"I was saved from a lunatic "

The Simple Awareness System that saved me from a Lunatic.

A couple of years ago, I was walking from my hotel in Anchorage, Alaska, to a nearby Walmart at 9:30 pm when I encountered a lunatic.*

I first noticed this lunatic standing across from a police car. The man was some 10 yards away from the officer, yelling something indistinguishable at him and walking away.*

Eager to avoid the problem, I turned the corner.

Now, if this were a sane person, I think he wouldn’t have noticed me, but somehow his eyes locked on me as his next target. In my initial scan of him, I could tell he was either crazy or high on something.*

The worst part was, he decided to follow me.

What had been a strange scene was quickly becoming a potential threat. Several options flew through my head, but the obvious answer was to cross the street.

As I sped across the street, my pursuer did as well, now shouting: “I am going to f*** you up!”

The mirroring of my movements and the verbalizing of his intent confirmed to me that the man was a dangerous threat.

I scanned him again: dark complexion, long dark hair, a coat in his arms. I looked at his hands to see if he had a gun, knife, or club on him. His hands were empty, but they were trembling. I kept reassessing his hands as I tried to escape, walking faster to put more distance between the lunatic and myself.

I touched my Smith & Wesson Shield, concealed at 4 o’clock in my Crossbreed Holster, reassuring myself that I knew where my better defensive tools were in case I needed them.

When I reached the Walmart parking lot, the threat started running at me, closing the distance fast. He was quickly parallel with me, about 15 feet to my left. Then he moved to intercept me.

Waiting for no more signals, I bolted between a row of parked cars, creating a barricade.

The lunatic yelled obscenities at me. The most obscene sticking with me: “You’re lucky, n*****!” as he turned away.

Behind my barricade, I scanned the lot, finding a security vehicle nearby. I headed for the grocery entrance. Meanwhile, the security vehicle intercepted the lunatic, and I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Inside the store, I told the greeters about the lunatic. Even as I was talking to them, I knew that my goal was to find help and create a social barricade if the man tried to follow me into the store.

I managed to defend myself from a dangerous lunatic without having to fight or draw my gun. The surprising thing to me was it all happened on auto-pilot. I never had to stop and think about what to do, and I never froze. I did what I was trained to do by Retired Army Ranger Beau Doboszenski and Retired Navy Seal Larry Yatch.

I had purchased their excellent DVD Avoid-Deter-Defend and watched it months before this happened in Alaska. When the lunatic started following me, he triggered what they taught me, and I was able to avoid a confrontation.

You may be wondering, “How did you know he was a threat before he got close enough to do anything?”

May I show you?

The two things that telegraph a man wants to hurt you are his eyes and actions.

There are 3 Threat Indicators I was taught to watch for.

  1. Mirroring: If you cross the street and they cross the road, or you go to a different part of Walmart to get away, and they go to the same part of Walmart, this is a red flag. If someone mirrors your actions, you may be in danger.

  2. Closing the Distance: Most violent attacks begin from inches away, not ten feet. To get close enough to catch you by surprise, an attacker has to close the distance. In my situation, the lunatic jogged after me, which was an unmistakable signal.

  3. Interception: If a man puts themselves directly in front of you and tries to stop you, then you are in danger. This is a proven Threat Indicator.

*This lunatic in Alaska motivated me to get more training in recognizing dangerous individuals.

Since you made it to the end of this post then what is the best training you have seen on Situational Awareness? :wink:


Just curious, but do you have any idea why the officer did not maintain contact with this person as he went after you? I would not be happy with his actions based on what you said.


The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

This is a very useful book, even outside the direct realm of self-defense. For example, inside AWS (Amazon Web Services) it is recommended reading for improving operational performance,


I’m wondering the same thing @William220 is, why did the officer let this guy walk away and go after you?

I would have gone right back toward the officer if the guy started after me as the officer has already started interacting with this person and has an idea of his state of mind.

One other thing I would keep in mind, don’t touch your firearm when you’re in public unless you have to defend yourself with it. No one needs to know it’s there and the act of touching it may draw attention to it.


I thought the same thing, and upon re-reading the account picked up on the “turned the corner”. The “lunatic” was likely well known to the police and, with no justification to arrest him they were simply shooing him off. Since @Jonathan4 had turned the corner they probably had no idea that they’d just sent this now extra agitated person in his direction.


Police arrest people all the time, for appearance of public intoxication, or disorderly behavior, etc. etc. They could grab him, even if the charge won’t stick and he gets released. Yea, the officers would probably get flak from their sergeant, but that’s what you do when you care about the community, so people can walk the street without being hunted by psychos.


Not so long ago there was a situation, when a clueless guy had to walk between me and the next parked car on the lot. I was getting in my car, and he was going to the store I guess.

He triggered all 3 threat indicators. I did not have any intuitive sense of danger about him though, based on his appearance, demeanour, or eye contact. So, please don’t be that guy.

If I was wrong though - he was only inches away. I should have had my car between him and me, and I didn’t. Lesson learned.


Scary I would hope I react the same - I do have one question where was the police officer who was with him in the beginning, did he allow this lunatic to go after you without any support ?


My guess is the officer did not realize the lunatic had chosen a different target. Maybe the cop was using the laptop in his computer, maybe he was looking at his phone, maybe he just did not see me. I honestly have no way of knowing.

I was not upset with the police officer at all the guy was clearly an emotionally disturbed person. Screaming at a police officer who is minding his own business sitting in his cop car makes no sense.

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Dawn it probably would have been a good idea to walk towards the patrol car but the reason I did not is because it would have meant walking towards the lunatic. I prefer to maintain distance between me and a threat.

As to touching my gun if you know how to blade your body you can conceal a draw and all I did was touch the grip on my shield. The odds of someone noticing my checking were very small but it is possible. I have been concealed carrying every day for three years and I carry in non-permissive enviroments where being covert is essential.

However if you expose your gun to in some places that can be considered brandishing depending on the situation so good advice.

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Being a favorite target of bullies in High School.

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I have read “The Gift of Fear” and its a great book. Thanks for the suggestion I need to listen to it on audible this time.



Alexander we all have time where we make tactical mistakes or our awareness is not what it should be. All we can do is focusing on growth and pre-load in case something happens.


For all you know what he yelled at the officer was “Hey Jim, tell Little Billie Happy Birthday for me.” All one can deduce from what you reported is that the police officer(s) didn’t believe they had reasonable cause to make an arrest or that they deemed the offense so minor, and/or threat to public safety so low, that they weren’t going to bother making an arrest. That you didn’t see them out of the car talking to this guy suggests they didn’t even have reasonable suspicion that he was engaged in criminal activity. Though they could have already detained him and decided he was, despite the bluster, harmless. They may run into him every night and say “Joe, you’ve been drinking again; go home” and off he went in the direction of home only to run into you.


And in this day and age of the smart phone many of us operate at Condition White even when we are walking through the most dangerous areas.

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Harold I heard him screaming at the police officer and using the F word a bunch it’s what grabbed my attention. But your correct I have no idea what happened before I saw the lunatic screaming at the police officer in the cop car.

Honestly all that mattered to me was he was acting like a threat. So I took action to avoid a conflict. His history and the cops behavior meant nothing.

I am rarely in condition white these days outside my home.

Many years ago i used to be in condition white in public but it’s been a minute. But then I was walking along minding my own business when I got jumped by three thugs a couple years ago. In a way they did me a favor because they taught me to keep my head on a swivel and watch for threat indicators.

You live and learn.


So you are saying it was “F Jim, tell F’n Little Billie F’n Happy F’n Birthday for me”? :joy::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::joy::joy::rofl:

It is the brush with (or actually) bad encounters that I think we all learn from. Although it took over a decade for me to act, some crazy people following my (ex-)wife home from theater rehearsals one night is what got me interested in firearms ownership for self-defense. I grabbed a baseball bat to drive them off, then sat up all night with it in case they came back. So hours and hours thinking “If they come back I really doubt this baseball bat is going to cut it, this is why people own guns”.


You have won this round.

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USNavy is the best training in winning any fight I’ve ever hadl

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What did you do in the Navy?

Thank you for your service.

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