How would you handle this?



I believe that mental preparation will help you to survive if you are the victim of a violent attack or an attempted attack.  Scenario training can help if you put yourself into the situation.  In this scenario describe what is going through your head or your plans.  Also describe any preparation you did prior to this incident.  The following is a scenario that is based upon a real world situation that happened to me a few months ago.  The scene is pictured below.



You are out on Sunday afternoon, approx. 3:00 PM, with your family and stop at an ATM to get some cash.   Your wife is driving.  You leave your wife and 2 small children in the car, which is parked at the curb in front of the ATM.  As you approach the line for the ATM, you notice a male in his early thirties (Suspect #1), who is hanging around on your right.  There are 5-6 people in front of you in the line.  Suspect #1 is in the area in front of the window in the right side of the picture.  Suspect #1 was looking at you as you approached and then seemed to quickly look away, when you made eye contact with him.  At this point, you aren’t sure what it is, but something bothers you about this guy.  You notice he has tattoos, which appear to be gang tattoos and a tear drop tattoo under his eye.  Then as you get to the end of line to wait for the ATM, Suspect #1 whistles as if to signal to someone.  As soon as he whistles, another male in his early thirties (Suspect #2), comes around the corner and is now on the other side of you.  Suspect #2 is near the traffic signal pole on the left side of the picture.  The 2 men make eye contact with each other and keep their distance from you.  They seem to be studying you, but trying to be casual about it.  Describe what you would do at this point and what you think will happen next.  Also please describe training or real world experience that will prepare you for this incident.


Gary Hughes

how would i handle the pole or the ATM machine???

i think your leavin out some deatails, if your askin what do i think about that as a training tool, i guess it could be of use, but at the same time scenario training you already know whats gonna happen, so its hard to make it real world situation.


Texas Thai...thanks for your response.  Obviously there are details left out, I didn't have time to write a book.  With the given information, there are several things that I would already be doing, as I did when it happened to me.

Gary Hughes


I would get my money, get into my car and drive off. Or if I really felt threatened by those 2, I would not get money and just get in my car and drive off.

3pm on an apparently busy street is not the best time for a mugging, so time is on your side.

This should be good.

Sam Pie Kempo,

I am not a very patient man,if there was a line at the ATM and the described circumstance,I have no problem at all finding another ATM.

I would offer the two Mexicans my slut of a wife, and worthless kids, to let me leave in peace

As above, get my money and leave or just leave. As someone mentioned it's 3pm in a well populated area, in that situation I'm probably more likely to get my money.

However, I might have first asked the dodgy looking geezer with the tats if he was queueing also because he was there before me.





Id probably do some slow shadowboxing, to make it look like Im a genuine badass. Then Id look to see if there was a phone booth around.

crowbar...walking back to your car is an option.  What if the 2 men follow you?  Remember, your wife and 2 small children are waiting in the car and are oblivious to the whole thing.

Gary Hughes


If there are people in front of you the line to the ATM I am assuming they will be people behind you in the line to. If there was a line in front there would be people about.

If that is the situation the I'd get my money, get in the car and go. I would phone (on my mobile) the police and report the suspicious behaviour with descriptions.

I'm sure if other people are about the 2 suspects won't initiate a crime of any sort.

Or did the streets get deserted when you joined the back of the line? If that happened would you find that a bit weird?


So here's what happened to me that day....

I feel certain that these 2 guys are predators trying to get some cash.  My intuition told me something was wrong and my observations backed my intuition.  They are very hard core looking guys, I would guess they just got out of prison or served time.  There was plenty of space or reaction time between us.  I remained calm, kept them both in my peripherial vision and casually took out my tactical folding knife that I always carry for just such a situation.  I cupped the closed knife in my left hand.  The 2 suspects were aware that I knew exactly what they were up to, I was ready and not afraid.  They both looked at each other and left.  Awareness was the main thing I had going for me that day.  I was also prepared by studying self defense for most of my life and deciding I would not be a victim.  Also by taking that knife with me everyday for several years, even though that is the first time I ever drew it and was prepared to kill with it if necessary (mental preparation).

Looking back I wondered if I should have gone back to my car, but my wife and children were in the car.  If I escaped in the other direction, I would have left my wife and kids alone with the suspects.

For many years I have analyzed attacks to see what I would have done.  TV shows, new stories or real world, I always put myself in the scenario and make my plans.

Gary Hughes   

I am a little crazy... If I thought those two dudes were a threat I would have launched a pre-emptive strike... I would have loudly asked Suspect #1 "Hey man, do you know what time it is?" If these guys were bad dudes who knew what they were doing that would havenot liked me drawing attention to them... serious crooks know that attention = bad. I would have started asking them plenty of stupid shit... "What is the tempeture?" "Did you see Friends last night?"

If you fuck with one and the second becomes intereasted you know they are a team... with a line of people at the machine and it being a busy street I don't think I would have been overly threatened...


Sam i posted that before your second post showed up, my bad.



Whipping out a knife at a crowded ATM sounds like a terrible idea.  What if that dude maced you because he thought you were gonna jack somebody?  What if there was an undercover cop, and he pulled his piece out?

Just a question...


BazUK posted:  "I'm sure if other people are about the 2 suspects won't initiate a crime of any sort." can never be sure of anything.  That attitude could get you killed.  What do you think anyone would have done, if those 2 guys hit some poor guy and took his cash.  Do you believe someone would come up on a white horse and save you?  So need to protect yourself, few people will ever risk their life to help you.

It was weird that this happened in broad daylight and in a busy area.  Bad guys can be very clever, but sometimes can also be very stupid or on drugs and/or alcohol.  I've been using ATMs since they first came out.  This is the only time I have ever felt like someone was trying to rob me.  I'm a very aware guy, I'm not paranoid.  I would bet my life that these guys would have tried something, but they were looking for an easy mark and that's not me. 

They left before I did, so I didn't call the Police.  In hindsight, I should have called them.

Gary Hughes

I would say Que paso amigo, how you guys doing (by speaking to them in two languages it gets them preoccupied)  this lets them know I am aware of their presence.

 I would also start to visualize drawing my gun, (since I'm LEO, I can carry and always do) by thinking about it I set my own mind into motion and prepared for battle. I'm also aware of the combat folder in my pocket. If I think the area is a set up I don't use the machine. Even with all my training "the best confrontation you can get in, is the one you avoid."

If I'm set on using the machine I would turn to the side that I can keep the threat visual. The money does not get counted and it goes straight into my pocket. my ex-wife and I had talked about drills if I ever ran into a perp I had busted before. So if I would have tapped on the hood of the car and pointed down the street. She would have known what to do and would have allowed me an out.

It's easier now that I'm single....

"There comes a time when a man must spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats"-  H.C. Mencken