Sometimes it’s Hard to Pick Backing up as Your Option.
By Haine Tautuaa.
I carry my fire arm most places I go. I do so, not because of any fear or paranoia but in case of the off chance that I might need it to protect myself, my family, or another person. Five years of security work has shaped my opinion in this matter, the opinion that I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
It is a beautiful day in July of 2013; I, my wife Annie, and our two young daughters, along with our good friends Dallin and his pregnant wife Sharoni, have walked to Harris Elementary School. We have come here a few times before to let my girls play on the playground and get our wives out of the house.
While my girls play and our wives chat, Dallin and I explore the grounds. The two of us head off through a fence to the South, and head West down the road behind the playground. We walk and talk about random subjects and comment on various things on the way; the road, trees, cooking a pig for an upcoming wedding, and different houses and their styles. The road leads to a gap in the fence surrounding the school yard, and we enter back into the playgrounds following the sidewalk back towards the school.
“I think there’s another entrance over there,” Dallin says, pointing westward. I peer in the direction that he is motioning toward.
“Yeah,” I say, “Strange spot for a gate.”
The gateway is on the west side of the school grounds and opens into an apartment parking lot instead of a road or sidewalk. The two of us stroll towards it observing what is around us and on the ground, the color of the grass, and the fact that it is shorter than it was yesterday when we were here.
“There are apartments there that I’ve never seen in Tooele.” Dallin say in a bemused sort of way, as we approach.
“They’re stranger on the inside.” I chuckle mentally as I recall my pizza delivery days.
We come to a halt just inside the fence, now on the west side of the school grounds, looking through the gateway in the chain link fence. In the distance, a straight line of site from the fence, sits on old square building. Hard to tell if had been used as a dwelling or just a tool shed. The colors on the old bricks are faded. The one window I can see is clouded and covered in deposits from weather and age.
“I wonder how old that building is,” I say, observing more of buildings features. Dallin stares for a second. “Eh. Doesn’t look that old,” he comments.
“Dude, it’s got rocks as part of its foundation.” I offer as proof of its age.
As we stand just outside the lot, a car pulls in about halfway from us to the old building. The front windows are down and I notice two in the car as it turns to park.
From the car I hear a male voice, “What the f**k are you lookin’ at!?” I don’t really expect the comment to be pointed at me so I continue in my thinking.
A woman’s voice calls out “You guys lookin for somthin’?”
“No.” I reply “We’re just wanderin’.”
A new thought arises in the back of my mind. “That may be a nice way of saying ‘Leave’.” I glance at my feet. We are still three feet inside the school grounds, as far as I can tell we are still on public property.
The male voice again, “What the f**k do you think you’re lookin’ at!?”
“… tryin to steal our sh*t!” The car is now parked behind another vehicle blocking my view of the people.
“F**k Off!” By the sound of the voice, the owner is getting closer and is PISSED.
“Well that’s a good cue to move along!” is the thought that is now firmly in the forefront of my mind. Red flags of possible danger begin popping up and wave sternly in front of my imagination. “But we’re still on public property.” I try to reason with myself.
“What the F**k are you lookin at!?… F**k Off!”
I turn to the right, my left side facing the oncoming voice. I look at Dallin and can see by the look on his face that he’s just as perplexed by this man’s anger as I am. I see his stance and expression change as the man comes into Dallin’s view. My mind is working overtime. Decisions, possible outcomes, and consequences are flying through my mind, “What’s my next move!?”
My mind lingers for a moment on the thought of my side arm, the weight of it strapped to my hip, and the possibility of having to use it. The man shouts more profanities at us. I can’t understand him. My mind is too busy with the weight of decisions of right now. I am watching Dallin. I calculate the man’s distance aggression and actions, by Dallin’s body language, the expressions on his face and what I see in his eyes.
I don’t want to back down. I have my pride, we are on public property, and we have done absolutely nothing wrong. I comment lightly to Dallin but I cannot recall what I said mere seconds ago. My mind is racing. I have decided that this man will most likely not listen to whatever I have to say. I do not think he is in the mood to be reasoned with. I try to keep my voice calm and reassuring as I turn more, my back now to the man. I take a couple of forced lazy steps toward the school and wait for Dallin to follow.
This process is repeated a couple times, and then I lead off to the north, away from our families in case the angry man decides to follow. I look back to see the tall skinny frame of the man, smoking and pacing Angrily back and forth behind the fence, like a predator in a cage. Eventually he turns and walks toward the apartments.
“Well. That was strange!” Dallin said in a relieved tone.
“Yeah, no joke,” I say.
“Yeah, I didn’t feel like getting shot today.” Dallin’s comment confuses me a bit as I’m the one with a side arm.
“Yeah…” I scoff. “I didn’t feel like having to shoot anyone today.”
This instance is a situation where even though i had my firearm, there wasn’t a need for it. By simply walking away, even though it was against the fighter in me, we were able to defuse a situation before it turned into anything that would warrant the use of that firearm. I carry to protect myself and others, even so, there is no reason not to avoid a potential bad situation, if possible, before it occurs.