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As posted at UDink.org by Dennis on 11/19/2006:
Be Prepared

I think my handgun saved my life today. I'll never know for sure what would have happened if I hadn't been carrying it, but I'm certainly glad that I carry it with me everywhere I go. Bear with me folks, this is gonna be a long story.



This morning, I took Michael and Bradley out for a little hike near the base of the Book Cliffs about 3.5 miles northeast of Woodside, where I had been thinking about placing a geocache. We had driven about three miles from the highway on a rough dirt road, and parked where the road ended. We were in the middle of nowhere. From the point where the road ends, there is an old pack trail that winds back and forth to the east all the way to the top of the Book Cliffs. The trail climbs about 1,000 vertical feet in a very short horizontal distance, and we hiked about 1/4 of the way up the trail before it became too steep and rugged for the kids. A few minutes after we'd turned around and were heading back to the truck, I noticed that somebody was standing next to the truck, and we were still about 0.4 miles away. There were no other vehicles in sight, so I assumed that the guy was on foot, and I couldn't figure out what in the hell he was doing in the middle of nowhere on foot. I could barely see what he was doing, but he was snooping around the truck and he even climbed into the truck bed. I was really freaked out, and I yelled down and told him to get the hell away from my truck. I'm not sure if he could even understand me, but I'm sure that he heard me.

He ducked out of sight behind the truck for a minute--I think he was in the truck bed again--then he reappeared and was walking around the side of the truck. I yelled at him again, and he stopped to look up toward me for a few seconds, then went on looking into my truck (luckily, it was locked). At that point I knew that we were in trouble, because if some guy knows that I'm nearby and he continues messing with my truck, he's probably crazy. My voice commands to leave the truck alone went unheeded, so I pulled my handgun out of its holster, told the kids to plug their ears, and fired a round into the ground in the opposite direction from the guy at the truck. I certainly got his attention, but he still didn't leave immediately. He did stop to look up at me again, but then I saw his arm come down in a sweeping motion toward the right-rear tire, and I could hear the air suddenly escaping. He walked to the other side of the truck and slashed the left-rear tire, then he walked off heading south.

I knew then that I was in a world of shit, in the middle of nowhere with my two young sons with me, some crazy man at the bottom of the mountain near my truck, and two slashed tires. I picked Bradley up and told Michael to get moving down the mountain. We were heading west, and the crazy man was heading south still. By the time we had gotten about halfway back down the trail, the guy had disappeared from my sight in the bottom of a wash. Not long after that, he reappeared on the other side of the wash, but he was now wearing a large light-colored backpack. I can only assume that he was a transient and had been camping there, and I roused his interest when I drove up.

As he climbed out of the bottom of the wash, he turned east for a short distance, and then he turned northeast and headed almost straight toward us. At that point, I was nearly certain that I was going to have to shoot him. He was about 1/4 mile away and closing in, so me and the boys hauled ass northwest and tried to put some distance between him and us. Northwest was the only safe direction that we could travel, because any other direction would have taken us either closer to the crazy man, or farther up the mountain where we'd have been cornered on the steep trail.

Much to my relief, he continued walking northeast and we were able to put even more distance between him and us. When I finally felt like he was going to continue and not turn back toward us, I stopped and dialed 911. Thankfully I had excellent reception on my cell phone, and I got the Emery County dispatcher. I explained to him what had happened, and he said that his closest unit was in Green River and that it would be awhile before he'd be able to reach us. Crazy Man continued along the trail that we'd just been on, and I didn't dare turn my back on him no matter how far away he was, so we waited there for the police to arrive while I watched him climb the mountain.

After nearly an hour, and a couple of phone calls from dispatch to verify my location, a sheriff's deputy arrived driving a Dodge Durango. He asked me to shortly recap what had happened, and after ensuring that the kids and I would be ok there alone for a bit longer, he grabbed his shotgun and taser and started up the trail. A little while after that, two UHP troopers arrived in their Crown Victorias--I can hardly believe they made it up that road. They also grabbed a shotgun and a rifle and started up the trail to give the sheriff's deputy some backup. As they were leaving, I noticed that there was diesel fuel leaking from my truck near the tailgate--Crazy Man had also cut holes in the two 5-gallon cans of fuel that I always carry in the truck bed.

It didn't take long before there were a lot more law enforcement vehicles there. I think I counted nine of them total at one point, not counting the airplane they'd sent up to help find Crazy Man. The boys and I just hung out for awhile, waiting to see if the officers who went up the mountain would catch the guy. He had a big head start on the police, and I didn't think they had much of a chance of catching him. The sheriff's deputy got close enough to yell at the guy to stop, and Crazy Man yelled back, apparently taunting him and the other officers. Once Crazy Man got to the top of the Book Cliffs, he was off the narrow trail and could go off in any direction, and I think that's how he was able to elude capture.

After an officer had come to take pictures of the damage to the tires and the footprints in the dirt around the truck, I called Traci's dad and asked him to bring out a spare tire that would fit my truck. Between that and the spare tire that I already had, we were able to get the truck on the road and go home. The sun had set by that time, and the police called it quits on the search.

I spent about seven hours out there total, about five of which was spent just waiting around with a few other police officers. I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't been armed. I'm not even sure I would have dared to yell down at the guy after I saw him near my truck, but if I had done so without being armed I'm not sure how he would have reacted. He never did get back into the bed of the truck after I'd fired the warning shot, so that means he cut the holes in the fuel cans just because I hollered down at him. I think my only option, had I been unarmed, would have been to sit quietly and hope he goes away, but that would certainly have been a more terrifying experience.

I have mixed feelings on whether or not I hope the police catch the guy. If they catch him, he'll have to go to court and I'll have to testify against him--and then he'll know who I am. If they don't catch him, I'll likely never be bothered by him again because he has no idea who I am, but he'll still be out there to cause trouble for some other unsuspecting victims. I'm just glad that my sons I are at home, safe for the moment, and that my sons didn't have to witness me killing a crazy man.

The source for this blog can be found at; http://www.udink.org/archives/2006/11/be_prepared.shtml
Pics of the event and his truck damage can be found at; http://www.udink.org/pictures/11192006

- Janq

Lesson of note: This example is yet another reason why folks are pushing for legalized carry in federal parks and on otherwise open to the general public federal land. The dad was very wise to attempt a retreat rather than to rush down to confront the man who he did not at first know was armed.
 

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I think my approach would have been a little different.
First off he states that his cell phone had excellent reception. Why didn't he call earlier and why didn't he take pictures of the guy?
 

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Gun-Nut said:
First off he states that his cell phone had excellent reception. Why didn't he call earlier and why didn't he take pictures of the guy?
I didn't call the police immediately because my first concern was getting the guy to leave my truck alone. A phone call wasn't going to make him leave. I was too far away to do anything but let him know that I was coming and that I was armed. I think for most sane people, that would be reason enough to clear the area, but this guy apparently thought otherwise and decided to take a few jabs at my truck before he took off.

And, while I could have taken pictures of him, since I was nearly 0.4 miles away I doubt it would have done any good. :p He never got closer than about 1/4 mile from me, and I'm glad for that because I think any up-close confrontation would have ended badly, especially considering that I had my two young sons with me.
 

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Plays Counter Strike and knows everything about gu
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I never thought the phone call would make him leave, but it gives the LEO's time to respond and possibly catch this shit bag.
I'm not knocking the way you handled it, you're still alive and thats what matters most. I assumed your camera could probably zoom in a little, thats all.
If that story is really about you, sorry about your truck and I hope it doesn't happen to someone else or possibly some unarmed civilian getting hurt.


BTW Welcome to Gunatics!
 

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Hey Udink, Welcome to gunatics!

Glad you and your kids came through okay.

One more reason to carry whenever possible!
 
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