People look at me as if I’m crazy?

So if you know me by now I work at a gas station and I’ve been robbed 3 times. After the 3rd robbery I got my first gun, learned everything about it, took my CHL class, became a member of the USCCA and watch and study all of their videos, and videos on other channels as well.

I wanted to make post about this but forgot about it.

So about a month or 2 ago sometimes we work our shifts alone and I have to stock the cooler when we’re by ourselves. One thing I noticed was constantly when I get a customer, the majority of the time. They just come in, stand at the counter and stare into space don’t even look to see somebody coming up from behind them.

And I took note of it, and then there were some customers who came in, and the would shout hello if they didn’t see anybody.

I talked to one of the customers and I told him, thank you for practicing situational awareness and we had a mini conversation and customers came in the middle of the conversation, and they probably heard like, I could be hog tied up in the back room and next thing ya know somebody is coming behind you ready to put you in the same position I’m in. I could be strapped up back there. The customer I had a mini conversation with left as the transaction went through, and the next customer asked me what’s going on. So I explain to that customer how hardly anybody practices situational awareness when they come in this store and I was thanking him for practicing situational awareness, because nobody else does, and repeated some of the same things I said, and everybody looked at me as if I was some crazy nut job. It’s not in their reality, that it could happen.

I also practice situational awareness at night. If I’m in a dark parking lot, you best believe I’m walking with a bright flashlight sweeping spaces I’m about to walk into, spaces around me, and underneath and into my car.

I’m new to my apartment and our parking lot is dark. I was on my way to work, pulled my flashlight out and I sweep the parking lot, there’s a man who was taking his trash out and I paid attention to him but didn’t point my flashlight at him or anything. He needed to get something out of his car and his car was next to my car and he was nervously telling me he needed to get something out of his car when he’s parked next to mine. I didn’t say anything to him, I just hopped in my car and left.

So that also has me thinking am I presenting a demeanor that I’m not to be messed with? I think I’m hoping so because after getting robbed, I’ve been trying to change my appearances, a little about how I act and talk, to present myself as someone you don’t want to mess with at least on the surface, if you don’t know me.

Just some thoughts.



When anybody has the intent to rob you it does not matter how big you are, how intimidating you look or how you carry yourself, you can be the most situationally aware individual they will still try and complete that task. You don’t have to change your demeanor or act tough, just be yourself and stay alert and continue to train. As long as you know that anyone is capable of making you a victim, your discernment will lead you into successfully protecting yourself. Just keep your head on a swivel.


Best advice right there.

Stay safe.


I would have offered to use my flashlight to aid his search in the dark. I have done similar at night. I would assume using a flashlight would make you not appear to be a person to be concerned with. But it likely will make you less of a target. Perps do not, literally, want light shown upon them while they are skulking in the dark. I have gotten comments about my use of a flashlight at night, that I am visible. I have stated that is the point. BGs do not want to be seen, so if you are lighting all the dark areas, they will more likely avoid you.

Sometimes visibility can be good. I was on vacation, pre-COVID-19, and had a large Bowie knife strapped to my leg that I carry when I hike/walk trails. I had just gotten back and needed to go to a store a couple blocks away. I kept the knife on as to not waste time as it was getting dark. On my way back, a group of youths (about 10 or so) were blocking the sidewalk. I was about to step into the street to go around them when one of them clearly spotted my knife (8 1/2") and immediately cleared a path for me. I never experienced that type of reaction ever before in my lifetime, so I can only assume it was his furtive glance at my large knife that elicited that reaction. It’s not like I am a large, burly man, just an average-build older man. When I got back, I found the encounter quite amusing.


I’d rather see a criminal 50 feet away from me, then 5 and knocking me cold.


My wife and I have a term for these people, “tiger food.” The thought being, if they were in the jungle, and behaving as they did, a tiger would soon make them dinner.

I am amazed at how many there are out there. If it’s not the proverbial “dark alley” they’re walking down, they’re blundering into an intersection without looking, passively relying on others to be aware and protect them from a nasty fate.


My favorite personal flashlight story comes from a mission trip to a third world country. On the final day of the trip we were leaving a hotel and going to the car early in the morning. As we were loading our luggage into the trunk, my pastor leaned over and asked me if I saw the guy huddling over the fire in the shadow. I said no, and then lit him up with my light. Turns out he worked for the hotel and was there to open the gate for us to get out.

The day before we were crossing an international border from one third world to another. Going through the security checkpoint, my little JetBeam CR123 light got lots of puzzled looks and the demand that I take it apart and explain what these funny extra batteries were for. I figure they may have been concerned it was stun gun or something. I had to turn it of and on and cycle through modes to prove it was only a light.

It also came in handy in the slums climbing concrete stairs that were all different heights (no building codes in third world slums, I presume). All of the locals were using the lights on their cell phones.

My flashlight was the one defensive tool I could carry with me. When I went back the following year I had acquired my first 1,000 + lumen light and definitely took it with me.


Perhaps not knowing you he was afraid, oddly enough someone with a flashlight may be looking for something to call their own. As stated be yourself, try to meet the folks in your living space & a flashlight in the wrong hand does little good. Good luck in your new place


I mostly agree with this about staying alert and continuing to train. Where I disagree is that when you do those things, you begin to look less like a victim and that is what helps keep criminals away. It’s not 100% obviously, but criminals do select their victims/targets because they want your stuff not a fight.

RE Flashlights… I recommend a high lumen flashlight to people who would like some sort of defense without carrying a firearm, knife, etc. An example I use: That creepy guy following you in the parking lot, and you aren’t sure if he’s a predator or just going to his car? light him up with 1000 lumens and yell “WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME”. The pain/blinding is a deterrent, you no longer look like a potential victim, now you have the initiative. Shining a light at someone and yelling is 100% legal in all 50 states, the worst outcome is you look a little crazy to the creepy guy.

I have heard that criminals associate flashlights (specifically scanning around with a light) with police. So they generally avoid them. However… in today’s world that may also make you a target.

Thank you, i literally just snorted my coffee… :coffee:


Just a note, maybe considering yelling a command rather than an interrogative. We teach our students to yell, “Stop following me!” or “Do not come any closer!” LEOs issue commands as well and not questions. If you ask that question, you inadvertently or it could be construed as asking the person to come closer to you and engage in a dialog.


Just want to point out that you certainly can be both situationally aware AND crazy. It isn’t one of those either/or things. Just sayin’


Excellent point. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are unfortunately living outdoors and marginally crazy are very situationally aware.

They don’t have the luxury that tourists who retire to their nice hotel off the Plaza have, when it comes to negotiating the streets, not being mowed down by someone on their phone while driving, or other urban hazards.


Sounds like you have it under control.


I’ve walked into two store robberies over the decades in the US. The head of my PSD in Iraq asked everyday before we left the Consulate,” What kills Mr. ******? “ I answered, “Complacency kills “. He said, “Never forget that. “ I am still alive and I haven’t forgotten. Thanks for the reminder!


Forensic_Wow, your seem to be on the right track. A few suggestions…

  1. Find training in defensive pistol combat and take sign up several times a year. Included in that training, find a training facility that offers force-on-force laser guns and shock vests (a vest or a belt that delivers a painful shock when you are hit). Also useful is IDPA competition (International Defensive Pistol Association). It is critically important to seriously raise the pucker factor in training.

  2. I think the advice from one of the commenters about helping the guy is highly dangerous. Something to know about the criminal mind whether adjudicated or aspiring: they excel at deception.

  3. As to high lumen LED lights: (a) Light reflected back at you diminishes your own vision. (b) A light mounted on your gun or held in your support grip becomes a beacon for shoot-me-here. (c) Best to hold the light in you support hand with arm extended far to the side at approximately shoulder height. (d) In low-light/no-light close quarter battle – up to 10 yards, say – 300 lumens, especially in a home, is plenty enough to severely diminish your attacker’s vision. Test it for yourself. Have a partner point 300 lumens at you in your home. (e) All things considered, however, you better have a light if a light is needed to positively visually identify who is in front of you before you shoot.

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Semi-related side note: In my neighborhood walking around a parking lot with a flashlight is grounds for suspicion. Lots of property theft from cars around here, and the thieves are typically carrying a flashlight to see the contents of cars before breaking a window.

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Which is not what you would be doing with the flashlight.

The poster did not seem concerned about that person’s activity nor demeanor, and explained what the person was doing. Meeting a stranger is a two-way street. If one’s “spidey sense” is tingling, then obviously not offer aid. Offering aid does not mean that the other person would accept, anyway. It would also show that you are not a threat to that person.


I usually make eye contact, and if they look tuff, I give a confident friendly nod. Criminals often receive a “heads up they’re watching me” with that. (Not a guarantee that’ll stop them.) Avoid close contact if you feel best. A lot of good advice on flashlights above. I offer to help folks by asking them if they want it. That provides them with the choice, and they recognize your intentions are noble. If they accept but act suspicious, tell them you’re sorry but you gotta go. Stay friendly, and keep up the awareness.


Dave17: Which is not what you would be doing with the flashlight.

My point is that if I saw someone in a parking lot with a flashlight, I’d be suspicious. Perhaps the guy the OP saw in his parking lot was feeling the same way.