Don’t Bring a Knife to a Coffee Fight

starbucks-coffee-cupA self-professed gun nut named Caleb:

Saturday leaving my office, I was the subject of an attempted mugging by a member of the Indianapolis Choir Boy School of Good Men Who are Only Down on Their Luck.  As I was leaving my office, said altar boy came around the corner of my building to the left into the side parking lot, and as I turned to face him noticed the knife in his right hand.  The Chaplain’s Assistant demanded that we engage in an abbreviated barter process, wherein I would provide my wallet and car keys in exchange for not getting shanktified, which to him probably seemed like a reasonable exchange.

I politely demurred by hurling a cup of hot Starbucks at him while fishing my Beretta Jetfire out of the stupid pocket holster it was riding in.  After taking a face full of Columbia’s most popular legal export and confronted with a counter offer of bullets to his previous barter exchange concept, the young gentlemen decided that discretion was the better part of valor and made all due haste in a westerly direction.  For my part, I locked myself in my office, called 911 and waited for the cops to arrive to take my report.

Via Glenn Reynolds, who marvels, “Coffee — is there anything it can’t do?”

Of course, to paraphrase the old saying, you’ll get more with hot coffee and a gun than with hot coffee alone.

FILED UNDER: Crime, Guns and Gun Control, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DL says:

    Juan Valdez would be proud!

  2. Furhead says:

    As someone who hates coffee, this seems like a pretty good use for it.

  3. odograph says:

    Excellent title.

  4. mpw says:

    Of course being aware of ones surroundings is the key to making it work. He had to have a pistol in his pocket and know how to get it out and into action quickly after he threw the coffee. Without a gun he would have had to figure out what to do next, run, grab a trashcan lid and fight, or something else. Being aware and being armed is what saved him, not the coffee. mpw

  5. Brett says:

    Good for him. This is why I deviate from the usual Democratic spectrum on gun control issues.

    That said, without a gun, his next best effort would have been to throw the coffee in the guy’s face, then kick him in the balls. Once he’s on the ground, a solid upper-cut to the jaw would probably lay him out.

  6. Triumph says:

    A self-professed gun nut named Caleb:

    Are we really supposed to accept the verisimilitude of an anonymous, undocumented story that sounds like a second-rate Rockford Files episode?

  7. JKB says:

    Too bad it wasn’t McDonald’s coffee which has a track record of being effective in topical applications.

    What is being missed in this story is the appropriate use of force. After the young choir boy declined the counter offer and sought to leave the negotiations, Caleb rightly chose to leave further discussion regarding of the proposed exchange to the police. One does hope that the police are able to locate him to counsel him on proper negotiations before he tries to negotiate with someone who is prepared to provide him with a graduate level education.

  8. tom p says:

    What can I say,… don’t try this at home.

    I, who spent the vast majority of his life living in the “Hood” would probably get away with this.

    But most suburban white males would mistake the possession of a gun for equality… and die in the process.

    Listen folks: do not mistake the “means” for the “capability”. They are 2 entirely seperate things, and until one has been in the situation, one has no idea of the difference.

    Means is a physical thing, capability is a mental/emotional thing. And the 2 do not equate.

    PS: Triumph dotted the I….

  9. floyd says:

    Triumph;
    Are you saying that it usually takes more credible sources???[lol]

  10. Drew says:

    Triumph –

    Wipe that creamy, foamy stuff from that liberal, wimpy corner of yer mouth.

    Tom p –

    You too. Just pathetic.

    I worked in NW Indiana (steel mills) and commuted up through the South Side of Chicago for about 8 years. At times the late shift; or the midnight shift. And stopped at the bars you really shouldn’t be in at 2-4 AM. But you did, because that was the ethos, and you were young, and hell, you worked in steel mills. Booze and women and fights. I’ve seen it all.

    This silly notion that the criminal or underbelly element can’t be beaten back by “suburban white males” because they have no savvy or backbone is just plain flat stupid. Its one of those things proferred by, well, people with no backbone. Sad. I, now, am a “suburban white male.” And I laugh.

    The thing you learn when in that environment is this: 1) although of a different socio-economic background these people are for the most part just trying to make their way through life and for their family………they may not be your cup of tea, but they mean no harm 2) then there are the bad guys….and there are a disproportionate number of them in geographies like I describe. But they are few. However, they really are BAD GUYS. So yes, the threat of real force – like a gun – is necessary to complete the deal. You learn that the REAL bad guys aren’t intimidated by anything. Nothing. Period, except they respect the weapon.

    So now you have your terms of engagement. Gotta gun? You have power. No? Assume the Triumph on the knees and reciprocating position.

    I often laught at liberals and their views as they pontificate from their towers of inexperience. I really think it would be beneficial if they had real world experience. I know they think they do………BS.

  11. Grewgills says:

    Drew,
    Nice Rockford riff.

  12. anjin-san says:

    I’ve seen it all.

    Guys who say things like this pretty much always turn out to be idiots. You can know a lot, and have seen a lot, but there are always surprises waiting out there.

    Sorry Drew, I have a soft spot for you because I know you have a killer sound system, but your pontification is just as lame as the next guys…

  13. Herb says:

    Kudos to Drew, who doesn’t bother repeating that “armed society is a polite society” nonsense, instead going for the more honest “no, no, the whole point is to be intimidating” route.

    I mean, a lot of you guys act like this mugger went home cowed and embarrassed after this, rethinking his life. Yeah, right. He’s going to rethink mugging people with knives and next time, he’s going to bring a gun…

    Let’s hope that poor unfortunate dude is strapped, too…

  14. mpw says:

    So Herb are you saying that Caleb should have shot the dude for bringing a knife to a gun fight and being a totally inept mugger which would have saved someone else in the future. Or that Caleb should have submitted and kept the dude from being a more serious mugger in the future. Which is it, you are crying that he was too lenient in this case, but if he had shot the dude, which was his right if he had a ccw and he was threatened by a someone who meant bodily harm, and saved the community trouble in the future you would be crying about excessive force. mpw

  15. Herb says:

    Excessive force? By a civilian? I don’t think you’re using that phrase right. If it came to that, Caleb’s actions would be judged criminal…or not. “Excessive force” is something cops do.

    But what I’m saying is this: Think beyond the obvious NRA talking points and consider the unintended consequences.

    Building a better mugger was probably not Caleb’s intent, but if I were that mugger, the lesson I’d take from that particular episode would be, “Bring a burner next time.”

    Though their motives may be inscrutable at times, criminals are not immune to learning from their mistakes. I’m willing to be that this mugger doesn’t consider mugging an armed man to be his “mistake”…

  16. JKB says:

    So, Herb, your solution is to give in to a mugger even when the capability and opportunity to stop him exists. While your theory of escalation may happen, so also, may the theory that the mugger decides the risks out weigh the reward and give up his life of crime.

    However, in your solution of ensuring the mugger’s success, it is almost guaranteed that the mugger will try again as humans do what works. No doubt in the future flush with his ill gotten gains he will purchase a gun for status, protection from Drew’s Bad Guys, etc., thereupon using that weapon to ply his trade given its availability. So we’re right back where you said we go if we didn’t give in to crime.

    True, he could simply start killing his victims before confrontation but jumping to murder is still a big leap even for those in crime and street murder draws police attention far in excess of that given to muggings.

    BTW, civilians can use excessive force, it’ll all be laid out in the indictment. Only they’ll use words like force grossly in excess of what was reasonably necessary to stop the threat or after the threat had ended, or as the assailant was leaving the area.

  17. Triumph says:

    Excessive force? By a civilian? I don’t think you’re using that phrase right. If it came to that, Caleb’s actions would be judged criminal…or not.

    Why are you people bothering to debate this? The account of the so-called “mugging” is clearly fiction.

    I was almost mugged yesterday, but Balloon Boy came flying by and dropped an anvil on the mugger, saving the day. It was sweet. Everyone should be followed by a 6 year old anvil-wielding kid in a weather balloon–society would be so much more safe.

  18. Triumph says:

    Excessive force? By a civilian? I don’t think you’re using that phrase right. If it came to that, Caleb’s actions would be judged criminal…or not.

    Why are you people bothering to debate this? The account of the so-called “mugging” is clearly fiction.

    We should talk about a more likely scenario based on my experience: I was almost mugged yesterday, but Balloon Boy came flying by and dropped an anvil on the mugger, saving the day. It was sweet. Everyone should be followed by a 6 year old anvil-wielding kid in a weather balloon–society would be so much more safe.

    Unfortunately, Barney Frank has a bill in committee that outlaws bringing anvils on balloons. We need to stop this legislation ASAP to safeguard our basic rights.

  19. Drew says:

    Grewgills – Sorry, don’t get the reference

    Anjin – Sorry if you think it lame, or your life has been narrow. It simply happens to be my real life experience. And as that great philosopher Groucho Marx said: “who you gonna believe, me, or your lyin’ eyes?”

    Oh, by the way: new on the scene, and best speaker on the planet as far as I am concerned: Magico. The key is the rigidity of the enclosure.

  20. anjin-san says:

    or your life has been narrow

    My life has been great, thanks. No steel mills (not knocking them, we just don’t have them in the bay area). I worked in nightclubs for 20 years & saw my share of this and that. Spent more time partying with rock stars (and the far more numerous wanna be rock stars) than getting in fights. At any rate, I quit drinking 20 years ago, so when I get out now, it is probably to Yoshi’s for some Jazz.

    The Magico is supposed to be amazing, if they are at CES in January, I will check them out. I am eyeing a pair of Zu Audio Essence speakers. Not in the league of the Magico, but a fine speaker at a reasonable price.