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View Full Version : Sample Scenario - How do you handle it?


Bartholomew Roberts
May 27, 2009, 08:53 AM
Our setting: You are driving in a car with your friend. You are in the nice suburbs of a large urban Texas city. Both of you are licensed CHLs and both of you are carrying what you normally carry during the day.

Scenario: It is evening and as you are driving along, a 1972 Buick Electra with tinted windows pulls up alongside you at the light. The passenger window rolls down and you see two scrawny teenagers who accuse you of cutting them off during a lane change. They shout some insults at you and challenge you to pull over and get out of the car. You ignore them; but your friend shouts something back. In all the shouting, you aren't clear what he yelled; but it is clear the teenagers are highly agitated by the response.

You drive on hoping that they will lose interest; but they continue to follow you and yell at you out of the open window. You turn into a housing addition hoping to lose them (as well as not lead them to your destination) and they follow you further, honking and yelling. Not knowing the area, you turn into a cul-de-sac and find them behind you. They are in the middle of the street - you might be able to squeeze past with your car; but you are afraid they will damage it as you go by, so you get out of the car to confront them and scare them away. After all, you are considerably bigger than either of these teens on your own and your friend is no slouch either... you've had enough of playing it safe, these kids need to be taught a lesson.

As you exit, the two teens exit their car and taunt you; but do not approach you. As you get closer, the back doors open and at least three, possibly more, teens jump out. At least several of them have bats and you can see the two original teens appear to be placing something in their hands now.

Quiz time:

1. How could this situation have been better handled to begin with in order to avoid being in the situation you are now?

2. Is this a situation where you can justify the use of deadly force under the laws of Texas?

3. Those teens who survive Question #2 testify that you cut them off, they yelled at you and you yelled a racial epithet back at them and that the two cars pulled over in this neighborhood in order to settle things. Do you have a legal problem if you used any level of force?

Brian Pfleuger
May 27, 2009, 09:06 AM
First mistake is in the response at the light. Either no response or an apology for whatever their grievance is would be most appropriate, depending on dynamic of the situation.

Second mistake is in driving to someplace you do not know. If they followed me I would be on the phone to 911 and heading for a police station.

I'd also be having a talk with that buddy when it was all over. If you're going to be around me, especially armed, you're NOT going to be stupid.


Once you're "stuck" in the cul-de-sac:

Don't get out of your car. No it's not a lethal force situation. Drive on someone's lawn if need be. What's more important? Landscaping or the rest of your life? Get the hell out of Dodge and call the police. Even if it's completely impossible to get around them (unlikely) all you'd need to do is drive through them, slowly if possible but if they attack and start smashing windows then just drive. If they attack your car then any injuries they sustain in your escape would be justified, but I still see no need for a gun.

SP Shop Foreman
May 27, 2009, 09:16 AM
*so you get out of the car to confront them and scare them away*

Besides #1 & #2,... that was mistake #3.
If you were dumb enogh to drive to an unknown area, you should have then driven to a public aea, called the law and avoided any further contact.

Latigo

hogdogs
May 27, 2009, 09:19 AM
Large urban texas city = some traffic which can be utilized for some creative driving moves that force the teens in front of you so you can get a tag number. Also if you play your cards right they won't be able to get back behind you or alongside.

This same large city provides ample well lit gas stations where you could pull into to use the phone to call for police back up if you don't have working cell phones.
At this time your passenger deserves a pop in the mouth for not following your lead as the driver/boss/captain of the car and lippin' off to the thugs which changes the chain of events negatively for you.

Not goin' into strange territory goes without saying. Heck go right to your stompin' grounds but don't pull into your yard if you need to.
Brent

Japle
May 27, 2009, 09:23 AM
As soon as they threaten you and follow you, call 911 and report an assault. Stay on the phone. Give descriptions of both cars and everyone involved.

Follow the dispatcher's instructions. Try to stay in areas with lots of witnesses. Do not engage the kids. No talking, no yelling, no brandishing.

Keep the dispatcher informed on where you are and wait for the cops.

luke1tiger2
May 27, 2009, 09:27 AM
What peetzakilla said!!!!:cool:

skydiver3346
May 27, 2009, 09:55 AM
Discression is the better part of valor (in most cases). I would do what they suggested in their answers to your thread question scenario.

However, as things have a way of "going south" in these road rage scenarios, you still need to be prepared. As suggested, avoid any threats or gun waving. Try to either apologize and/or give no response at all.
When they keep following and threating you, go to a public area where other people are. I would NOT go to my home, (bad mistake as they now know where you live). When all else fails, the law hasn't arrived and they somehow have you cornered and coming at you with bats and other weapons, (be glad you are carrying your SD weapon and use only as a last resort).
p.s. It is important that you call 911 and report this immediately before the incident starts to escalate to something worse. That way you have reported this threat to police and they have a record of the complaint. Might help you a lot if you have to defend yourself for your actions if it goes down that way.
But the bottom line is: As a last resort, (when nothing you have tried works) you must defend your life.

KingEdward
May 27, 2009, 09:57 AM
maybe you play defense and be non responsive to morons yelling out a window.

there is no need to go on offense unless they attack you with their vehicle
or with something from their vehicle that is a grave threat.

Maybe either do as others say and phone 911 and get to big public place or police stop

Or drive 20 mph and pay them no attention. Usually morons get bored with that and move on.

Keltyke
May 27, 2009, 10:06 AM
1. How could this situation have been better handled to begin with in order to avoid being in the situation you are now?
So many mistakes were made it's hard to list them all. 1. Your friend is a poor choice to carry a concealed weapon. He needs to learn to SHUT UP.
2. Cell phones should have been used from the start to call the police.
3. NEVER drive where you don't know you're going. In fact, drive to a highly populated area, like a Wal-Mart parking lot, not a deserted neighborhood back road.
3. You got out of the car (to teach them a lesson?). No, you got out of the car to boost your machoism. That places you in jeopardy and removes some of your protection - the car itself. Now, YOU'RE the aggressor. Are you sure the driver didn't lead them to that dead end for just that purpose? Premeditation. They trump your ace with numbers and ball bats. Now what are you gonna do? On to the next question.

2. Is this a situation where you can justify the use of deadly force under the laws of Texas?
Probably not, since you are a contributing factor to the scene. There were several ways to have avoided it coming to this. However, since you and your buddy dummyed your way into this, you may very well need to use deadly force to survive your stupidity. Hopefully, the display of your weapon will convince them to cease and desist. If not, you're totally responsible for what happens next.

3. Those teens who survive Question #2 testify that you cut them off, they yelled at you and you yelled a racial epithet back at them and that the two cars pulled over in this neighborhood in order to settle things. Do you have a legal problem if you used any level of force?
Yes - you escalated and became the aggressor when you got out of the car. You contributed to the scene. In SC, the law reads (paraphrased) "the CWP holder CAN IN NO WAY be a contributing factor." You're gonna make a shoot to survive, but it will be a "bad shoot", and should never have happened.

Unless your car is completely blocked in, you should get back in it and leave, driving through a yard or two if you need to.

You and your buddy need to learn some anger management and defensive tactics. It could have all been stopped at the "yelling out the window" point with some common sense and training.

skydiver3346
May 27, 2009, 10:09 AM
You list so many details in this scenario, (sounds so real) that this really happened?

Tennessee Gentleman
May 27, 2009, 10:18 AM
First mistake is in the response at the light. Either no response or an apology for whatever their grievance is would be most appropriate, depending on dynamic of the situation.

As a very old wise mentor once told me; "Never acknowledge the bird (middle finger type)"

KLRANGL
May 27, 2009, 10:23 AM
I know this takes place in Texas, but if I recall correctly, Virginia law states that if you are part of the escalation, you have a duty to retreat as far as possible before lethal force may legally be used. Applied to this scenario, you would have to do everything in your power to get away before lethal force can lawfully be applied, and that includes damaging your car to escape. If the prosecutor can find one mundane, crazy, stupid way for you to have escaped without deadly force, you could be found guilty. Also in Virginia law, I do beleive that otherwise lawful lethal force used where you were part of the escalation would be a manslaughter conviction. Could be worse, and is certainly better than being dead, but would still ruin your life.

Hondo11
May 27, 2009, 10:25 AM
If they are following you, drive to a police station. If you don't know where a police station is, call and ask. Call anyway, they'll probably come to you.


Or, hit the highway, drive in the right lane, force them to pull alongside you on the left if they want to confront you, then at the very last minute, take the next exit, leaving them on the highway.

Bartholomew Roberts
May 27, 2009, 10:58 AM
Skydiver, it is an amalgamation of fact and fiction. It is based loosely on actual cases that made it to the appellate level; but typically those participants are so far beyond the norm that I have to reduce the number of poor decisions and stupidity in order to make it a scenario that posters at TFL can relate to.

Considering some of the things I read here from time to time that make me [rolleyes], I was really impressed at the level of analysis in this thread. Keltyke hit on the nose a point I thought many would miss - that by provoking language or by pulling over and getting out of the car to approach them, the driver had put himself in a situation where he cannot legally claim self-defense (or at least where that would be a blurry fact that a jury would get to determine).

KingEdward
May 27, 2009, 11:05 AM
another consideration for if/when these scenarios begin to unfold and become real is to keep in mind that while you (or I) have a conscience and think about the law in a respectful manner and wanting to abide within it,

the aggressor probably doesn't give a $%*t about us or the law.

ZeSpectre
May 27, 2009, 11:23 AM
Our setting: You are driving in a car with your friend. You are in the nice suburbs of a large urban Texas city. Both of you are licensed CHLs and both of you are carrying what you normally carry during the day.
In my case that would include a cell phone.

Scenario: It is evening and as you are driving along, a 1972 Buick Electra with tinted windows pulls up alongside you at the light. The passenger window rolls down and you see two scrawny teenagers who accuse you of cutting them off during a lane change. They shout some insults at you and challenge you to pull over and get out of the car. You ignore them; but your friend shouts something back. In all the shouting, you aren't clear what he yelled; but it is clear the teenagers are highly agitated by the response.
Tell your friend to shut the heck up. Continue driving in a calm and normal fashion towards a public area such as a Wal-Mart parking lot or the local PD if you know it's location.

You drive on hoping that they will lose interest; but they continue to follow you and yell at you out of the open window. You turn into a housing addition hoping to lose them (as well as not lead them to your destination) and they follow you further, honking and yelling. Not knowing the area, you turn into a cul-de-sac and find them behind you. They are in the middle of the street - you might be able to squeeze past with your car; but you are afraid they will damage it as you go by, so you get out of the car to confront them and scare them away. After all, you are considerably bigger than either of these teens on your own and your friend is no slouch either... you've had enough of playing it safe, these kids need to be taught a lesson.

It is extremely unlikely that I would wind up in such a situation, but if I did I'm going to stick with the biggest force I have...my car. I would also have had my friend on the phone with the police long before we stopped.

As you exit, the two teens exit their car and taunt you; but do not approach you. As you get closer, the back doors open and at least three, possibly more, teens jump out. At least several of them have bats and you can see the two original teens appear to be placing something in their hands now.

I've got too much street experience to be suckered in by such an obvious ploy.

Quiz time:

1. How could this situation have been better handled to begin with in order to avoid being in the situation you are now?
See above

2. Is this a situation where you can justify the use of deadly force under the laws of Texas?
I don't know. I know that if things did come to that point the teens would have the option of returning to their car or the fireworks would begin.

3. Those teens who survive Question #2 testify that you cut them off, they yelled at you and you yelled a racial epithet back at them and that the two cars pulled over in this neighborhood in order to settle things. Do you have a legal problem if you used any level of force?
You ALWAYS have a legal problem if you use lethal force.
The question is do you want to be present to address the legal issue later?

Glenn E. Meyer
May 27, 2009, 11:35 AM
As a sad sidelight - on the West Coast, years ago, white racist gangs were taught to yell racial epithets at minority members who were walking on the street. If the victim replies with insults, they would beat him (sometimes to death) and then claim mutual insults and combat when they got out of the car.

Good scenario and responses!

BikerRN
May 27, 2009, 11:54 AM
Since it was a so-called "friend" that started this mess, by yelling at them from the passenger seat, I will let him get out and deal with it.

Once he exits my vehicle I will drive off, as he is no friend of mine by putting me in that position. I hang out with people with more maturity than that. If I judged someone wrongly, and they lack the level of maturity that they should have I have no qualms about exiting stage left.

Call it what you want, but my responsibility is to my family and self first. I can count the number of friends I have on one hand. The bond of friendship to me is stronger than brotherhood, so I don't take that lightly.

If it was just someone I am associated with, as I am with most people, the answer is the same. I will drive off.

Biker

Glenn E. Meyer
May 27, 2009, 12:17 PM
Biker - that cracks me up. Years ago, I was with friends and we were stopped by the law righteously for trespassing - OOPS - I wasn't driving. However, one person decided to lecture the officer about the Constitution - even though we were clearly wrong. Blah, blah.

The officer was tooling up to nail all of us for an expensive fine for being where we shouldn't be. $500 fine.

So, I said to the officer. We are sorry. We apologize, we were in the wrong. If you need to take Captain Constitution away, please do so. If you need us to back YOU up against the Cap - we will be there. So the officer (a big sargeant) - said - OK - get out of here and take the raving idiot with you.

I like your plan!

scottaschultz
May 27, 2009, 12:41 PM
What a wonderful world this would be if some people would spend as much time at the range practicing and training with their weapons instead of sitting at the computer thinking of ways to justify using them!

To answer Question #3, if the "surviving" teens are testifying in court, this necessarily means there is one or more who did not survive. I am no lawyer (and I don't play one on TV), but it is my guess that you do indeed have a legal problem! Unless your lawyer can PROVE that the ONLY reason you MURDERED one of these fine upstanding citizens was in self-defense and that you or your so-called "friend" did absolutely nothing to provoke the situation, you will be spending some time in the Gray Bar Hotel learning to slow dance with a guy named Bubba! You will most likely lose your CCW permit and probably have to surrender the guns you already own plus your ability to ever purchase one ever again.

Scott

KLRANGL
May 27, 2009, 12:57 PM
What a wonderful world this would be if some people would spend as much time at the range practicing and training with their weapons instead of sitting at the computer thinking of ways to justify using them!
You need a good balance of both. And since you don't know the training regimes of the posters here, that is sort of an assumption is it not?

Housezealot
May 27, 2009, 12:59 PM
You should have blown them a kiss at the stop light. I find that it always calms down the irrational!:p

Glenn E. Meyer
May 27, 2009, 01:20 PM
Kind of surprising that the highest end training events do lots of FOF to put you in ambiguous situations so you can get a schema of how to act.

Police and civilians do this. The folks who go to those training events like the Polite Society and NTI usually have a good handle on gun basics and practice those also.

Practicing on the square range is insufficient, if you really want to be HSLD - of course, that's hard for us FOG types.

markj
May 27, 2009, 02:29 PM
Was that buick a deuce and a quarter?

fender1974
May 27, 2009, 04:39 PM
About 9 - 10 years ago I was driving with my then girlfriend now wife home. We were in a semi-residential area, the car in front of us was only going 10 mph or so. This is about Midnight or so. We kept our distance waiting to turn off. At some point they threw something out the window of their car towards our vehicle. I remember not thinking and hitting the high beams. This was 100% a mistake on my part. As soon as the high beams went on, 3 additional heads popped up from the back seat. At this point we were able to turn off, unfortunately the car in front of us also quickly turned around and began to follow us. Neither of us had a cell phone to call for assistance so we kept driving with the intention of pulling into a local fire station that was 4 miles or so away. At that time it seemed like the safest place to go. The car continued to follow closely, flashing their lights and trying to pass. We were in a large SUV and at one point they were able to get around us. They driver stopped the car and 2 people quickly got out. One of them holding a bat. I can very clearly remember thinking that backing up at night while panicked may very well put us into a situation where our vehicle might not be able to retreat should they turn around and again follow. Fortunately there was enough room to the right hand side of the car to drive around and through a yard without hitting the car or the person. The part that frightened me the most was the fact that should the person with the bat get in our way, I wasn’t going to stop. This all occurred within a few seconds. Fortunately we were now in front as they again began to follow and I was able to make it to a main road where we drove through the center median and were able to go in the opposite directly without them following.

Nnobby45
May 27, 2009, 04:47 PM
1. How could this situation have been better handled to begin with in order to avoid being in the situation you are now?


Well, I probably wouldn't stop until the punks were pulled over by the police I'd summoned on my cell phone after I stayed in contact with the dispatcher long enough to guide them to my location---or let them guide me.

We could say the passenger shouldn't have communicated with them, but that wouldn't be a guarantee of peace.

Maybe the punks were cut off. Watch your driving.

RAT77
May 28, 2009, 09:07 AM
There is a lot of good advice here. Great web site.