This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, and has prompted me to obtain a permit and procure an appropriate firearm.
My wife, 3 kids, and myself arrived at Fashion Place around 7 pm. We intended to have a bite to eat at the food court, and then meander for a bit. We were in the Meier and Frank parking lot, outside after dark. I was holding my 5 year old girl's hand, and my wife was pushing the stroller with our infant girl and 2-year old boy. All of a sudden I got that feeling that someone was VERY NEAR me, within my personal body space. I turned quickly to my right, and glanced over my right shoulder. There was a guy that had somehow snuck up behind me, and was 2 feet behind, right over my right shoulder. I caught his eye, and he immediately stopped. My adrenaline hit hard, "fight-or-flight" response kicking in. He then hung back about 20-30 feet, then continued to follow.
As we got closer to the mall, I tried glancing over both shoulders to catch a view of him, but could only catch him in peripheral vision (ie. he was now DIRECTLY behind me.) I whispered, "Let's pick it up," to my wife, and we got into the mall safely.
The guy followed us into the mall and while we traveled the LEFT path around the beauty counter, he traveled RIGHT. He caught up with us to where I could see him directly across the beauty department, and he kept eyeing me. It was this point I told my wife, "This guy is following us and looking at us", and told her how he'd snuck up on me in the parking lot then dropped back after I made eye contact. We got thru the department store, with him still in tow, and then into the main center of the mall where Santa Claus was seeing kids.
My wife turned and looked, and having NO FEAR whatsoever, stared at the guy. He looked away, put his head down, then GOT IN LINE at the Santa Claus stand! Weird, weird. Middle-aged fella just stepped into line with the kids and parents at the Sanda Claus line. All by himself.
Creeped me out. I have never felt the need to carry, but after having that experience, it has changed my outlook. I had my wife and children with me, although I could be wrong about his intentions, I felt like he was going to attempt to rob us. I am SO GLAD nothing happened, and never want anything like that to happen ever again. At that moment, I realized I need to carry something with me, ESPECIALLY when I'm with my wife and kids. I am their defender and protector, and need to be able to do that effectively.
I spent the next 15 minutes at the Food Court, still uptight and shaking from the adrenaline hit -- telling my wife how glad I was that nothing happened. I feel like we were somehow protected by an unseen angel or something, or that he just chickened out at the last moment when I caught his eye. Scary experience for me. PHEW!
I just finished the class last night (Thanks, Clark!), and getting the permit all taken care of. An appropriate firearm will have to come a bit later, but I'm on my way. I don't feel that this situation would have warranted use of a weapon in any way, with me catching his eye, and having him back off. However, I would feel more, how do I say, "capable", or "not vulnerable", or "helpless" in a situation like that, would it have gone further than it did.
Comments? Anyone ever been in a situation like this? Anyone ever been carrying and been in a situation like this?