We have all heard the old expression, “never bring a knife to a gunfight.” My story speaks volumes as to why the meaning of this saying is so true. A couple decades ago while working for a friend in his nightclub, that old saying became a reality.
It began about 6:00PM as the bouncers and I were doing the jobs we despised the most, filling the ice coolers, putting up parking tape, making sure enough tables were positioned properly and the odds and ends of a small nightclub. There were always the ones later in the night that would become filled with liquid courage and have to be asked to leave and most of the time, they would just go back to their home and rest up for the next day.
As a cooler, I am not a fighter, nor am I a big man. I am neither tall nor am I large. I do have a personable side to me and it always helped when a confrontation came up. Being a Special Deputy, I always carried my .45 Colt and although there was a sign on the door as you entered the club stating, No Firearms Permitted, the owner knew that I kept mine on while in the building. I kept it in an IWB rig with a spare magazine held on my weak side. No one, but the owner knew I carried.
When there was a disturbance a bouncer would walk over and see what was going on. We always had the same statement to say, “If you don’t want to enjoy yourself, you are free to go home.” Although this appeared to be humorous, when it came out of the mouth of a guy 6´ 5˝ and 265 pounds, they usually knew that it meant time to stop whatever you were doing to cause them to come visit their table.
Everything had been going pretty well until about 10:00PM a small group came in the club already pretty intoxicated and were making a loud ruckus. Darrel told them that if they wanted to come in and have a good time, they would need to calm down a little and ease up on their language. Darrel was known for this type of attitude due to his reputation for having a club you could bring your girlfriend or wife to and have a good time without enduring a brawl from liquored up “man-boys.” About an hour later the same bunch of guys and girls were making gestures to the female band member and saying things that were not very pleasant. One of the bouncers approached them and after his standard speech, one of the ladies said they would calm down. One of the men stood up and said, “I paid the cover charge and I be damned if I am gonna sit here and not have some fun.” The bouncer told him that he was instructed to give one warning before his group would have to leave. This did not sit well with the drunk, and he turned around and continued to hoop and holler.
Next thing you know, two of the guys in the group were shoving a guy that had been dancing near their table. Two of the bouncers had stepped outside for a break, so I told Darrel I would go over and speak to them. I didn’t know any of them, nor did Darrel or any of the crew. By the time I reached their table, the gentleman they had shoved backwards, grabbed his jacket and wife and said, “I didn’t come out tonight for this.” I spoke with him as he made his way to the door and after a couple free rounds I gave them at the bar, they decided to stay. I told them I was going over to ask the antagonists to leave, per our policy, one warning and then you go. His warning had already taken place about a half an hour ago.
I walked up to the guy who seemed to be the leader who was also the one responsible for pushing the patron. I said, “Sir, it’s getting late, you have been warned nicely once to calm down and it’s time for you and your party to go home.” I told him I would walk him out and give him a voucher for a midnight breakfast for all in his group. We liked to do this for two reasons, one, it might help sober them up with the free refills of coffee and two, and they might see that we just want to maintain a cool place.
As we walked toward the front, I noticed the box that held the vouchers was empty and Darrel was not at the front since he quits taking patrons at a certain time or when occupancy standards have been met. So I told the guy I would have to step in the office, which was right beside the voucher box and cover charge stand. Just as I began to unlock the door I felt what I thought was a punch directed toward my kidney. I spun around and my elbow struck him across the nose and as he fell backward, two of the bouncers were on the scene calming down the other two men. As the guy was being picked up, I showed him my badge and said, “You have two choices, you can go to jail or you can go home.” I told him whatever choice he made, he or his friends would never be allowed here again. As they were leaving, it’s obvious the choice they made, one of the bouncers came up behind me and said, “You’re sure are lucky.” I asked him why, he said that when I turned around, the guy pulled a 3-inch bladed pocket knife out. The guy had not punched me as I thought, he had tried to stab me with the knife, but instead, stabbed my leather holster and .45 Colt.
Well, the guys now know I carry while I work. They also know the old saying is true, “You never bring a knife to a gunfight”. Funny thing, this gunfight was one where I never even drew my gun…