DEALING WITH THE “TAUNTER”
It might be a good idea for concealed carriers to give some thought to dealing with an aggressive party who is in the act of verbally taunting him or her. For the most part, it is hard for people to “trash-talk” others without sending non-verbal communications signals that are similar to pre-assault clues. As such, concealed carriers should be prepared for a physical assault that may take place at any time.
I grew up in a time when young men involved in disagreements would sometimes engage in what was called a “fist-fight,” and as long as no serious injuries were sustained or it did not occur in a public place nobody contacted law enforcement. This is not the case in 2022, and concealed carriers who wish to always remain under the radar go to considerable lengths to avoid physical conflict. One possible side effect of this may be that those persons with low self-esteem and/or anger management issues have become more and more brazen when it comes to trash-talking. Persons who frequently engage in that behavior are more than likely quite aware that most people avoid fights/mutual combat because they fear the consequences of dealing with law enforcement, are fearful of getting injured, or perhaps both.
What does this have to do with concealed carriers? There may come a time when we are confronted with another person or persons issuing taunts and perhaps even physical threats towards us or another person accompanying us. This can create a dilemma as there are multiple options to choose from since we are armed. The problem is that if we choose wrong, we can end up being arrested and charged with a serious crime, injured, or killed.
I have been taunted a few times. Depending upon the circumstances, my emotional responses varied between detachment, amusement, anger, fear of injury, and concern that if I acted upon my present feelings that I might get arrested or lose my current job. It helps to have an idea as to what the motivation of the person is that is doing the trash-talking for the simple reason that if I have done something real or imagined that angered them then I might have an opportunity to de-escalate the situation. I learned during the eighteen years that I was a reserve deputy to not let the offensive actions of persons that I did not respect emotionally compromise me. As a concealed carrier, it does not bother me to say something to the effect of “sorry, I didn’t see you” or “sorry, I meant no offense” regardless of whether or not I believe that I had done something for which I needed to apologize.
A bigger problem for me is persons who in some manner interfere with an attempt on my part to disengage from the scene. Others may even change their position in an attempt to “stay in my face.” Firearms trainer John Hearne contends that we possess both an “emotional mind” and a “rational mind.” The best possible outcome in a stressful confrontation will likely be the direct result of training our subconscious mind to permit the rational mind to stay in charge even under the worst of circumstances. The subconscious mind is likely to default to the emotional brain if confronted with situations that include a threat to health, life, or even ego. This is especially true when there is a high level of anxiety and limited amount of time to solve a close-proximity problem. I believe that remaining fixed in one place and engaging in an emotionally charged conversation with another person is something that needs to be avoided.
I am an advocate of simply leaving the scene without saying anything confrontational or disrespectful. I do not care what names they call me or what insults they may hurl as I walk away. Their opinion of me simply do not matter. However, everything changes as soon as another person takes any action to close on me or cut me off. That is more than likely an appropriate time to go into what some firearm trainers refer to “request-demand-act” mode. I request they stay back (“hey, man, can you stay back?”), if they do not I demand they stay back (“STAY BACK!”), and if they continue, I make ready to take defensive action starting with the least amount of force required to stop the threat. This is a really good time to not only have OC spray on my person but to know when and how to use effectively. I may have to go to or even start with my concealed handgun, but that will always be a last resort.
All of us like movies where the hero responds to the taunting villain with a witty comeback ala Arnold Schwarzenegger or Clint Eastwood style, but I am never going to be working off the same script with some trash-talking stranger with an unknown agenda. Any person that is willing to confront me and then insult and taunt me without knowing who I am and what I may be capable of doing if forced to defend myself is not using their rational brain, and I am never going to win a war of the words with an irrational person. In that case, why try?
Steve Moses has been a defensive firearms trainer for over 26 years and is a licensed Texas Personal Protection Officer with 7 years of experience performing as shift lead on a church security detail for a D/FW area metro-church. Steve is a co-owner and Director of Training for Palisade Training Group, LLC based in Dallas, Texas. Moses is a retired deputy constable and spent over 10 years on a multi-precinct Special Response Team. He owns multiple instructor certifications, including Rangemaster Advanced Handgun Instructor and Defensive Shotgun Instructor, Red Zone Knife Defense Instructor and Adaptive Striking Foundations Instructor, Modern Samurai Project Red Dot Sight Instructor, and State of Texas Personal Protection Officer Instructor. Steve holds a BJJ Brown Belt in Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He is a content contributor for CCW Safe and writes weekly articles on various subjects of interest to concealed carriers. Moses shoots competitively and holds an IDPA Expert rating. Steve is an annual presenter at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference.