in what way the second guy may have been armed as well. It's not a matter of what you could have done, but how well you survived.

I had an acquaintance who reacted some years ago in the manner you were thinking of. He was also a blackbelt in at least 2 pretty nasty martial arts. Because he reacted instinctively (and without thinking/observing his surroundings) and decided to engage the 2 guys who tried to rob him, he did not see the one with the gun who was backing them up, he is now on the other side of Life. Young fella too, about 20.

One has to correctly evaluate the situation before one decides to engage the aggresor. Then again it doesn't sound like they were attacking you either and if you had managed to injure them it may not have augured well on you, since you were not being attacked, which makes a hard case for self defence.

But like I said - I am not a L.E.O.

Just my thoughts.


12-03-2004, 08:59 AM
From the way it sounds, the guys might have been doing something using airsoft guns, sort of like paintball, but I would really have to see the actual firearms...Now to say if you did the correct thing or not, then yes you did. From the legal aspect of it, I believe you would be the one charged since the guy didn't make any inclination of harming you and if they were real guns the other guy could've picked you off for taking out his friend...Also, (thinking about aikido) you did the correct thing by not initiating the conflict. So I would say that you did the correct thing by just walking away.


12-03-2004, 09:13 AM
you did good. its natural to second guess yourself and re-run the scene in your head. From what you have stated, the best thing was done by you, to keep on moving. If you can get good clothing and body descriptions for police later good, if not maybe try to remember the footwear. many thugs will change their shirts or shed clothing, but most of em are too dumb to think about their footwear. It is a distinctive identifying characteristic and leaves trace.

12-03-2004, 01:20 PM
The folks you saw that night are very lucky that you were not an undercover officer or civilian trained in defensive pistolcraft. What you did was save those men's lives. If an officer had come by and discovered men in that situation, the officer would have had no choice but to deploy and likely eliminate both tangos. There are no questions, no mexican standoffs, no up-against-the-wall-hands-behind-your-back when dealing with a scenario such as yours. You risked your own life by turning your back (the other cheek), walking away, and alerting society to the danger. If you had engaged the men and been incapacitated, they would have been able to continue pursuing their mission objectives without law enforcement intervention.

Michael Hackett
12-03-2004, 02:02 PM

You apparently did the right thing as you're able to recount your experience. From a legal standpoint, you probably could justify attacking an armed person in those circumstances if you could articulate that you believed that you were in imminent danger. Legal isn't always practical though. Generally if you attack an armed person barehanded you are going to lose the battle. You just can't run 1400 feet per second.

Who knows what you observed that night? They could have been kids playing with paintball guns. They could have been thugs looking to hurt someone. They could have been plain-clothes cops on a surveillance or getting ready for a raid. It was a prudent course of action to avoid the confrontation and call the cops. Good for you.

Tango? A beautiful dance from South America; sensual and graceful. Why would a police officer shoot a tango dancer? I can see shooting line dancers, but a tango dancer?

12-03-2004, 02:35 PM
A tango is a confirmed hostile. You rightly point out that there are multiple other scenarios (such as the gentlemen being LEOs), but I assumed that a legitimate assault team would not be wearing optical camouflage at night (which makes you a target), and that the gentlemen in question is capable of differentiating a rifle from a paintball gun. Nevertheless the legend of the battle of Marathon teaches us that it is better to report first, then die. I would dearly love to know what the first guy was thinking when some dude comes around the corner, sees him with a rifle, freezes for a couple seconds, then walks to within two feet of him and right on by. He was probably more frightened than you were!

Michael Hackett
12-03-2004, 04:56 PM
Guess I'm not nearly as witty as I thought. I am bilingual; I speak fluent English and Rambo, so I understood the term. John Cleese's career remains safe.

I was a SWAT Commander for seven years and my folks did wear camouflage uniforms with subdued badges and patches. We also had paint ball guns in our arsenal which we used to shoot pepperball rounds in some circumstances.

It would have been entertaining to read the thoughts of the first subject.........

My position on line dancing remains resolute though.

12-03-2004, 05:20 PM
Just out of curiosity did you use the term tango during your time as a SWAT commander? In my experience it is more military than law enforcement term. One of the techniques my friends and I used while studying the Jeff Cooper method was to say the word "mark" when we noticed a suspicious person hanging around. We would then change the status of the mark by indicating our awareness level color.

"So how was your date last night?"
"It was alright, we decided to mark go to the new pizza place."
"Did you try the sandwich I recommended?"
"I thought yellow about it but she wanted to share a pie."
"You should really try that sandwich next time."
"I am thinking about going again this weekend orange."
"Well, we had better head out, thanks for the lunch."
"Good thinking, I had white better bail soon."
"Actually I think I will have another cup of coffee."

Michael Hackett
12-03-2004, 06:28 PM
No, I've never heard it actually used by anyone except novelists in my career in law enforcement, or in my years in the military. In police work we referred to a "hostile" subject as a suspect.

The coded communications usually are pretty dangerous to use as folks tend to forget them in times of high stress. Police use brevity codes (10-4 and the like) for just that purpose, to keep radio air time to a minimum. We usually end up talking jargon amongst ourselves in general conversation though which often confuses others or offends them. We do use specific phrases and actions for arrest signals sometimes, but everyone is briefed on what they mean and they are kept really simple. For example, an undercover narcotics officer on a dope buy might use the phrase "Man, this is some fine stuff" as a signal for the other officers to come in to make the arrest. Some car partners will work out a code between them to alert one another to danger, but again it is simple, agreed upon, and never used as a joke. As silly as it sounds, I knew two guys who worked out a danger signal that involved singing. If one started singing, the other knew something was up.

Must have been great to train with Jeff Cooper. If there ever was a shihan of the .45 auto, it is Jeff Cooper.

Logan Heinrichs
12-03-2004, 09:17 PM
I noticed you were from Salt Lake City.

"Now, I am on a Universtiy Campus and this is something no one expects to see, even more so on a campus."

What campus were you referring to? If you go to the University of Utah, you should check out the Wagokan Aikido club.

12-03-2004, 10:32 PM
After I saw the rifle I actually did look for a CO2 cartridge and for the little thing that holds the paintballs. Well in my endevor to find something to de-stress myself from thinking this was a real rifle. I couldn't see any of those other than what looked like a bannana clip loaded into the gun. I am not really into paint balling but I have seen the guns they use and this did not look like any I had ever seen before. In fact it reminded me of an AK-47 I had shot at one point in my life. But yea, actually I am on the Universtiy of Utah. I had been looking into Utah Aikikai on Highland Dr. I had heard of the Aikido club on campus but never anything about it. How is it? It takes two to tango but threes a crowd. =0) All I heard the cops say was that they had some suspects and refered to me as the witness. So I'll orange ya later in the white thing at oh, say about red o'clock. (I couldn't follow a word about what you were saying btw.) good laugh though at my own stupidity. heheheh. -Jay

12-03-2004, 10:56 PM
I cannot claim to have trained with Cooper. Hell I do not even have an ashtray dispenser (I am a black tupperware man myself). My training has been based heavily on his method, however. My instructor added his own flavor (more hammering, much more clearance/recovery drills, better mag changes, less reliance on the foul stinking survival index, etc.). Furthermore my instructor had a philosophy that was much more to my liking.
My people and I never really 'relied' on any verbal communications either. It was generally understood that you usually go from orange to black so fast that there are burn marks on your crayon box. Marking folks was more of an awareness practice, who could mark the guy with the prison tatoos the most gracefully. My teammate/mentor was a lefty and he and I did so many paired drills that communication was pretty second nature. I suppose I should be embarrased for using tango seriously. I get great enjoyment out of collecting lingo and we used to joke around with military terminology so much that I could never really say if a phrase was real or not. It is good to know the terminology, however. Important to know what the guy in the next booth means when he refers to his "iron" or "roscoe"

12-03-2004, 11:34 PM
Now that someone said "banana clip" to refer to a magazine I do not have to feel bad about using "tango" to refer to a suspect :)
Line dancing is awfully silly.

L. Camejo
12-04-2004, 07:37 AM
Tango - Reminds me of Socom II.:)


dan guthrie
12-04-2004, 08:10 AM
Just a point of reference: when I bought my first rifle I took it out of the box, closed the drapes most of the way and brought it to my shoulder. I was practicing working the bolt when my neighbor walked down the alley toward my window. I saw him through the 4 inch crack in the drapes and he saw me, aiming a brand-new 30-06 rifle at him through a slit in the drapes from a darkened room.
He was walking down the alley toward my window so he got a 20-second view of me. I know he saw me because of his sudden change in expression. I was so upset I didn't know what to do or say.
I didn't know him very well but he always turned his music down when I banged on the adjoining wall.
People do dumb things with firearms all the time, said Captain Obvious. Usually it's harmless but in the situation described in this thread I would have run like hell when I saw these guys.

12-04-2004, 08:36 AM
I have some law enforcement time under my belt, including some SWAT time, and the only place I've ever heard the term "tango" was in the Tom Clancy "Rainbow Six" video game series. And perhaps the law is different in Utah or in Colorado, but where I worked, an officer happening upon that situation would not necessarily have "eliminated both tangos." Even as an armed law enforcement officer, you do not just execute someone in the street because they are holding a weapon. Any cop with two brain cells to rub together will take a covered position, observe, and call for additional units. A lone cop with a handgun who engages a subject with a rifle, in the absence of an immediate threat is either an idiot or has an overdeveloped hero gland. You would attempt to "eliminate the tangos" only if they were an immediate threat you your life or the life of another...and you'd better be able to articulate that threat in court beyond "he was holding a gun and looked pretty scary." Even then, going it alone handgun vs. rifle is a very risky proposition. One of my favorite quotes on this topic: "This ain't the movies, and you ain't John Wayne."

12-04-2004, 11:52 AM
When you are between two buildings in the dark, you may not be able to backtrack and find hard cover while under attack. A dumpster or fence will do no good against rifle rounds. Furthermore, modern handguns have a distinct nighttime advantage over junky eastern European rifles (like the one described here) in that they can easily be equipped with tritium sites. That gives you a much better sight picture, and you already have much better maneuverability, presuming that the "rifle" being spoken of is not actually a "carbine". If it was easier to backtrack, I am sure that the gentleman in question would have turned on his heel immediately and went another block down. If you know that you cannot backtrack or get to cover, then you have to press forward and attempt to pass the gentleman with the rifle. Then when you run into the second gentleman, you have to start thinking tactical priority and sequence, and your opportunity to escape with no rounds fired is reduced significantly. I was wrong to claim that both of the men would have been killed regardless of their hostility, but with the level of paranoia that is going around, it is certainly a possibility. More than likely, however, a trained officer would have done just what this guy did, minus the "civilian freeze" at the beginning, and gotten backup with a quickness. On a side note, it is my experience that campus law enforcement officers, such as the ones likely populating the area in question, are not properly trained in any way, shape, or form, and would pose a great danger to themselves and others in this type of situation. Because of these factors, I still think that the poster has saved those men's lives and is to be congratulated for keeping it cool.

Michael Hackett
12-04-2004, 12:38 PM
This has gotten waaaay off track. So far we all seem to agree that Mr. Rhone took the right course of action in a scary situation. He could have done all sorts of other things too and we'll never know what the outcome would have been. We do know that he survived and the officials arrived and took action.

Ben, hold up a full sheet of newspaper by a corner with just your thumb and index finger. Now slap it with a ruler. That's the sound a round makes as it passes by you. If you hear that sound, someone is shooting in your direction and that round missed. The best tactical advantage you can get now is to renew your subscription to "Better Homes and Gardens" because reading "Soldier of Fortune" is going to get you killed or locked up.

Dave Cole is right on the money and I'm going to the dojo.

12-04-2004, 01:23 PM
I do agree with Michael. Whatever the circumstances might have been, Jay successfully avoided a direct conflict which would not likely have ended pleasantly for him. The proof that he did it right is in the results...that the police handled the "tangos" and Jay is still here to tell us the story. I would be curious to know, however, what agency the cops were from that actually handled the incident (apparently successfully and without injury to anyone). Could they have been the dangerously inept campus police described by Benjamin? Just curious.

12-04-2004, 04:19 PM
Fair enough. We have learned that line dancing is still silly, SWAT guys do not use the NATO phonetic alphabet, and everything turned out well for Jay :)

12-04-2004, 04:55 PM
From my perspective as a man who has not armed himself in years, and who's training and terminology were made up by the same silly old man who designed the Styr Scout, I suppose I have gotten a little carried away. It was not my intention to spew hair-brained Soldier-Of-Fortune-esque handgun vs rifle scenarios. I merely wanted to impress upon Jay that because he did not freak out at the mere sight of guns, he stayed alive and perhaps saved lives. Since I do not choose to arm myself, to the eternal disappointment of my mentor, I was actually thinking about how it may have been better, in this situation, that Jay was not armed (hence me mentioning that it was lucky he was not a LEO). That is a point that can certainly be argued either way. Since Jay wants advice, let me try to inject something that may make his reading my garbage posts worthwhile.
Things I would have done differently:
I try not to travel alone on foot at night.
I try not to walk through unlit areas.
If something makes me uncomfortable, I never feel bad about turning around and finding a different way home.
I usually do not walk toward gunmen.
I have tried to train away any freeze reaction to danger.
Jay, things I think you did well:
You did not panic, yell, or get shot.
You did not attempt to be a hero.
You called the police, perhaps saving lives.
You looked right at a man who could have shot you dead and nodded, which is a story your grandkids will think is awesome.

12-04-2004, 08:14 PM
After nine years in the military, I know how to use the phonetic alphabet. But in the version I am familiar with, "tango" means "T," not "confirmed hostile."

12-04-2004, 08:23 PM
Cookie monster sings: "T is for target, that's good enough for me..."

12-04-2004, 09:00 PM
...that the gentlemen in question is capable of differentiating a rifle from a paintball gun.

Hmmm, maybe not. Airsoft rifles can look and feel remarkably real. I believe most can shoot tiny little 6mm paintballs too.


Check these out:

12-05-2004, 05:35 PM
It is absolutly amazing that people will make paint-ball guns that look so close to actuall assult rifles. It is sad. But, I could see myself mistaking those for assult rifles. I could also see how alot of other people would too. But there are about 50,000 people on my campus at least. So it's a pretty big campus. We have campus security and campus police. The security is, sad to say, pretty laughable. But the police are, actually, police. Believe it or not. They have all the same equipment as the down town police and all the same training. I think they will even go and train with the city too. But they aren't some mediocre police dept. Also I have been watching the news and I haven't seen anything about assult rifles on campus. So I am assuming that it was a pellet gun. I only hope that assumption is correct. I would hate to think someone is stowing away an assult rifle somewhere. I also feel much better now that all the adreneline is gone. I am happy with what I did and hope no one else will run into the same problem. =0) C is for cookie but you don't see me writing posts about it. Heheheh. J/K. Have a good day. I'm going to read my Better homes and Gardens. Laterz. -Jay

Lyle Laizure
12-05-2004, 09:45 PM
I think I would have turned around after seeing the first person. Then called the police. From the standpoint of safety that would be the best decision. Martial arts or not empty hand against a gun you are giving up a lot.