Your Tactical Training Scenario…Post Office Stabbing

Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: Tactical Training Scenarios

  • SumoMe



You are in the Post Office standing in line to mail a package.  When you get to the counter, the Post Office clerk informs you that you need to fill out some more paperwork before mailing your item.  The clerk instructs you to step aside and complete the form.  He then tells you that when you are finished, you may step ahead of the other customers in line to complete the transaction.


Scene of the crime


You do as you are instructed and step aside to complete the form.  When you are finished, you walk back up to the counter and the clerk is starting to process your shipment.


As you are paying for the mailing, you hear the rantings of a disturbed man in the line behind you.  He is upset because he thinks you cut in front of him in line.  He is yelling and screaming…acting completely irrational.  Despite both your and the clerk’s explanation, he remains angry.  He stomps out of the Post Office muttering under his breath.


When you are finished mailing your package, you see the angry man pacing back and forth right outside the building, talking to himself.  What do you do?


This is the scenario one person faced last month.  The angry man ultimately stabbed the innocent patron several times before Postal employees intervened.  Read more about the case at the link below:


Post office stabbing suspect charged with attempted murder


Does reading the article change your opinion about what is the proper course of action?  For all of you shooters reading this, I will remind you that US Post Offices generally prohibit the concealed carry of firearms.  In most cases, unless you are a law enforcement officer, carrying a gun into a Post Office is a federal felony.  If you obey the law, you likely won’t be carrying your self defense firearm.


I ask again, what would you do?


Some issues to think about….


1) Most people would see the man and make the (incorrect) assumption that he is harmless.  Why take the chance?  He is hanging around for a reason.  It may be to have a second chance with you.  Think about your options.  You can call the police or ask one of the postal employees to tell him to leave.  Why force a confrontation that doesn’t have to happen?  Your ego satisfaction isn’t something worth getting stabbed over.


2) Have you considered that you might be involved in a lethal force attack while you aren’t carrying your gun?  Do you have the skills to defend yourself?  Most people would not be armed in this scenario.  Acquiring some rudimentary (if not better) physical self defense skills is  important!  No matter what you may tell your internet forum buddies, NO ONE is armed 100% of the time.


3) Pepper spray is a good thing to have.  Many people cite the occasional failures of pepper spray as a reason not to carry it.  They are wrong.  Bullets don’t stop people 100% of the time.  Why would we expect a spray to work every time we use it?  The fact remains that pepper spray works more often than it doesn’t.  It clearly worked in this case.  It also gives you a few additional options in less-lethal confrontations and can be carried into places where your gun will get you in trouble.  Get some and learn how to use it.  I prefer Sabre Red, but there are many other brands that work well.  See my article HERE for more pepper spray information.


4) Focused resistance, even from unarmed and untrained individuals will often stop an attack.  In this case two unarmed female postal employees attacked the knife wielding man and halted his rampage.  Sometimes courage trumps skills and armament.


Lots of my readers carry guns.  But none of my readers carry guns during every waking moment.  The smart folks reading this article will put some thought into what they would do if they were attacked in one of those “unarmed” situations.




9 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Dann in Ohio says:

    Good stuff… my wife and I are both in the education business and cannot have firearms at work for her… or on me at work (university, must remain locked in the vehicle)…

    That being said… life is too short to be in a hurry… I want to be a grey man… if the guy thinks I cut in front of him and starts to fuss… “Oh, pardon me sir… please go ahead.”… waiting another two minutes is no shirt off my back… and I believe you can be kind and non-threatening/escalating without telegraphing weakness in your presentation or interaction… and I don’t want somebody grumbling behind my back while I’m at the counter…

    If he’s hanging around… or loitering outside or in the parking lot… I’m in no hurry… I can alert the postal employees or call the local LEOs… I check my ego at the door… no Dunning-Kruger here… I’m low speed, high drag in the second half of my century… but I’m mentally ready to give it all I have if necessary… and I strongly believe in pre-visualizing scenarios…

    Your other suggestions are right on the mark… empty-hand skills and less-than-lethal options are good things… and too many folks lose over being in a hurry or ego…

    Dann in Ohio

  2. skidmark says:

    A second vote for attempting to deflect and attempting to avoid. Like so many folks who “need” to be first at the light and go faster than the speed limit, I too will get there – perhaps only a few seconds after them insoite of all their rushing..

    But if after letting the irritated patron (Why does it have to be a man? I’ve been forced to deal with outraged women, too.) go first I see they are waiting outside and appear to be aggitated, I want nothing to do with them. PO staff may not want to do more than call the local cops, which is fine with me. Or I can call them myself.

    IMHO having OC spray or other less-than-lethal self defense devices that are legal on PO property is prudent, but having to use it means I have failed to avoid a confrontation, which should have been the object of the exercise all along.

    stay safe.

  3. thebronze says:

    Concealed means CONCEALED at the Post Office.

    • Jed Parker says:

      “no guns no money” no exceptions for stupid rules that endanger normal people! use FedEx

      • Greyson says:

        I could be misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you are trying to sidestep the question by saying, “I would be armed, even if it weren’t legal.” I can certainly understand that, but don’t lose track of the main point of the post by focusing on the details. There are times that you WILL be unarmed. How do you deal with that?

        A scenario that I have considered (though I admit it is very unlikely to happen): what if I am attacked as I am stepping out of the shower? The main point is the same. You cannot realistically be armed all the time, so what options do you have when your gun or knife isn’t there (I don’t shower with a dive knife, maybe someone out there does)? Out in public, avoidance is probably the best tool, in my opinion.

        • thebronze says:

          Point taken Greg. But as far as the Post Office goes, yes that’s what I’m saying.

          Obviously there are places that we can go where we would be absolutely disarmed (magnatometers, etc.) but I try to avoid those places if at all possible. Some places I just choose not to go.

  4. .Weston.Pecos. says:

    Apparently, thebronze has not been in a Federal prison lately. It is not all Wall Street bankers. It is a lot of drug dealers and genuinely bad people that you don’t want to be incarcerated with. You need to look at US Post Office property as a place where you simply can NOT carry a gun. If you carry one “concealed” and have to use it, you are going to Federal prison. Is Federal prison better than being killed by a criminal at the post office? No, it is worse.

    • thebronze says:

      That’s why America is such a GREAT country! You can choose to be dead and I can choose to POSSIBLY go to Federal Prison.