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  #1  
Old 07-15-2019, 8:03 AM
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Default Camping Warning - Joshua Tree

I wasn't initially going to post this, but a thread about a guy killed while breaking into a tent and another article today about a woman missing while going camping made me rethink it and post it as a warning to others who go into remote areas.

Two weeks back, on Tuesday the 25th, I went camping with two friends with whom we often do "dads and daughters" activities. We had six kids with us total, including my two daughters and their friend who was tagging along. We went to Indian Cove camping grounds by Twentynine Palms and had one of the group sites, set up two tents and one camper. I was in one tent with my daughter and her friend, my other daughter was with her friend in another tent and the third dad was in the camper with his son.

The first night, at about 1:45 am, I was woken up by loud voice from the dad in the camper talking to someone very loudly, along the lines: "Who are you? This is a private camp ground. What are you doing here?" Then, he called the two of us by name and yelled that we have company and to come out of our tents. So, I grabbed my gun, HK USP 9c, that was in my Agis holster by Tier 1 Concealed (my CCW rig) by my side next to my sleeping bag and went out. I normally keep it where my outstretched arm is if I lay on my back, so it's not in the way, but if I'm startled, it's where I would naturally be looking for a gun. I always keep it in a holster so that the trigger guard is fully covered, the way I would keep it on my belt. The whole setup goes from my belt to the ground next to me, then back to the belt. My friend also had a gun, a Ruger in 380 (not sure if it's LC380, but along those lines) and he came out with the gun drawn.

With no shoes and just in boxers the two of us stepped out, took standing cover behind the large bushes and started walking towards the commotion while looking around for any additional people. I was whispering to my friend to take better cover (he is way less experienced), to keep quiet and not to use a flashlight to look at the ground - the moon was enough and the flashlight is to illuminate the intruder. He managed to yell at the guy that he needed to leave and that we were armed and ready to defend, so after several cuss words and a sort-of explanation that he was only looking for recyclables, he got back into his car and left.

We don't know whether he was armed and what his real intent was. My friend who woke up first and confronted the guy says that he was driving very slowly and stopping, consistent with casing the campsite. Was it just to steal things? Maybe. It's tough to judge when you're startled in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. He didn't leave immediately when confronted and only left after all three of us where out there.

After he left, I took a flashlight and cleared the area around the campsite, then drove in both directions while searching the sides of the road with the flashlight to see if he parked anywhere in the vicinity. He was gone.

The kids were a bit scared, so we had to explain to them that it was under control and that we were safe and ready. It was a good experience for them to see a confrontation that was resolved without having to use excessive force, but also to know that the force was there for protection if things escalated.

As for me, it made me think about all the mistakes that we made as a group. While I was completely prepared to draw and fire from the low ready with the gun in the holster, and had no concerns about being able to execute mechanics (I shoot USPSA) and hit the target under pressure, I was not prepared (enough) to take control of the overall situation - coordinate my friends, secure kids and campground, etc. I played it by ear and it all looked good in the end, but it was improvising on the spot and not something that I could do subconsciously the way I could draw, shoot and manipulate my gun. So, I will look at some (gasp) tactical training to make sure I know the basics of how to handle these types of situations. Not about shooting and gun handling, but about dealing with real-life situations with multiple people.

The reason I'm posting this is to give the rest of the community a heads-up that we live in a society where the norms are breaking down and we can all run into people that think it's a good idea to approach a campsite at 2 AM. It's also an example of a situation where the gun was used for protection without shots fired and without all the usual bravado and drama - the goal was to have the intruder leave and search for easier targets.

On the positive note, when I got back from clearing the road, I got to see a fox leaving our campgrounds after munching on some of the kids' leftovers (a separate discussion altogether with the kids).
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:11 AM
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Hey kids, you should know that camping in America is a little different these days. You should always learn how to use one of these and pack one when camping to secure your camping area:



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Old 07-15-2019, 8:12 AM
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Thanks for the report, very few random encounters at 2 am are desirable.

In future what steps will you take to help guarantee the safety of those you are trusted with protecting?
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:15 AM
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Parody thread in 5..4..3..
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:16 AM
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Good to see you and the group made out safe. The guy could sincerely have been on the lookout for recyclables, but there’s a time and place. I wouldn’t believe bet my life or those under my charge on that.

My family is starting to camp, we mostly go to more populated areas (prefer a little more facilities). Didn’t bring anything but a big can of bear spray last time. This upcoming trip, I’ll be more prepared.

Thanks for the informative post.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357manny View Post
Good to see you and the group made out safe. The guy could sincerely have been on the lookout for recyclables, but there’s a time and place. I wouldn’t believe bet my life or those under my charge on that.

My family is starting to camp, we mostly go to more populated areas (prefer a little more facilities). Didn’t bring anything but a big can of bear spray last time. This upcoming trip, I’ll be more prepared.

Thanks for the informative post.
I'm sure he was sincerely looking for things to steal, people to victimize, and recyclables.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:23 AM
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Stay alert friends. There are evil people out there and we can not count on the police to protect us when we need it. Good for you guys confronting this guy. We have some recycle collectors in my neighborhood that come every now and than. They make a mess and do not leave right away when confronted. You never know if people you are talking to mean to do you harm. Good lesson for the kiddos and a talk with them should be had as what to do if they had to use the restroom at 2am and they were the one that saw this guy first. Good job OP.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IVC View Post
As for me, it made me think about all the mistakes that we made as a group. While I was completely prepared to draw and fire from the low ready with the gun in the holster, and had no concerns about being able to execute mechanics (I shoot USPSA) and hit the target under pressure, I was not prepared (enough) to take control of the overall situation - coordinate my friends, secure kids and campground, etc. I played it by ear and it all looked good in the end, but it was improvising on the spot and not something that I could do subconsciously the way I could draw, shoot and manipulate my gun. So, I will look at some (gasp) tactical training to make sure I know the basics of how to handle these types of situations. Not about shooting and gun handling, but about dealing with real-life situations with multiple people.
I've done a lot of 'scenario' training (with role players and simunitions) and it definitely worthwhile, and fun too!
No two situations are ever the same so having the ability to improvise on the fly is important.
Sounds like you did just fine except one thing I'm not sure about, you were at low ready (pistol in hand) with the holster still on the pistol?
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:29 AM
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Joshua Tree seems to be a real hot-spot for camping-related badness... but I've seen trailheads in many parts of So. Cal. where every car in the parking lot had busted windows, and I never camp unarmed.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:35 AM
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Wouldn’t have believed your story but save for all the unnecessary information about your rig and your tactical prowess.

My only question is did you look cool in your tactical boxers and your night ninja outfit or was it all in your head?
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:38 AM
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Did I read this correctly, you were in a tent with your daughter and her friend in just your boxers? Tactical boxers?
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:40 AM
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Next time one of you stay at the tents where the kids are.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:47 AM
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We camped at Indian Cove in the 70s and 80s. I remember a specific weekend we were there when a young child was abducted. They found her scull in the desert years later.

http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/art...1d937c9f7.html

We never went back.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:47 AM
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Thank you for the well written post and a heads-up warning to everyone about being prepared regardless of where are you are or what time of day or night it is.
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:48 AM
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Originally Posted by garagemonkey View Post
Next time one of you stay at the tents where the kids are.
Better yet find a better/ safer place to camp next time or invite a 3rd dad to video you two doing Ninja stuff and put it on you tube
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:48 AM
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Who knows what the guys real intent was. But the. recyclying/scavenger dudes out there are really ballsey/ stupid.
I live in a fairly nice neighborhood and have been woken up numerous times past midnight to find some tweaky looking dude on my side yard rooting through my trash. It really irks me and is a recipe for a bad confrontation.

Last edited by woolybugger; 07-17-2019 at 5:49 PM..
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Old 07-15-2019, 8:50 AM
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Thanks for posting this. People need to understand how dangerous this state is becoming after 30 years of psychoDem rule.
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Old 07-15-2019, 9:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71MUSTY View Post
We camped at Indian Cove in the 70s and 80s. I remember a specific weekend we were there when a young child was abducted. They found her scull in the desert years later.

http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/art...1d937c9f7.html

We never went back.
Sad story. It always bugs me when people say "this never used to happen". Yeah it did. Violent crime is actually less than it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

I think perceptions have changed. We probably weren't any safer playing unsupervised in the alley until dark when we were little kids, those types of random abductions and killings were/are exceedingly rare. But current perception is that it's more common due to media being much more widespread.

20 years ago, we wouldn't have heard about these things happening halfway across the country, but in a world where Twitter posts get front page coverage, we hear about everything. Mass media sensationalizes anything they can get their grimy fingers into, the more rare the event, the more views and clicks it gets. It certainly creates the perception that things are more dangerous now than ever. It isn't.

But it's a good reminder that most of us probably aren't ready for the bump in the night. Particularly if it's somewhere unfamiliar.
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Old 07-15-2019, 9:12 AM
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Friend or foe. Nothing good ever happens with uninvited guests at 2am.
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Old 07-15-2019, 9:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floogy View Post
Sad story. It always bugs me when people say "this never used to happen". Yeah it did. Violent crime is actually less than it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

I think perceptions have changed. We probably weren't any safer playing unsupervised in the alley until dark when we were little kids, those types of random abductions and killings were/are exceedingly rare. But current perception is that it's more common due to media being much more widespread.

20 years ago, we wouldn't have heard about these things happening halfway across the country, but in a world where Twitter posts get front page coverage, we hear about everything. Mass media sensationalizes anything they can get their grimy fingers into, the more rare the event, the more views and clicks it gets. It certainly creates the perception that things are more dangerous now than ever. It isn't.

But it's a good reminder that most of us probably aren't ready for the bump in the night. Particularly if it's somewhere unfamiliar.
Agreed.
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Old 07-15-2019, 9:41 AM
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What is the current lay of the land as far as being armed in state or federal parks?

LONG before CA started going "left of Fidel" I camped with a pistol once or twice. I've not backpacked since.

I would prefer not to open carry, but I would assume that carrying it in my backpack would probably constitute concealed carry, so that seems to be out.

I'd like to think that in general, the further you backpack in, the lower the chance of running into dirt-bags, since they are inherently lazy, but there are always exceptions.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Usmc0844spare View Post

I'd like to think that in general, the further you backpack in, the lower the chance of running into dirt-bags, since they are inherently lazy, but there are always exceptions.

I'd rather be alive to face the charges of bringing a firearm into a state park than be dead with the engraving on my headstone reading "He always followed every law to a tee."

I bet Tristan Beaudette would agree with me.

If it's buried in your backpack, who's to know?
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 357manny View Post
Good to see you and the group made out safe. The guy could sincerely have been on the lookout for recyclables, but there’s a time and place. I wouldn’t believe bet my life or those under my charge on that.

My family is starting to camp, we mostly go to more populated areas (prefer a little more facilities). Didn’t bring anything but a big can of bear spray last time. This upcoming trip, I’ll be more prepared.

Thanks for the informative post.
The guy could sincerely have been on the lookout for recyclables. Really ? You sound just like a liberal.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damon1272 View Post
Wouldn’t have believed your story but save for all the unnecessary information about your rig and your tactical prowess.

My only question is did you look cool in your tactical boxers and your night ninja outfit or was it all in your head?
Quote:
Originally Posted by WOODY2 View Post
Better yet find a better/ safer place to camp next time or invite a 3rd dad to video you two doing Ninja stuff and put it on you tube
Are you guys related?

There is nothing tactical or ninja about waking up in the middle of the night with a stranger in your camp. The gear is what we talk about on these forums, so suck it up - it's for those who are interested in, you know, guns. Just don't read it. The outfit is what I was wearing at night in the middle of the summer and what we did was minimal to get rid of the intruder. Absolutely nothing tactical or ninja about it. Quite the opposite.

So, indeed
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Canucky View Post
Friend or foe. Nothing good ever happens with uninvited guests at 2am.
This. I do not care what the other guys intentions are at 2am. I know what my intentions are/will be.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floogy View Post
Sad story. It always bugs me when people say "this never used to happen". Yeah it did. Violent crime is actually less than it was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

I think perceptions have changed. We probably weren't any safer playing unsupervised in the alley until dark when we were little kids, those types of random abductions and killings were/are exceedingly rare. But current perception is that it's more common due to media being much more widespread.

20 years ago, we wouldn't have heard about these things happening halfway across the country, but in a world where Twitter posts get front page coverage, we hear about everything. Mass media sensationalizes anything they can get their grimy fingers into, the more rare the event, the more views and clicks it gets. It certainly creates the perception that things are more dangerous now than ever. It isn't.

But it's a good reminder that most of us probably aren't ready for the bump in the night. Particularly if it's somewhere unfamiliar.
Violent crime down = Liberal lie.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:18 AM
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only "Tweakers" drive around at those hours looking for scrap / or to steal

I have a homeless camp near my area , and they never go to sleep, you can see them moving around , hammering things, digging cr@p holes for human waste, burning garbage, driving in and out all through the night, almost like rats, vermin.

Last edited by omega; 07-15-2019 at 10:29 AM..
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:26 AM
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Note to Self: Stay away from Indian Cove campground...
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 71MUSTY View Post
We camped at Indian Cove in the 70s and 80s. I remember a specific weekend we were there when a young child was abducted. They found her scull in the desert years later.

http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/art...1d937c9f7.html

We never went back.

It's stories like this and the OP's that are the reasons why camping in tents out in the middle of nowhere as anything other than a last resort has never appealed to me. I want some solid walls around me when I'm sleeping.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:53 AM
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Thank you for sharing OP. I live out here in the Coachella Valley and you hear stories of people's cars getting broken into near the trailheads, especially towards the East Valley. Considered a day trip to Joshua Tree with my girlfriend later this year and don't plan to spend the night out there.
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Old 07-15-2019, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omega View Post
only "Tweakers" drive around at those hours looking for scrap / or to steal

I have a homeless camp near my area , and they never go to sleep, you can see them moving around , hammering things, digging cr@p holes for human waste, burning garbage, driving in and out all through the night, almost like rats, vermin.
Almost?
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Carson View Post
Violent crime down = Liberal lie.


Well unless the FBI crime stats are lying, I don’t think this is liberals. I think the opposite is true. Liberals are trying to paint a picture of a “gun violence crisis”. When the reality is, it’s not. We’re safe with hundreds of millions of guns in the country.

But hey, show me some evidence to back your claim.


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Old 07-15-2019, 11:13 AM
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Dealing with “crowd control” in the dark is another complex layer to self defense. Well done. That’s not a easy scenario.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by vinny_land View Post
Thank you for sharing OP. I live out here in the Coachella Valley and you hear stories of people's cars getting broken into near the trailheads, especially towards the East Valley. Considered a day trip to Joshua Tree with my girlfriend later this year and don't plan to spend the night out there.
It's almost to the point that everywhere you go, you have to bring someone along who will provide over watch for your vehicles, campsite, and anything else of value, just so you have peace of mind while out enjoying your chosen activities.
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Old 07-15-2019, 11:33 AM
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Thank you OP for posting, and I am happy you and yours were safe.
You handled it better than most given the circumstances. All that matters is that you protected your family, and you learned some valuable life lessons... which you shared with us.
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Old 07-15-2019, 1:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IVC View Post
I wasn't initially going to post this, but a thread about a guy killed while breaking into a tent and another article today about a woman missing while going camping made me rethink it and post it as a warning to others who go into remote areas.

Two weeks back, on Tuesday the 25th, I went camping with two friends with whom we often do "dads and daughters" activities. We had six kids with us total, including my two daughters and their friend who was tagging along. We went to Indian Cove camping grounds by Twentynine Palms and had one of the group sites, set up two tents and one camper. I was in one tent with my daughter and her friend, my other daughter was with her friend in another tent and the third dad was in the camper with his son.

The first night, at about 1:45 am, I was woken up by loud voice from the dad in the camper talking to someone very loudly, along the lines: "Who are you? This is a private camp ground. What are you doing here?" Then, he called the two of us by name and yelled that we have company and to come out of our tents. So, I grabbed my gun, HK USP 9c, that was in my Agis holster by Tier 1 Concealed (my CCW rig) by my side next to my sleeping bag and went out. I normally keep it where my outstretched arm is if I lay on my back, so it's not in the way, but if I'm startled, it's where I would naturally be looking for a gun. I always keep it in a holster so that the trigger guard is fully covered, the way I would keep it on my belt. The whole setup goes from my belt to the ground next to me, then back to the belt. My friend also had a gun, a Ruger in 380 (not sure if it's LC380, but along those lines) and he came out with the gun drawn.

With no shoes and just in boxers the two of us stepped out, took standing cover behind the large bushes and started walking towards the commotion while looking around for any additional people. I was whispering to my friend to take better cover (he is way less experienced), to keep quiet and not to use a flashlight to look at the ground - the moon was enough and the flashlight is to illuminate the intruder. He managed to yell at the guy that he needed to leave and that we were armed and ready to defend, so after several cuss words and a sort-of explanation that he was only looking for recyclables, he got back into his car and left.

We don't know whether he was armed and what his real intent was. My friend who woke up first and confronted the guy says that he was driving very slowly and stopping, consistent with casing the campsite. Was it just to steal things? Maybe. It's tough to judge when you're startled in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. He didn't leave immediately when confronted and only left after all three of us where out there.

After he left, I took a flashlight and cleared the area around the campsite, then drove in both directions while searching the sides of the road with the flashlight to see if he parked anywhere in the vicinity. He was gone.

The kids were a bit scared, so we had to explain to them that it was under control and that we were safe and ready. It was a good experience for them to see a confrontation that was resolved without having to use excessive force, but also to know that the force was there for protection if things escalated.

As for me, it made me think about all the mistakes that we made as a group. While I was completely prepared to draw and fire from the low ready with the gun in the holster, and had no concerns about being able to execute mechanics (I shoot USPSA) and hit the target under pressure, I was not prepared (enough) to take control of the overall situation - coordinate my friends, secure kids and campground, etc. I played it by ear and it all looked good in the end, but it was improvising on the spot and not something that I could do subconsciously the way I could draw, shoot and manipulate my gun. So, I will look at some (gasp) tactical training to make sure I know the basics of how to handle these types of situations. Not about shooting and gun handling, but about dealing with real-life situations with multiple people.

The reason I'm posting this is to give the rest of the community a heads-up that we live in a society where the norms are breaking down and we can all run into people that think it's a good idea to approach a campsite at 2 AM. It's also an example of a situation where the gun was used for protection without shots fired and without all the usual bravado and drama - the goal was to have the intruder leave and search for easier targets.

On the positive note, when I got back from clearing the road, I got to see a fox leaving our campgrounds after munching on some of the kids' leftovers (a separate discussion altogether with the kids).
You know, one thing struck me. What if you get into a situation like this where they WILL NOT LEAVE, even when confronted with armed people? I can see myself saying "get the F outa here" and them saying "no" and continuing to encroach on the belief that you won't shoot them.

I bet this sort of thing happens a lot where armed people get taken down because criminals know citizens are sort of primed NOT to shoot.

I guess you would have to almost literally draw a line in the sand and say "if you cross this threshold you are getting a bullet" or something.
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Old 07-15-2019, 1:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Usmc0844spare View Post
What is the current lay of the land as far as being armed in state or federal parks?

LONG before CA started going "left of Fidel" I camped with a pistol once or twice. I've not backpacked since.

I would prefer not to open carry, but I would assume that carrying it in my backpack would probably constitute concealed carry, so that seems to be out.

I'd like to think that in general, the further you backpack in, the lower the chance of running into dirt-bags, since they are inherently lazy, but there are always exceptions.
In both you may have a firearm at your personal campsite. National park it can be loaded. State park - not readily accessible.

In terms of backpacking, I think you could keep it in your bag unloaded and locked and then wherever you set up for the night, take it out and load in a NP.
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Last edited by Sousuke; 07-15-2019 at 1:12 PM..
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Old 07-15-2019, 1:21 PM
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Originally Posted by guntrk View Post
Note to Self: Stay away from Indian Cove campground...
This will not help. Good folks need to take it back.
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Old 07-15-2019, 1:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 71MUSTY View Post
We camped at Indian Cove in the 70s and 80s. I remember a specific weekend we were there when a young child was abducted. They found her scull in the desert years later.

http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/art...1d937c9f7.html

We never went back.
The hottest place in hell is not hot enough and eternity is not long enough for predators like this.
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Old 07-15-2019, 1:40 PM
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So who are the _____ poking fun at the OP's description of a bad night?

This isn't facebook, so, stfu.

Thanks IVC for posting. Your experience and your perspective are always helpful.




Quote:
splithoof

It's almost to the point that everywhere you go, you have to bring someone along who will provide over watch for your vehicles, campsite, and anything else of value, just so you have peace of mind while out enjoying your chosen activities.

That's how I feel about it. In fact, I don't want to leave my truck unattended, which has limited my planned activities to two criteria:

1. Park truck where I can shoot from the tailgate area.

2. Camp where I can park truck and shoot from the tailgate area.




This limits my activities to BLM land, and it's not always allowed to camp overnight except in dispersed camping areas.
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