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‘You Have a Peculiar Habit’
The Colonel Plumbs the Psychosis of an Ivory Hoodrat: 1/22/22
© 2022 James LaFond
The Colonel and I were rolling out of his driveway in the big pickup truck, headed for The Cumberland Saloon, when he said, “You have a peculiar habit that never fails. You always wait until the driver is behind the wheel before you get in. Where, pray tell, does that come from?”
I have written about this in the past in the Harm City series. With carjackings now perhaps the most common violent crime in America, it deserves a review.
In 1993 Bill was driving away from East Point Metro with me in the passenger seat down Rolling Mill Road after work on a Sunday morning about 7 AM. Two Baltimore County Pigs and two more officers rolling up as backup, decided that Bill—a 50-year-old married stock clerk—was a likely crook. We were held there seated and feeling very vulnerable as one of the cops—a big Bantu—had his gun out and pointed down and another had his hand on his gun.
I felt very vulnerable, sitting in an easily perforated aluminum box. A year or two later as I began working out numerous long range bus commutes to three work sites, I read in the Washington Times accounts of five D.C. cops who had been murdered while sitting in their squad cars.
Then, as I crossed Light Street one night a rich bitch in a car started cussing at me for jaywalking, and it occurred to be, that as she was stopped, I could easily drag her from her rolling throne.
Additionally, the neighborhood I lived in with my wife and sons was becoming very dangerous. Before I lost her car due to bankrupcy, I took a weekly drive with her and my youngest son to supermarkets that had very dangerous parking lots.
Those are the influences I can recall in forming my person survival doctrine that I will never enter a car as a passenger until the driver is seated. With the driver, it is a vehicle. Without him it is a death trap. I envision myself as the passenger as having the obligation to provide security for the driver, who is busy operating a dangerous machine, which is also the second most valuable category of personal property and the prime U.S. crime target.
My thoughts on doctrine is that it must be supported with useless vigilance in the most benign situations. It must be a rote habit to be reliable under stress. It must also be supported by visualizations. I constantly run car entry and egress attack scenarios in my mind.
I have noted that more recent cars are hard to exit once the auto-locks are engaged and then it is too late for me to use the door as a weapon or get over the hood to engage some one approaching the driver, who is often female in my life. I play with these locks and determine if they can be bypassed in any way that does not depend on the driver, as my pedestrian mind set makes me better suited to divining bad pedestrian intentions. I also have the luxury of looking around while the driver must drive and is focused on other vehicles.
I sent 38 years as a pedestrian and sometimes a car passenger in Baltimore City, a place where sitting down is often an invitation to an attacker. People in Baltimore stand against walls and eat fast food rather than sit on a bench, more often than not, because that city is our nation’s flagship clinical trial for low trust living under anrcho-tyranny.
I will hopefully never have to empty this discipline—but that is the nature of preparedness, and, an expression of my own extensive urban PTSD.
The Colonel related his most harrowing driving tale. He was driving in a white out, on a snowy road near Logan Utah and could only see the snow banks but vaguely. He knew he had to make a right turn but could not see the intersection of the four-way stop, with everything buried in snow. He did know that the crossroad was 4 miles from his job and had a habit of reading his odometer. So, at four miles, he stopped, got out of the truck, and was able to find the crossroad on foot and make the turn. That situation was more dangerous than a lot of carjackings, and one wonders how many GPS-based drivers would do if the GPS went down in such a situation.
Thank you, Colonel, for dropping me off drunk at The Captain’s door rather then letting me stumble home through the misty woods.
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