I've long held this fascination with how fast the human brain can process information, especially how fast it can process, threat assess, come to a conclusion and initiate the appropriate response.
Having spent my entire adult life observing people with intent, whether running a surveillance or standing quietly on a protection assignment, you learn to read how the point of a toe can give you direction an aggressor is about to take. The opening of a mouth before taking a step can display personal doubt about a course of action.
On the short journey home last night from my in-laws, The Wife and I were talking about the general stuff of life. The Mouse was asleep in the back and we were just cruising down the second to last stretch of road home. We topped a hill and began a descent towards a stop light a hundred or so yards ahead. Late on Easter night, traffic was almost non-existent and, placed us as first car at the light.
In my time on this blue marble we call earth I have seen what I call one truly classical ambush. It was traveling through India, in Maharashtra I think, with some Clients. Driving down a long stretch of rural road we came to the first intersection that mattered when a Land Rover sped past us, angled in and blocked our driver. It was, despite the threat, beautifully executed. Of course I'm still here so...
The second most truly classical ambush began as we headed for that light last night.
You will have to understand that as you read this (and I write this) there are several long moments from start to finish. Yet as it occurred, it at the most was ten seconds long, with the large and heavy portions lasting about 1 second.
As we approached the light, maybe ten yards out I noticed a young man off the passenger side door, on the corner and two lane widths from me. Back lighting him some sixty yards away perhaps, was a small convenience store that he appeared to be walking from. Yet as the car slowed to a stop his hands were empty.
"No purchase. Interesting" my brain told me.
He stands at the curb. The Car stops.
"White pants, blue polo, black ball cap (flat brim), hipster styled web belt like my old canteen belt with the holes.....shirt partial tuck..noted."
Then it got interesting.
He took a step.
"Left hand goes to belt as if to ensure support, left foot takes step of curb and angles toward passenger side door, followed by a quick step from the right foot, then left....one full fast step. Right hand now goes to center point of waist band where shirt is untucked...felony carry...... (old Jeff Cooper slang) = Gun."
My index finger straightens off the steering wheel to proceed to gun. "If it goes this way, get muzzle to glass".
Finger fully flexed. Memory reminds me that we just came from ****** ******* Illinois.
".357 is locked in rear of vehicle. Drive."
I touch the accelerator and the Family SUV makes a smooth lurch forward. He stops in the intersection. I stop only to make sure I don't get hit going through the intersection. He's now confused and now not so sure of himself.
Grin to self.
Accelerator pressed for controlled departure. The Wife, with her hand on dash because of the stop-start-stop-now-go-while-amid-sentence looks at me confused. "That kid is going to try and car jack us" as we go on through the red light.
We crest a second hill. "There are his friends" I say as we pass a Mitsubishi two door pulled off on to the side of the road. Lights on. Engine running. Chase car.
Wolves travel in packs.
As we sat at the next light, with The Wife on the phone talking with police dispatch, I did what you really do after the fact.
Think about how you damn near screwed up.
Had I not lurched the vehicle in order to check the intersection, which caused a hitch in his giddy up, I would have gotten us into a low speed broadsided accident. That same side where my daughter's car seat is, and where she slept peacefully in it.
The moral of it all.
You can possess the latest in tactical gear, have the best polymer-striker fired-damn-the-1911-pistol on the market, with a bug out bag in the back. But, if you can not....and listen to me because this is the important part.
If you can not, assess and make a straight line decision about what you should, should not, and can not do in the blink of an eye....it's all for naught.
Tactical mag changes are a useful thing. The ability to react to a situation in it's very initial stage is paramount, and may keep you from ever having to execute a mag drop to begin with.
Stay savy my friends.