I was called on to serve on the Federal Grand Jury in my state. Like a lot of people I was less then happy to have to perform this civic duty, not so much because I had to participate, but because it was a 160-mile round trip to the Federal Courthouse and I would be required to make the trip at least three times each month for the next six months.
On arriving at the courthouse on the first day of the first session I had a difficult time finding adequate parking but finally managed to locate a spot behind the courthouse in a gravel covered parking lot. While parking I managed to hit a rut and broke one of the fog-lights off the front of my car. That, added to an already long trip, had put me in less than a pleasant mood.
As soon as I opened my door and had set one foot outside the car an individual started to approach me from behind and to the left of my car. He looked right at me as he approached and was asking for some money. At the time I did not carry any firearms but I did have a spray can of OC pepper spray handy in the console for just these situations.
As he approached I yelled at him telling him to get away from my vehicle and as I did so I started to retrieve the can of pepper spray while keeping an eye on him, looking over my left shoulder. He slowed his advance but did not stop so I again told him to back away from my car.
He must have seen me grabbing the pepper spray and assumed that I was going to get a pistol as he stopped, started backing up and said, “Don’t shoot me, man…Please don’t shoot me.” After a few rearward paces he finally sat down on the ground with his head in his hands. I quickly closed the door of my car and found a better location to park in.
While I did not have a pistol, he thought that I did, which proved to be a strong deterrent. I also spoke loudly and forcefully when telling him to move away from my vehicle which I think aided me in keeping some measure of control in that situation.
I will never know his true intent, maybe he was just down on his luck, but I do know that what he thought I had and what I was going to do with it stopped him in his tracks.