Let’s face it: whether you like it or not, there are going to be times, places, events, situations where we will be unable to carry our concealed carry weapon. That’s a part of life. As concealed carriers, we have a responsibility to be good citizens and good witnesses.
Unfortunately, witnessing is something you have to practice. In court, a witness statement is considered one of the weakest pieces of evidence because the brain puts the body in fight or flight. Some witnesses to the same crime can have different versions of the same incident with differing details. Which these conflicting details and events can hinder investigation. That’s part of the reason it’s important to learn to be a good witness.
First thing to consider is: what you can prove. Movies portray “gut feelings” and hunches, but that’s not something you can prove. However, the human body is very sensitive, so those feelings are not discounted—in fact, if you get a feeling like you’re being watched, you likely are. This is not paranoia, but instincts like this are born into us, so I’m not saying you should ignore them, but simply keep your eyes open and pay attention to what’s happening around.
So, what are things you can prove?
Well here’s a quick list:
Suspect descriptions/identifying marks. Things such as tattoos, scars, and piercings. Also, if you’re in a situation (i.e. a robbery) and the perp touches something, make that clear in your statement: “After he took the money from the register, he put his hand on the counter.” Something useful for evidence collection.
Vehicle license plate numbers. you’re an adult—you should be able to remember a combination of 6 letters and numbers, if not practice. Now, don’t right every license plate number you see, that’s a little eccentric, just if you see something suspicious. Try to pay attention to which direction you see the vehicle leave (if you’re able).
How to put these into practice:
Simply put, I hope you never have to use these skills. But you should be able to remember a license plate number, as I mentioned, and a description that includes identifying marks.
Mostly, you need to keep your head on a swivel. So, stay in your situational awareness, and start putting the above into practice. Try going to your favorite, local diner and practice description with your server: do they have a tattoo? Piercings? How many? Are they noticeably tall or short?
Then, practice with a vehicle and a patron. Sit where you can look out the window at vehicles—watch a patron(s) pull up, get out, and enter the diner (don’t gawk, you’re just practicing). You could even practice with their physical description as well. When they leave, try to catch their license plate.
At the end of the day, it’s important to pay attention to your environment, don’t necessarily ignore those gut-feelings, and look at people—I mean really look and remember. Keep your head on a swivel, friends and as always, stay armed and stay safe.
Was this helpful? Or is there something you feel like I missed?