No Trayvons for me: a moment of racial realism

This evening after leaving a friend’s apartment in a high-rise apartment building and arriving in the lobby, I realized I had left my glasses behind, so I turned around and got back in the elevator. Boarding the elevator at the same time was a short black man, wearing some kind of short rain jacket with a hood over his head. He was probably a delivery man, but I wasn’t sure. It was not raining. Why was he wearing a rain jacket with the hood up? I didn’t feel comfortable about riding in an elevator alone with this person. I made an instant decision. Before the elevator door shut, I stepped past the man (who was standing closer to the door than I was) and walked out of the elevator and boarded another elevator.

Was the man a prospective mugger? Very probably not. But if he didn’t want people in a nice apartment building to be apprehensive of him he should have dressed a bit better and shouldn’t have had his head covered in a hood. It gave him a seedy, questionable aspect, a bad vibe, and I was not going to deliver myself like a sheep into a situation that didn’t feel right.

Also, I didn’t have the slightest hesitation about behaving in a “rude” way that might make the man feel that I was avoiding him. I instinctively felt the need to get out of the elevator, and I got out. As I said in another comment this evening, beyond the duty of decent behavior to individuals, whites in this country do not owe anything to blacks. The duty of decent behavior does not include remaining alone in an elevator with a suspicious looking black man. How many thousands of whites have been injured, raped, or murdered by blacks in this country over the last fifty years, because they didn’t want to appear to be avoiding a black person?

- end of initial entry -

Brian J. writes:

Speaking of serendipity …

While on a quick grocery run this evening I stopped off to get some gas. Most of the patrons at my local gas stations are black so I use my debit card at the pump to avoid being in line with them at the register. Tonight the pump would not read my debit card. Without thinking I went and stood in line. This gas station was of the outdoor type where the attendant is in a small building and all transactions are completed through a pass through tray. This particular location has several coolers with beverages and snacks surrounding the register area giving it a closed in feel.

As I got in line there was one black man, about thirty or so, at the window paying. His brightly colored underwear was clearly visible. Two teenage black males perusing the far coolers were dressed from head to toe in thug regalia. As I stepped into line another black man got into line behind me. I would guess he was mid forties and looked like a plumber or a tradesman of some sort.

As the individual at the counter completed his transaction he turned to leave and as he did so he gave me a hard thump with his shoulder. I turned to face him and as I did so he began to hurl abuse at me. “I’m not afraid of you, what you looking at, I’m not afraid of that gun either, who do you think you are?” Yes I was armed and yes he was taunting an armed man. [LA replies: Was your gun visible?]

I looked to my fellow patrons for some indication that this individual was crazy but all I got were a neutral look from the plumber and titters and high fives from the “yoots.” He continued to hurl abuse and imprecations from his window as he drove away. I then realized that every person there, except for me, was black, and giving me what can be described as hard, suspicious looks.

About ten seconds later I calmly walked to my car and left. When I got home I told my wife that it felt like a gathering storm and had I not left who knows what might have happened.

I am no stranger to the realities of diversity and race but I must ask: does it seem to anyone else that things are ratcheting up a notch or two? And if so might it be related to the upcoming election?

P.S. Here was a similar brainwave I had back when I was blogging:

Don’t be afraid to offend. More White people die needlessly from this single malady than any other cause. If a black thug is following you, turn around, take a couple of steps off the walkway, put your hand on your gun as they approach (if you think I’m kidding I did exactly this recently when we encountered the spitting image of Trayvon Martin during an evening stroll). Be aware, be aware, be aware. If your antenna are telling you trouble is near pay attention. Make sure you have a bullet in the chamber and the gun will exit the holster easily.

October 7

Robert P. writes:

Twice in the past year I got that “I am getting boxed in” feeling while I was on my evening walk home from work in Chicago. I was sure in both cases that I was either going to be a “Beat Whitey” or robbery victim. In the first case I immediately altered my direction, the second time I shifted my location relevant to the “set-up guy” so that a street light pole was between us. Both times, the “set-up guy” scurried off like a startled animal in a different direction, as did some one else in front of us or adjacent to us. Better to be safe than sorry, or to have to face a pro-black justice system for defending oneself.

Regarding the first case, the “set-up guy” was wearing a FedEx jacket. But there was no FedEx truck around. That means he would have had to walk about three blocks (one west, one south, one more west to a building entrance) to deliver the “package” from where he could have been parked on a street. I have lived in Chicago long enough to know that a black FedEx driver isn’t going to walk three or four addresses, let alone three blocks. I figure that the jacket was stolen as well and being worn as a disguise as it is quite an identifiable feature.

Terry Morris writes:

You made the right decision. Not only because it prevented the possibility of your suffering physical injury or even death at the hands of a younger, presumably stronger, healthier man, but also because it prevented the possibility of your suffering the same fate as Trayvon Martin’s killer in the event you may have needed to use deadly force to subdue your attacker under such a scenario. And who needs that?

The implication is very much true. Whenever we find ourselves in such situations, we need to be smart and decisive about it, and quickly make the decision to preempt the possibility of an attack if at all possible.

Laura G. writes:

Your account of the elevator scene reminds me very sharply of an interview I read awhile ago. The interview was of a girl who had narrowly escaped being murdered by Gary Ridgeway, the “Green River” serial killer of large numbers of women in the 1980s in the Seattle area. This particular girl was the only woman known to have been selected by Ridgeway for murder who escaped his intention. She had been being courted by Ridgeway. That was his method of getting close to a victim. With his other victims, he would have a date or two and kill them. For this girl, he had proposed marriage, she was to come to his house to leave for the preacher, and normally he would have killed her then. That evening she had a drink with a friend, got into her car to go to his house, sat in her car in front of the house, and “some little thing just didn’t feel quite right, so I drove off.” She didn’t go in to discuss her misgivings with him, she didn’t give it another chance, she drove off. Maybe her friend had helped her understand how weird the situation was, the interview didn’t go into that, but wherever it came from her decisive action undoubtedly saved her life.

I have always been so admiring of her ability to listen to the tiny inner voice that “something didn’t seem quite right,” and in addition to act on that little voice. That is what your comment is emphasizing. Not only do we have to hear the warnings, but we have to have the self-confidence to act on it. Usually that requires immediate action, too.

This string of comments should be mandatory for every adult and child who wants to survive our present society.

Brett A. writes:

I think Brian is giving bad advice, unless he was carrying in a front pocket, and it wasn’t obvious he was touching a gun. From his own description though it sounds like he made it obvious to the rude black man. If Brian was carrying in a waist holster and put his hand on his gun he could be charged with brandishment, even though he didn’t draw the weapon. Plus the scenario he describes does not justify touching your weapon. You have to be facing an immediate threat to your life to justify that. The definition of that can vary from state to state, but the scenario Brian describes doesn’t sound legal to me in any state. Before people carry concealed they have to know more than how to draw and fire a weapon. They also need to know applicable law. That is where defensive firearms courses for concealed carry are very valuable since they cover both topics.

Another thing is, people need to be aware that habitual criminals have no fear of calling the police in a situation like this. I learned in classes I’ve taken that if you do ever draw your weapon, even without aiming it at the aggressor, and the aggressor walks (or runs) away you need to immediately call police even though no shots were fired. A large number of people have been arrested and charged who did precisely what I’ve described above, and then just went about their business. Next thing they know they hear sirens, police come speeding up, they are found to be armed, arrested and charged. Because criminals won’t just call the police, they will then lie about exactly what happened. That is why you have to get your story to the police right away before the criminal can set the narrative.

Brian J. writes:

Responding to Brett A:

I do open carry which is perfectly legal here in Indianapolis (know your own local gun codes!), but I did not brandish or threaten anyone with the gun. I didn’t touch it. It was simply exposed, which in this case may have been a good thing as it might have kept things from escalating. But this is exactly why I open carry, because in my estimation I am much less likely to have to shoot by openly displaying my means of protection. Different people come up with different answers on carrying a gun and I respect those answers, but this is the right one for me.

Paul K. writes:

Laura G. writes: “I have always been so admiring of her ability to listen to the tiny inner voice that “something didn’t seem quite right,” and in addition to act on that little voice.”

I recommend that everyone—especially women—read Gavin DeBecker’s book “The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence.” It underscores this point with many examples and discusses the sort of subconscious information we are processing when that inner voice tells us something isn’t quite right. Here is a quote from De Becker:

Intuition connects us to the natural world and to our nature. It carries us to predictions we will later marvel at. “Somehow I knew,” we will say about the chance meeting we predicted, or about the unexpected phone call from a distant friend, or the unlikely turnaround in someone’s behavior, or about the violence we steered clear of, or, too often, the violence we elected not to steer clear of. The Gift of Fear offers strategies that help us recognize the signals of intuition—and helps us avoid denial, which is the enemy of safety.

The book is flawed in that De Becker seems to oppose armed self-defense and entirely avoids the racial element of crime, but his insights are nevertheless valuable.

Also, Brett A. gives good advice. I am curious how the man confronting Brian J. knew he was armed. That is information you don’t want to give away unnecessarily. Being “made” is considered a major faux pas among those carrying concealed. Brett is also correct that in such a situation you may be reported to the police and put on the defensive. The first one to make the 911 gets to frame the narrative on which the responding officers will be operating.

DJM writes:

In response to Robert P: It is within the realm of possible that the FedEx jacket was not stolen. Most folks will not question the motives of someone wearing a FedEX or UPS jacket. Rule of thumb: if they are non-black you are just about assured of being safe. If they are black, look for packages or that electronic box they carry for scanning and signatures. If you see neither, at the very least they are off hours, or they have bad intentions.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 06, 2012 11:53 PM | Send

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