No one puts tough guys in a corner

By: Joshua Gideon

I’m not sure where it started. Maybe it was an old western movie where the bad guy walks into a saloon where the good guy is sitting in a dark corner waiting for him. Maybe it was a story someone told about a tough guy they knew who always sat in the corner of a room. Regardless where it started, somewhere along the line others began imitating this “tactical strategy” at their local restaurants and watering holes.  The thought is with my back to the corner, I can look throughout the entire building and see everything going on, and I am also safer because no one can sneak up behind me. Or so the theory goes. I have observed people doing this and even heard some give it as advice.

Over the weekend this really hit home to me as I sat in a restaurant and observed a member of our community “Tactical CCW Organization” give a great example of what not to do. Please note that to my knowledge we do not have a “Tactical CCW Organization” in our community, this is my personal label for those precious souls who go to the local diner for breakfast in Camo BDU pants, concealed carry vest, open carried Taurus Judge in an Uncle Mikes holster, and molon labe hat. (Actual description of the guy in this story.) This guy was wired like the waitress had been giving him an I.V. drip of coffee since the restaurant opened. He was so hyper vigilant that he appeared to be on the ragged edge of breaking down. As I casually tried to observe him while talking to my wife, I think I made him even more nervous. I was thinking the whole time that I hope a waitress doesn’t dropped a plate because I was pretty sure this guy would come unglued.

There was no question looking around the room that he was armed. Even if he had carried concealed, just about anyone could have picked him out of a crowd as “Most likely to be armed.” His hyper vigilance brought him a lot of extra attention (which seemed to stir him up more). A plain clothed Sheriff Deputy just happened to be there that morning sitting next to us in another booth. I noticed the vehicle outside and picked him out when I walked in. We had that informal eye contact recognition and nod then went about what normal people do when they go out to eat with their family. A few times during our breakfast we both observed each other checking out the hyper vigilant guy in the corner and shaking our head. I know there were at least three armed people in that restaurant that morning. Two of us were much harder to pick out than the other one.

The most troubling part of this for me was where the guy was sitting and specifically why he was sitting there. He walked in a few seconds before my family did and requested that specific table. It was one that was in a corner and faced the front of the room. I can imagine his thought process as he used those two requirements to seat him and his young wife. “In a corner, check. Can I see the front door, check. Ok, I’m good.” What he failed to observe was that his chosen seat put him the furthest away from any exit. Furthermore, his magical corner spot put windows behind his head on two sides, pointing towards the parking lot. (Don’t worry; I resisted the urge to tap on the window near his head when I left.) The booth he sat in was boxed in by several tables and to get out he would need to weave in and out of tables, chairs, and the chaos of people to get his family out of the building if the need arose. I won’t even elaborate on the disadvantages of not being able to see the parking lot.

Much of what this guy did was wrong because he didn’t understand the “why” of his tactics. We do not live in a world of absolutes. This is why it is so important for us to understand “why” we do things. I actually felt worse for this guys wife. In his hyper state of vigilance he neglected to have a meaningful conversation with his wife (who after several attempts to have a conversation with him resorted to her cell phone). Although we arrived after them, we left before them (even with a slow 9 year old that picks at her food). The more I thought about it, the more I felt bad for the guy. All this guy really did was take things out of context for the threat level he was in. I can only hope the guy gets some training that will help him balance himself. I did my part by putting my business card on his windshield (it’s okay his back was to me, he couldn’t see me do that). I can only hope that he looked up the website and maybe even reads this article and decides to come train with us!

If you would like to know more about Threat Awareness and keeping your tactics in touch with reality, check out my TACS course at today!