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Old June 23, 2014, 11:06 AM   #1
indie_rocker
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Almost drew my gun yesterday

Sorry mods, I butter-fingered my first attempt at a thread. Let's try this again.

Road rage has apparently gotten pretty bad in Michigan. At least in SE Michigan.

I was the passenger, driving with a buddy on our way to an event yesterday. We exit the freeway and this car comes flying around us, cuts us off then slams on his brakes. He starts pointing to the right, (I'm assuming he wanted us to pull over) and yelling in his rearview mirror. He drives forward maybe 50 feet and slams on his brakes again. More yelling and pointing, then the dude puts his car in park and I see his door start to open! Instantly, my seatbelt is off, my hand is on my pistol and I'm opening my door. I don't know if he wasn't expecting resistance to his anger or if he saw me reaching for my gun, but his door closed and he was gone.

I asked my friend what he did on the freeway to tick this guy off. He said he didn't know. I'm not sure either, I wasn't paying much attention during that time.

My friend asked what I would have done if he started walking towards us.
Uhh, I would have shot him if he got within 21 feet. You can do that? Yeah, I can do that.

I was crazy. I've had my CPL for about a year and have never felt the need to draw my gun. I honestly hope I don't ever have to.

Should I have done anything different? No duty to retreat in Michigan. I would have told the guy to get back in his car before I pulled the trigger. But if he would have kept advancing, I would have defended our safety.

Last edited by Frank Ettin; June 23, 2014 at 01:14 PM. Reason: delete vulgarity
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:25 AM   #2
amflyer
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In a nutshell, you both made a lot of bad decisions.

-don't stop the car
-don't open the door
-don't shoot unarmed crazies walking towards you, even if they are 7 yards away.

Ignore the guy, drive around him, continue to have a life.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:25 AM   #3
DoubleDeuce 1
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I personnaly don't think you had enough to pull the trigger. You were seated in your car and could have driven away. Bare fear is never enough without some other form of threat to justify shooting.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:34 AM   #4
indie_rocker
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There was a vehicle behind us and the way this guy was stopping left no room to go around him... The adrenaline was pumping though, that's for sure. It was all so fast. My thoughts were to not let him reach my friends car... What if he had a weapon?
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:34 AM   #5
torbjork
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I see his door start to open! Instantly, my seatbelt is off, my hand is on my pistol and I'm opening my door.
Why? If he is exiting his car, he cannot follow you as you drive off.

It's like walking a mile in someone's shoes before you criticize them. Except you get to drive and you don't have to wear someone's sweaty shoes

EDIT: No room to go around, on a freeway exit?
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:45 AM   #6
Lucas McCain
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If he was still in his car, opening his door and you were still in your car, opening your door I highly doubt he saw you reach for your gun. He more than likely had second thoughts when he saw your door opening and realized there were 2 people who were going to offer resistance.
You were right in getting ready to draw your gun, but to use lethal force if he was advancing to within 21 ft, and possibly unarmed, wouldn't justify shooting him in my opinion. In a road rage case, you weren't the driver, I suspect his anger was towards the driver of your vehicle, no threat to you.
I don't know Michigan laws on use of lethal force, but I would suspect that the no retreat rule would apply to a loss of life threat, not a minor physical threat. A rule as you stated and your quick action to draw your pistol might get you in a lot of trouble in civil court.
Be very thankful you didn't have to use lethal force. When carrying one needs to think of many things and how it all can shake out.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:47 AM   #7
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I’m not going to judge your actions since I wasn’t there. However, I’ve decided if I am ever in that type of situation I would do everything possible to get away before shooting someone. This might include ramming cars, jumping curbs, etc. Also, I would call 911 as soon as possible reporting the threat and my side of the story.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:47 AM   #8
indie_rocker
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It was right after getting off the exit ramp. He had room to drive around us but the way he stopped left no room in front or behind us... We were blocked in.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:51 AM   #9
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I would have shot him if he got within 21 feet. You can do that? Yeah, I can do that.
You have absolutely NOTHING else at your disposal that could de-escalate a volatile situation? Can you think of NOTHING else that could be done than to draw and start firing?

Suppose the guy is hearing impaired, and cannot hear your commands? But he is walking towards you and obviously upset? Would a reasonable person fear for their safety just because someone is upset at them?
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indie rocker
My friend asked what I would have done if he started walking towards us.
Uhh, I would have shot him if he got within 21 feet. You can do that? Yeah, I can do that.
You really need to do some studying on when you can legally use deadly force.

Shooting an unarmed person 21 feet away who's merely walking toward you in front of a bunch of witnesses is pretty much a one-way ticket to the poor house and prison.
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Old June 23, 2014, 11:55 AM   #11
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I think a more metered response is called for. Understanding that he MIGHT mean you harm being ready to escalate to deadly force is wise

The circumstances you describe warrented a response but not (at that point) a lethal one

First, secure yourself inside the vehicle. Doors locked windows up. He may just want to scream and yell for a min. Having some barrier between you is good

Second, be prepaired to take it to the next level if he either produces a weapon OR if he breaches the car. Him beating on the hood with a rock or tire iron does not justify shooting him. If/when he starts to smash the window, thereby giving him access to you with said tire iron NOW you can be in fear of your life

Until the assailant has the ABILITY, the OPPORTUNITY and the INTENT to harm or kill you. Dont shoot

Ideally in this type of circumstance you could just drive away. If he had my car blocked in with his, id be inclined to use my vehicle to push his out of the way, should i feel that threatened

I like to set mental tripwires in stressful events. IE. If he does "this" i will don"that". Like if he breaks my window i will shoot him. If he gets a Molotov cocktail from his trunk...i will shoot him

Some kind of mental line in the sand that turns him from a loudmouth jurk into a threat to me or mine
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Old June 23, 2014, 12:07 PM   #12
.22lr
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http://lawofselfdefense.com/Michigan/

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(oec...me=mcl-780-951

Your description does not explain/describe, to a reasonable person, why you felt in fear of your life. (edited to add - This is not a judgment of wether or not you were in danger, just that from your description I can't tell.)
Exiting the vehicle seems unwise.

The intent of the other driver could cover a range from wanting to yell, to criminal attack.

I was going to write more, but others seem to have covered it while I was looking through Mi Law.

Last edited by .22lr; June 23, 2014 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Clarification - edit bolded
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Old June 23, 2014, 12:25 PM   #13
4V50 Gary
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Would a reasonably prudent person under the like conditions and circumstances been in fear for his life? The state would argue no and therefore the shooter is guilty of murder. The defense would argue yes and that any reasonable person would have responded similarly.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:20 PM   #14
Lucas McCain
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If you get charged for shooting g someone you will need to hire a defense attorney. When you deal with these guys you get what you are ABLE to pay for. These guys require large retainer fees up front, and check out your financial condition before they agree to defend you
At this point you will realize that your life is in the toilet and you are responsible for Pulling the chain and sending yourself into life's septic tank.
Another point, in the future what you just said in your post may someday come to haunt you.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:23 PM   #15
indie_rocker
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Thanks for all the input. Some is taken with a grain of salt, but it is truly appreciated.

I feel like it's one of those "you had to be there" situations. It's hard to describe thoughts and feelings of an event that happens so fast. To be clear, the last thing I would want to to is shoot to defend. But I would if I had to. The way this guy was acting and driving was very aggressive. If he had gotten out of his car and started to approach us with the same aggressive demeanor, I would have felt threatened.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:39 PM   #16
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were you able to get his tag number and call the state police
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:45 PM   #17
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Just a thought.
If the OP had took his weapon, and set it on the dash of the car while the bad guy was approaching, would this be considered brandishing a weapon?
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:49 PM   #18
indie_rocker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_MTman View Post
were you able to get his tag number and call the state police
Funny you mention that, I believe it was "party animal" in an abbreviated fashion. We were in Ann Arbor, a college town. The guy seemed like the club fist, frat boy type person.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
It's hard to describe thoughts and feelings of an event that happens so fast.
indie_rocker, this is in no way a slam of you, its just that the above illustrates something I think is important.


If deadly force is considered, then the lawful citizen MUST be able to describe the thoughts and feelings that led them to reasonably believe they were about to come to greivous injury or death had they not acted.

The agressor's words, actions, or demeanor are ciritical towards establishing that the lawful citizen was reasonable to surmise that the other party had the means oppertuinity and intent to harm them.

The above should be conveyed by a lawyer.

Without the above, why would the state, or the court believe that the lawful citizen acted in self defense?
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:54 PM   #20
JD0x0
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Would a reasonable person fear for their safety just because someone is upset at them
Well, if we look at what happened. It seems this guy cut off the OP, and slammed on his brakes, aggressively, essentially boxing his friend's car in place. He then tried to exit the car. I would say if this person started making his way for the car, I would consider it reasonable to draw. Aggressive driving actions by this driver could've easily hurt someone or killed someone. A car is a weapon in my eyes.

That is completely different than someone using their hazards and pointing you to the side of the road to get you to pull over. The driver acted very aggressively and I wouldn't be taking any chances.

My point is, this person wasn't just 'upset' he was aggressive and came off as violent to me, based on how the OP reported. I think what he did was reasonable. I would've likely done something similar.

OBVIOUSLY if driving away is an option that is first choice, but it seems to me like this driver was blocking the OP's friend's vehicle, which to me, is a BIG red flag.

Also another way to look at it. A reasonable person will not usually slam on their brakes after cutting someone off, and then exit their car. That's not a reasonable response even if you are 'upset.' There's no acceptable reason for doing something like that, and I don't think it should be frowned upon, that a reasonable person would fear for their life in that kind of situation.
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Old June 23, 2014, 01:55 PM   #21
.22lr
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If the OP had took his weapon, and set it on the dash of the car while the bad guy was approaching, would this be considered brandishing a weapon?
Michigan Law Section 750.234e would seem to indicate that setting the weapon on the dash is not an exempted case and would be brandishing.
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Old June 23, 2014, 02:01 PM   #22
.22lr
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A car is a weapon in my eyes.
True, but is the car still a weapon if the driver stops and exits the vehicle? It seems similar to someone who waves a knife above their head, and then sets the knife down and approaches.

Agressive behavior alone would not justify shooting unless the threat is percieved as serious and immediate. A weapon, a comunicated threat, a violent action (attacking the victim), a furtive movement as if quickly reaching for a concealed weapon could justify deadly force.
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Old June 23, 2014, 02:22 PM   #23
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Two people in the veical, One should have been on the phone with 911 JMO ; ) PS A firearm is the LAST RESORT
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Old June 23, 2014, 02:22 PM   #24
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My friend asked what I would have done if he started walking towards us.
Uhh, I would have shot him if he got within 21 feet. You can do that? Yeah, I can do that.
Why. ? I have being in similar situations, I haven't felt scared enough to feel the need shoot someone. If you felt your life was at risk ok did you if yes why was he armed. ?
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Old June 23, 2014, 02:27 PM   #25
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I think based on you description of being boxed in and unable to leave your preparatory actions were wise. However, your premise that you would have shot him at 21 feet would put you in prison.

First, 21 feet is not any magic number legally for self defense. You did not see an actual threat or a weapon to justify deadly force AND YOU WERE LOCKED IN YOUR CAR! You were scared and "whatifing" worst case scenarios. No matter how scared you were, based upon the facts described you were not justified to pull the trigger. Even if he beat the crap out of your car, you still do not have justification to kill him over property damage. It is often difficult to accept that your property could be destroyed while you sit by with a gun in your hand.....this is where experience and restraint come into play. "Things" can be replaced.

As you have seen in threads all over this sight, the right of self defense is based upon ACTUAL facts leading one to believe they were about to suffer death or grievous bodily harm.....NOT POTENTIAL SCENARIOS unsupported by evidence.
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